Incarnation’s Significance

The Incarnation of God in Christ has become fashionable. Not only does it mean God has taken up our case by becoming what we are, but it has also reached into a “theology of creation” — or the excellence of creation and the justification of life in this world. A recent example of probing Incarnation can be found in the mesmerizing book by Christian Wiman called My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.

Wiman’s approach is not from or through the world of science as someone in modernity or postmodernity seeks to make meaning of faith and religion after science but instead he approaches faith through the world of poetry and consciousness, all wrapped up in a body dying of cancer. Here are his words on incarnation, with my own formatting:

… there is no permutation of humanity in which Christ is not present.

If every Bible is lost,
if every church crumbles to dust,
if the last believer in the last prayer opens her eyes and lets it all finally go,

Christ will appear on this earth as calmly and casually as he appeared to the disciples walking to Emmaus after his death, who did not recognize this man to whom they had pledged their very lives; this man whom they had seen beaten, crucified, abandoned by God; this man who, after walking the dusty road with them, after sharing an ordinary meal and discussing the scriptures, had to vanish once more in order to make them see.

As one might see on a sheet of paper in a classroom, “Discuss.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • mteston1

    Looks like it could be worth a couple reads. The question arises, can we break free of our absolute “disgust” with (our own) flesh and blood long enough to appreciate the wonder and amazement of what it means to be human, yes flesh and blood, in a cosmos like ours? That will require of us to step back, back past the reformation, back past Rome, back past some theological biases, way back to reenter a garden filled with all of the delights to the senses that creation and the creator intended. And maybe there, encounter afresh “the human being.”

  • Mark Pixley

    The Incarnation has become my current travel-lodge of theology after nearly 40 years of journey…quite content to camp here a bit…thing is you cannot have a salvation without an incarnation…I am a little weary of using the term to refer to ministry…”incarnational” is now sort of a buzz-word non-definable-badge of relevancy…(that and “missional”.share the same shelf as “worship” in authority if you get my drift)…the idea informing my approach is that somehow if we understand the incarnation as Gods litmus test for humanity, can the plan actually work? Jesus as a man now enters heaven…sort of the defining legal moment in the history of Gods agenda to show, “Why yes, it does work, quite well in fact, lets raise them all up with Him!” Jesus became “flesh” not just a man…to save the very playground of hell out of hell itself…


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