The Wonder of the Incarnation
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth"  (John 1:14)

The Revealing of the Hidden Mystery
from the Treatise of Hippolytus against the heresy of Noetus, 3rd century

There is one God, and we can come to know him through sacred scripture. So then, let us look at what scripture proclaims, let us discover what its teaching is.  As the Father wants to be believed, so let us discover what its teaching is.  As the Father wants to be believed so let us believe; as he wants the Son to be glorified, so let us glorify him; as he wants the Holy Spirit to be given, so let us receive him.  We must not act in accordance with our own mind or our own will; we must not do violence to what God has given.  We must look at things rather as God has chosen to make them known through scripture.

God, existing alone, without contemporary of any sort, decided to make the world. He conceived it in his mind, willed it, spoke the word, and so made it, and immediately it came into being, formed as he had willed it.  It is enough for us simply to know that God had no contemporary; apart from him there was nothing.  But though alone, God was manifold.  He was not without reason or wisdom or power or counsel.  All things were in him and he was all.  When he willed, and as he willed, he revealed his Word, at times which he himself had determined.  Through his Word he made all things.

The Word was in God and was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible.  He spoke, as he had done before, and, begetting light from light, he sent forth his own mind to the world as its Lord.  He who formerly had been visible only to God and invisible to the world was now made visible, so that through this manifestation the world could see him, and be saved.

The Word is the mind of God; he came into the world and was shown forth as Son of God.  All things, then, come into being through him, and he alone is from the Father.

It was this one God who gave the law and the prophets.  In giving them, he made them speak by the Holy Spirit: the Fatherís power inspires them, and they proclaim the Fatherís purpose and will.

And so the Word was manifested.  Saint John sums up what the prophets said and shows that this is the Word through whom all things came to be: ĎIn the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through himí.  Later he goes on: ĎThe world had its being through him, and the world did not know him.  He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept himí.

|| The Wonder of the Incarnation:  readings from the early fathers  ||
|| Contents || Mark || Luke || The Parables of Jesus || Exodus || Hebrews || The Living Word of God ||
(c) 2000, 2001 Don Schwager
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