To celebrate my 39th birthday today, here are 39 quotes on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son of God.

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — in heaven and on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Paul the Apostle)

“The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” (John the Apostle)

Do “not think that the Savior has worn a body as a consequence of nature, but that, being by nature bodiless and existing as the Word, by the love for humankind and goodness of his own Father he appeared to us in a human body for our salvation.” (Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 1)

“Know that our own cause was the occasion of his descent and that our own transgression evoked the Word’s love for human beings, so that the Lord both came to us and appeared among human beings. For we were the purpose of his embodiment, and for our salvation he so loved human beings as to come to be and appear in a human body.” (Athanasius, 4)

“Being the Word of the Father and above all, he alone consequently was both able to recreate the universe and was worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to intercede for all before the Father.” (Athanasius, 7)

“Being good he bestowed on them of his own image, our Lord Jesus Christ, and made them according to his own image and likeness, so that understanding through such grace the image, I mean the Word of the Father, they might be able to receive through him a notion of the Father, and knowing the Creator they might live the happy and truly blessed life.” (Athanasius, 11)

“The Word of God came himself, in order that he being the image of the Father, the human being ‘in the image’ might be recreated.” (Athanasius, 13)

“For in both ways the Savior exercised his love for human beings through his incarnation, in that he both banished death from us and renewed us, and also in that, although being unseen and invisible, through his works he appeared and made himself known to be the Word of the Father, the ruler and king of the universe.” (Athanasius, 16)

“There is one hypostasis realized from the two natures, and the difference between the natures remains immutable [….] The quantity of each is preserved [….] Neither was denied anything at all because of the union.” (Maximus the Confessor)

“He ‘put off the principalities and powers’ at his temptation in the desert, thereby healing the whole of human nature of the passion connected with pleasure [….] Again at the time of his death he eliminated from our nature the passion connected with pain.” (Maximus the Confessor)

“In his love of humanity, the only-begotten Son and Word of God became perfect man, with a view to redeeming human nature from helplessness in evil.” (Maximus the Confessor)

“One who correctly understands the Son’s incarnation believes that the Son assumed a human being into the unity of his person and not into the unity of his substance.” (Anselm, On the Incarnation of the Word, 9)

“As there is one nature and several persons in God, and the several persons are one nature, so there is one person and several natures in Christ, and the several natures are one person.” (Anselm, On the Incarnation of the Word, 11)

“The assumed nature does not have its own proper personality, not because some perfection of human nature is wanting, but because something surpassing human nature is added, i.e., union to a divine person” (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 3.4.2.2)

“The incarnation has its presupposition and foundation in the trinitarian being of God.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 3:274)

“The Reformed favored the formulation that the person of the Son was immediately united with the human nature, and the divine nature was mediately united with it.” (Bavinck, 3:276)

“The Father could not be sent, for he is the first in order and is self-existent; the Spirit proceeds from the Son, succeeds him, and is sent by him. But the Son was the one suited for the incarnation. In the divine being he occupies the place between the Father and the Spirit, is by nature the Son and image of God, was mediator already in the first creation, and as Son could restore us to our position as children of God. Yet though subjectively and as it pertains to its end, the incarnation is peculiar only to the Son, still with respect to its origin, beginning, and effectiveness, it is a work of the whole Trinity.” (Bavinck, 3:277)

“There was no time when the Son did not exist; there was also no time when the Son did not know he would assume and when he was not prepared to assume the human nature from the fallen race of Adam.” (Bavinck, 3:276–77)

“As we found earlier, its [the incarnation’s] preparation and presupposition is the generation [by the Father], creation [in the image of God], revelation, and inspiration.” (Bavinck, 3:304)

“The world was so created that when it fell, it could again be restored; humanity was organized under a single head in such a way that, sinning, it could again be gathered together under another head.” (Bavinck, 2:278)

“Revelation, after all, is based on the same idea as the incarnation: on the communicability of God, both in his being to the Son (generation) and outside his being to creatures (creation).” (Bavinck, 3:281)

“All opposition to the deity of Christ begins with an appeal to Scripture against the confessions. But this illusion only lasts a very short time. Impartial exegesis soon shows that the doctrine of the church is more firmly grounded in Scripture that one had originally expected.” (Bavinck, 3:283)

