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Maximos the Confessor: “from corruption to incorruption”

4 December 2020

“…the Scripture says, ‘For our sake God made Him become sin who knew no sin’ (II Cor 5:21). Having originally been corrupted from its natural design, Adam’s free choice corrupted along with it our human nature, which forfeited the grace of impassibility. Thus came sin into existence. The first sin, culpable indeed, was the fall of free choice from good into evil; the second, following upon the first, was the innocent transformation of human nature from incorruption into corruption. For our forefather Adam committed two ‘sins’ by his transgression of God’s commandment: the first ‘sin’ was culpable, when his free choice willfully rejected the good; but the second ‘sin’, occasioned by the first, was innocent, since human nature unwillingly put off its incorruption. Therefore our Lord and God, rectifying this reciprocal corruption and alteration of our human nature by taking on the whole of our nature, even had in his assumed nature the liability of the passions which, in His own exercise of free choice, He adorned with incorruptibility. And it is by virtue of his assumption of this natural possibility that He ‘became sin for our sake’, though He did not ‘know’ any deliberate sin because of the immutability of His free choice. Because His free choice was incorruptible, he rectified our nature’s liability to passions and turned the end of our nature’s possibility – which is death – into the beginning of our natural transformation to incorruption. In turn, just as through one man, who turned voluntarily from the good, the human nature was turned from incorruption to corruption to the detriment of all humanity, so too through one man, Jesus Christ, who did not voluntarily turn from the good, human nature underwent a restoration from corruption to incorruption for the benefit of all humanity.”

St. Maximos the Confessor, On The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ

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