In Christian theology, the doctrine of the incarnation holds that Jesus, the preexistent divine Logos (Koine Greek for "Word") and the second hypostasis of the Trinity, God the Son and Son of the Father, taking on a human body and human nature, "was made flesh" and conceived in the womb of Mary the Theotokos (Greek for "God-bearer"; Latin: Mater Dei, lit. 'Mother of God'). The doctrine of the incarnation, then, entails that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, his two natures joined in hypostatic union.
In the incarnation, as traditionally defined by those Churches that adhere to the Council of Chalcedon, the divine nature of the Son was united but not mixed with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, who was both "truly God and truly man". This is central to the traditional faith held by most Christians. Alternative views on the subject (See Ebionites and the Gospel of the Hebrews) have been proposed throughout the centuries (see below), but all were rejected by mainstream Christian bodies. An alternative doctrine known as "Oneness" has been espoused among various Pentecostal groups (see below).
The incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at Christmas, and also reference can be made to the Feast of the Annunciation; "different aspects of the mystery of the incarnation" are celebrated at Christmas and the Annunciation.
The noun incarnation derives from the ecclesiastical Latin verb incarno, itself derived from the prefix in- and caro, "flesh", meaning "to make into flesh" or, in the passive, "to be made flesh". The verb incarno does not occur in the Latin Bible but the term is drawn from the Gospel of John 1:14 "et Verbum caro factum est" (Vulgate), King James Version: "and the Word was made flesh".
Incarnation refers to the act of a pre-existent divine being, the Son of God, in becoming a human being. While all Christians believed that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, "the divinity of Christ was a theologically charged topic for the Early Church." Debate on this subject occurred during the first four centuries of Christianity, involving Jewish Christians, Gnostics, followers of Arius of Alexandria, and adherents of Pope Alexander of Alexandria, among others.
Ignatius of Antioch taught that "We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin." Justin Martyr argued that the incarnate Word was pre-figured in Old Testament prophecies.
Eventually, teaching of Alexander, Athanasius, and the other Nicene Fathers, that the Son was consubstantial and coeternal with the Father, were defined as orthodox dogma. All divergent beliefs were defined as heresies. This included Docetism, Arianism, Nestorianism, and Sabellianism.
The most widely accepted definitions of the incarnation and the nature of Jesus were made by the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the Council of Ephesus in 431, and the Council of Chalcedon in 451. These councils declared that Jesus was both fully God: begotten from, but not created by the Father; and fully man: taking His flesh and human nature from the Virgin Mary. These two natures, human and divine, were hypostatically united into the one personhood of Jesus Christ.[note 1]
The incarnation implies three facts: (1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ; (2) The Human Nature of Jesus Christ; (3) The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. Without diminishing His divinity, He added to it all that is involved in being human. In Christian belief it is understood that Jesus was at the same time both fully God and fully human, two natures in one person. The body of Christ was therefore subject to all the bodily weaknesses to which human nature is universally subject; such are hunger (Matt.4:2), thirst (John 19:28), fatigue (John 4:6), pain, and death. They were the natural results of the human nature He assumed.
The significance of the incarnation has been extensively discussed throughout Christian history, and is the subject of countless hymns and prayers. For instance, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (c. 400), as used by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Byzantine Catholics, includes this "Hymn to the Only Begotten Son":
O only begotten Son and Word of God,
Who, being immortal,
Deigned for our salvation
To become incarnate
Of the holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary,
And became man without change;
You were also crucified,
O Christ our God,
And by death have trampled Death,
Being one of the Holy Trinity,
Glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit—
Let all mortal flesh be silent,
and stand with fear and trembling,
and meditate nothing earthly within itself:—
For the King of kings and Lord of lords,
Christ our God, comes forward to be sacrificed,
and to be given for food to the faithful;
and the bands of angels go before Him
with every power and dominion,
the many-eyed cherubim,
and the six-winged seraphim,
covering their faces,
and crying aloud the hymn,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
The West Syriac Churches – Syriac Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox, Syro-Malankara Catholic, Syriac Catholic and Maronite Catholic – principally celebrating the Holy Qurbono of St. James (c. AD 60) have a similar ma‛neetho,[note 2] a poetic hymn, traditionally attributed to St. Severus, the Patriarch of Antioch (c. 465–538):
I exalt Thee, Lord and King,
Only-begotten Son and Word
of the heavenly Father,
immortal by nature, Thou came down by grace
and life for all human race; was incarnate
of the holy
glorious, pure Virgin
Mary, Mother of God
and became man without any change;
was crucified for us.