“What is begotten in Mary is of the Holy Spirit as efficient cause.” (Bavinck, 3:292)

“Conception by the Holy Spirit […] was the only way in which he who already existed as a person and was appointed head of a new covenant could now also in a human way — in the flesh — be and remain who he was: the Christ, Son of God the Most High.” (Bavinck, 3:294–295)

“While Scripture does not speak the language of the later theology, materially it contains what the Christians church confesses in its doctrine of the two natures.” (Bavinck, 3:298)

“Every moment in Scripture, divine as well as human predicates are attributed to the same personal subject: divine and human existence, omnipresence and limitation, eternity and time, creative omnipotence and creaturely weakness. What is is this but the church’s doctrine of the two nature united in one person?” (Bavinck, 298–299)

“Scripture ascribes all kinds of very different predicates to Christ but always to one and the same subject, the one undivided “I” who dwells in him and speaks out of him.” (Bavinck, 3:302)

“Scripture knows only one person, one subject, on Christ, yet ascribes to him two kinds of attributes, divine and human.” (Bavinck, 3:303)

“It is precisely this distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘person,’ however, that encounters most resistance in both the doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of Christ and is therefore also the curse of most errors in both of these doctrines.” (Bavinck, 3:306)

“‘Nature’ is the substratum, the presupposition, that by which a thing is what it is, the ‘principle by which;’ and ‘person’ is the subject not of a given nature in general but of a rational nature, the individual substance of a rational nature, the ‘principle which.’ ‘Person’ is what exists in and for itself, the owner, possessor, and master of the nature, a completion of existence, sustaining and determining the existence of a nature, the subject that lives, thinks, wills, and acts through nature with all its abundant content, by which nature becomes self-existent and is not an accident of another entity.” (Bavinck, 3:306)

“The Son does not just become a person in and through human nature, for he was that from eternity. He needed neither the creation nor the incarnation to arrive at himself, to become a personality, a spirit, a mind. The incarnation does mean, however, that the human nature that was formed in and from Mary did not for an instant exist by and for itself, but from the very first moment of conception was united with and incorporated in the person of the Son.” (Bavnick, 3:307)

“Yet that human nature is not for that reason incomplete, as Nestorius and nowadays still Dorner assert. For though it did not complete itself with a personality and selfhood of its own, it was nevertheless from the start personal in the Logos.” (Bavinck, 3:307)

“In the earlier dogmatics, the union of two natures in Christ carried with it three consequences: the communication of proper qualities (communicatio idiomatum), the completion of a work (apostelesmatum), and the charismata.” (Bavinck, 3:308)

“The [communicatio idiomatum] implied that in the incarnation the two natures along with all their attributes were communicated to the one person and the one subject who can therefore be described with divine and human natures. Accordingly, one can say that the Son of God was born, suffered, and died (Acts 20:28; 1 John 1:7) but also that the man Jesus Christ exists from eternity and descended from heaven (John 3:13).” (Bavinck, 3:308)

“The [apostelesmatum] meant that the true works of the mediator or of redemption all bore a divine human character, that is, they all have as their efficient cause the one undivided personal subject in Christ; they were all performed by Christ with the cooperation of his two natures and with a double working (energeia), and in the result nevertheless again form an undivided unity inasmuch as they are the work of one person.” (Bavinck, 3:308)

“The [charismata] indicated that from the first moment of its existence the human nature of Christ was adorned with all kinds of splendid and copious gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (Bavinck, 3:308)

“The incarnation […] always was and remains an act of condescending goodness but not, strictly speaking, a step in the state of humiliation.” (Bavinck, 3:310)

“The human nature in Christ was much more highly developed that was Adam’s, for in the state of integrity there was simply no occasion for many emotions, such as anger, sadness, pity, compassion, and so on. But Christ did not just visit us with the inner movements of God’s mercy; rather in his human nature he opened for us the abounding world of the mind and the heart that did not and could not yet exist in Adam.” (Bavinck, 3:311)

“Scripture, however, prompts us to recognize in Christ, not just an empirical sinlessness, but a necessary sinlessness as well.” (Bavinck, 3:314)

Walking with Jesus, @LauraSlavich, our kids, and the @CrossUnitedSFL fam in the warm breezes of sunny SoFla

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