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Encyclopedia > Incarnation (Christianity)
Christ en majesté, Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.: Resurrection of Jesus
Christ en majesté, Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.: Resurrection of Jesus

The doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ is the belief that the second person in the Christian Godhead, also known as the Son or the Logos (Word), "became flesh" when he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. In the Incarnation, the divine nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person Jesus Christ, who was both "truly God and truly man" (Chalcedonian Creed)." The incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at the Feast of the Incarnation, also known as Annunciation. Download high resolution version (712x1185, 133 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (712x1185, 133 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... The Crucifixion, central panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece Matthias Grünewald (1470-1528) is a highly regarded figure from the German Renaissance. ... The resurrection of Jesus is an event in the New Testament in which God raised him from the dead[1] after his death by crucifixion. ... Christ is the English translation of the Greek word (Christós), which literally means The Anointed One. ... In Christianity, the Godhead is a term denoting deity or divinity. ... Look up logos, λόγος in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Gabriel delivering the Annunciation to Mary. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in Asia Minor. ... A Feast of the Incarnation is generally celebrated on the date on which that particular incarnation is thought to have entered the material world via live birth. ... A key piece of the Paleologan Mannerism - the Annunciation icon from Ohrid. ...

The doctrine is central to the traditional Christian faith as held by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church and most Protestants. The name Catholic Church can mean a visible organization that refers to itself as Catholic, or the invisible Christian Church, viz. ... The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body that views itself: as the historical continuation of the original Christian community established by Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles. ... The term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keeps the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils of the undivided Church - the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ...

Importance of the doctrine

In the early Christian era there was considerable disagreement regarding the nature of Christ's incarnation. Christians believed that He was the Son of God. The exact nature of his Sonship, however, was contested. Son of God is a biblical phrase from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), and the New Testament. ...

Eventually, the doctrine of Christ being fully God and fully Man simultaneously grew to become the dominant doctrine of the Catholic Church, and all competing beliefs were labelled heresies. The most well known of these are Gnosticism, which stated that Jesus was a divine being that took on human appearance but not flesh, Arianism which held that Christ was a created being, similar in concept to an Angel, and Nestorianism, which held that the Son of God, and the man, Jesus, shared the same body but retained two separate personhoods. Look up Heresy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article is about theological views like those of Arius. ... A Gothic angel in ivory, c1250, Louvre An angel is a supernatural being found in many religions. ... Nestorianism is the doctrine that Jesus exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person. ...

The final definitions of the incarnation and the nature of Jesus were made by the early Church at the Council of Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon and the First Council of Nicaea. These councils declared that Jesus was both fully God, begotten from 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. The Council of Ephesus was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. ... The Council of Chalcedon was an ecumenical council that took place from October 8 to November 1, 451, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor), today part of the city of Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and known as the district of Kadıköy. ... The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicea in Bithynia (in present-day Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first ecumenical[1] conference of bishops of the Catholic Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. ... Our Lady redirects here. ... The hypostatic union (also known as the mystical union), in Christian theology, refers to the dual nature of Jesus Christ as being simultaneously God and Man. ...

The significance of the Incarnation has been extensively written-upon throughout Christian history, and is the subject of countless hymns and prayers. For instance, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, as used by Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics, includes the "Hymn to the Only Begotten Son": A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a god or other religiously significant figure. ... Mary Magdalene in prayer. ... John Chrysostom (347 - 407) was a notable Christian bishop and preacher from the 4th and 5th centuries in Syria and Constantinople. ...

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—
Save us!

The Athanasian Creed contains what may be considered a comprehensive definition of the Incarnation. Theotokos of Kazan Theotokos (Greek: , translit. ... The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult) is a statement of Christian doctrine traditionally ascribed to St. ...

Fortuitous and Necessary Incarnation

The link between the Incarnation and the Atonement within systematic theological thought is complex. Within traditional models of Atonement, such as Substitution, Satisfaction or Christus Victor, it is essential that Christ be Divine in order for the cross to 'work', for our sins to be 'removed' and/or 'conquered. In his work "The Trinity and the Kingdom of God", Jurgen Moltmann differented between what he called a 'fortutious' and 'necessary' Incarnation. The latter speaks of the sole aim of the Incarnation as having a soteriological emphasis - that the Son of God became incarnate 'so that' He could save us from our sins. The former speaks of the Incarnation as a fulfilment of the love of God, and His desire to be present and living admist us, to 'walk in the garden' with us. Moltmann favours 'fortuitous' incarnation primarily because to speak of an incarnation of necessity is to do an injustice to the life of Christ.

Moltmann's work, along side other systematic theologians, opens up avenues of liberation christology, and the incarnation remains central to Christianity.

See also

Christology is a field of study within Christian theology which is concerned with the nature of Jesus the Christ. ...

External links



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