I find the permanence of the Incarnation to be an endlessly verdant theological idea. Jesus doesn’t “shed” his resurrection body in order to ascend to heaven, but rather enters into the Father’s presence as a resurrected human, permanently uniting divinity and humanity.
God’s entering into flesh must not be seen as a mere means to our redemption, nor as a preliminary stage on the way to our “divinization”; it is not something that passes away, as it were, is extinguished, is canceled by the Risen Lord’s return to the Father. The Risen One returns to the Father with his whole humanity, including his body.Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer
It’s also an under-explored idea, it seems to me. Whenever I teach this in our church, almost everyone is surprised to hear it. But of course, Christian theology makes no sense unless it’s true.
God created the world in order that he might enter into a covenant relationship with humankind…. Even if humans had not sinned, Jesus Christ would still have needed to come in the fullness of time, because only through that revelation is covenantal relationship realized in the fullest measure—as communion with the triune God.Simon Chan, Liturgical Theology
If Jesus stops being the Incarnate Word, the communion also stops, or at least is severely diminished. In the Incarnation, God becomes what God loves, and remains so permanently, eternally. It’s an astonishing and glorious display of the humility of God.
Howard Burgoyne says
Amen! Amen! Amen!
The incarnation is the foundation of the gospel, and the beginning of our salvation from our estrangement from God. T. F. Torrance extolled this masterfully in his christology.