The meaning of incarnation is that God appears in the flesh, and He comes to work among man of His creation in the image of a flesh. So, for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this, at the very least, must be true. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man. His incarnate life and work can be divided into two stages. First is the life He lives before performing His ministry. He lives in an ordinary human family, in utterly normal humanity, obeying the normal morals and laws of human life, with normal human needs (food, clothing, shelter, sleep), normal human weaknesses, and normal human emotions. In other words, during this first stage He lives in non-divine, completely normal humanity, engaging in all the normal human activities. The second stage is the life He lives after beginning to perform His ministry. He still dwells in the ordinary humanity with a normal human shell, showing no outward sign of the supernatural. Yet He lives purely for the sake of His ministry, and during this time His normal humanity exists entirely in service of the normal work of His divinity; for by then His normal humanity has matured to the point of being able to perform His ministry. So the second stage of His life is to perform His ministry in His normal humanity, is a life both of normal humanity and of complete divinity. The reason that, during the first stage of His life, He lives in completely ordinary humanity is that His humanity is not yet equal to the entirety of the divine work, is not yet mature; only after His humanity grows mature, becomes capable of shouldering His ministry, can He set about performing His ministry. Since He, as flesh, needs to grow and mature, the first stage of His life is that of normal humanity, while in the second stage, because His humanity is capable of undertaking His work and performing His ministry, the life the incarnate God lives during His ministry is one of both humanity and complete divinity. If from the moment of His birth the incarnate God began His ministry in earnest, performing supernatural signs and wonders, then He would have no corporeal essence. Therefore, His humanity exists for the sake of His corporeal essence; there can be no flesh without humanity, and a person without humanity is not a human being. In this way, the humanity of God’s flesh is an intrinsic property of God’s incarnate flesh. To say that “when God becomes flesh He is entirely divine, is not at all human,” is a blasphemy, because this is an impossible stance to take, one that violates the principle of incarnation. Even after He begins to perform His ministry, His divinity still inhabits the human outer shell when He does His work; it is just that at the time, His humanity serves the sole purpose of allowing His divinity to perform the work in the normal flesh. So the agent of the work is the divinity inhabiting His humanity. It is His divinity, not His humanity, at work, yet it is a divinity hidden within His humanity; His work is in essence done by His complete divinity, not by His humanity. But the performer of the work is His flesh. One could say that He is a man and also is God, for God becomes a God living in the flesh, with a human shell and a human essence but also the essence of God. Because He is a man with the essence of God, He is above any of created humans, above any man who can perform God’s work. And so, among all those with a human shell like His, among all those who possess humanity, only He is the incarnate God Himself—all others are created humans. Though they all have humanity, created humans are nothing but human, while God incarnate is different: In His flesh He not only has humanity but more importantly has divinity. His humanity can be seen in the outer appearance of His flesh and in His everyday life, but His divinity is difficult to perceive. Because His divinity is expressed only when He has humanity, and is not as supernatural as people imagine it to be, it is extremely difficult for people to see. Even today it is most difficult for people to fathom the true essence of the incarnate God. In fact, even after I have spoken about it at such length, I expect it is still a mystery to most of you. This issue is very simple: Since God becomes flesh, His essence is a combination of humanity and divinity. This combination is called God Himself, God Himself on earth.
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh