Florovsky“The Word became flesh:” in this is the ultimate joy of the Christian faith. In this is the fullness of Revelation. The Same Incarnate Lord is both perfect God and perfect man.

The full significance and the ultimate purpose of human existence is revealed and realized in and through the Incarnation.

He came down from Heaven to redeem the earth, to unite man with God for ever. “And became man.” The new age has been initiated. We count now the “anni Domini!”

As St. Irenaeus wrote: “the Son of God became the Son of Man, that man also might become the son of God.”

Not only is the original fullness of human nature restored or re-established in the Incarnation. Not only does human nature return to its once lost communion with God.

The Incarnation is also the new Revelation, the new and further step. The first Adam was a living soul. But the last Adam is the Lord from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:47).

And in the Incarnation of the Word human nature was not merely anointed with a superabundant overflowing of Grace, but was assumed into an intimate and hypostatical unity with the Divinity itself.

In that lifting up of human nature into an everlasting communion with the Divine Life, the Fathers of the early Church unanimously saw the very essence of salvation, the basis of the whole redeeming work of Christ.

“That is saved which is united with God,” says St. Gregory of Nazianzus. And what was not united could not be saved at all.

[…] This was the fundamental motive in the whole of early theology, in St. Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. Maximus the Confessor.

The whole history of Christological dogma was determined by this fundamental conception: the Incarnation of the Word as Redemption.

In the Incarnation human history is completed. God’s eternal will is accomplished, “the mystery from eternity hidden and to angels unknown.”

The days of expectation are over. The Promised and the Expected has come. And from henceforth, to use the phrase of St. Paul, the life of man “is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

The Incarnation of the Word was an absolute manifestation of God. And above all it was a revelation of Life.

Christ is the Word of Life…, “and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:1-2).

The Incarnation is the quickening of man, as it were, the resurrection of human nature. But the climax of the Gospel is the Cross, the death of the Incarnate.

Georges Florovsky (1893-1979; Eastern Orthodox): “Incarnation and Redemption” in Theological Articles of Fr George Florovsky, vol. 3.

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