The Incarnation of the Word: Unveiling the Limits of Theology

evdokimovPaul Evdokimov in  AGES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE offers two insightful thoughts related to the Christmas story.  The first regarding Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, who plays a significant role in the Gospel Nativity stories in accepting the pregnant Mary as his wife, and in protecting the infant Jesus from Herod.  Joseph was deemed worthy of communication from God, and Joseph considers what he learned in his dreams and acts upon what God has told him.  We in fact know Joseph only by what he does.

“St. Joseph passes through the pages of the Gospel without uttering a single word.  To hear the voice of the Word, we must know how to listen to his silence, and above all, to learn it ourselves.” 

The second comment from Evdokimov is theologically profound.  For though the incarnation of the Word reveals God the Trinity to us in a way that had never occurred throughout the Jewish Scriptures, that the Word of God became flesh also shows us that our God is more mysterious than we ever imagined. 

“Pascal observed: ‘Revelation means that the veil has been removed.  Now the Incarnation veils the face of God even more.’  God hides himself in his very manifestation, and this is the great mystery of the hidden God.” 

christlifegiver2For whatever it is that separates Creator from His creation, whatever the interface between divinity and the created world, God is not limited by that demarcation, but is able to cross those lines and enter into the world which He created, and to become part of His own creation.  When we look upon an icon of Christ, we are seeing God as He chooses to reveal Himself to us.  This is the very theology of an icon.  God chooses to reveal Himself to us in Christ.   This revealtion shows us  that God is far different than we can imagine – He is not limited by anything, not even that which makes Him different from creation.