The scriptures tell us that in order to see God, we must look at Jesus. The incarnation of YHWH in a young Jewish man is the beginning of the re-creation of creation from within it and without. And Jesus is more than just God embodied, more than the mortal clothes of Immortality (for instance, as I might wear a snowsuit or, God forbid, a wetsuit). Jesus is the very union of divinity and humanity. And I don’t understand it.
I find incarnation as a grand archetype emerging in other Kingdom venues as well: Eucharist, Scripture, and the Church.
Before I go too far let me explain what I mean by archetype. An archetype is a “recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.” It is the often-imitated original. The savior or rescuer is an archetype within ancient, modern, and postmodern stories. Some examples include Beowulf, Arthur, William Wallace, and Hester Prynne. Superman and Neo are more recent types. By the way, this isn’t blasphemy or sacrilege. The purpose of these types, though not always intentional, is to point us to the archetype. Types aren’t copies of the original, but imitations, signposts, reminders of the original.
The Eucharist is a type of incarnation. Many of us Protestants view the Eucharist as merely a memory or symbol of Christ and his work for us. Catholics view it as the very presence of Christ, realized somehow in all senses. But right now I prefer the Anglican view of the Eucharist: It is the real presence of Christ in every sense, except the physical sense. So when we partake of communion we are, in reality, receiving Christ and his cross-work into ourselves. The Eucharist is holy and it is incarnational.
The scriptures are a type of incarnation – a product of the Spirit-flesh union. Some of us focus on the spirit and so we say that the scriptures are, literally, the very words of God. Some of us focus on the flesh and so we say that the scriptures are man’s record of God’s revelation. But, as I understand them, the scriptures are both and neither. The scriptures are an incarnational work, a Spirit-flesh work, a creation of divinity and humanity.
And finally, the church (and, to some extent, the individual members of the Kingdom) is incarnational. We are the body of Christ. God is present within each of us, and the church together is the fullness of Christ. What are the implications of this truth? First, as Christ's body we must strive for unity - to be one body - in all things.
All incarnation is inexplicable - it is only a matter of degrees. It is believed, not fully understood. It is reasonably embraced, but it is not rational.