Feast of St Gregory the Theologian
SUPERNATURAL revelation came to a close in Christ. For in Him, as in its first exemplar, the plan to save and to deify creation has reached its fulfillment. This plan cannot lead any higher. God draws no closer to man than He has in Christ. The union between God and man cannot advance any further nor can we grow to any higher fulfillment than the one available to us in Christ.
But this does not mean that—by its very content—supernatural revelation can no longer be active. As God who came into the closest intimacy with us, as man raised to the supreme heights through union with God in a single person, as God’s plan completed and given in Him concrete expression to its uttermost fulfillment, Christ begins the work of extending to all of us that state which has been achieved in Him.
His state has a dynamic character. As God, He wishes to achieve, in His humanity, intimacy with all men as partners equal to Himself and to maintain the personal identity of each. In this way, He desires to raise each man to the level where His own humanity reaches its maximal realization. In other words, Christ wishes to extend God’s plan already fulfilled in Himself.
But Christ is above all. He is not a human person who stood in need of salvation and who, with this salvation in view, was united to God. He assumed human nature which was not hypostasized in itself but in His own hypostasis in order to make it the fundamental means through which He might extend to all men the deification to which His own human nature was raised. But precisely in this way, Christ can fulfill that work of saving and deifying all, as no other man could do it. He is not a human person united with the divine person; for any man could have been in that situation, inasmuch as He would not be the human center which is also God. In such a case, communion with Christ would not bring about that communion with God Himself for which our being yearns. Christ is the divine person who—being man also—makes possible, through that communion accessible to us with Himself as man, the communion of all with God Himself, or with absolute Person. He is the center and foundation of that act whereby salvation and deification are extended to all who believe. In Him, as in its foundation, the plan of salvation has been fulfilled.
—Fr Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God: Revelation and Knowledge of the Triune God