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Cyril of Alexandria on the Incarnation

December 29, 2014

Here again is a passage by Cyril of Alexandria from Faith and Life, on the Incarnation:

The very Only-begotten Word of God, ineffably begotten of the essence of God the Father, the Maker of the worlds, He by whom are all things, and in whom are all things, the true Light, the all-quickening Nature (for the Life appeared, as from the Father, who is life), in the last times of the world’s period, by the Father’s gracious will to save the human race which had fallen under a curse, and through sin had been borne away to death and corruption,—did, according to the Scriptures, “take hold of the seed of Abraham, and become partaker of flesh and blood,” that is, He became man; and took flesh, and made it His own, and was born, in flesh, of the holy Mary, Mother of God. Not that His Divine nature received a beginning of existence, when He is said to have been born in flesh. On the contrary, He was and is naturally and really the Word from God the Father. But since He who was born of the Holy Virgin is not regarded as being simply a man like ourselves, but as the Word Himself Incarnate, and owning as His property the body which He took from her, therefore He is said to have been born in flesh, since He appropriates to Himself the birth of that flesh which is His own. If the Holy Virgin did not, according to the flesh, bring forth God Incarnate, it must be admitted that she brought forth a mere man, in nothing surpassing ourselves. If so, how is it that “every knee shall bow to Him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father?” How is it that Angels, and the holy multitude of the heavenly powers, adore Him? What! does the whole heaven, in conjunction with us, worship a mere man?  God forbid! For we adore the Emmanuel as Very God. And in no other way can we regard Him as adorable, than by believing that the very Word from God, who is adored by all creation, “became flesh,” according to the Scriptures: not having been changed into flesh, but having taken flesh from the Holy Virgin, and passed, as we do, through a human birth; that being made man for us, He might die humanly, and rise again Divinely, having trampled down the power of death.

–St. Cyril of Alexandria, First Treatise “to the Princesses.”

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