The Incarnation of God

The Incarnation of God: The Mystery of the Gospel as the Foundation of Evangelical Theology – Clark, John; Johnson, Marcus Peter

This was a great book that magnifies Jesus Christ through and through. The authors emphasize again and again that we are saved by all that Jesus was, is, and did as God-man – not merely his death. There is a refreshing holistic focus which is great to get from an evangelical perspective, one that draws on the Reformation heritage, but also isn’t afraid to pull from the Church Fathers or Eastern Orthodox or Catholic writers where what they write is true and enlightening. This is helpful because one thing that is attractive to me about E. Orthodoxy is that, as I put it slightly tongue in cheek, they know why they celebrate Christmas.

There’s a lot in this book about participation in the body of Christ, considered in (at least) the church and in the sacrament and it’s really good. I recommend it.

Two quotes for you:

God condescends to accommodate, or adapt, himself to our humanity, and the incarnation of God in and as the man Jesus Christ is the absolute apex of God’s self-adaptation. Such divine condescension is staggering, to say the least. Yet the incarnation neither contradicts nor obscures who God is, as if God were known more fully and clearly prior to or apart from the appearing of Immanuel. God the Son come in the flesh is not an instance of divine retreat, the regressive revelation of God! On the contrary, in this stunning act of divine invasion, of progressive revelation, God accommodates himself to us in the humanity of Jesus Christ to reveal himself all the more radiantly. The incarnation does not attest to God’s self-abdication, but to his omnipotent self-possession, to his boundless plenitude. The condescension of God in and as Jesus Christ does not contradict or obscure God’s divine majesty, but is his freely chosen mode of exalting his divine majesty. Thus, the incarnation demonstrates that God’s self-emptying and self-fulfillment are not antithetical, but identical. (p. 80)

Specifically, neither theory [propounding: what is the image of God?], as commonly or popularly understood, requires for its application that humankind be what God says we are: both male and female… a solitary male or female most certainly cannot image God in a way that is most basic to who he is: depicting his personal, relational, and life-giving intimacy. (p. 214-5)

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