In this paper I provide a metaphysical account of the incarnation that starts from substantive assumptions about the nature of natures and about the metaphysics of the Trinity and develops in light of these a story about the relations among the elements involved in the incarnation. Central to the view I will describe are two features of Aristotle's metaphysics, though I do not claim that my own development of these ideas is anything of which Aristotle himself would have (...) approved: (i) a hylomorphic understanding of material objects; (ii) a doctrine of numerical sameness without identity; and (iii) the view that the nature of a thing can appropriately be identified with its form. These ideas, along with other important aspects of the metaphysical framework with which I shall be working, are laid out in the first five sections below, followed in the sixth section by a brief sketch of the account of the Trinity that Jeff Brower and I have presented in detail elsewhere. In the final section, I present my account of the incarnation. (shrink)
Relative-identity theories of the Trinity and Incarnation are worth another look. But not all such theories are the same. One important difference among them concerns restricted quantification. Peter Geach proposes two theses: the sortal relativity of identity and the irreducibility of restricted quantification. Every relative-identity theory of the Trinity and Incarnation applies Geach’s first thesis. But only what I call “the Geachian theory” applies both theses. I argue that any such Geachian theory faces significant theoretical disadvantages. Towards the (...) end, I propose a closely related but non-Geachian relative-identity theory that doesn’t share those theoretical disadvantages. (shrink)
In a pair of recent articles, Brian Leftow and Eleonore Stump offer independent, although similar, accounts of the metaphysics of the Incarnation. Both believe that their Aquinas-inspired theories can offer solutions to the kind of Leibniz’s Law problems that can seem to threaten the logical possibility of this traditional Christian doctrine. In this paper, I’ll have a look at their compositional account of the nature of God incarnate. In the end, I believe their position can be seen to have (...) unacceptable philosophical and theological implications, and that is it inadequate to solve the Leibniz’s law problems that motivate it in the first place. (shrink)
This paper explores the development of Leibniz’s metaphysics of the Incarnation in the context of his philosophy. In particular it asks to what extent Leibniz’s repeated endorsement of the traditional analogy between the union in humankind of soul (mind) and body, and the union in Christ of divine and human natures, could be accommodated by his more general metaphysical doctrines. Such an investigation highlights some of the deepest commitments in Leibniz’s theory of substance as well as detect in it (...) some unresolved tensions. The paper comes to the conclusion that puzzling points of Leibniz’s metaphysics of the Incarnation, rather than being problems specific to his theology, uncover tensions in his theory of substance as such – tensions converging on the vexed question of whether there can or cannot be genuine corporeal substances in Leibniz’s mature philosophy. (shrink)
In this article, I draw upon the ‘post-Kantian’ reading of Hegel to examine the consequences Hegel’s idea of God has on his metaphysics. In particular, I apply Hegel’s ‘recognition-theoretic’ approach to his theology. Within the context of this analysis, I focus especially on the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ. First, I argue that Hegel’s philosophy of religion employs a distinctive notion of sacrifice (kenotic sacrifice). Here, sacrifice is conceived as a giving up something of oneself to ‘make room’ for (...) the other. Second, I argue that the idea of kenotic sacrifice plays a fundamental role in Hegel’s account of Christ. Third, I conclude by sketching some of the consequences of Hegel’s idea of a God who renounces his own divinity for an idealistically conceived metaphysics. My main thesis is that the notion of incarnation is conceived by Hegel as the expression of a spirit that advances only insofar as it is willing to withdraw and make room for the other. A kenotic reading of the Hegelian notion of the incarnation is also useful in terms of a clarification of the dispute between ‘left Hegelians’ and ‘right Hegelians’ concerning the status of the idea of God in Hegel’s philosophy. (shrink)
I articulate a real presence theory of the Eucharist that is coherent, attractive, and utilizes the resources of contemporary Christology. First, I review some of the recent analytic discussions of the metaphysics of the incarnation. From this, I distinguish two types of impanation, which I name Type-H and Type-S Impanation. I then exposit Type-S Impanation utilizing the notion of enabling externalism. I raise two potential objections to this view, the responses to which allows me to highlight the incarnation-like (...) coherence and attractiveness of this view as an exposition of the liturgical utterance, ‘This is my body.’. (shrink)
