The Pre-History of Christ
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
The Lord to be born of Mary
is the only Person in the World Who
ever had a Pre-history; a Pre-history to be Studied, not in the Primeval Slime and Jungles, but in the
Bosom of the Eternal Father. Though He
appeared as the 'Cave Man in Bethlehem', since He
was Born in a Stable, Hewn-out of Rock, His beginning in
Time as Man was Without-Beginning as God in the Agelessness of
Eternity. Only Progressively did He Reveal
His Divinity; and this was not because
He grew in the Consciousness of Divinity; it was due rather to
His Intent to be slow in Revealing the Purpose of
Saint John at the beginning of his Gospel relates
His Pre-history as the Son of God:
When all things began, the Word already was. The
Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the
beginning, and through Him all things came to be; no single thing was created without Him.
"In the beginning was the Word". Whatever there is in the World, is made according to the Thought
of God, for all things Postulate Thought. Every Bird, every Bower, every Tree was made according to
an Idea existing in the Divine Mind. Greek Philosophers held that Thought was Abstract. Now, the
Thought or Word of God is Revealed as
Personal. Wisdom is vested-in
Personality. Prior to His Earthly Existence,
Jesus Christ is Eternally God, the
Wisdom, the Thought of the
Father. In His Earthly Existence,
He is that Thought or
Word of God speaking to Men. The Words of Men pass-away when they have been Conceived and Uttered, but the
Word of God is Eternally Uttered and can never
Cease from Utterance. By His Word, the Eternal Father
expresses all that He Understands, all that He
Knows. As the Mind holds Converse with itself by its own Thought, and Sees and Knows the World
by means of this Thought, so does the Father see
Himself, as in a Mirror, in the Person of His
Word. Finite Intelligence needs Many
Words in order to Express Ideas; but God speaks Once
and for all within Himself ------ One (1)
Single Word which reaches the Abyss of all-things that are Known and can be Known. In that
Word of God are hidden all the Treasures of Wisdom,
all the Secrets of Sciences, all the Designs of the Arts, all the Knowledge of Mankind. But this Knowledge, compared to the
Word, is only the Feeblest Broken Syllable.
In the Agelessness of Eternity, the Word
was with God. But there was a Moment in Time when He
had not come-forth from the Godhead, as there is a Moment when a Thought in the Mind of Man is
not-yet Uttered. As the Sun is never without its Beam, so the Father is never without
His Son; and as the Thinker is not without a Thought, so in an
Infinite Degree, the Divine Mind is never without
His Word. God did not spend the Everlasting Ages in Sublime-Solitary-Activity.
He had a Word with
Him, equal to Himself.
The Word, then, was with God at the Beginning,
and through Him all things came to be; no single thing was created without Him. All that
came to be was alive with His Life, and that Life was the Light of men. The Light shines
on in the dark, and the darkness has never mastered it. [John 1:3-5]
Everything in Space and Time exists because of the Creative Power of God.
Matter is not Eternal; the Universe has an Intelligent
Personality back of it, an Architect, a
Builder, and a Sustainer. Creation
is the Work of God. The Sculptor works on Marble, the Painter on Canvas, the Machinist on
Matter, but none of them can Create. They bring Existings into new Combinations, but nothing else.
Creation belongs to God alone.
God writes His Name on the
Soul of every Man. Reason and
Conscience are the "God within us" in the Natural
Order. The Fathers of the early Church were wont to speak of the Wisdom of
Plato and Aristotle as the unconscious Christ within us.
Men are like so many Books issuing from the Divine Press, and if nothing else be written on them,
at least the Name of the Author is Indissolubly Engraved on the
Title Page. God is like the Watermark on Paper, which may be
written over, without ever being obscured.