Once again, something at Neil’s site is giving me something to write about. He quotes Randy Alcorn from his book Heaven. Alcorn writes:
Envision Jesus with His disciples. If you cannot picture Him teasing them and laughing with them, you need to reevaluate your understanding of the Incarnation. We need a biblical theology of humor that prepares us for an eternity of celebration and spontaneous laughter.
—Randy Alcorn, from his award-winning book “Heaven”, on whether we will laugh on the New Earth
I know this may seem innocent enough, but I have a major problem with it. In fact, I have several problems with it.
- There is no record of Jesus ever laughing in the Bible, therefore, Randy is making an assumption. Granted, it is an assumption we would like to make because we would like to imagine Christ laughing with His disciples. But it was not ever recorded, one of the few emotions of Christ that is missing from the text, perhaps for a reason.
- The only record we have of God laughing is in Psalm 2. That laughter is not one of a joke, but of derision towards those nations who rage against God. He is laughing at their futility in trying to throw off the yoke of God.
- Alcorn’s statement shows that Alcorn himself does not understand the incarnation. The Reformers were in the habit of calling it Christ’s humiliation because of the weight of sin on Christ, from the moment of His conception until His death. Randy is failing to see that it was not a jolly exploit down onto earth for Christ. He was a sinless being who entered into our sinful world and the weight of that responsibility never left Him. I know it would be nice to assume such, but again, there is no text recording such, and I think for a good reason. Jesus was too burdened with the will of the Father to play the fool or even practical jokes.
- Doing what Randy is doing opens up an entire list of things that Jesus might have done. As I noted on Neil’s site in the comments section, one could take the same thing Randy says and change it around to fit our purposes, i.e., “Envision Jesus with those women He healed and forgave, you can almost see Him dating them, taking them out on the town and other such things. After all, some of those babes were hot mammas. Just check out the woman at the well. How many times had she been married? That’s because she was one hot babe. Think of Liz Taylor and you get the idea. What we need is a biblical theology of dating.” It opens the door for all kinds of trite speculation and drivel. The Bible doesn’t give us much of a theology of laughter for a reason. I trust God has His reasons.
If Alcorn is going to make statements like this, he really needs to back it up with Scripture. I admit, I don’t know the rest of what he wrote because I don’t have his book. So if you do have the context, it would be nice to share it. Regardless though, it’s always dangerous to start making assumptions.