A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” In 1977 these blue words scrolled across black screens in theaters across America, introducing an unsuspecting audience to the world of Ewoks, Wookies, Storm Troopers, and light sabers. With those words, George Lucas simultaneously transported viewers into the future and then back into the past (as Star Wars obviously takes place in a future version of our universe). Lucas’s words were a brilliant stroke that called the viewer forward and backward at the same time, evoking both imagination and nostalgia.
“There is nothing new under the sun,” the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us (Eccl. 1:9).
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” another author evoked audiences to consider the Triune God in eternity past. John begins his gospel with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
If our imaginations are stoked by Lucas’s words, how much more should they be stoked by God’s words of a mind-blowing reality?
John invites us to consider Advent from eternity past. Before we are called to consider the coming of Christ to this earth and before we are invited to anticipate his return, John takes us to the beginning. With his words, John evokes the first words in the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). In your mind’s eye, imagine the formless void, consider God existing “eternally ago.” John gives us a peek into that reality and reveals that this God was not static but an active three-in-one reality.
As we prepare for Christ’s coming, John wants to make sure that we aren’t confused about the divinity of the Christ-child. Jesus was God-in-flesh, the second person of the Trinity, who exists from eternity. In Lifeway Research’s latest “State of Theology Report,” “Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) evangelicals by belief say Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.” Marissa Postell clarifies, “Affirming Jesus as the first and greatest creation denies the eternal existence of Christ, but we must not assume our congregations are making these connections on their own. The understanding that the Son is not a created being is not a new belief. As the writers of the Nicene Creed wrote by AD 381, the Lord Jesus Chris is ‘begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.’”[i] Concerningly, most evangelicals believe the distorted theology of Jehovah’s Witnesses and not the orthodox faith of the gospels.
We need John’s epic introduction to the Advent to reshape our understanding of the Christ child. The Son of God was the Word, who existed “with God, and the Word was God.”
This Advent, we look forward not just to the coming of our Savior but also to our Creator. “All things were made through him,” John reminds us. The one who created us became part of the creation in order that we might be rescued from our separation from him.
For God so loved you and me that “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” he chose to create us knowing that he would one day put on flesh to save us from our choice to follow the dark side.
[i] Marissa Postell, “11 doctrines you can’t assume church members understand,” Lifeway, October 25, 2022, https://research.lifeway.com/2022/10/25/11-doctrines-you-cant-assume-your-church-members-understand/?ecid=PDM262086&bid=1318228213.