Contemporary accounts of the Trinity and Incarnation sometimes employ aspects of Peter Geach's theory of relative identity. Geach's theory provides an account not merely of identity predicates, but also proper names and restricted quantification. In a previous work I developed an account of the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation incorporating these three aspects of Geach's theory and tried to show how each might contribute to our understanding of the doctrines. Joseph Jedwab has recently argued that my account—or (...) any that employs Geach's treatment of restricted quantifiers—leads to serious doctrinal errors. I reply to his criticisms. (shrink)
According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ is a divine person who became “incarnate,” i.e., who became human. A key event in the second act of the drama of creation and redemption, the incarnation could not have failed to interest Aquinas, and he discusses it in a number of places. A proper understanding of what he thought about it is thus part of any complete understanding of his work. It is, furthermore, a window into his ideas on a variety of (...) other topics: God, human nature, language, substance, and so on. Finally, it forces us to come to grips with what is at stake in acknowledging that Aquinas was not only a philosopher but a theologian as well. (shrink)
Thomas Morris and Richard Swinburne have recently defended what they call the ‘two-minds’ model of the Incarnation. This model, which I refer to as the ‘inclusion model’ or ‘inclusionism’, claims that Christ had two consciousnesses, a human and a divine consciousness, with the former consciousness contained within the latter one. I begin by exploring the motivation for, and structure of, inclusionism. I then develop a variety of objections to it: some philosophical, others theological in nature. Finally, I sketch a (...) variant of inclusionism which I call ‘restricted inclusionism’ (RI); RI can evade many, but not all, of the objections to standard inclusionism. (shrink)
Throughout his long intellectual life, Leibniz penned his reflections on Christian theology, yet this wealth of material has never been systematically gathered or studied. This book addresses an important and central aspect of these neglected materials—Leibniz’s writings on two mysteries central to Christian thought, the Trinity and the Incarnation. -/- From Antognazza’s study emerges a portrait of a thinker surprisingly receptive to traditional Christian theology and profoundly committed to defending the legitimacy of truths beyond the full grasp of human (...) reason. This view of Leibniz differs strikingly from traditional perceptions of the philosopher as a “hard” rationalist and quasi-deist. Antognazza also sets Leibniz’s writings in the context of the important theological controversies of his day. (shrink)
The period from Thomas Aquinas to Duns Scotus is one of the richest in the history of Christian theology. The Metaphysics of the Incarnation provides a through examination of the doctrine in this era, making explicit its philosophical and theological foundations, and drawing conclusions for modern Christology.
The best defense of the doctrine of the Incarnation implies that traditional Christianity has a special stake in the knowability paradox, a stake not shared by other theistic perspectives or by non-traditional accounts of the Incarnation. Perhaps, this stake is not even shared by antirealism, the view most obviously threatened by the paradox. I argue for these points, concluding that these results put traditional Christianity at a disadvantage compared to other viewpoints, and I close with some comments about (...) the extent of the burden incurred. (shrink)
Il n’est pas inhabituel de considérer l’imagination comme une conscience d’objets non réels, ayant la forme d’images internes ou de représentations privées de toute incarnation spatiale. Dans cet article j’interroge la phénoménologie de l’imagination de Husserl à partir de deux questions : l’imagination est-elle un type de conscience d’image ? L’imagination, est-elle privée de toute incarnation spatiale ? Après avoir reconstruit la distinction nette opérée par Husserl entre imagination et conscience d’image (l’imaginaire n’est pas une image mentale interne), (...) j’explore la thèse de Husserl, fort suggestive, selon laquelle toute imagination implique la projection du corps vécu. Loin d’être entièrement dépourvu de spatialité, l’imaginaire exhibe des caractéristiques quasi-spatiales, et il est fondé sur ce qui est « le plus propre » de mon corps vécu – cela même que, pour ainsi dire, j’amène toujours avec moi, même dans les envols les plus éloignés de mon imagination. (shrink)
1. To be is to be-in-relation -- 2. Cosmic being as relation -- 3. Human being as relation -- 4. Divine being as relation -- 5. Divine and cosmic being in relation -- 6. Creation as relation in an evolving cosmos -- 7. Incarnation as relation in an evolving cosmos -- 8. Grace as relation in an evolving cosmos -- 9. Living in trinitarian relation.
