A central claim God made after Adam and Eve's fall is that he would return. The anticipation of this claim I propose left Adam and Eve somewhat stunned that an infinite God would display such merciful love after Adam and Eve's decision to reject God as Father, Creator, and Lord. From the onset of the Old Testament after the fall, we encounter a progressive resuscitation of man’s relationship with God beginning with Abraham identified as the Father of Faith on earth. As the story of man’s spiritual and moral reclamation continues through the Old Testament through the Pentateuch and onto the Prophets, we encounter their perpetual message that man was created in the image and likeness of God and thus in need of salvation because of this very fact that man was made in God’s image and likeness (deistic). God made a promise to his children that He would not leave them dripping in a pool of sin and death.
It is no coincidence that the Catechism describes that man’s disfigurement due to sin does not take away man’s identity made in the image and likeness of God. However, he is still deprived of the glory of God, of his likeness. The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that image and restore it in the Father’s likeness by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is the giver of life.
It may seem ironic that a God who made us and demonstrates Divine Mercy towards our sinful state would still offer us the opportunity to be reconciled with Him. Offering His only begotten son to take on human form and thus become one like us except in sin exemplifies an act of love and mercy. God made a promise to the descendants of our Father in Faith Abraham that his progeny Jesus Christ will bring us back to Him. This distinctive salvific backdrop should hopefully allow us better insight into the reason why the Word of God assumed human nature and thus introduced humanity to God made man Jesus Christ.
The description of the Logos assuming a human nature reveals a continuation of God’s promise to us through Arcangel Gabriel confirming the role of Mary as the Mother of God. Throughout the entire annunciation event, we encounter the identity of Mary as full of grace, the perfect model of human charity who knew no sin as the Immaculate Conception. The reception of her announcement further strengthens God’s promise to man when the voice of God Gabriel explains to Mary that she will bear a son, name him Jesus, and that he will be the Son of the most high God, will be given the throne of David, will reign over the house of Jacon, and His Kingdom will have no end.
Now, man receives the fulfillment of God’s promise the lamb of God who would come to save the sins of the world. St. Gregory of Nyssa describes the entire salvific promise in the following way:
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?
When man encounters Jesus Christ for the very first time, he also sees the Father. The Father reminds everyone of his promise when he declares; this is my son, my chosen, listen to him. God’s promise can be further understood through Jesus’ invitation to enter His Kingdom. The redemptive narrative revealed through Jesus’ death on the Cross affirms God’s promise to save us through His Son. Isaiah reminds us of the suffering servant who would endure a painful death like a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus took our transgressions, and wounds due to sin and established a path to restore our identity as God’s children, our dignity created out of love, and our relationship with Him.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! let your face shine, that we may be saved!