Sunday, December 2, 2012

God's Dirty Hands

     Imagine if tomorrow God was to become your son. To share everything that you are in the flesh. To pass on to him all your weaknesses and all your potential to do wrong. Immediately, if we began to think this way, we think that such a thing is not possible due to perhaps our multitude of sins or because of the great potential to sin. However, in thinking this way we fail to see that He is sharing our own flesh now and that "God continually becomes man (Philokalia v2 pg.182)". Not to underestimate the mystery of how the Theotokos participated in the incarnation we at the same time need to realize that God assumed the same humanity all of us share. For the scripture teaches that he was like us in all things but He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
     When it comes to the understanding of how God relates to our humanity we get uncomfortable because we know how we are. We even construct for ourselves at times outrageous theological ideals that try to keep God from getting his hands dirty. I believe often the victim of these ideals is the one that was closest to our Lord, the Theotokos. Some of the descriptions that I have heard of her human nature as it relates to Christ makes her almost non-human or even superhuman. In this regard, I think people fail to understand that her purity contributed to the event of the incarnation but it in no way changed our human nature that Christ assumed.
     In the words of St. Maximos the Lord, "became a man without the slightest change or mutation". There was nothing different about the humanity that God assumed and it is the same humanity that you and I have now. The exception is in what God did with his human nature. Where we fail in our flesh to establish communion with God, because of sin, we find that Christ, "By His privations in the flesh He re-established and renewed the human state". So you can say that the weaknesses of the human nature that lead us to sin were transformed in Him. We lacked the power before Him to do this but now, "by His own incarnation He bestowed human nature the supernatural grace of deification"(Philokalia v2 pg246).
     By becoming a man God healed the weaknesses that would otherwise lead us away from God. His whole life could be seen as one that was constantly healing us by defeating the powers that allowed corruption into our human nature. He even destroyed the greatest power, death, by exposing it to His Divine Nature. As St. Gregory of Nyssa once explained when death like a fish came to swallow the flesh of Christ it was snared on the hook of his divinity. Death like rest of our weaknesses was not something foreign to God when He became one of us. Nor does He flee from our current weaknesses but wants to meet them head on and heal them through our faith.
     It really is an awesome thing to realize that God continues to share the Divine Nature with us. No, we are not the Lord but through the power of the Holy Spirit we are doing the same healing work that He did in His own flesh. Like Him, we daily have the chance to transform or weak state and like Him we will face our ultimate weakness death with the same victory. To understand all of this really is to understand the essence of what it means to be a Christian and to be partakers of the Divine Nature (2peter 1:4).It really is amazing to contemplate just how much God loves us and how he does not fear even our greatest weaknesses or sins.

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