Monday, November 20, 2006

The Incarnation Is True

Atheist Objection to Hypostatic Union
The atheist objects:
1. Opposites cannot both be true: A and not-A cannot be true at the same time in the same sense.
2. One person cannot be fully divine (infinite) and fully man (finite) at the same time in his being, for that is an undeniable (real, not "apparent" or paradoxical) contradiction, like a square circle.
3. The Christian doctrine of the incarnation, as defined at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451), teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man at the same time.
4. Therefore, Christianity is false.

Christian Response
The Christian responds:
1. The proposition that any person can be both infinite in one nature (what) and finite in another nature (what) without confusion, mixture, or division of the two natures in that one person (who) at the same time and in the senses defined is not contradictory.
2. Christianity claims that Jesus Christ is both infinite in one nature and finite in another nature without confusion, mixture, or division of the two natures in His person at the same time and in the senses defined.
3. Therefore, the claim that the Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man at the same time is not contradictory.

One cannot be "partly divine." The divine nature must be complete because a nature is either divine or not divine. Are God and man in the same category? If not, it is simple to illustrate the Hypostatic union by using the categories of shape and color. A green circle is fully green and fully circular.

Proof of The Incarnation
The possibility of the Incarnation logically follows from God's power; steps 9-17 are from the work of the brilliant Dr. Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Baker Academics: Grand Rapids, MI, 1999), ###:
1. God is omnipotent, meaning that He can do all that is logically possible.
2. God created man.
3. Man exists in human form.
4. Existence in human form is logically possible. (3)
5. God can necessarily remain God while existing in human form, because He is the Creator of the human form and made mankind in His image. There were theophanies in the Old Testament. (1-4)
6. If God cannot do these things, then He is not omnipotent. (1)
7. But God is necessarily omnipotent, and so #6 is false and #5 is true.
8. Therefore, the Incarnation is possibly true. (1-7)
9. Since the theistic God exists, miracles are possible.
10. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (i.e., as an act of God to confirm a word from God).
11. The New Testament is historically reliable.
12. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.
13. Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:
a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about Himself;
b. His sinless and miraculous life;
c. His prediction and accomplishment of His resurrection.
14. Therefore, Jesus is God.
15. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.
16. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.
17. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).
18. The Bible teaches that the Incarnation is true.
19. Therefore, the Incarnation is actually true.

Actual Contradictions
The following are actual contradictions:
1. Two natures in one nature.
2. Two persons in one person.
3. A and not-A in one nature.

Also, atheists may perceive contradictions in the doctrine of the Incarnation because when referring to the characteristics/properties they fail to distinguish between ontology and functionality.

Here is another way of wording it. God is uncreated, eternal, and immutable. Human nature is created, temporal, and mutable. Now, the atheist objects, opposites cannot be said of the same. The Christian acknowledges that indeed, opposites cannot be predicated of the same in the same respects, but then points out that they can be predicated of the same in different aspects. Thus it is coherent to predicate opposites of Jesus Christ, in different natures.

Communication of Idioms
In Summa Theologica, anti-social Trinitarian St. Thomas Aquinas, through careful linguistic analysis, demonstrates the veracity of the following propositions about the Incarnation:
1. God is man.
2. Man is God.
3. The properties of Christ's human nature can be predicated of God.
4. The properties of Christ's human nature cannot be predicated of His divine nature.
5. God was made man.
6. Man was not made God.
7. Jesus Christ is not a creature.
8. Jesus Christ did not begin to exist.
9. Christ as Man is a creature.
10. It is incorrect to say "Christ as Man is God."
11. It is incorrect to say "Christ as Man is an hypostasis or person."
12. The union of the Word incarnate took place in the person, not the nature.
13. The human nature was not united to the Word of God accidentally.
14. The union is something created.
15. The union of the two natures in Christ is the greatest of all unions.
16. After the Incarnation the person of Christ is composite.
17. The Son of God assumed flesh through the medium of the soul.
18. Christ is one.
19. There is only one being in Christ.
20. In Christ there are two distinct wills: divine and human.
21. There is no contrariety of wills in Christ.
22. The soul of Christ is not omnipotent.
23. The flesh of Christ was derived from Adam (and thus David).
24. The Godhead was not separated from the flesh when Christ died.
25. Christ's Passion is not to be attributed to His Godhead.
26. Christ's Godhead and humanity are to be adored with one and the same adoration.

Go to this post for a survey of Christological/Trinitarian heresies.


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