Incarnation

Dictionary.com

noun
1. an incarnate being or form.
2. a living being embodying a deity or spirit.
3. assumption of human form or nature
4. the Incarnation, (sometimes lowercase) Theology. the doctrine that the second person of the Trinity assumed human form in the person of Jesus Christ and is completely both God and man.
5. a person or thing regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality, idea, or the like: The leading dancer is the incarnation of grace.
6. the act of incarnating.
7. state of being incarnated.


Etymonline.com

c. 1300, “embodiment of God in the person of Christ,” from Old French incarnacion “the Incarnation” (12c.), from Late Latin incarnationem (nominative incarnatio), “act of being made flesh” (used by Church writers especially in reference to God in Christ; source also of Spanish encarnacion, Italian incarnazione), noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin incarnari “be made flesh,” from in- “in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + caro (genitive carnis) “flesh” (originally “a piece of flesh,” from PIE root *sker- (1) “to cut”). Glossed in Old English as inflæscnesinlichomung. As “person or thing that is the embodiment” (of some quality, deity, etc.) from 1742.


Discussion/Explanation

There are many myths of various beings taking a human form in history. In the case of Christianity, Jesus Christ was God incarnate in flesh even to be the point of being born into the world as any other human being.

Even to this day, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ still possesses mystery but there are many things that we do know.

  1. God became incarnate as Son of God and Son of Man in Jesus Christ. He is God and man at the same time. This is important as it allows him to fulfill the role of being the last Adam and pay the price for sin brought into the world by the first Adam (the Adam of Genesis).
  2. Despite being incarnate, Jesus is still part of the triune nature of God. God is multi-dimensional and is not bound by the same constraints as you are I. He is one.
    1. God the Father has no physical form and neither does the Holy Spirit.
      1. You will often see dove imagery for the Holy Spirit despite the Scriptures never describing the Holy Spirit to be a dove but was compared to a dove in Luke 3:22.
  3. The Son did not give up His deity to become man though he does seem to restrain it.
  4. The terms we use: Father, Son, Holy Spirit are very mortal terms used to describe this triune nature that is inherently beyond our full understanding (at least not in this lifetime and probably not even in the next after the end of all things).

There is much to be studied and discussed on this topic. But, suffice to say that the word “incarnation” in Christianity is a term brought up in reference to Christ’s being God as human.

A great work to read because of its historical significance to the doctrinal understanding of the incarnation of Christ would be On the Incarnation by Athanasius. The following link takes you to a pdf file of the work. (it’s free)

http://www.onthewing.org/user/Athanasius%20-%20On%20the%20Incarnation.pdf


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The Trinity

Dictionary.com

nounplural Trinities for 2, 4.
1. Also called Blessed Trinity, Holy Trinitythe union of three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) in one Godhead, or the
three-fold personality of the one Divine Being.
2. a representation of this in art.
4. (lowercasea group of three; triad.
5. (lowercasethe state of being threefold or triple.

Etymonline.com

early 13c., “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” constituting one God in prevailing Christian doctrine, from Old French trinite “Holy Trinity” (11c.), from Late Latin trinitatem (nominative trinitas) “Trinity, triad” (Tertullian), from Latin trinus “threefold, triple,” from plural of trini “three at a time, threefold,” related to tres (neuter tria) “three” (see three).

The Latin word was widely borrowed in European languages with the spread of Christianity (Irish trionnoid, Welsh trindod, German trinität). Old English used þrines as a loan-translation of Latin trinitas. Related: Trinitarian.


Discussion/Explanation

The Trinity – an extra-biblical term (from outside the Bible) to describe truth involving God that we see in the Scriptures (the Bible).

The Trinity, though, is more than just a term; it is a doctrine involving the nature of God. It is considered a key element in assessing the beliefs of any group that would call themselves Christian.

Why is the Trinity so important? As you could probably guess from the above definitions, it has everything to do with who is God. God is one, not three. Any who would proclaim a “trinity” of gods would not be holding to the same as the one god we commonly call God in Christianity. Changing the nature of God, in any way, thereby makes the “new” natured “God” different from the original; therefore, it is a different god from the God of Christianity.

This is another topic in which many books exist that discuss the topic alone. There are also many online materials as well. I recommend using the included links to read further.

Even so, I don’t want to stop there as I want to direct your attention to why this term is used. The definitions above show one of the reasons – it fits what is described in Scripture. More reasons are tied up into the “persons” of the Holy Trinity.

  1. God the Father – the governing “head” that has no physical form.
  2. God the Son – Son of God and Son of Man, the God-Man. He is God in human flesh – God in human form. Fully God and fully man.
    1. Present from the beginning (even before born into flesh) – (John 1:1-18)
      1. With the Father before creation
      2. The one through which all creation came into being
    2. One with God
      1. Every “I am” reference in the Scriptures refers to this. (Ex. 3:14; Lev. 18:2 – 19:37; Matthew 27:43; Mark 14:61-63; John 8:12, 23, 58, 10:38,… for starters)
    3. Sinless – a trait held in common with the other two persons.
    4. Conqueror of death
      1. Not even death could bind the Son of God as is evident in His resurrection.
      2. Was seen physically before His ascension to Heaven and continues in that physical form to this day. He will also return physically.
  3. God the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) – the spirit of God in the created world and in God’s followers. Often depicted as light or “like a dove” but has no true physical form.
    1. Only the Holy Spirit indwells believers. The Holy Spirit is distinct from the believer and a person of God.

What’s more, there is perfect unity between each of the persons of God. There is no disagreement, no disunity, no division – and yet it is clearly revealed that God makes Himself known to us through these three persons.

I spent more time on the Son of God, who we know as Jesus Christ, as He is the person people try to argue/debate the most about. The list is not a comprehensive list but should give you a great start as to the Trinity and what is involved.


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More Than

God is more than love.

He is justice. He is truth. He is immutable, holy, righteous, sovereign, merciful, triune and more.

The characteristic people like most is love, but how is love defined?

Mankind has tried to define it in many ways and its many definitions either have flawed components/additions or are pale shadows of the love of God. God’s love is willful and what some would call “mindful love”. It is what is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

As such, if the form of love someone expresses or has does not conform or fall under the sort of love God displays, the kind we are to emulate as image-bearers of God, then that love is at least incomplete or worse.

My words may sound strong to you but as one who believes and follows Christ, there can be no other standard for love than that which is found in God.

John 14:6 shows Jesus, the Son of God and member of the Triune God, as saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is strong language indeed and is clear that there is no other way to God and no other way to become more like Him, including in love, than to come to Christ who is God.