“God became man so that man might become god.” -St. Athanasius

What are some of the ramifications of God becoming human?

When The Son became human and shared in our life, He shared His Life with us -the life of God. Sanctifying humankind by His incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension, Christ then sends the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. We begin our prayers by calling on the Holy Spirit and stating He is “everywhere present and fillest all things.” If we were always conscious of this belief, what changes would be wrought in our lives?

We experience God in His Energies, not only in the spiritual realm, but in the material world. In the Church’s mysteries or sacraments (from the root word Sacred), such as the Eucharist or Baptism, we experience Grace in and through material means (oil, water, bread and wine). Following this same model, we venerate relics and take pilgrimages. We kiss icons and venerate the saints. As St. Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938) said “The Lord so loved man that He gave the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit man became like unto God. Those who do not believe this, and do not pray to the Saints, have not learned how deeply the Lord loves man and how He has exalted him.”

Through the Incarnation and the descent of the Holy Spirit we become partakers in the Life of God here in this world – in this body . “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Let us remember Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”

– שְׁמוּאֵל

A Note on Modern Day Iconoclasm

IncarnationWhen we speak of iconoclasm in Christianity, we think of the 8th century condemnation of icons and their veneration, its being made heretical at the seventh Ecumenical Council and the eventual Triumph of Orthodoxy.

But what does that have to do with our current living arrangements in the 21st century?
To a certain degree, the answer could simply be: nothing. But if we ruminate on what the icon is, the image and likeness of the God-man, then the reality becomes clearer. Because of the Incarnation, we can venerate the icons of our beloved saints, who are the image of Christ. And just as they are the image of our Lord, so, too are we; for we are called to become saints. Let me reiterate that all of mankind, through our very existence, are icons.

Our actions towards one another are a direct result of our belief in the Incarnation. Too many times we forget that we are the image of God. This is evident in our gossip, back talking, name calling, envy, gloating, slander, our pride, and manifests itself in numerous other passions as well. And when this happens, we become the epitome of iconoclasts. We deny the very existence of the Incarnation in our lives.

Remember, that icons are open books to God. As taught by the Church in the seventh Ecumenical Council, icons are necessary and essential because they protect the doctrine of the Incarnation to its fullest. When we venerate an icon, the honor and love we are showing, passes directly to the person depicted in the icon, be it the Theotokos, a saint, or Christ, Himself. And when we honour one another, that too is honouring the icon of Christ.

Page Divider for Author Bios

Jared Hall is a convert to Orthodoxy and a struggling sinner. He is married to a wonderful, natural-minded, woman and together with their two toddler boys, they are trying to make sense of this world. For this reason he chose St Brendan as his patron. He is a blue collar libertarian and passionate about birth rights, raising backyard chickens, a good scotch, and great conversations. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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