The Incarnation of the Word

The Incarnation of the Word


“As I said, it was no worldly discovery which was committed to them, nor is it a human invention which they claim to preserve with such care; nor have they been entrusted with the administration of mysteries devised by man. No, it was in truth God Himself, the all-ruling, all-creating, invisible God who Himself from Heaven established among man the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible word (teaching), and fixed in their hearts, not, as one might guess, by sending to men some subordinate, some messenger or ruler, one of those who administered the affairs of earth or of those entrusted with the management in Heaven; but He sent the very Artificer and Craftsman of the universe, by whom He created the Heavens, by whom He shut the sea within its bounds; whose secret designs all the elements faithfully observe, from whom the sun has received the measures of its daily courses to observe, whom the moon obeys when He bids her shine by night, whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon; by whom all things have been disposed and defined and subjected … He it was whom He sent to them … Well, did He send Him, as a man might suppose, to rule as tyrant, to inspire terror and astonishment? No, He did not. No, He sent Him in gentleness and mildness; as a king sending his royal son, He sent Him as God: but He sent Him as to men, as saving them; as persuading, not exercising force (for force is no attribute of God). He sent Him a summoning men, not prosecuting them; as loving, not judging. He will send Him as judge; and “who shall stand at His appearing?”

… What man had any knowledge at all of the character of God, before Christ came? Or do you accept the empty nonsense, taken by plausible philosophers, some of whom said that God was fire (giving the name of God to their future destruction!), others said He was water, others some other of the elements created by God … No man has seen Him or recognized Him; but God reveals Himself; and He reveals Himself through faith, by which alone it is granted to see God. For God the Master and Creator of the universe … was shown to be not only loving to men but also long-suffering. Yes, such He was and is and will be: kind, and good, and free from anger, and true; and He alone is good. And when He had conceived a great and unutterable scheme He communicated it only to His Son. Well then, all the time that He kept and guarded His wise counsel in a mystery He seemed to have no care or thought for us.

But when He revealed it through His only Son, and made clear what He had prepared from the beginning, He offered us all things at once — to partake of His benefits, and to see and understand things which none of us would ever have expected.”

Copied from the Epistle to Diognetus. This letter is one of the most precious remains of Christian antiquity. It is an anonymous Greek letter written to an inquiring heathen. The elegance of its style and the sincere nobility of its thoughts, particularly in the setting forth of redemption, cannot be denied. Bishop Lightfoot says that it is the noblest of early Christian writings.