The Incarnation of the Son of God

Perhaps the single greatest source for the understanding of our Christology found in scripture comes from what is commonly referred to as the Prologue of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”1

We recognize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, incarnated in the flesh. He was “begotten of the Father before all worlds,” and condescended to become man, and “who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”2 By His incarnation, he became man so that we may by His grace, become that which he is by nature. Thus incarnate in the flesh, we also believe:

“He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead.”3

In the flesh as a man, he experienced death, and by His own death he conquered death by death. Yet, it was not God the Father that died on the Cross as some heretics would believe, but Jesus Christ, God the Son incarnate. Also, it was not adopted as a Human upon the cross, and elevated as deity, also as the heretics would believe, but he went to the Cross as God the Son. He was a willing self sacrifice, martyrdom being the ultimate expression of love for God, and another.4

Christ had two natures, one divine and one fully human, two natures existing hypostatically in the person of The Word. He was fully God and fully man. He had the powers of God, as was evident by his many miracles; yet, he also fully experienced humanity, all the passions and temptations of the flesh, and yet remained without Sin. The Fathers teach that while the Son is not the same person as the Father (or the Holy Spirit), each distinct in personhood, and the Son suffered no change or alteration to his person by his Incarnation in Human flesh. He remains perfectly God, and thus fully divine (and yet also fully human). Even the scriptures attest to his divinity. "All should honour and worship the Son as they do the Father. He who does not revere the Son, does not revere the Father.” This verse places Christ equal in divinity and stature with the Father. It essentially says that one who denies the divinity of Christ would also in essence deny the divinity of the Father, and therefore be in the error of unbelief. Yet, in addition to this, scriptures give to Christ attributes of Divinity that are also attributed to God the Father: The Creator of the World, The All-mighty, Equal to the Father, the All-knowing, and the One Who Existed Before All Time.

It is by the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins are washed away, but this is only a part of the good news of the Cross. Christ has once again opened the gates to paradise, which had remained guarded and closed off to man since the Garden of Eden. Yet, Christ descended into hell, freed the captives of death, and opened the way to paradise once more. Man, but his cooperation with God can become like Christ, and thus like God, to once more walk with God in the cool of the Garden - Heaven.

[1] - John 1:1-14

[2] - Found in the words of the Nicene Creed.

[3] - Ibid.

[4] - John 15:13

[5] - The word Hypostasis (ὑπόστασις) means literally That which lies beneath, as basis or foundation; the underlying state or substance of something.

[6] - John 5:23