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Can God Increase?

And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him. And again; But Jesus increased in stature and wisdom and grace with God and men. (Luke 2: 40,52)



TO say that the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him, must be taken as referring to His human nature. 
And examine, I pray you, closely the profoundness of the dispensation: the Word endures to be born in human fashion, although in His divine nature He has no beginning nor is subject to time: He Who as God is all perfect, submits to bodily growth: the Incorporeal has limbs that advance to the ripeness of manhood: He is filled with wisdom Who is Himself all wisdom. And what say we to this? Behold by these things Him Who was in the form of the Father made like unto us: the Rich in poverty: the High in humiliation: Him said to "receive," Whose is the fullness as God. So thoroughly did God the Word empty Himself! For what things are written of Him as a man shew the manner of the emptying. For it were a thing impossible for the Word begotten of God the Father to admit ought like this into His own nature: but when He became flesh, even a man like unto us, then He is born according to the flesh of a woman, and is said also to have been subject to the things that belong to man's state: and though the Word as being God could have made His flesh spring forth at once from the womb unto the measure of the perfect man, yet this would have been of the nature of a portent: and therefore He gave the habits and laws of human nature power even over His own flesh.
    Be not therefore offended, considering perchance within thyself, How can God increase? or how can He Who gives grace to angels and to men receive fresh wisdom? Rather reflect upon the great skill wherewith we are initiated into His mystery. For the wise Evangelist did not introduce the Word in His abstract and incorporeal nature, and so say of Him that |30 He increased in stature and wisdom and grace, but after having shewn that He was born in the flesh of a woman, and took our likeness, he then assigns to Him these human attributes, and calls Him a child, and says that He waxed in stature, as His body grow little by little, in obedience to corporeal laws. And so He is said also to have increased in wisdom, not as receiving fresh supplies of wisdom,----for God is perceived by the understanding to be entirely perfect in all things, and altogether incapable of being destitute of any attribute suitable to the Godhead:----but because God the Word gradually manifested His wisdom proportionally to the age which the body had attained.
    The body then advances in stature, and the soul  in wisdom: for the divine nature is capable of increase in neither one nor the other; seeing that the Word of God is all perfect. And with good reason he connected the increase of wisdom with the growth of the bodily stature, because the divine nature revealed its own wisdom in proportion to the measure of the bodily growth.

From: COMMENTARY OF S. CYRIL, PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA, UPON THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE.(1859) Sermon V.  Read online: Sermon V