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Incarnation - Research Paper Example

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Incarnation

Thus, in the earliest state of Christianity, the Evangelists did neither elaborate on Jesus’s words “The Father and I are one”3 nor expound on the baptizing formula “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”4; which, according to Dibb, indicates that they were more concerned with the message of salvation, rather than with the theological detail.5 On the other hand, identifying Jesus as Christ and linking Him to the Father (Lord), the New Testament writers not just suggested the fulfillment of Jewish expectations of the Messiah, but also His divine status – the latter being considered the central point that has made the uniqueness of Christianity6. All in all, the whole Christian tradition could be considered as “recording and interpreting various collective and individual experiences of Jesus”7; while the experiential knowledge of Jesus, in turn, became more or less the basis of ‘philosophy’ in the context of Christology89. ...
This paper is focused on the central concept in Christology, namely the incarnation, which actually represents the greatest challenge faced by theologians, philosophers and apologists concerned with the Christian faith and worship. The following sections explore the concept of incarnation as viewed by representatives of different schools of thought and traditions within the Christian Church, as well as by contemporary theologians and researchers in the field. Thus, the paper traces the development of this concept over the centuries and attempts to address its acceptability nowadays. Early Christian Writers – Views of the Nature of God The relationship between the human and the divine, the finite and infinite, in the person of Jesus, appeared an issue that increasingly required further articulation. St Ignatius, who became the Bishop of Antioch in 69 AD and was sentenced to death in about 107 AD, wrote a series of Epistles to the Christians, in which Jesus Christ is depicted as “God becoming visible”, “God existing in flesh, true life in death”, representing the mind of the Father12. Ignatius had philosophically described a progression “from divinity to humanity”, where Jesus Christ is not considered a separate being but a part of the progression whereby the mind of God had become flesh, and the “doorway to the Father”13. However, according to Ignatius, the human and divine in Christ does not interfere with the unity of God14. One of the earliest Christian writers, St Irenaeus of Lyons (120 – 202 AD), who served at Lyons as a presbyter to Polycarp, wrote his magnum opus – Against Heretics – at about 180 AD15. In this work, having exposed the errors of Gnosticism, Irenaeus set forth ...Show more

Summary

Table of Contents Introduction 3 Early Christian Writers – Views of the Nature of God 5 The Arian Controversy and the Nicene-Athanasian Creeds 7 The Middle Ages 10 Alternative Views 14 Kenotic Christological Theories on the Incarnation 15 Conclusion 16 Bibliography 17 Introduction The belief that Jesus Christ was born, lived among people and died on the cross into our material world, and was subsequently resurrected from the dead, constitutes the very essence of Christianity1…
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