In today’s world, Christians read John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
and too often we fail to recognize what is actually being described. The Divine God became incarnate, took upon Himself a body of flesh, and lived as a man. Some of the earliest heresies revolved around this unbelievable concept. The first and second century Gnostics could not accept that Jesus had glorified matter in the incarnation and fought to separate the material world from the spiritual. Fourth century Arius could not accept that Jesus was both God and man, teaching that Christ was a created being.
[As a side note, Arius developed his theology by reading John 14:28, where Jesus says that the Father is greater than He. As the Ethiopian Eunuch told Philip in Acts 8, how can someone understand the scriptures unless he is taught? More on that in a later post.]
The Incarnation as HUGE ramifications for life on this planet that I think are missed by most mainstream evangelicals today. By taking on human flesh, Jesus sanctified matter and called it good. Of course we still see evidence of the fall but the Incarnation placed a new stamp on the world. This means we cannot separate the physical world and the spiritual world, a concept that I know is recognized by many but I still think vastly under-appreciated. We know that when we fell sick, it is hard to pray or if we suffer mental depression, our body suffers as well. But do we extend that idea to realize that our body trains our spirit? Teaching our body to abstain from certain foods or from marital relations with our spouse (not because meat or sex is bad!) teaches us self-discipline in body and spirit. Looking at physical icons can make a spiritual connection with those saints who have gone on before us.