December 25, 2013


Ongoing Incarnation: Would Christmas have come even if we had not sinned? (Philip Yancey, 1/10/2008, Christianity Today)

More than two centuries before the Reformation, a theological debate broke out that pitted theologian Thomas Aquinas against an upstart from Britain, John Duns Scotus. In essence, the debate circled around the question, "Would Christmas have occurred if humanity had not sinned?"

Whereas Aquinas viewed the Incarnation as God's remedy for a fallen planet, his contemporary saw much more at stake. For Duns Scotus, the Word becoming flesh as described in the prologue to John's Gospel must surely represent the Creator's primary design, not some kind of afterthought or Plan B. Aquinas pointed to passages emphasizing the Cross as God's redemptive response to a broken relationship. Duns Scotus cited passages from Ephesians and Colossians on the cosmic Christ, in whom all things have their origin, hold together, and move toward consummation.

Did Jesus visit this planet as an accommodation to human failure or as the center point of all creation?

Had He anticipated our sinfulness, God would have had no need to become Man in order to comprehend our plight, nor have despaired Himself when mortal.

[originally posted 1/10/08]

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Posted by at December 25, 2013 7:00 AM

Nice allusion to Stanley Fish's groundbreaking read on Milton in the title, Mr. Judd.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 10, 2008 4:20 PM

Not sure your point makes sense though. Hard to imagine God not anticipating something or, essentially, being surprised by something, isn't it?

Posted by: Kurt Brouwer at January 10, 2008 4:49 PM

O felix culpa quae totem et tantum meruit habere Redemptorem.

It's here.

It's a matter of predestination. I don't comprehend predestination (neither do you) but I believe in it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 10, 2008 5:24 PM


Hardly. He was taken unawares by the Fall and surprised constantly thereafter. Heck, it didn't even occur to Him to give us mates until Adam moped around for awhile.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2008 9:02 PM

God doesn't believe in predestination, so I don't.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2008 9:05 PM

God exists outside of time.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 10, 2008 9:12 PM

I am curious. When did He mention that He doesn't believe in predestination?

Posted by: Vic Havens at January 10, 2008 10:15 PM

With respect to redemption, it's pretty clear throughout the Scripture that God makes the first move. After the Fall, man is uninterested in redemption. In fact, man is in constant rebellion.

God is unaware of nothing. I suppose OJ would argue that God didn't know Satan was going to fall, either. Or that the Jews would reject him and murder his son. Or that Paul would respond to his call on the Damascus Road.

But we know what the Scripture teaches. God knows all things innately and immediately. He knows nothing contingently. He knows our thoughts before we think them, and all our secrets. We don't know his.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 11, 2008 1:49 AM

The Biblical story is clear in showing that God is not omniscient - the biggest gap in his knowledge being his ignorance of what it was like to be human - though he filled that gap a couple thousand years ago, and we celebrate his education.

Posted by: Shelton at January 11, 2008 1:59 AM

The notion of such knowledge is anti-scriptural. It's a clerical construct.

Posted by: oj at January 11, 2008 7:25 AM

God tells Job he hung the stars and created all nature (animals, even the exotic ones). He says the same to Isaiah, and even more (that he causes all things).

Jesus tells the disciples he knows every hair on their heads, and he knows where all the birds are at any given moment. He knows all the little things, and all the big things. The notion that
God had to be "educated" is a far stretch. And the notion that Christ 'taught' the Father anything is just nonsense.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 11, 2008 8:33 AM

He says it for the first time in Genesis: 3:22

Posted by: oj at January 11, 2008 9:47 AM

Yes, He created everything. He just doesn't get us, at least until He tries to live as one of us. Free Will is beyond even His capacity to control.

Posted by: oj at January 11, 2008 2:27 PM

Where is Abel, thy brother?

Posted by: God at January 12, 2008 9:56 AM
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