In a series of papers, Thomas P. Flint has posited that God the Son could become incarnate in any human person as long as certain conditions are met (Flint 2001a, 2001b). In a recent paper, he has argued that all saved human persons will one day become incarnated by the Son (Flint 2011). Flint claims that this is motivated by a combination of Molinism and orthodox Christology. I shall argue that this is unmotivated because it is condemned by orthodox Christology. (...) Flint has unknowingly articulated a version of the heresy called Origenism that is condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. After arguing that Flint’s account is unmotivated because it is condemned, I shall offer some reflections and prolegomena on the relationship between contemporary analytic theology and the ecumenical creeds. (shrink)
This important contribution to the ground-breaking Radical Orthodoxy series revisits the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Augustine and Derrida to reconsider the challenge of speaking of God through predication, silence, confession and praise. James K. A. Smith argues for God's own refusal to avoid speaking as well as for our urgent need of words to make Him visible to us. This leads to a radical new "incarnational phenomenology" in which God's love endows imperfect signs with the means to indicate true states (...) of infinitude, and in which we may ultimately discover a new theology of the arts. (shrink)
In her 2013 Aquinas lecture and a previous article, Linda Zagzebski argues for a new divine trait, that of omnisubjectivity. In brief, omnisubjectivity is God’s ability to know what it is like for each of God’s creatures to be themselves. This knowledge is not merely propositional but ascribes to God knowledge of the sort that one typically associates with a first-person perspective on the self. Zagzebski’s considered opinion about what grounds omnisubjectivity appears to be that it is grounded in simulations (...) of creaturely experiences that God imagines. My answer is that God experiences your experiences in experiencing you. Getting clearer on the basis of omnisubjectivity provides some novel results for thinking about what it would mean on the Christian story for Christ to become incarnate and in particular, for how it could be that an incarnate deity could learn something new even if that deity is omnisubjective. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty s’est toujours intéressé aux rapports complexes entre christianisme, philosophie et théologie. Ses écrits, publiés ou inédits, opposent régulièrement « la nouveauté du christianisme » – comme expérience de l’homme, comme attitude religieuse, et jusque dans sa conception de Dieu – à une théologie dite « explicative », qui ne parviendrait pas à penser cette nouveauté, voire la trahirait. Accusée d’importer le Dieu des philosophes, cette théologie expliquerait Dieu et expliquerait par Dieu pour mieux se passer des mystères de l’homme, (...) des dimensions tragiques de sa condition, manquant ainsi paradoxalement une négativité qui est le lieu même où s’ouvre l’attitude religieuse. Dans cette confrontation originale, Merleau-Ponty transpose sa propre lutte contre certains philosophes et mobilise les axes essentiels de sa pensée : ses conceptions de l’homme et de l’être, une anthropologie de la chair perceptive et désirante, une ontologie de l’être inachevé et inépuisable. Merleau-Ponty was always interested in the complex relationship between christianity, philosophy and theology. His writings, published or unpublished, regularly contrast « the novelty of Christianity » — as experience of man, as religious attitude, and including its conception of God — with a so-called « explanatory » theology, which would not manage to think this novelty, might even betray it. Charged with importing the God of the philosophers, this theology would explain God and explain by God in order to bypass the mysteries of man, the tragic dimensions of its condition, thus paradoxically missing a negativity which is the very place where the religious attitude unfolds. In this original confrontation, Merleau-Ponty transposes his own fight against some philosophers and summons the essential axis of his thought : his conceptions of man and being, an anthropology of perceptive and desiring flesh, an ontology of unfinished and inexhaustible being. (shrink)
Animalists, those who hold that human persons are identical to human animals, seem committed to holding that, in becoming incarnate, the Son of God became a human animal. Unsurprisingly, a number of philosophers have argued that this is impossible. In this paper, I consider several objections to an animalist account of the incarnation based on kind membership, viz. objections drawing on kind essentialism, constitution essentialism, and the persistence conditions of animals. After developing each objection in detail, I respond by (...) drawing on my preferred formulation of animalism. My goal in addressing these objections is to take the first steps toward demonstrating the compatibility of animalism and the incarnation. (shrink)
Many skeptics throughout the centuries have accused the New Testament characterization of the incarnation as being incoherent. The reason is that it appears impossible that any person can exemplify human properties such as ignorance, fatigability, and spatial limitation, as the New Testament testifies of Jesus, while possessing divine properties such as omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence at the same time. This paper proposes a possible model which asserts that at the incarnation, the Logo's mind was divided into conscious and (...) preconscious, and the divine properties were transferred from the conscious into the preconscious, which became part A of Jesus' preconscious. Simultaneously, the conscious acquired newly created human properties, while a human preconscious which would become part B of Jesus' preconscious and a human body were also created. It is demonstrated that this model does not suffer from the problems that beset other models such as Apollinarianism, two-consciousness Christology, and ontological Kenoticism, and that based on this model the full attributes of divinity and humanity of Jesus as testified by the Scriptures could have simultaneously coexisted in one person without contradiction. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore how free will should be understood within the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, particularly on the assumption of traditional Christology. We focus on two issues: reconciling Christ's free will with the claim that Christ's human will was subjected to the divine will in the Incarnation; and reconciling the claims that Christ was fully human and free with the belief that Christ, since God, could not sin.
