In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— Jn 1:1-5
This hit me in a unique way last night. In reflecting upon the opening of the Gospel according to St. John, we are first called to the Word- the Logos. The Logos, who we later learn in John to be Jesus Christ is also the Word spoken by God. If you recall the Genesis story of creation, God said let there be light; God spoke the Word and it came into being. Everything came into being by the Word, the Word which is Christ Jesus who is God.
All that was created was created through Jesus Christ. In the beginning, when man and woman were formed in God’s image, we lived with God, in God. Through the fault of man, we forfeited this reality. We gave up our existence with Him and in Him. We destined ourselves to the eternal fate of being separated from the Word which created us.
God saw that this was not good and not pleasing to him. In the due course of our salvation history, God willed that his creation- what was created when he spoke the Word- should be brought into communion with Him. The terror and tyranny of sin should no longer be able to stake the preeminent place it had claimed since the fall.
But how was he to save us from our own faults? Man lost our place with God, man had to gain it back. Yet, through human nature, we are not able to fully and completely resist the temptation of sin. How then are we to be saved? How can God work through creation, fulfilling his covenants with the limitations of man? He promised Noah he would no longer simply wipe us out and attempt to start fresh. How is God, in his infinite goodness, able to save us from ourselves?
The Word. The Word through which we were created, initially giving us unity with God, was needed to sanctify humanity again. But, it is man who must save man? God so loved his creation that he spoke the Word, accepted by man (Mary), so that the Word may be born as flesh. The Word became Man, being both infinitely God and infinitely man, was able to reconcile all things in Him. The Creator and the Created, together in being, in one flesh, is the only way the fall of man can be reconciled to the holiness of God.
In the middle of looking at this, we are not to say that previously man was void of God- void of holiness. No, God still rested with man but our fall, a “mortal sin” in the language of modern hamartiology, destroyed “charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turned man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.” (CCC 1855). Our violation of God’s law kept us from enjoying the rewards of Him. We could still be holy men before the Word was made flesh, but we still had the stain of sin upon our souls and thus unable to enjoy in the forfeited fruits of the Word.
Now, our salvation history progressed to where the Word was Flesh. The Creator and the Created in the same being now existed. A Man was born who was perfectly without sin by His own doing (only because He was also infinitely divine). The Adam of Old lost for us the fruit but now existed a new Adam. The newly firstborn of creation. We are all, however, children of the first Adam. We all have original sin because of this. Simply God’s existence as Man can not reconcile this.
God, the Logos made flesh, desiring to reconcile all things in Himself according to the will of the Father (since after all the Father spoke the Word, thus the Word is at the will of the Father), had to offer up the ultimate sacrifice: a sacrifice so great that it counterbalanced the Great Fall.
The Word, by the hands of men, sacrificed Himself to the Father. The greatest action of God, short of creation itself, to that point in human time, the incarnation of God in Man, was forfeited by the Incarnate Word. In the final action of Jesus Christ through his earthly body was to extend that flesh as the bridge between heaven and earth. Being man without sin, his sacrifice was what was needed to bring all men back to God.
So again, the life, the light of the human race, was able to shine forth through Christ.
Our salvation history is a long, complex yet simple history. God made man. Man turned away from God. God attempting to reach his people over and over and constantly having man turn away. God sending himself as the everlasting covenant. God and Man in the same being, the new Adam who cannot, will not, turn away from God. We, being children of the Fallen can now, through baptism, join the washing away the sin of the old through the blood of the Cross and enter the brotherhood of the New Adam.