The incarnation is a process—a mysterious synergy between God’s will and human will. God had to say yes and Mary had to say yes. If either had said no there would be no incarnation. Consent, not coercion, is God’s way in Jesus. In the process, God is humbled and humanity is exalted.

Through Jesus, God entered into humanity and consequently into change and mortality. God is eternal and unchanging, but God’s emanations are subject to change.[1] God’s essence is always the same, but God’s energies, as manifest in the Trinity, change.[2] So the Spirit remains constant but the primal forms vary over time.

So we see that because of the incarnation humans can experience eternity, and as a result of the incarnation we now understand that God also changes over time (process theology).[3] Eternal and temporal no longer rule each other out. Jesus changed the rules. Through Jesus God becomes temporal and through Jesus humanity touches eternity.

Therefore, the incarnation transformed both God and humanity.

[1] Gregory Palamas developed the important notion that the essence of the Trinity can’t be known. But, that the energies can. This maintains the balance between transcendent and eminent aspects of the Trinity. The two are in creative tension.

[2] I am referring to the essence/energies designation of Gregory Palamas…

[3] I concur with Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), that God’s essence does not change, but God’s emanations do. See Palmer, et al, The Philokalia Vol. 4.