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Incarnation: a theodicean perspective

Our thesis is that the incarnation of Christ our Lord, the second Person of the Holy Trinity is an ultimate act of love which continues until He reaches the sufferings of crucifixion and gives up His life for the redemption of humanity. The Triune God consisting of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is love and He can never be but love. His salvific activities for the sake of humanity are the ultimate expression of His substance in which love is ontologically identical to Himself. The purpose of this rather lengthy treatise is to investigate the notion of Godhead in different religions and find what makes the Christian God so unique that He is concerned about the human race that He became incarnate to deal with its afflictions. Our primary focus is the essence or substance of God, and love of God, which is substantially identical with Himself. In this season it is proper to study the tremendous love that was instrumental behind His incarnation.

For several years as a professor of philosophy this writer had the opportunity to teach the science of theodicy, which is a subdivision of metaphysics, one of the three major branches of philosophy; being the holder of one of the ranks of Orthodox Christian ministry, he loved to explore the theological ramifications of theodicy and teach it.

There are three types of religions in the philosophy of religion; natural religions, artificial religions and revealed religions. All these different religious groups have different approaches to the notion of Godhead.

Natural religions are those religions that were naturally formed by the human craving for a higher being which is supposed to protect men from inclement or unfavorable climates, natural calamities, diseases, and conditions which are generally beyond their control. Thus we have all the tribal and basic religions of Africa, Native American religions, and ancient Indo-European religions from which a much more sophisticated, and sometimes flavored with metaphysical undercurrents, Hinduism developed. Hinduism is a combination of pantheism and polytheism. Modern Hindu reformers want to defend Hinduism as a one-god religion when classical Hinduism according to their books and practice tells the contrary.

Artificial religions, by their very name, are those adapted by their proponents through an eclectic approach by fusing important tenets of more than one major religion; e.g, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Bahai, Sikhism, Scientology, Theosophy, Christian Science, etc.

Revealed religions are those that are claimed to be revealed by their founders and adherents. They are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The members of these religions do believe that their religion is the only revealed religion, and the claims of any other revealed religion, which they do not believe in, are false. For example a Muslim believes that Islam is a revealed religion, and that it is the ultimate revelation through their prophet Mohammed. Islam, however, does accept a partially revealed nature of Judaism and Christianity, and teaches that Judaism and Christianity became corrupted. On the other hand, Judaism has no room for recognition of Christianity and Islam as revealed religions. It positively does not accord divine legitimacy to either Christianity or Islam. Christianity, which developed as the perfection of Judaism, totally accepts the revelation received by the ancient patriarch Abraham, and thereafter by the Hebrew prophets, and

2 replies on “Incarnation: a theodicean perspective”

Very interesting article, and quite new information about the religious world as a
whole. In the revealed religion, we may not be aware of the mystery that the natural and artificial religions have greater influence.

Swami Vivekananda spoke at the first world parliament of religion in Chicago ” I can’t believe in a religion or God which can’t wipe the tears of the widow and can’t give a piece of bread to an orphan child”. Swamiji was a great follower of JESUS CHRIST; while he was getting closer to death, he served food to his disciples.
When they asked him, why he is serving food, he replied ” JESUS CHRIST washed the feet of His disciples, let me at least serve you all some food”.

He had two books with him, they were Bhagavat Gita and Imitation of Christ written by the 14th century Catholic monk, Thomas A. Kempis.

Apostle James, the half-brother of JESUS who was the Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem wrote the earliest book of the New Testament in which he wrote very openly and plainly, may be realizing the influence of the natural and artificial religion wrote in an affirmative language ” Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” James 1:27. Did Swami Vivekandana read this passage?

Even in the revealed religions, how many sacraments, prayers and different format of worship? A true sacrament is not a mere creed, or ordinance, or form, but it is a life of service to God and to man. The most eloquent and deeper prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. Like the Pharisees who were majored in show but minored in service, in reality we are following that religious tradition. Indeed, we need fewer words and more charitable works; less palaver and more pity; less repetition of creed but more compassion.

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