God’s adaptable teaching style has three primary methods: corporeal images, variation, and progression. When human beings no longer rose up to knowledge of the Creator by means of created things, the Divine Teacher used other corporeal images which could lead people analogically to higher truth and virtue. For instance, he took on human form, language, and customs in theophanies, in the words of the prophets, and in the Incarnation. He also provided people with perceptible objects, experiences, and models of virtue—all of which functioned as concrete, corporeal images which could guide people. God’s pedagogical method of variation had several forms, including mixing gentle and harsh rhetoric, appropriately blending lowly and lofty teachings, and applying apparently diverse ethical standards. Progression is a method evident both in God’s appropriate accommodation to an individual’s level of maturity at a particular moment in life, and to humanity’s needs at a particular point in history.
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