O Christ, our God,
Who by Thy death trampled and slaughtered our death,
Who are One of the Holy Trinity,
worshipped and honored with
the Father and the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us all.
The incarnation is central to Catholicism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives paragraphs 461-463 to the incarnation and cites several Bible passages to assert its centrality (Philippians 2:5-8, Hebrews 10:5-7, 1 John 4:2, 1 Timothy 3:16).
The link between the incarnation and the atonement within systematic theology is complex. Within traditional models of the atonement, such as Substitution, Satisfaction or Christus Victor, Christ must be human in order for the sacrifice of the cross to be efficacious, for human sins to be "removed" and/or "conquered". In his work The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, Jürgen Moltmann differentiated between what he called a "fortuitous" and a "necessary" incarnation. The latter gives a soteriological emphasis to the incarnation: the Son of God became a man so that he could save us from our sins. The former, on the other hand, speaks of the incarnation as a fulfilment of the Love of God, of his desire to be present and living amidst humanity, to "walk in the garden" with us. Moltmann favours "fortuitous" incarnation primarily because he feels that to speak of an incarnation of "necessity" is to do an injustice to the life of Christ. Moltmann's work, alongside other systematic theologians, opens up avenues of liberation Christology.
During the Reformation, Michael Servetus taught a theology of the incarnation that denied trinitarianism, insisting that classical trinitarians were essentially tritheists who had rejected Biblical monotheism in favor of Greek philosophy. The Son of God, Servetus asserted, is not an eternally existing being, but rather the more abstract Logos (a manifestation of the One True God, not a separate person) incarnate. For this reason, Servetus refused to call Christ the "eternal Son of God" preferring "the Son of the eternal God" instead.
In describing Servetus' theology of the Logos, Andrew Dibb (2005) comments: "In Genesis God reveals Himself as the Creator. In John He reveals that He created by means of the Word, or Logos. Finally, also in John, He shows that this Logos became flesh and 'dwelt among us'. Creation took place by the spoken word, for God said 'Let there be…' The spoken word of Genesis, the Logos of John, and the Christ, are all one and the same."
Condemned by both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches on account of his heterodox Christology, Servetus was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1553, by the Reformed Protestants in Geneva, Switzerland. The French reformer John Calvin, who asserted he would ensure the death of Servetus if he set foot in Geneva because of his non-Reformed views on the Trinity and the sacrament of baptism, requested he be beheaded as a traitor rather than burned as a heretic, but the authorities insisted on executing Servetus by fire.
Post-Reformation Arians such as William Whiston often held a view of the incarnation in keeping with the personal pre-existence of Christ. Whiston considered the incarnation to be of the Logos Who had pre-existed as "a Metaphysick existence, in potentia or in the like higher and sublimer Manner in the Father as His Wisdom or Word before His real Creation or Generation.".
Servetus rejected Arianism because it denied Jesus' divinity so it is certain that he would have also rejected Socinianism as a form of Arianism which both rejects that Jesus is God, and, also that Jesus consciously existed before His birth, which most Arian groups accept. Fausto Sozzini and writers of the Polish Brethren such as Samuel Przypkowski, Marcin Czechowic and Johann Ludwig von Wolzogen saw the incarnation as being primarily a function of fatherhood. Namely that Christ was literally both 'Son of Man' from his maternal side, and also literally 'Son of God' on his paternal side. The concept of the incarnation —"the Word became flesh and dwelt among us"— was understood as the literal word or logos of Ps. 33:6 having been made human by a virgin birth. Sozzini, Przypkowski and other Socinian writers were distinct from Servetus in stating that Jesus having "come down from heaven" was primarily in terms of Mary's miraculous conception and not in Jesus having in any literal sense been in heaven. Today the number of churches with Socinian Christology is very small, the main group known for this are the Christadelphians, other groups include CoGGC and CGAF. Modern Socinian or "Biblical Unitarian" writers generally place emphasis on "made flesh" not just meaning "made a body", but incarnation (a term these groups would avoid) requiring Jesus having the temptable and mortal nature of His mother.
In contrast to the traditional view of the incarnation cited above, adherents of Oneness Pentecostalism believe in the doctrine of Oneness. Although both Oneness and traditional Christianity teach that God is a singular Spirit, Oneness adherents reject the idea that God is a Trinity of persons. Oneness doctrine teaches there is one God who manifests Himself in different ways, as opposed to a Trinity, where God is seen as one being consisting of three distinct persons.
