To appreciate the Incarnation we must think in terms of infinity. God is infinite. This means he has no boundaries, no limits, no stopping point in any of his attributes. This is one of the reasons that God is a Spirit, that he has no physical properties. If he did they would render him finite “When we say that God is infinite,” wrote A.W. Tozer, “we mean that He knows no bounds. Whatever God is and all that God is, he is without limit…To say that God is infinite is to say that He is measureless ”
By definition, therefore, anything finite, no matter how big, when set next to Something infinite recedes into comparative nothingness. If God is infinite the universe itself, with its billions of stars, when set next to God becomes almost irrelevant. It is finite. As an infinite God gets larger and larger compared to a finite universe, the universe gets comparably smaller and smaller. This is what Psalm 145 means when it says that God’s “greatness is unsearchable” (Vs. 3). Here is how Isaiah words it—
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust…All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness”(Isaiah 40:15–17).
The nations, a “drop from a bucket?” Think about it. That mean the seven billion people currently alive on planet earth are only like one solitary drop from a bucket that at one time held millions of drops.
But it gets worse. Isaiah tells us that the nations are only “fine dust” on God’s scales. What does dust weigh? Essentially nothing. It is irrelevant. It cannot move the scales up or down. It is meaningless.
Isaiah continues. All the nations past, present, and future are “accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.” How can anything be less than nothing and emptiness? Emptiness is a low point. But less than emptiness, less than nothing? That we cannot imagine.
But we are not emptiness. We are real flesh and blood people, all seven billion of us. So why did Isaiah write this? He knows we are finite, and anything finite is of almost meaningless compared to something infinite, and God is infinite.
I am not writing this to depress you. You need this information to appreciate the Incarnation. To the degree that sin becomes bitter grace will become sweet. To the degree that we see ourselves for who we really are the Incarnation becomes utterly astounding. It is because we think so highly of ourselves that the Incarnation has so little impact on us.
If Jesus Christ is God, and if he descended down from an infinitely glorious status to take to himself a finite human nature, then it follows that his descent was an infinite emptying. He travelled an infinite distance downward. This is the measure of God’s love for small, insignificant, finite creatures like you and me. And it is because of this that Paul describes God’s love in infinite terms. He calls it “love…that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19).
Here is how John Flavel, one of the great seventeenth century Puritan preachers, tried to grapple with this truth—
“For the sun to fall from its sphere, and be degraded into a wandering atom; for an angel to be turned out of heaven, and be converted into a silly fly or worm, had been no such great abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would abide still, though in an inferior order or species of creatures. The distance betwixt the highest and lowest species of creatures, is but a finite distance. The angel and the worm dwell not so far apart. But for the infinite glorious Creator of all things, to become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. The distance between God and the highest order of creatures, is an infinite distance.”
Here is the love of God. Christ descended an infinite distance to atone for sins infinitely serious in God’s sight.