The Meaning of Incarnation

December 24, 2012

Ben Witherington has an excellent essay on an important theological subject, the doctrine of the Incarnation.

Incarnation is a big word, and sadly, not a lot of Christians either use it, or know what it means. It does not refer to the same thing as the virginal conception, though the latter is the means by which the incarnation of the Son of God took place. Incarnation refers to the choices and acts of a pre-existent divine being, namely the Son of God, that the Son took in order to become a human being. He took on flesh, and became fully, truly human without ceasing to be fully, truly divine. Divinity is not something Jesus acquired later in life, or even after his death and resurrection. According to the theology of Incarnation he had always been the divine Son of God, even before he became Jesus, a human being. Strictly speaking the name Jesus only applies to a human being. It is the name the Son of God acquired once he became a human being in the womb of Mary, a name which he maintains to this day as he continues to be a human being. We could continue to go down this track, and it would be like going down the rabbit hole with Alice. We would end up saying ‘curiouser and curiouser’. Incarnation is not something that human beings can fully get their mental calipers around. It involves miracle and mystery, and is frankly above our mental pay grade, even for the brightest amongst us. That doesn’t mean however that we can not understand it to some extent, and it is important that we do so. As John Donne once said ’twas much that we were made like God long before, but that God should be made like us, much more.’

Read it all at the link below.

The Meaning of Incarnation.


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