In the history of theology there has been much discussion around the question of whether or not God planned the Incarnation, (the becoming Man of the Son of God). Is the Incarnation a result our sin and need of redemption or would it have happened anyway even if we had not sinned in the first instance? There are obviously only two answers, ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ I happen to be inclines to believe that the Incarnation is a part of the whole overall plan of salvation. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, tends towards the opposite point of view.
I do not intend to expound upon the merits of either point of view here, only to try to draw some understanding from the fact of the Incarnation regardless of whether or not it was originally a part of God’s plan. In the Incarnation I think we can see the depth of the God’s commitment to the human project, our creation as beings in His image and likeness; His willingness to send His Son, Jesus, to redeem us is a sign of His unequivocal to us and also an indication of the hope that He still has in our relationship to Him. God is not willing to abandon us to our ‘fate,’ so to speak, but is going to do everything possible short of taking away our freewill to provide a way for us to be reunited with him.
The Incarnation demonstrates for us a level of commitment that is unheard of in all other religions. Without the Incarnation it would not be possible for Jesus to say that He “is the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6) It is only by way of the fact that He is one with us in our human state that this statement is possible. Christianity of all the major religions in the world is the only one to claim to have a God-Incarnate person. It is the Incarnation that assures us of God’s ability to identify with our human plight and ‘know’ what it means to be a human being.
Furthermore, and not the least of all our considerations, it is only through the Incarnation that God can experience the meaning of death – the experience of alienation from this worldly existence – and at the same time, a necessary precondition for our full reconciliation and reunion with the Father. The Incarnation makes it possible for Jesus to redeem both the living and the dead as in dying He first takes on the experience of human death before overcoming it with His resurrection.
Do I often reflect upon the meaning of the Incarnation? Perhaps it will help me come to a better understanding of the depth of God’s commitment to my welfare and being?
Jesus, thank you for your willingness to take on human form in order to be able to redeem us. Help me to more fully understand the depth of your love for me so that I will more easily move in obedience to your will out of love for you.