The traditional doctrine of the Incarnation maintains that God became man. But was it necessary that God become the particular man He in fact became? Could some man or woman other than the man born in Bethlehem roughly two thousand years ago have been assumed by the Son to effect our salvation? This essay addresses such questions from the perspective of one embracing Molina's picture of divine providence. After showing how Molina thought his theory of middle knowledge helps alleviate (...) a traditional Christological puzzle, the essay turns to the aforementioned questions concerning God's incarnational alternatives and suggests some fairly radical answers. Finally, the essay presents two substantial objections to these radical answers and argues that these objections fail. (shrink)
As a preliminary, I shall clarify the kenotic position by arguing that a position which is often called kenotic is actually a quasi-kenotic version of the classical account, according to which Jesus had normal divine powers but chose not to exercise them. After this preliminary, I discuss three problems with the strict kenotic account. The first is that kenosis conflicts with the standard list of attributes considered essential to God. The second problem is posed by the Exaltation, namely the resumption (...) by Jesus of normal divine powers after his life on Earth. Finally there is the problem of how it was possible for Jesus to be the same person as the pre-incarnate Word. My solutions to these problems constitute my defence of a strict kenotic account of the Incarnation. (shrink)
This paper examines the debate that has arisen in connection with J. L. Schellenberg's work on divine hiddenness. It singles out as especially deserving of attention Paul Moser's proposal that the debate distinguish more clearly between classical theism and Hebraic theisms. This worthwhile proposal, I argue, will be unlikely to exert its full potential influence upon the debate unless certain features of Christian incarnation belief are recognized and addressed in connection with it.
Traditionally, the term ’God’ has been understood either as a proper name or as a description. However, according to a new view, the term God’ in a sentence like "Jesus Christ is God" functions as a kind term, much as the term ’tiger’ functions in the sentence "Tigger is a tiger." In this paper I examine the claim that divinity can be construed as a ’supernatural’ kind, developing the outlines of an account of the semantics of God’ along these lines, (...) and suggest that it might solve an important philosophical problem concerning the Incarnation. (shrink)
I make three points in response to Richard Sturch's comments on my paper: I defend my interpretation of the Morris–Swinburne (M–S) account of the Incarnation; I argue that the M–S model appears to undercut the view that the unity of consciousness can be explained in terms of the self; and third, I argue that M–S model seems to entail that God has false beliefs.
The debate within the Christian academic community over open theism, or "openism", has been quite intense of late. Progress in this debate depends upon our examining how openism and its rivals fare when applied to particular Christian doctrines, beliefs, and practices. I hope to further the debate by raising a question regarding the Incarnation: ’Was Jesus Christ free in a morally significant way?’ After arguing that the two principal alternatives to openism (Thomism and Molinism) can offer internally plausible answers (...) to this question, I examine responses available to the open theist. None of these responses, I argue, seems particularly appealing. (shrink)
The Council of Chalcedon insisted that God Incarnate is one person with two natures, one divine and one human. Recently critics have rightly argued that God Incarnate cannot be a composite person. In the present paper I defend a new composite theory using the analogy of a boy playing a video game. The analogy suggests that the Incarnation is God doing something. The Incarnation is what I label an “action composite” and is a state of affairs, constituted by (...) one divine person assuming human nature. This solves a number of puzzles, conforms to Chalcedon, and is logically and metaphysically consistent. (shrink)
According to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, the Son of God is truly but only contingently a human being. But is it also the case that Christ’s individual human nature is only contingently united to a divine person? The affirmative answer to this question, explicitly espoused by Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, turns out to be philosophically untenable, while the negative answer, which is arguably implicit in St. Thomas Aquinas, explication of the Incarnation, has some surprising (...) and significant metaphysical consequences. (shrink)
