2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)- But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Being human is both a blissful experience and a dangerous one.
Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). This means that each person was created in space and time as a limited and imperfect reflection of both the external form and the internal qualities of the infinitely perfect and omnipotent God.
Intrinsic with the great honor of having been created in the image of God is the potential ability to choose between good and evil. In other words, the one distinguishing element that demarcates between animals and humans, is the ability to judge based on reason. (logos)
The Apostolic Fathers taught that in order to properly choose between good and evil, that humans must experience both, so that the mind can come to a position in which it can not only judge between good and evil, but also be able to choose the better. ( Against Heresies 4.39.1)
Apostolic philosophy sees all of humanity potentially contained within the human prototype, and as such, receiving both the guilt and the effects of Adam’s disobedience. (1 Cor. 15:22; Romans 5:12; 5:19, et. al.) Adam’s weakness was an intrinsic result of having been created after a pattern of the future incarnation of the Logos. (Hebrews 10:5) Since all of creation is inferior to its Creator, Adam (the entire human race) was subject from its inception (at least temporarily) to fall short of divine perfection.
Human beings were created in a state of potential perfection that could be achieved by means of a process of growth. Humans were impeccable insofar as experience was concerned, but due to their created imperfection, they were essentially susceptible to the influence and infirmity of disobedience- sin.
The Apostolic Fathers taught that the prototypical purpose of the Adamic imperfection was so that through the natural process of growth, he could ascend towards the Perfect One. (Against Heresies 4.38.1-3)
When Adam (the potential human race) fell into disobedience, he died. Adam died in the sense that the darkness that overpowered him, extinguished the potential ability and probability that he possessed for growing towards perfection.
Everything that is alive, grows. Anything that ceases to grow ceases to live, because life is experienced as a process of regeneration towards its fullest potential. Since God is life itself, He is always creating…”always working.” (John 5:17)
Adam’s susceptibility to the infirmity of sin, was due to his having been created according to the abstract pattern of the pre-incarnate Logos of God. (Romans. 5:14) But when the Logos of God enveloped himself in flesh after the pattern of infirm Adam, he infused life into our race, guaranteeing by his incarnation the qualitative potency to ascend towards the perfect God, and hence, becoming perfect with Him.
The main reason why the Gospel chroniclers emphasize Jesus’ own process of physical and spiritual growth was in order to make clear that in himself, the Logos was re-appropriating, healing, sanctifying and guaranteeing the process of ascension towards God. (cp. Luke 2:40;52)
Jesus Christ, being the second Adam (or rather the manifested antetype) healed the human race by rectifying the original disobedience of Adam by means of his obedience unto death on a Cross. (Romans. 5:19-21; Philippians 2:8)
St. Irenaeus (2nd Century-disciple of Polycarp) said the following:
On the Cross, the Lord did away with that disobedience of man which had taken place at the beginning by the occasion of a tree. He became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, rectifying that disobedience which had occurred by reason of a tree, through that obedience which he displayed upon the tree of the Cross.
The Creator (the Logos) took flesh in the image of Adam so that by means of His qualitative perfection, he might not only heal us from the infirmity of sin, but also make us potentially perfect by means of his glorification and ascension to the throne of God.–jcr
We become holistically perfect by means of our gradual partaking of his divine essence through the process of discipleship, devotion and sanctification. (2 Peter 1:2-4)
This is why as members of the body of Christ, we have been given certain gifts of the Spirit, so that by employing them, we might grow “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
In Christ Jesus, we can see both the ultimate end of sin (which is death), and the resurrection of the human race unto divinity.
The human race has come to a point where it can choose between an eternal state of stagnation and undevelopment, or a state of enlivened growth towards its fullest potential: the very face of Jesus.
The face of perfection.