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4. Incarnation

 

In a paper submitted to the 'Consultation between the Theologians of Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches' held at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, in August 1964, the Very Rev. Like Siltanat Habte Mariam Workineh, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, fully explained the teaching of the Church on Incarnation.

Incarnation is a divine mystery. The two natures of Godhead and Manhood are perfectly united and Christ is thus one Person and one Nature from two Natures.

Christ is one Incarnate nature of God the Word. After the union it is impossible to speak of Christ as being in two natures. By the union of the nature in the Incarnation the two natures became one nature, the natures being united without separation, without confusion, and without change. Neither of the two natures was assimilated by the other, the properties of the Divine Word were attributed to the flesh and those of the flesh to the Divine Word. The Logos revealed Himself in our flesh and became man like us. He did all things that man does with the exception of sin (John 8:46). And at the same time was truly God. He is God-Man. He is co-equal and consubstantial with the Father in his Godhead. He is perfectly united with us the union being from two modes of life into one. The union of the Word with the flesh took place in the womb of the Virgin Mary. St. John says: "The Word was made flesh...". In the same way we can say that also the flesh was made divine. The attributes of the flesh can be given to the Divine Word and vice versa. However, the properties of each nature are preserved without change after the union. Therefore, we believe that Christ is one Person and one Nature, and thus is both divine and human. We speak of one because of the union. We hold "mia physis", composite nature, one united nature. Again the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect man and perfect God. The word "perfect" closes the door to all quibble and prevarication. We accept both unity and duality in Christ who in acting performed as one. Christ, in whom humanity and divinity were united in one Person and one Nature, was crucified on the cross. The Divine Word without being united with the flesh cannot be crucified, because as God He is beyond suffering. But through the union with the flesh He was crucified and subjected to death. If, on the other hand, only the human body was crucified, He could not save the world.

The purpose of the Incarnation was the salvation of man. God sent His only Son into the world to bring unto Him the lost sheep and He did this by reason of His unspeakable love towards mankind.