A little significant theological reflection is needed. What actually is the point of the Incarnation of Jesus? What difference does it make? Why is what happened to Jesus in the Paschal Mystery important for my redemption and salvation? One of my favorite Orthodox theologians/historians of theology, Father Georges Florovsky points to the fact Christ is not for one person, but for all people, and that all people are to become divine. Make sense to you?

Christ Pantocrator, detail of the Deesis mosaic

The Word became man so that we could “become divine,” “in order to deify us in Himself.” Deification is adoption by God, and “humans sons have become the sons of God.” We are “received by the Word and are deified through His flesh” by virtue of the Incarnation. Born from the Virgin, the Word was not united with only one man, but with the whole of human nature. Therefore everything that was achieved in the human nature of Christ is immediately extended to all men because they have a body in common with Him. There is no coercion involved here. Men are more than similar to Christ; they are truly participants in the human nature of the Word. Christ is a vine and we are the branches, “united with Him by our humanity.” In the same way that the tendrils which grow from a grapevine are consubstantial with it, so are our bodies consubstantial with the body of the Lord, and we receive what He has accomplished. His body is the “root of our resurrection and salvation.” Everyone is renewed, anointed, healed, and exalted in Christ, for “He has taken everyone on Himself.” This is not merely similarity or substitution, but actual unity. Therefore all humanity is anointed by the Spirit in the Jordan, dies on the cross, and is resurrected to immortality in Christ because “He Himself bears our body.”

Father Georges Florovsky, discussing the theology of Saint Athanasius the Great, in chapter two of Florovsky’s patrology.

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