I recently completed an Honour’s thesis on the Atonement, seeing salvation as reconciliation and the renewal of human nature, including the overcoming of death through the Resurrection, achieved by union with the incarnate Christ. I studied this concept in the works of Paul, Irenaeus of Lyons and Athanasius of Alexandria. The Incarnation of the Second person of the Trinity and his life, death and resurrection inaugurated the renewal of the human race, and by extension, of all creation.
I became acutely aware of the significance and uniqueness of the Incarnation among other religions. (Other religions may have stories of gods taking bodily form but these are different in nature and significance from the Christian concept of the Incarnation).
God was present in the world from Creation, but the Incarnation involves a union of the Uncreated with creation. By participation in the created world, the God-Word hallowed the human race, and by extension, all creation. He “hallowed our birth and destroyed death.” (Irenaeus)
This has implications as to how we regard each other and the rest of creation. Moreover, the greater and more mysterious science reveals the universe to be, the greater the condescension of the Second Person of the Trinity in becoming incarnate on this small planet, and the greater the wonder of the Incarnation.[As a footnote, Irenaeus’ conception of humans growing everlastingly into the Divine but never becoming God, is an answer to those who suppose that immortality would be monotonous. Rather it will be a great adventure.]
Margaret is a recent graduate of St Barnabas College, having completed her Honours Degree between writing and publishing poetry.