ambrose_of_milanThe prophecy of the Incarnation, “the Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works” (Prov. 8:22), means that the Lord Jesus was created of the Virgin for the redeeming of the Father’s works.

Truly, we cannot doubt that this is spoken of the mystery of the Incarnation, forasmuch as the Lord took upon Him our flesh, in order to save the works of His hands from the slavery of corruption, so that He might, by the sufferings of His own body, overthrow him who had the power of death.

For Christ’s flesh is for the sake of things created, but His Godhead existed before them, seeing that He is before all things, whilst all things exist together in Him (Col. 1:16).

His Godhead, then, is not by reason of creation, but creation exists because of the Godhead; even as the Apostle showed, saying that all things exist because of the Son of God, for we read as follows:

“But it was fitting that He, through Whom and because of Whom are all things, after bringing many sons to glory, should, as Captain of their salvation, be made perfect through suffering”  (Heb. 2:10).

Has he not plainly declared that the Son of God, Who, by reason of His Godhead, was the Creator of all, did in after time, for the salvation of His people, submit to the taking on of the flesh and the suffering of death?

Now for the sake of what works the Lord was “created” of a virgin, He Himself, whilst healing the blind man, has shown, saying: “In Him must I work the works of Him that sent Me (John  9: 4).

Furthermore He said in the same Scripture, that we might believe Him to speak of the Incarnation: “As long as I am in this world, I am the Light of this world” (John 9:5), for, so far as He is man, He is in this world for a season, but as God He exists at all times.

In another place, too, He says: “Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:20).  […] During His earthly life, He was asked, “Who art Thou?” He answered: “The beginning, even as I tell you” (John 8:25).

This refers not only to the essential nature of the eternal Godhead, but also to the visible proofs of virtues, for hereby has He proved Himself the eternal God, in that He is the beginning of all things, and the Author of each several virtue, in that He is the Head of the Church, as it is written:

“Because He is the Head of the Body, of the Church” (Col. i. 18); “Who is the beginning, first-begotten from the dead” (Eph. 4:15, 16).

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): Exposition of the Christian Faith, 3,7,46-49.

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