Isaac the Syrian 3If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe Himself in the body in order to bring the world back to His Father using gentleness and humility?

And why was He stretched out on the Cross for the sake of sinners, handing over His sacred body to suffering on behalf of the world?

I myself say that God did all this for no other reason, except to make known to the world the love that He has, His aim being that we, as a result of our greater love arising from an awareness of this, might be captivated by His love when He provided the occasion of this manifestation of the kingdom of heaven’s mighty power – which consists in love – by means of the death of His Son.

[…] [The Incarnation and the death on the Cross happened] not to redeem us from sins, or for any other reason, but solely in order that the world might become aware of the love which God has for His creation.

Had all this astounding affair taken place solely for the purpose of forgiveness of sin, it would have been sufficient to redeem us by some other means.

What objection would there have been if He had done what He did by means of an ordinary death?

But He did not make His death at all an ordinary one – in order that you might realize the nature of this mystery.

Rather, He tasted death in the cruel suffering of the Cross.

What need was there for the outrage done to Him and the spitting?

Just death would have been sufficient for our redemption – and in particular His death, without any of these other things which took place.

What wisdom is God’s! And how filled with life!

Now you can understand and realize why the coming of our Lord took place with all the events that followed it, even to the extent of His telling the purpose quite clearly out of His own holy mouth:

“To such an extent did God love the world that He gave His only-begotten Son” – referring to the Incarnation and the renewal He brought about.

[…] When the entire extent of creation had abandoned and forgotten God and had perfected themselves in every kind of wickedness…He came down to their abode and lived among them in their body just as one of them, and with a love exalted beyond knowledge or description by any created being,

He begged them to turn back to Himself, showing them concerning the glorious establishment of the world to come, having intended before all worlds to introduce felicity such as this for creation.

Isaac the Syrian (c. 630 – c. 700): Quoted in Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: The Incarnation of the Word and the deification of man according to St Isaac of Nineveh.

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