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incarnation

What is the Incarnation? It is the understanding that over two thousand years ago, in Christ, there was a person who had both a fully human nature and had another nature that was fully divine.

And what exactly does that mean? It is a mystery, but it tells us that at a specific place and a specific point in historical time, the self-awareness of the mysterious cause of existence popped up in a human being. That human being then proceeded to explain that he was indeed the Son of God (i.e., the self-awareness, or self-knowledge of God), explain how we too could get to God, and explain that the inherently happy love between God and God's self-awareness was accessible to us all.

Does it make any sense to say this? To say that in the person of Jesus Christ a human joined with the self-awareness of the mysterious cause of existence? It's not the most logical thing I've ever heard, but then life isn't particularly logical. We have no idea why we even exist in the first place, just that we exist, and we know we are conscious but don't really undestand how that works either. The best way to understand the mystery of the Incarnation is to see it in the context of the ultimate mystery of life and explore it for its meaning, because it does say something very specific about humans and the divine. It says that whatever caused existence appeared as a part of the fabric of existence at a specific time and place and then proceeded to identify what humans can and should be, by being that way himself. The point that Aquinas often made, that talking of God usually tells us more
about us than about God, is particularly true of the Incarnation. The Incarnation gives us a model of what we are to become, forever changing what it means to be human.

uniting humanity and divinity

If you believe the idea that at least one human can be both fully human and fully divine (and divinely happy), then the possibilities of being human are infinitely increased. This is the beauty of the Incarnation. It says that as of a specific point in time, the essential fabric of what it means to be human changed irrevocably for the better with the incorporation of the mystery of divinity into humanity.

Remember back in Part One when we compared us and God?

God

Us

free of space-time

locked in space-time

perfectly actualized

struggling to flourish

perfectly present

marginally in the moment

fully aware

usually clueless

thinks reality

usually blocks it

powers providence

struggles to survive

in love; divinely happy

often lonely

The Incarnation says we're not stuck in the "Us" column; it says we have a shot at overcoming the trappings of consciousness and ego (acquired when we got tossed out of the proverbial Garden) and have a chance to taste some of that divine happiness. And how might this splendid state be reached? By grace, the action and gift by which we decode our inherent divinity.

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"He brought us the surest faith by speaking to us himself ... he immensely lifted our hopes ... he has set an example of living life well ... and he has brought us to the true and happy goal of life, a full share in his own godhead."
(3a, 1,2)

 

 
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