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Alison Miller wrote:

Hi, guys —

I can't understand the significance of the embodiment.

My father told me that when we understand the meaning of the Incarnation, we begin to realize that from the beginning, God intended to penetrate the time and space He created by becoming part of His Own Creation.

I even wanted to order an essay at [Website hidden] about this, but I thought that no one would explain it to me better than you.


  { Can the AskACatholic team give me a better understanding of the significance of the embodiment? }

Bob replied:

Dear Alison,

Thanks for the question.

You are looking for quite deep answers, so I would suggest looking to some of the saints and mystics, even St. Thomas Aquinas and his Summa Theologiae for a philosophical basis.

The basic point is this.

God exists. He is the ground of all being. He is in His Nature three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Think of yourself standing in a dressing room with mirrors to both sides of yourself; as you look at the reflection of yourself. The mirror opposite you reflects back and forth again and again to infinity. This can show us an analogy to something about the nature of God. He is a mind, that holds in itself a Perfect Image of Himself, a thought of Himself that is complete, like an exact image of the first being, but since that first being has the thought of himself within the image, the image must reflect that, as part of the complete picture, and so forth like the mirrors bouncing forever. Think of this until it makes sense:

  1. the mind
  2. the mind's reflection
  3. the bounce; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Now since in that Eternal Being, there is a relationship between all these Persons, the nature of that relationship is love. The very essence of the being is love, because love is the essential form of the bond in the Triune Existence. Therefore, as love is a complete emptying of oneself into the other, love moves beyond itself. It continually offers itself as a gift.

Enter creation. When God created the world, He did so with the intent to pour Himself out again. The Incarnation is the fullest expression of that intent (God literally unites to humankind by becoming the God/Man, fully God, fully Human — He did this through Mary, who gave Him His Flesh and Human Nature). Creation was not simply a cute experiment or hobby, but an expansion of that Triune Love to an ever growing family, which is why Christians are called adopted children of God — something that Muslims could never accept.

For them, God is too far above us and would never stoop down and sully Himself in our mess. Their denial of that reality stems from their misunderstanding about God's nature in Himself. He is ever pouring Himself out in love, and we, as a result, are bound up in His Love to share His Divine Life for all eternity.

That is what salvation truly means for a Catholic and a Christian. It is not simply to go to Heaven, but rather to be subsumed into God's Own Life in an incomprehensible way. This gift can come to us through Baptism which, again, unites the divine to something of creation, water. We become adopted into this divine life when we become children of God through grace, which actually changes our nature, and is fully realized when we pass through death to eventually life, where Christ will have our resurrected bodies once again.

Jesus is like the prototype, so we shall become like Him, although what He is by nature, we only become because of His Grace.

This is just a fraction of the points to consider. Good luck pouring over this.

9 Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.

(1 Corinthians 2:9)


Bob Kirby

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