Pondering Incarnation

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I am going to share some personal pondering (in the form of questions).

But first,

As I peruse various groups on Facebook or essays here and there on the web, it seems to me that just about all of it a rehash of old thinking, old theology, in new guises. Nothing really different, but the clothing. What I am also observing is that someone embraces a new idea, a theological position new to them, they often seem to spend an inordinate time trying to shoehorn that idea into the rest of the theology. Or go in completely different direction, chucking it all in favor of some other some-thing new to them, nevertheless, still an old way of thinking.

When it is all boiled down, there really is nothing original in any of it.

The question I have, is why not create a brand new Christian theology that speaks to our modern day culture? That is not to say that we shouldn’t examine and draw from other Christian theologies and philosophies. But as we do, let’s come up a brand-new way of thinking about Christianity, and beyond Christianity—God—and all of life. (The operative word is “Christian.”)

To be fair, some are seeking to do just this, but my observation is that they are few and far between.

Think of it this way: The Apostolic Fathers pretty much created their own theologies. To be honest, so did Paul and the other writers of the Epistles. The Church Fathers that followed built upon the thinking of the Apostolic Fathers, quite often in original ways. To be sure, in time, those who got too original were labeled heretics, but how much of that was to preserve one’s own theological thinking and power?

Now, if I am going to ask the question, do I have the right to ask the question if I do not forge out on my own? And to be honest, that’s where I’m headed. I don’t know where I will end up, but it begins with this simple premise:

The problem with Christianity is that we have it backwards: We focus on the atonement rather than the incarnation, on the death rather than the birth. And in so doing we get God all wrong.

Here’s some of the question that I am pondering:

How does God/Christ incarnate? What does incarnation mean as a verb? How specifically does the LOGOS incarnate as a human? If Jesus is God incarnated, how does God as Jesus enter into nature and become a “natural man”? And if a “natural man,” how can a “natural man” not have a sinful nature if sin is “inherited” (all born sinners)? Do we need to rethink our understanding of sin?

What exactly is the LOGOS? What does breath and breathing have to do with it? Is not the Spirit part of the LOGOS? If so, how? How is this related to Gen 2:7?

Is the incarnation limited to Logos coming into the world as Jesus? Is “let us make man in our image” an incarnation? Are not the resurrection & transfiguration incarnations, a “new flesh”? If so, does this change our thinking about the crucifixion? Does it change our understanding of the term, “redemption”?

What does ecclesiastical liturgy have to do with the incarnation? Assuming it does, can we say, liturgy is an integral part of the cosmos, and that the movement of the cosmos is liturgical? Is cosmic liturgy static or progressive, that is, an expanding process?

If liturgy is an integral part of the cosmos, is there a meaningful way for liturgy to address and enter into secular culture? Obviously, such thinking requires a redefinition of liturgy, but what is that redefinition? How does it look and act?

Lastly, how does our answers to these questions, change our understanding of God?

Questions, lots of questions. Obviously, a good bit of speculative theological thinking, but I wonder, does not such thinking also say something about how we go about brewing our theology and where we find God?

I would really like to hear your thoughts on my pondering. Frank A. Mills
Sheffield Lake, OH
March 29, 2024