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only Jesus 2

Post  Guest on Sat 24 Nov 2007, 6:08 pm

Incarnation of Jesus ( Fulfilment of God’s Salvific Will or a Myth).

Through His incarnation and atonement Jesus showed humankind its destiny.

John Sanders also agree with this view:-

In Him we find the fulfilment of our destiny, what it means to be a genuine human being. He is both the true image of God and the true image of humanness.”[1]

This is a believers’ claim, for whom Jesus is fundamental, but for a non-Christian it is difficult to understand the fulfilment of human destiny in Christ. This concept of Jesus’ incarnation to be seen as the fulfilment of God’s salvific will, comes from an inclusivist, John Sanders when he refers to the verse: Luke.13:34, Where Jesus talks about offering salvation not only to those who believe, but also to those who do not believe[2].

The Roman Catholic theologian Karl Rahner seems to have a similar view like John Sanders inclusivism, when he talks about the concept of ‘anonymous Christians’ – those, who can be saved by grace through implicit faith.[3] Do Rahner and John Sanders both trying to say that those who are people of good conduct, whose lives seem to portray Jesus’ teaching will be saved, even if they don’t know Jesus?

Why do not they interpret the above verse( LK.13:34) in this way that Jesus is talking about those Israelites who had moved from God and he is trying to bring them back towards God- in his folk? It can be said it is the work of mere interpretation how one can understand the Biblical verse.

Coming back to the concept of incarnation it is again questionable when seen through the eyes of a Hindu, for whom God has incarnated in many and they see Jesus as one of them. An incarnated god – an avatar.

Furthermore the theologian, John Hick sees the Incarnation as a myth when he says, incarnation of Jesus must be understood mythologically rather than literally. Its all the matter of mythic language and literal language – when first is confused with the second then a false type of truth occurs and thus incarnational language is mythic and not literal and this mythic language does not mean an exclusive revelation of God.[4] After reading this one can ask, why he is calling the event of Jesus’ incarnation a myth? To this Hick will answer from two perspectives: 1) Philosophical 2) Biblical. From philosophical point of view Hick would say that the event of Jesus’ incarnation must be understood mythically and not literally, because literally it is very difficult to understand the concept of incarnation- as ‘how one person can be both eternal and yet born in time: omnipotent and yet with limited capacity of a human being, or is like a figure drawn on a paper which has the attributes of both a circle and square’[5], and from Biblical point of view he affirms his philosophical point that Jesus’ incarnation is a myth because New Testament scholarship presents fragmentary data about Jesus and Jesus himself had never made such a claim to be an incarnated God[6].

It is true that Jesus never said he is the incarnated God, but in New Testament one can find many references which tells us that Jesus is the incarnated Son of God. For example Hebrews 1:8; 2:10; John 3:16; Luke 3:22 and John 1:14, and John 1:14 says:-

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Word of God, who was incarnated as a human and showed us God’s glory and truth. But for Hick as he is looking at the event of Jesus’ incarnation through philosophical and historical point of view and also he found no reference for Jesus himself confirming his incarnation in New Testament the event of Jesus’ incarnation is only mythical with no literal significance.
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[1] John Sanders ‘Inclusivism’ in John Sanders (ed). What About Those Who Have Never


[2] Ibid,Pg 28.

[3] Ibid,Pg 58.

[4] G.D’Costa’s views on Hick in G.D’Costa , Theology and Religious Pluralism, Oxford: Basil Blackwell,1986, pg 25,27

[5] Hick quoted by Gavin D’Costa, in Theology and Religious Pluralism, Oxford: Basil Blackwell,1986, pg 27.

[6] Ibid, pg 27.

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