In the final show of 2016, Matt, Alastair, and Derek consider whether God would have become incarnate had Adam not sinned, and the value of thinking about such hypotheticals.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • Well, since we’re Reformedish and don’t want to break God’s unified decree of all that comes to pass, we know that, in a sense, there’s no “what if” of a reality other than this one. So, as you guys are noting, what can we know of an incarnation in an alternative reality without the fall. Still, I’m intrigued by Alastair’s perspective and have wondered about it for a few years.

    Does it help to reframe the question as: what does the incarnation accomplish that isn’t limited to or deeply entangled in a response to the fall?

    I’m intrigued to think there’s something to the “need” of bridging the gulf between heaven and earth, between the deeply mysterious God and lowly man that requires the incarnation. That’s a gulf that exists in creation without the fall.

    Does the Nicene Creed tempt us to a little bit of Incarnation Anyway or something like it when it says, “who for us men AND for our salvation”?

    • Alastair J Roberts

      From a Reformed perspective, the question really concerns how the incarnation stands relative to the decree and to its teleological order. Most Reformed would readily acknowledge that, although although all things necessarily occur according to God’s will, relative to that same will, not all events have the same necessity or teleological significance. Many events easily could have been determined otherwise by God, without his purpose being overturned. For instance, there is a degree of necessity to God’s perfection of his creation that there isn’t to the fact that I ate breakfast this morning.

      • Oh, I think you’re underestimating the cosmic significance of your breakfast this morning. 😋

  • nbraithwaite

    Trying to establish that the Messiah was both God and man did not happen overnight. This was a process spanning many generations and cultures for hundreds of years. In the end it was logic, reason, and the accurate interpretation of scripture that were abandoned for the “mystery” of twisted logic, reason and scripture manipulation that won the day. http://www.christiandiscipleschurch.org/sites/default/files/books/topm/TOPM_English_Large_Print.pdf http://www.christiandiscipleschurch.org/sites/default/files/books/totg_english.pdf http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/articles/Who%20Is%20Jesus.pdf http://www.thetrinitydelusion.com/ http://trinitylies.blogspot.com/

    • Oh my. Such Christmastime naughtiness. Ya know, St. Nicholas has a reputation for slapping people who publicly decry the full deity of Christ. 😉

  • hoosier_bob

    I was thinking back about this post following Mike Huckabee’s comments today during his “Build Israel Great Again” tour. But if the Incarnation is what the creeds say it is, how does that jibe with various evangelical doctrines concerning the continuing eschatological significance of a particular plot of land at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. I wonder whether efforts to “build Israel great again” don’t implicitly deny the Incarnation. Anyway, I wondered what folks here thought about that, especially in view of this blog’s ties to Huckabee’s political activities.