The last quarter of the twentieth century saw a resurgence of realism in various areas of philosophy, including metaphysics and the philosophy of religion, and this trend has continued in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In philosophy of religion this led to explorations of the philosophical coherence of orthodox doctrines, such as the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. In metaphysics, there was renewed interest in debates concerning persistence, composition, the relation between mind and body, (...) time and necessity, among others. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the links between these two strands of realist inquiry, focusing on some metaphysical issues raised by the Incarnation. It ends with some suggestions as to how recent developments in metaphysical debate might inform our understanding of this most central of Christian beliefs. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate composition models of incarnation, according to which Christ is a compound of qualitatively and numerically different constituents. We focus on three-part models, according to which Christ is composed of a divine mind, a human mind, and a human body. We consider four possible relational structures that the three components could form. We argue that a ‘hierarchy of natures’ model, in which the human mind and body are united to each other in the normal way, (...) and in which they are jointly related to the divine mind by the relation of co-action, is the most metaphysically plausible model. Finally, we consider the problem of how Christ can be a single person even when his components may be considered persons. We argue that an Aristotelian metaphysics, according to which identity is a matter of function, offers a plausible solution: Christ's components may acquire a radically new identity through being parts of the whole, which enables them to be reidentified as parts, not persons. (shrink)
In what sense, if any, does the dominant conception of the traditional theistic God as disembodied inform our embodied experiences? Feminist philosophers of religion have been either explicitly or implicitly preoccupied by a philosophical failure to address such questions concerning embodiment and its relationship to the divine. To redress this failure, certain feminist philosophers have sought to appropriate Luce Irigaray’s argument that embodied divinity depends upon women themselves becoming divine. This article assesses weaknesses in the Irigarayan position, notably the problematic (...) move from a woman’s subjectivity to divinity. In the light of these weaknesses the author looks for a better alternative. Drawing on the work of feminist and nonfeminist philosophers, a feminist-friendly conception of theism is sketched in terms of incarnation and intersubjectivity. Philosophical accounts of the ethical formation of gendered subjects by way of bodily practices offer new concepts for con. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate composition models of incarnation, according to which Christ is a compound of qualitatively and numerically different constituents. We focus on three-part models, according to which Christ is composed of a divine mind, a human mind, and a human body. We consider four possible relational structures that the three components could form. We argue that a ’hierarchy of natures’ model, in which the human mind and body are united to each other in the normal way, (...) and in which they are jointly related to the divine mind by the relation of coaction, is the most metaphysically plausible model. Finally, we consider the problem of how Christ can be a single person even when his components may be considered persons. We argue that an Aristotelian metaphysics, according to which identity is a matter of function, offers a plausible solution: Christ’s components may acquire a radically new identity through being parts of the whole, which enables them to be reidentified as p. (shrink)
The Christian doctrine of the Incarnation maintains that the second person of the Trinity became a human being, retaining all attributes necessary for being divine and gaining all attributes necessary for being human. As usually understood, the doctrine involves the claim that the second person of the Trinity is the subject of the attributes of Jesus Christ, the first-century Jew whose deeds are reported in various ways in the New Testament. The fundamental philosophical problem specific to the doctrine is (...) this: how is it that one and the same thing could be both divine and human. Most of the philosophical effort devoted to the specifics of the doctrine has centered on this issue, which is the focus of this article. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss certain aspects of Leibniz's theory and practice of 'soft reasoning' as exemplified by his defence of two central mysteries of the Christian revelation: the Trinity and the Incarnation. By theory and practice of 'soft' or 'broad' reasoning, I mean the development of rational strategies which can successefully be applied to the many areas of human understanding which escape strict demonstration, that is, the 'hard' or 'narrow' reasoning typical of mathematical argumentation. These strategies disclose (...) an 'other' reason, i.e. a complementary set of arguments and methods developed by Leibniz in order to deal with crucial issues such as the 'weighting' of probabilities and truths of fact. I will argue that one of the most compelling examples of the importance and fertility of Leibniz's 'other' reason is provided by his solution to the problems posed by the unique epistemological status of theological mysteries. (shrink)
