Flesh of God
"The Word was made flesh .." (John 1:14)
The Incarnation of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ
Key Facts and Ideas
The arresting title of this section is deliberate. "Body" is too vague in common parlance. It has different meanings in English. The word "flesh" has been used to emphasise the full human reality of Christ, as St. John says: "the Word made flesh," [John 1:14]. Later in one of his letters St. John goes so far as to say this2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. [1 John 4:2-3]
Clearly there is something vitally important in Christianity about this coming of God "in the flesh." Of course Christmas does celebrate the birth of Christ but this feast is no mere birthday. The true significance of Christmas lies in the union of God and Man, the coming of the Saviour of which the human birth is the necessary expression.
The Incarnation asserts that God loves the world personally, intimately, unreservedly. He does not teach from afar, He comes as that teaching Himself. He does not show how we can be healed but indeed comes to heal us. He does not commend stoic resignation to suffering, evil and death; he comes to undo the works of the devil. Without this direct personal engagement of God in the world by his flesh, (the human nature received from his Mother, the divine nature already his), there is no authentic Christianity.
Heaven and earth are not at war, the physical and the spiritual have been joined, God really does love all creatures and His Creation, unreservedly, perfectly and intimately.
What difference does the Incarnation make to the Christian understanding of the Love of God?
2. Arianism (a denial of the Incarnation in respect of God)
3. The Christ of Chalcedon by Fr. Gregory Hallam
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