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The Incarnation and the Holy Trinity

The Incarnation and the Holy Trinity

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Published by akimel
by George D. Dragas
by George D. Dragas

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Published by: akimel on Mar 06, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Incarnation and the Holy Trinity: An Introduction to the Theme
 L Preamble
The Incarnation has to do with the union of 
 with man, in the sense that God has become human (inhominated) without ceasing to be divine and,
 vice versa,
 man has become divine without ceasing to be human. The inhomination of God and deification of man constitute the reality of the Incarnation. As St. Athanasius stated it in a classic way:
 that we may become divine"
 This reality is accomplished and fulfilled in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son and Word. It is God's Son and Word that actually became incarnate and inhominated and it is because of this that we speak of God's incarnation and inhomination. The incarnation and/or inhomination of 
 and Word
 of God means that God has assumed human being and life in all its aspects and dimensions without sin. It also means that the Son of God has become in person a man, being all that we are by nature and experiencing all
 we experience
 birth to death and
 beyond death, but this was done in a way which is truly natural and sinless and therefore saving. Thus, the inhominated Son of God has fulfilled, through his incarnate life, the true destiny of humanity, its deification, which is appropriated by us, human beings, through our union and communion
 with him. The Son's inhomination is an eschatological, i.e. final and irreversible, but also saving event, which actually involves the entire Trinity. Incarnation and Trinity are inseparable and we might say that they presuppose or reveal each other. In a real sense we cannot understand
 speak about
 one without
 other. These
 constitute a twin event as it were.
 The Greek Orthodox Theological 
 Review: 43/1-4,
The Gospel begins with this
 the beginning
 the Word
 ... and the
 was God ...in him there was Life
 and the Word  became flesh, and we have seen his glory, as of a
 only Son,  full of grace and 
 his fullness we have all received grace
 and it continues...
 "God so loved 
 that he
 gave  his only
 so that everyone who believes in him might not perish  but have everlasting Life."
 God, the Word (Only Son) and Life, the divine Trinity, is the background to the Incarnation of the Word. But the Incarnate Word also incurs the revelation of the Holy Trinity, since in his glory the disciples see the divine Son and the Father and the fullness of divine grace and truth. Other well-known expressions of this Gospel event come from St. Paul. And here again, the same connection between the divine Trinity and the Incarnation is observed:
 "When the
 fullness of 
 had  come, God sent his Son, born of 
 woman, born under the law, in  order to redeem those who were under the
 so that we might re ceive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has  sent his Spirit
 hearts crying
 Abba, Father"
 was in Christ reconciling the world to himself not
 their trespasses  against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation"
"Let the same mind be
 that was
 who, though
 the form of God,
 did not
 regard equality
 with God some
 to be
 but emptied 
 the form of 
 and humbled 
 becoming obedient to
 point of 
 even  death on a cross ... Therefore God exalted him and gave him the  name that is above every name, so
 every tongue should con fess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God 
 In all these classic Gospel statements the Incarnation and the Trinity are intertwined in a context which is both eschatological and soteriological. God's condescension to be with us in this eschatological and saving way through the inhomination of 
 Son has meant that God has fully disclosed himself to
 This full or final revelation of God entails the mystery of God's identity, the mystery of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that we come to experience
 and to
 know this mystery
 as a
 saving event. Thus,
 in Jesus
 Christ, the inhominated God, we have been given the full disclosure of the Holy Trinity, as far as this is possible to our human capacities and limitations and as far as we are worthy to receive it.
 Holy  Trinity 
 Athanasius stated in his
 Contra Arianos 
 that now that Christ has come,
 "Theology is perfect 
 in the
 and this is the only true piety." 
 In his first
 to Serapion
 he pointed out that,
 Christ himself taught his disciples the perfec-tion of  the Holy 
 existing undividedly in the one Godhead" 
 in his
 Catholic Epistle that in Christ  we have been given
 "everything we
 for life
our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory 
 goodness...  so that 
 participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil 
The interconnection between the inhomination of 
 Son of God and the mystery of the persons of 
 Holy Trinity needed clarifica-tion because of heretical misinterpretations. Thus the Fathers of the Church sought
 it in their dogmatic teaching which is rooted in the apostolic tradition whose custodians they had been appointed
 be. The Fathers clearly teach that it is not the Holy Trinity, nor the Godhead, but one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, the Son that
 inhominated. In the
 and patristic tradition it is clear that the other two persons of the Trinity, who
 share the one Godhead
 the one who became inhominated,
 do not personally
 in the inhomination. The Father and the Spirit are not inhominated, although they are in fact, really 
 in procuring and sustaining this event. As an Orthodox
 puts it,
 "The Father was well pleased' 
On the other
 it was the
 entire Godhead that was united 
 to manhood at the incarnation and inhomination of the Son of 
 As the Apostle says,
 "all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him [in
 the Godhead equally 
 in the three per-
 of the Holy Trinity, all three persons are equally connected
the incarnation, but this connection pertains to the Godhead (the di-
 nature) and not to the
 The crucial point here is that only the
 was personally 
 in patristic language)
 in the incarnation by 
 becoming himself inhominated.
 Only the Son of God
 person) became
 man. As for the Godhead,
 it did not become
 inhominated, but
 was united 
 the manhood through the
 inhomination. To quote
 Athanasius again,
 "It was not the
 of the
 but he himself
(αυτός) [his 
 person] that 
 or as he says elsewhere,
 was himself 
 that the
 gave to condescend and 

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