"The Incarnation is an act of God's philanthropia, of His loving-kindness towards humankind."
Orthodox belief is that God becoming human was part of His plan from the beginning and wasn't simply "an answer to the fall."
Yet because of the fall, the Incarnation became an act of love and an act of salvation. "Jesus Christ, by uniting humankind and God in His own person, reopened for us humans the path to union with God. In His own person Christ showed what the true 'likeness of God' is, and through His redeeming and victorious sacrifice He set that likeness once again within our reach. Christ, the Second Adam, came to earth and reversed the effects of the first Adam's disobedience."
You know, I've never thought of God coming to earth as something God had planned all along, but it does make sense if God wanted to fellowship with His creation. Yet doesn't Genesis 3 say God walked in the garden in the cool of the day thus implying that somehow He did fellowship with humankind even from the beginning. Was taking human form to do so necessary prior to the fall? Hmmm, it's an interesting thought!
"'Behind the veil of Christ's flesh, Christians behold the Triune God'" said Bishop Theopan the Recluse. "Perhaps the most striking feature in the Orthodox approach to the Incarnate Christ [is] an overwhelming sense of His divine glory." This divine glory was especially shown during the Transfiguration (remember when Jesus went to the mountain with a couple of disciples and was observed talking to Moses and Elijah? Peter later recalled it as a time he was an eyewitness of Christ's majesty.) and Resurrection (Jesus' triumph over death.)
I totally loved when the author wrote about Orthodox accounts of remembering the Resurrection with "sheer joy." I felt joyful just reading about this!
Re: The Crucifixion: The author says the east has often focused on Christ the Victor - triumphant over evil powers and death - while the west tends to see Him as Christ the Victim - "an act of satisfaction or substitution to propitiate the wrath of an angry Father." (pg. 229)
"The western worshipper, when he meditates upon the Cross, is encouraged all too often to feel an emotional sympathy with the Man of Sorrows, rather than to adore the victorious and triumphant king." (pg. 228)
How do you think of Christ?