Incarnation

December 22, 2017

“The Incarnation tells us of the paradox of two natures: of divine love and human love mixed in one vessel, contained in one human being. The Incarnation says that God became Man; and the Incarnate God, Christ, was both fully human and fully divine.” (Robert A. Johnson)

 

“The doctrine of the incarnation is very hard to receive…, that this God who surpasses all understanding and baffles all calculation, having passed by angels, archangels, and all the spiritual powers above, deigned to become human, and to take flesh formed of earth and clay, and enter the womb of a virgin and be borne there for nine months, be nourished with milk, and suffer all those things to which human beings are liable.” (St. John Chrysostom)

 

“You and I have been trained by our culture to not believe in the supernatural. As we saw earlier, as a Jewish woman, Mary had been trained by her culture to not believe that God could ever become a human being. So, though they are different, the barriers she faced against belief in the Christmas message were every bit as big as the barriers you may be facing.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

 

“I consider it both a strange mystery and a settled matter of the faith that God prefers not to do things alone. Repeatedly, He acts in a manner that involves the actions of others when it would seem, He could have acted alone. Why would God reveal His Word to the world through the agency of men? Why would He bother to use writing? Why not simply communicate directly with people? Why speak to Moses in a burning bush? Why did the Incarnation involve Mary? Could He not have simply become man, whole, complete, adult, in a single moment?” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“With His Incarnation everything entered a new phase. The Word arranged His coming in the flesh in a unique way, so that He might win back to God that human nature which had departed from God.” (St. Irenaus)

 

“What had once been seen as an unbridgeable gulf between the divinity and humankind had, for Christians, been bridged by the Incarnation of the eternal Word of God made flesh. This not only bridged the gulf between the divinity and humankind. It also made God’s saving dispensation a permanent reality.” (Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ)

 

“Through the incarnation we a see a God full of love and compassion for His creation, one who taught us how to love and be compassionate to others; one who unites Godself with us so that humans can go beyond what we are capable of; in the Incarnation we have a God who came to lead us to God, to an intimate union with God.” (Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou)

 

“God's original intent for the Incarnation was not redemption from the Fall but adoption as sons of God...For when God contemplated creating the world, He planned on bringing it into union with Himself through the Incarnation of His Son, that is, through the Son's union with human nature." (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 1:4-6)

 

“Without the incarnation, for example, Jesus could not have become human...It means that God is not remote—He is truly with us.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

 

“The Church is the extension of the incarnation, the place where the Incarnation perpetuates itself.” (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)

 

"The beauty of human myth reflects the transcendental beauty, while the Incarnation embodies this beauty, for Christ is the absolute Beauty of God." (Lisa Coutras)

 

“…belief in the incarnation of God in the man Jesus…is not an easy one to affirm… The incarnation, the idea of God becoming human was, and is not an easy thing to grasp…In the Incarnation we don’t simply see a God who became man, we see a God who emptied Godself for us…Through the incarnation we a see a God full of love and compassion for His creation, one who taught us how to love and be compassionate to others; one who unites Godself with us so that humans can go beyond what we are capable of; in the Incarnation we have a God who came to lead us to God, to an intimate union with God. Without the incarnation we don’t have any of this.” (Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou)

 

"...because of the Incarnation, humanity has the ability to once again grow in relationship with God. However, still possessing free will, individuals can also choose a different path - to remain separated from God...we are all called to draw near to God through Jesus.” (Deacon and Fellow Pilgrim, Foundation Study Bible, Exodus 24:12)

 

“Christianity is not a highly refined “spiritual” religion...The Incarnation has changed forever the spiritual state not just of Christians, nor just of humans, but of all creation. The physical world then, including our bodies, is not a barrier to the grace of God but rather a vehicle for it.” (Archpriest Lawrence Cross)

 

“The scandal of the Incarnation, God-becoming-man, is the seeming contradiction of the utterly transcendent God and the particularity and limits of human existence. It is a scandal whose errors run in two directions. First, there is an assumption that God is so displeased with sin that He can have nothing to do with it, or that sin somehow nullifies the work of God. Second, there is an equally odious belief that human beings, in their observance of the commandments, are ever righteous enough to actually be compatible with true holiness. The first is an error about God, the second an error about human beings.” (Father Stephen Freeman)