Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christ's Incarnation as the Prime Example of God's Providence and Care

Come, let us say a few words about the incarnation of our savior, which is the summit of God's providence toward men.  For nothing shows his immeasurable goodness so well, neither sky, nor earth, nor sea, nor air, nor sun, nor moon, nor stars, nor the whole visible and invisible creation which has been created by a single word, or rather which a word has produced as soon as it is willed, nothing shows his providence so well as the only begotten son of God, who was in the form of God, the brightness of his glory and the figure of his substance, who was in the beginning and was with God and was God, by whom all things were made taking the form of a servant to be made in the likeness of man and found in human form, and he was on the earth, and he conversed with man, and he took our weaknesses and bore our infirmities.  Now the blessed Paul recognized this as the greatest proof of the love of God for men and exclaimed: But God commends his love toward us because when as yet we were sinners Christ died for us.  And again: He that spared not even his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how has he not also, with him, given us all things?

Saint John agrees that this is so: For God so loved the world as to give his only begotten son for it so tat whosoever believe in him may not perish but may have life everlasting.  God, then, has not simply a care for men, he has a loving care for them.  Such is the excess of his love that he gave us his only begotten son, consubstantial with him, born before the rising of the daystar, who, he used as his collaborator in creation, to be our physician and savior and to confer through him the gift of adoptive sonship on us.

For when the creator perceived that mankind had gone over to the standard of the hated tyrant and had fallen into the very abyss of evil, trampling recklessly on the laws of nature when he saw too that the visible creation, though it manifests and proclaims that it is the work of a creator, is unable to convince of this fact those who have fallen into the depths of insensibility, he contrived our salvation with wisdom and justice. For he did not wish to liberate us merely in virtue of his omnipotence, nor did he want mercy to be his sole weapon against the enemy who had enslaved our nature—the enemy might misrepresent such mercy as unjust—but instead he contrived a way that was full of kindness and adorned with justice. Uniting conquered nature to his own, he enters the contests, prepares to reverse the defeat, and to retrieve by conquest the one who had been badly vanquished of old and to undo the tyranny of the one who had bitterly enslaved us, and restore us to our former freedom.

Theodoret of Cyrus, On Divine Providence, Discourse 10.12-14

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