138. What is the third reason of the incarnation?
This reason is seen in saint John Damascene’s words from above. The Son of God incarnated to unite our nature with His divine nature, making it His own nature, so that it would not move away of God, so that it would not work against Him, so that this temple would not ruin itself but be always filled and moved by God.
Otherwise it would have been possible that our nature once saved had been lost again. In the same time only in this way He could save human nature once and for always from corruption and death, uniting it with Himself, Who is the Spring of incorruptibility and immortality. By our nature now created in God we can all be recreated in Christ (Ephesians II, 10) Now we can be more at our ease meaning that if we want we can be in communion with the Son of God, because He is a man like us, not only God. And by the faith and love in communion with Him we find ourselves created in Him, together with His human nature.
That is why saint apostle Paul says that as in the Son of God were all created and set from the beginning when they were made now even more when He took our human nature, He places us who want that within Himself more profoundly. So He urges us: `o then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.`
Saint Cyrill of Alexandria presents the third reason as follows: `How could the man from the earth who had fallen into death return to incorruptibility? It was needed that the mortal body commune with the living power of God. And the life giving power of God the Father is the Word the One Born.
139. If only the Son of God made me could save the world of sin and death why didn’t He made Himself man sooner ? Why God let so much time to pass from the fall of Adam until the sending of His Son?
It was necessary a preparation of men to receive the Savior when He was to come. Because it was not enough to come the Savior and die for men. They had to receive Him with faith. Otherwise their salvation could not have been accomplished. They needed to be prepared to be able to believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnated Son of God and only through Him they could save their souls.
140. How was made this preparation?
In two ways: first by increasing the evil and in the same time by enhancing the belief of the people that they could not save their souls by their own powers and secondly by emphasizing the prophecies from God that He was to send them a Savior and this Savior was His Son.
God prepared in a way the pagan peoples and in another one the Jewish people. He prepared the pagans by means of nature and He prepared the Jews by means of something supernatural and more explicit so that by the teaching given to them to benefit the pagans as well.
141. How were prepared the pagans and the Jews by the increase of the evil and of their belief that they could not save their souls by their own powers?
The pagans and the Jews were prepared first by being left to increase their sins. If God had saved men immediately after their fall maybe they could not have realized all the misfortunes brought by sin. And the men would have believed they could get rid of evil by their own powers and they didn’t need God.
It was necessary to let passing thousands of years so that men would have tasted the poison of evil and get disgusted of it and in the same time see that all their attempts to get rid of the evil were in vain.
In this way the pagan peoples fell in the worst delusions worshiping animals and stones and sacrificing human lives. The Jews even if they were guided by God closely deviated towards evil. And when the evil increased God gave them the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus chapter XX) to show them clearly how they were supposed to live. But because of the sin lying within themlseves instead of listening to the Law they stubbornly disobeyed it. Thus the Law became cause for the increase of sin. `
For the disobeyance of the commandments was brought the Law, says saint apostle Paul (Galatians III, 19) and he says too: `For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment,deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
(Romans VII, 11), The Law was good and holy but it became cause of death for man.
Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. (Romans VII, 13). When the sin increased the man realized that he could not save his soul by any law even if it was from God. The law could not help him because by it God showed him what was good but did not give His help to fulfill that only left the man limited to his own powers.
God did not give His help because the man wouldn’t have received it because he still trusted in his own powers. For this reason God left him in his pride of being sure he could save his soul alone and that he could fulfill the commandments of the Law alone. But the more clearly was shown the height of goodness by the Law the more aware became the man that he was far away of that and the more sinful he felt. This thing was seen by the Jewish by means of the Law written on the tables of the law and the pagan by means of the Law written in his heart with the aid of the conscience. `I see the good ones – says a pagan poet – I admit them but I always do what is wrong.` And thus by the Law on one side the sin increased and on the other one the man became more aware of his helplessness in saving his soul of sin and instead of believing in his powers, he became more confident that God Himself, by His power, namely by His grace, could save him. Here is why saint apostle Paul says: `(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.` (Jews VII, 19)
142. How did God prepare the men for the news they were to receive that He was to come to save them Himself ?
The first promise God gave to men that He was to send them a Saviour was made after the fall. It was their first comfort in the misfortune that affected them. God tells the snake that someone born from the woman will smash its head: `And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel`
But God gave new and clearer prophecies about the Savior that was to come through the prophets of the Old Testament, because in their time the wickedness had grown among people. That is why the prophets cried and suffered saying: Who shall give salvation from Sion ? (Psalm XIII, 6) or they prayed: `Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;(Psalm 144, 6)
God showing mercy for this prayer said to men: `the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple”(Malachi III, 1), or: `Here I come to gather all the peoples and languages` (Isaiah LVI, 18).
And the Lord gave many signs for being recognized by men when He was to come. He would not come harshly but meekly, riding a foal of a donkey :
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah. IX, 9). He would come not for reigning like the kings of the earth but to save by His blood all those who were enslaved by sin : `
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.(Zecharia IX, 11).
Prophet Isaiah prophesies in detail His humiliation, suffering and death for the sins of the others:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in
his appearance that we should desire him.He was
despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with
pain.Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished (Isaiah 53, 2- 8).
Even the time and the place of the Saviour’s arrival were prophesied by the prophets. Prophet Daniel prophesied : `From the emergence of the word to rebuild Jerusalem` meaning from 457 until the sin will end and the transgressions will be erased (IX 24-25) will pass 70 weeks meaning 490 years time that was reached in the year 33 after Christ when the Saviour smashed the power of sin by His death on the Cross. And prophet Michaea prophesied that the Saviour would be born in Betlehem (Michaeia V,2) Then Isaiah the prophet prophesied that the Saviour would be born in a supernatural way from the Virgin
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (meaning God is with us) (Isaiah VII, 15). And also that He would be born from the people of David `Once I
Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David—36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” (Psalm 89, 35-36). All these prophesies would help the faith of men by the fact that they were fulfilled in Christ. But the men in order to be able to receive Jesus Christ as God had to be taken out of their stray faith in idols and elevated to the faith in a singleAlmighty and loving God but Who has a Son that is not separated of His being.