Fr Georges Florovsky: Did You Know Your Body Is Consubstantial with Christ's Body?

Feast of St Julian the Martyr

ST ATHANASIUS carefully distinguishes the appearance of the Logos in Christ from His appearance and presence in saints. Christ became man. The visible body of Christ was the body of God, not man. He made the body ‘His own’, and the weakness of the flesh became ‘proper’ to the Logos. Christ’s works were not separated in such a way that one was accomplished by His divine nature and another by His human nature, but “everything was achieved in combination” and invisibly. The very saliva of Christ was divine, healing, and life-giving because the Incarnate Logos ‘adopted’ all the properties of the flesh and made them His own. It was He who both grieved for Lazarus and then resurrected Him. God was born in the flesh from the Virgin, and Mary is the Theotokos, the Bearer of God. The flesh, which was born from Mary, did not become consubstantial with the Logos and the Logos was not joined to it. Mary was chosen so that the Lord could receive ‘from her’ a body that would be ‘similar to ours’ and not consubstantial with the Godhead. “From Mary the Logos received flesh, and a man was engendered whose nature and substance were the Logos of God and whose flesh was from the seed of David, a man from the flesh of Mary.”

St. Athanasius clearly emphasizes both the unity of Christ the God-Man and His unmerging two natures. Christ has a divine nature by which He is consubstantial with the Father and also a human nature by which He is similar and related to us. For this reason He is the Savior, the Logos, and the Second Adam all at once. The Logos became man so that we could ‘become divine’, “in order to deify us in Himself.” Deification is adoption by God, and “human sons have become the sons of God.” We are “received by the Logos and are deified through His flesh” by virtue of the Incarnation. Born from the Virgin, the Logos was not united with only one man, but with the whole of human nature. Therefore everything that was achieved in the human nature of Christ is immediately extended to all men because they have a body in common with Him. There is no coercion involved here. Men are more similar to Christ – they are truly participants in the human nature of the Logos. Christ is a vine and we are the branches, “united with Him by our humanity.” In the same way that the tendrils which grow from a grapevine are consubstantial with it, so are our bodies consubstantial with the body of the Lord, and we receive what He has accomplished. His body is the “root of our resurrection and salvation.” Everyone is renewed, anointed, healed, and exalted in Christ, for “He has taken everyone on Himself.” This is not merely similarity or substitution but actual unity. Therefore all humanity is anointed by the Spirit in the Jordan, dies on the Cross, and is resurrected to immortality in Christ because “He Himself bears our body.”

~Fr. Georges Floorvsky,

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