The Incarnation: The Effect of God’s Love

“’If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father? And why was he stretched out on the cross for the sake of sinners, handing over his sacred body to suffering on behalf of the world? I myself say that God did all this for no other reason than to make known to the world the love that he has, his aim being that we, as a result of our greater love arising from an awareness of this, might be captivated by his love when he provided the occasion of this manifestation of the kingdom of heaven’s mighty power – which consists in love – by means of the death of his son.’   (St. Isaac)

The Incarnation and the death on the cross of the Saviour, Isaac claims, happened:

‘not to redeem us from sins, or for any other reason, but solely in order that the world might become aware of the love which God has for his creation. […]Now you can understand and realize why the coming of our Lord took place with all the events that followed it, even to the extent of his telling the purpose quite clearly out of his own hold mouth: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son’ – referring to the Incarnation and the renewal he brought about.’

Therefore, it was the love of God, and not the necessity of redeeming humanity from sin, which was the sole reason for the Incarnation of the Word. God became man because he wanted human being to turn to him as their father.”   (Hilarion Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian, pgs. 52-53)

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