A Reflection from Sheila Durbin:
Some Christians today seem to find it difficult or impossible to believe that the man Jesus was also God – two natures united in one person. Indeed I suspect that if I knew more about the history of the church I should find that there is by no means an exclusively modern difficulty.
I wonder whether the difficulty, at least for some people, is less a question of theology than of imagination. How can we begin to conceive of such a situation?
Anyone who finds it a problem might find it illuminating to read Diana Wynne Jones’ novel ‘Dogsbody‘. In it, the tutelary spirit of Sirius, the Dog Star, is exiled to earth, to inhabit the body of an ordinary dog. The consciousness and experience of such a creature is convincingly and often movingly described.
I hope that readers will not find it irreverent to compare the incarnation of Jesus with that of Sirius. And indeed, the differences are very great. Sirius, the bright spirit, is forced by his stellar peers to descend to earth and inhabit a dog’s body because of his transgressions. Christ came down to earth and was born as a man of his own free will, from an impulse of pure love and a design to achieve salvation for humankind. Yet the imagined life of Sirius can, I believe, shed some light on the true story of Jesus.
NB: I have a copy of ‘Dogsbody‘ and would be happy to lend it to anyone interested. It is not very long.
> ‘Dogsbody‘, by Diana Wynne Jones, is published by HarperCollinsChildren’s Books.