I suggest that Tim Bayne's use of the term ‘inclusion’ to describe the model of the Incarnation found in Morris and Swinburne may have misled him. The experiences of the Word do not include those of Jesus in the way that mine include my experiences as a teenager; but He is aware, in the case of Jesus, that ‘these experiences are mine’, which is not true of His awareness of the experiences of other people. Again, Bayne rejects the idea (...) that what differentiates the experiences of Jesus from those of the Word is that they differ in kind, on the grounds that they are integrated so as to be co-conscious in the divine consciousness; but this is only true if we think in terms of ‘inclusion’. Nor are any false beliefs held by Jesus part of the beliefs of the Word. Furthermore (although this is not related to ‘inclusion’) while a single soul may be sufficient to unite experiences, it need not be necessary; some other factor may (and I think does) unite the human and divine experiences of Christ. (shrink)
Medieval theologians discussed the logical structure of reduplicative propositions in the midst of their discussions of the Incarnation and the Trinity. Aquinas has the usual medieval analyzes of reduplicative propositions: the specificative and the strictly reduplicative. But neither analysis resolves successfully the problems of the consistency of the statements about God while avoiding making the Trinity or the Incarnation a merely accidental feature of Him. However, Scotus introduces another analysis: abstractive. I shall conclude that Scotus’s view of reduplication, (...) one, if not invented by him, as least stressed and developed by him, offers a better solution of the consistency of the Incarnation and the Trinity than that of Aquinas. (shrink)
IN THIS PAPER THE AUTHOR DEALS WITH AQUINAS’ SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM, WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION IS CONSISTENT. HE FIRST SHOWS WHY THERE IS A PROBLEM OF CONSISTENCY WITH THIS DOCTRINE, GIVEN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN BELIEFS. HE THEN CLAIMS THAT AQUINAS HAS TWO SOLUTIONS, AND THAT BOTH FAIL: THE FIRST SOLUTION, AS SCOTUS ALSO OBSERVES, DOES NOT RESOLVE THE APPARENT INCONSISTENCY, AND THE OTHER DEPENDS ON MAKING HUMANITY ACCIDENTAL TO CHRIST, AND HENCE ON ABANDONING THE ORTHODOX POSITION.
In this paper, we examine Abelard’s model of the incarnation and place it within the wider context of his views in metaphysics and logic. In particular, we consider whether Abelard has the resources to solve the major difficulties faced by the so-called “compositional models” of the incarnation, such as his own. These difficulties include: the requirement to account for Christ’s unity as a single person, despite being composed of two concrete particulars; the requirement to allow that Christ is (...) identical with the pre-existent Son, despite the fact that the pre-existent Son is a (proper) part of the incarnate Christ; and finally the requirement to avoid Nestorianism, i.e., the position that Christ’s proper parts are persons in their own right. We argue that Abelard does have adequate solutions to these problems. In particular, we show that his theories of relations and predication can be put to use in defence of a compositional account of the incarnation. (shrink)
What metaphysics can plausibly back up the claim that God became incarnate? In this essay we investigate the main kinds of models of incarnation that have been historically proposed. We highlight the philosophical assumptions in each model, and on this basis offernovel ways of grouping them as metaphysical rather than doctrinal positions. We examine strengths and weaknesses of the models,and argue that ‘composition models’ offer the most promising way forward to account for the pivotal Christian belief that, in Christ,true (...) divinity and true humanity meet in a genuine union. (shrink)
Christian tradition holds not simply that, in Christ, God became human, but that at the end of his earthly career Christ became exalted (possessing andexercising the divine attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience), and yet remained perpetually human. In this paper I consider several models ofthe incarnation in the light of these requirements. In particular, I contrast models that adopt a temporalist understanding of divine eternity with those that adopt an atemporalist one. I conclude that temporalist models struggle to (...) accommodate the doctrines of Christ’s exaltation and perpetual humanity, and that the only viable atemporalist models are compositionalist ones. (shrink)
Anselm's "Cur Deus" Homo argues that only by the Incarnation can God save humanity. This seems to sit ill with the claim that God is omnipotent and absolutely free, for this entails that God could save humanity in other ways. I show that features of Anselm's concept of God and treatment of necessity make the claim that the Incarnation is a necessary means of salvation problematic. I then show that for Anselm, all conditions which make the Incarnation (...) necessary for human salvation stem from God's nature and prior choices. If so, the Incarnation's necessity restricts neither God's freedom nor His power. For that the Incarnation is necessary given God's actual choices does not entail that it would have been necessary had God made other choices, or that God could not have made choices which would have made the Incarnation non-necessary. (shrink)