To a Oneness Pentecostal, Jesus is seen as both fully divine and fully human. The term Father refers to God Himself, who caused the conception of the Son in Mary, thus becoming the father of the child she bore. The term Son refers to the fully human person, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost refers to the manifestation of God's Spirit inside of and around His people. Thus the Father is not the Son — and this distinction is crucial — but is in the Son as the fullness of His divine nature. Traditional Trinitarians believe that the Son always existed as the eternal second person of the Trinity; Oneness adherents believe that the Son did not come into being until the incarnation, when the one and only true God took on human form for the first, last and only time in history.
According to Mormon theology two of the three distinct divine beings of their godhead have perfected, glorified, physical bodies, namely God the Father-Elohim and God the Son-Jehova. The Mormon godhead of Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not said to be one in substance or essence; instead, they remain three separate beings, or personages.
This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity in which only one of the three divine persons, God the Son, had an incarnated physical body, and Jehova has not. It also differs totally from the Jewish tradition of ethical monotheism in which Elohim (Hebrew: אֱלֹהִים) is a completely different conception.
The Annunciation (from Latin annuntiatio), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Catholic celebration of the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking His Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".According to Luke 1:26, the Annunciation occurred "in the sixth month" of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, an approximation of the northern vernal equinox nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus.
The Annunciation is a key topic in Christian art in general, as well as in Marian art in the Catholic Church, particularly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. A work of art depicting the Annunciation is sometimes itself called an Annunciation.Divine presence
Divine presence, presence of God, Inner God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the ability of a god or gods to be "present" with human beings.
According to some types of monotheism God is omnipresent.Elijah Benamozegh
Elijah Benamozegh, sometimes Elia or Eliyahu, (born 1822; died 6 February 1900) was an Italian rabbi and a noted Kabbalist, highly respected in his day as one of Italy's most eminent Jewish scholars. He served for half a century as rabbi of the important Jewish community of Livorno, where the Piazza Benamozegh now commemorates his name and distinction. His major work is Israel and Humanity (1863), which was translated into English by Dr. Mordechai Luria in 1995.Incarnation
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial. In its religious context the word is used to mean the descent from Heaven of a god, deity, or divine being in human/animal form on Earth.Novensiles
In ancient Roman religion, the dii (also di) Novensiles or Novensides are collective deities of obscure significance found in inscriptions, prayer formulary, and both ancient and early-Christian literary texts.
In antiquity, the initial element of the word novensiles was thought to derive from either "new" (novus) or "nine" (novem). The form novensides has been explained as "new settlers," from novus and insidere, "to settle". The enduringly influential 19th-century scholar Georg Wissowa thought that the novensiles or novensides were deities the Romans regarded as imported, that is, not indigenous like the di Indigetes.Although Wissowa treated the categories of indigetes and novensiles as a fundamental way to classify Roman gods, the distinction is hard to maintain; many scholars reject it. Arnaldo Momigliano pointed out that no ancient text poses novensiles and indigetes as a dichotomy, and that the etymology of novensides is far from settled. In his treatise on orthography, the 4th-century philosopher Marius Victorinus regarded the spellings novensiles and novensides as a simple phonetic alteration of l and d, characteristic of the Sabine language. Some ancient sources say the novensiles are nine in number, leading to both ancient and modern identifications with other divine collectives numbering nine, such as the nine Etruscan deities empowered to wield thunder or with the Muses. The name is thus sometimes spelled Novemsiles or Novemsides.
It may be that only the cults of deities considered indigenous were first established within the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), with "new" gods on the Aventine Hill or in the Campus Martius, but it is uncertain whether the terms indigetes and novensiles correspond to this topography. William Warde Fowler observed that at any rate a distinction between "indigenous" and "imported" begins to vanish during the Hannibalic War, when immigrant deities are regularly invoked for the protection of the state.Omnipresence
Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. The term omnipresence is most often used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being, while the term ubiquity is generally used to describe something "existing or being everywhere at the same time, constantly encountered, widespread, common." Ubiquitous can also be used as a synonym for words like worldwide, universal, global, pervasive, all over the place.
The omnipresence of a supreme being is conceived differently by different religious systems. In monotheistic beliefs like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam the divine and the universe are separate, but the divine is present everywhere. In pantheistic beliefs the divine and the universe are identical. In panentheistic beliefs the divine interpenetrates the universe, but extends beyond it in time and space.Virgin birth of Jesus
The virgin birth of Jesus is the doctrine that Jesus was conceived and born by his mother Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit and without the agency of a human father. The idea is found only in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is enshrined in the Nicene Creed ("incarnate of the Virgin Mary") and the Apostles' Creed ("born of the Virgin Mary"), the Catholic church holds it authoritative for faith and Protestants regard it as an explanation of the mixture of the human and divine natures of Jesus, but the scholarly consensus is that its historical foundations are very flimsy.