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Incarnation: a theodicean perspective

unconditionally teaches that Jesus Christ is the scriptural fulfillment of Judaic prophesies, and denies the claims of Islam. Theologically speaking, Jesus Christ who is taught as the founder of Christianity, did not found a religion. He instead founded a Church to spread His Gospel of redemption, which was the subject matter of the entire Jewish Scripture from Genesis to Malachi, i.e., Jesus was the culmination and embodiment of all Jewish prophesies; actually Christianity is the gospel of the redemption granted to the Jews, and later to the gentiles, through the incarnation of God in the person of Christ, and Jesus established a Church to spread this Gospel and to carry on the work of redemption demanded by Him.

If one studies the nature of basic natural religions, he finds that the claims establishing the so-called existence of their gods or goddesses are mere conjectures based on mythological accounts, i.e., they lack historical credibility. For example, the stories of Krishna or Rama are fundamentally intertwined with the mythological stories of the great epics of India; and many scholars are opinion that they are the enhanced Indian creations of Indo-European folklore, which have a direct kinship to their counterparts in Hellenism. In other words, they lack historical validity in establishing the revelation of Godhead or by God. Simply put, they are poetical imageries or wild fantasies of brilliant men of artistic taste, sometimes with a metaphysical touch. This is not to say that these epics are inferior in their value as masterpieces of ancient cultures; they are indeed glorious works of literature; but they fail to historically establish the true revelation of a God or by God, who has become part of human history. Having stated this, we currently observe a new enthusiasm among fanatic Hindus to establish the historical credibility of Rama and Krishna through intense researches! It would be as futile as the effort to establish the historicity of the Greek god Zeus or the Roman Jupiter! The names of some ancient cities or some countries mentioned in those epics do not necessarily guarantee the historicity of their heroes, in this case some gods, highlighted in them; the methodology of historiology requires more than that in order to anchor a hero or heroine onto human history. Often divinity may have been attributed to a great warrior or hero, who may or may not have been part of history, and eventually the same hero may have been glorified as divine. Without historical evidence such attempts may not stand the test of historiography.

The gods of basic religions are creations of human imaginations; many needed a god to watch over them on different occasions. Although Hinduism has advanced from the framework of basic religions, and proposed deities such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, it is also a development from the fundamental human craving for gods for protection.

Judaism however establishes its claims which could be substantiated with historical excavations and artifacts. For example, the story of Abraham, to whom God revealed Himself as the true God and asked not to adore any idols, is not just a mythological account. Similarly, the great prophet Moses, King David, the glorious prophet Isaiah, the lamenting prophet Jeremiah and the rest on the prophetic roll in the Old Testament are not mythological figures. A traveler in the Holy Land could easily identify the tombs of some of these religious figures of Judaism. These leaders were the prophets of the God of Judaism. This God has certain attributes which no other religions can attribute to their gods. The God of Hebrew religion defines who He is. In all ancient religious cultures there was a name for their god. But when asked by Moses, what His name was, the God of the Hebrews gave an ultimate metaphysical answer: “I am that I am”. This

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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