The Reality of the Incarnation
Let’s be absolutely clear on this: if one does not understand the Incarnation correctly, one will not live correctly other Christian doctrines. If one tends to emphasize the divine attributes of Jesus (and thus in some way to deny the human aspects), in sort of a Gnosticism or adoptionism, then one will emphasize belief over action, inner spiritual-emotional states over the pragmatic struggle of living in the ways Jesus lived, and participating in his life. If one tends to emphasize the human attributes of Jesus (and thus in some way to deny the divine aspects), in a sort of docetism, then one will emphasize the more superficial behavioral states of Christianity, indeed, to steer towards chilianism (the heresy of utopia) over the proper adherence to the Faith once for all delivered to the saints. Only a correct understanding of the Incarnation can keep the human being whole and avoid the anthropic schism which dehumanizes. Of course, being correct on the Incarnation does not guarantee correctness on other doctrines; one may still go wrong in some way. But the centrality of the Incarnation necessitates proper fidelity to God’s revelation in Christ: it is the plumb line of the Christian Faith.
God’s supreme revelation to humankind was not given in a nation, nor in a written text. God’s last word to us is his Son (Hebrews 1.1-4). The fulfillment of his Covenant is the Person of Christ. There is nothing else left for God to do: his final will has been accomplished in Jesus of Nazareth, though it is clear that this accomplishment is even now being worked out in the final consummation of all things.
It is precisely this single ultimate revelation in Christ that is the focal point, the beginning and the end, of all Christian theology. If God did not take on human flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, then all that Jesus said and did, however we may construe it as noble and exemplary, is empty of meaning and promise. But if Jesus is whom he claimed to be, if the Second Person of the Trinity did, indeed, receive our humanity from Mary, then everything he said and did changes everything we say and do, all our thoughts and inner passions. If Jesus is he who is from everlasting, then every particle of our physical being, all the invisible inner stuff that makes us uniquely who we are, soul and spirit, thought and energy, bone and sinew, every breath and surge of blood, is changed, transfigured in the glory that is his.
The Incarnation matters. On it depends everything that ever was, is, or ever shall be.