The light of Epiphany

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

The ancient church fathers struggled with the physical implications of the incarnation—the mother’s womb, the birth and afterbirth. God gets a human body, orthodoxy has always proclaimed: a human body rife with bacteria, hormones and phlegm. Tertullian insists that God became fully human, though he recounts the details with some distaste. “Beginning with the birth itself,” he says, “the uncleanness of the generative elements within the womb, the filthy concretion of fluid and blood—the growth of the flesh for nine months long out of that very mire . . . the womb.”


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