Why I think “God as a Baby” is confusing theology

A column in the Church Times prompted Richard Tetlow to pen this letter to the editor of that newspaper. Richard takes issue with the notion of a baby as God.

Why I think “God as a Baby” is confusing theology

​In his column in the Church Times (21/28 December), Giles Fraser says because “all religion is intrinsically messy … it won’t tell me that my absurd hopes and dreams are absurd”, for the “best parts of the Bible are the weirdest”. He then says “A baby as God: it’s ridiculous”, presumably upholding both the idea and it being ‘ridiculous’.

​I usually admire Mr Fraser’s common sense religion so I regret that this time he appears to advocate our going down the ‘ridiculous’ road in the face of an increasingly sceptical and discerning public. It depends what he means by ‘a baby as God’. If it amounts to “Jesus is God”, as it seems to, this adds to messy religion. This is unnecessary and highly confusing, albeit not a new tradition. Matthew and Luke, the only Gospel writers about ‘a baby’, do not declare that ‘Jesus is God’ at any stage in his life, whether at birth or death!

It has been a common and crucial sleight of hand that has converted ‘God was in Christ’, which is probably basic to all Christians, to ‘God was or is Christ’ and ‘Jesus is God’ which to many Christians, such as members of the Progressive Christian Network, is not basic at all. Such a statement seems to me to belittle Jesus, God and the incarnation of all ‘His’ creation.

It is very significant that members of most other world faiths I meet in Birmingham would also accept that ‘God was in Christ’ but not ‘Jesus is God’ and be relieved to be free of the confusion.

Picture: ‘La Madonna col Bambino’ by a follower of Giovanni Bellini


1 On 02/02/2013 David Wood wrote:

I do so agree. I find the worship of Jesus (especially by evangelicals), almost to the exclusion of mentioning God, quite worrying and counter-productive.
John’s Gospel has a lot to answer for!

2 On 17/02/2013 Denn wrote:

As a Trinitarian, I recognise that the Catholic tradition of the Baby Jesus as God is incorrect; indeed, I have a particular difficulty with Christmas in this respect and refuse to celebrate it. However, I do not have a problem with the opening words of John’s Gospel, unlike David Wood. There is no reference to the Baby Jesus in John’s Gospel at all. Indeed, the book of Revelation quite clearly states Jesus position as co-equal with God IMHO.
I find support throughout the Hebrew Scriptures for The Trinity that respects Jesus as co-equal with God, as a part of the Trinity… and the texts at Ugarit [Ras Shamra] in Syria also support that view revealing a ruling Trinity.

3 On 28/02/2013 Peter Balaam wrote:

God has created a world which includes violence, injustice and capricious cruelty. How can anyone respect such a God, let alone love God? It’s not enough to say that God “sits alongside the sufferer” or is “present in all creation”. If God is to be credible we need to know that God has actually suffered what we suffer. In other words God needs to have lived as a human being in our world. Never mind the mechanics of virgin birth etc, the principle that God became a human being is crucial. If God hasn’t experienced our life at first hand, then how dare God create such a world as we live in?

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