incarnation

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

incarnation II, 493

Second Response to Curators, 10.

1964 Discussion,

“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 114-115

into the flesh NC II, 561 (for this reason Christ, as the fulness of God’s Revelation, came into the flesh)

Without the idea of the supratemporal heart, we cannot understand the doctrine of the incarnation. See Dooyeweerd’s 1964 lecture in Philosophia Reformata 72 (2007) at 7, 9, 17. See the Discussion, published only online, at 5:

According to his bodily existence, man is naturally wholly contained [vervat] in the temporal order. But man is also able to direct himself to the things that transcend time. That is a purely Biblical idea. In the eternal things. Paul speaks expressly about the contrast: the things that man sees are temporal, but the things that man does not see, they are eternal.[29] Well now, man is able to direct himself, to direct his heart to these things that transcend time. And it [this directing to invisible things] is also necessary if we want to understand that doctrine of our salvation, the incarnation of the Word. [the following sentence by Dooyeweerd in English] “That the world has been incorporated, infleshed.” It is completely needful, completely necessary, for that is an event, a real event, the incarnation of the Word, an event that simultaneously reaches into the central sphere of our life as well as in the temporal sphere of our bodily existence. “The Word became flesh,” the Word itself, yes, just as it was in the beginning with God and through which all things were made–that Word was not bodily. About that we can agree. And it was also not temporal. But that same Word became flesh. This is a doctrine of our salvation, that we believe this, and that we learn to see this. Thus we must see in the incarnation that it is at the same time a completely incomprehensible mystery–that it is an event that transcends time–and at the same time that it has taken place in the midst of time.

Dooyeweerd also speaks about the incarnation in “Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 114-115:

Dat hier geen “scheiding tussen wereld en God” gemeend kan zijn in de zin, waaarin Van Peursen dit blijkbaar verstaat, waar hij daartegenover in de wet eerder de “presentie” or “immanentie” Gods wil zien, zal toch wel geen nader betoog behoeven. Hoe zou zulk een deïstische wetsconceptie immers te rijmen zijn met het door de W.d.W. wanuit het bijbels scheppingsmotief zo scherp benadrukte zin-karakter van het geschapene naar wets- en subjectszijde? Hoe zou zij te rijmen zijn met de zelfopenbaring Gods in zijn schepping en met de incarnatie van het Goddelijk Woord in Christus Jezus? […]
Maar van een scheiding wordt hier in ‘t geheel niet gespoken, en kan hier ook niet zijn gesproken, daar immers uitgegaan werd van het grote mysterie der God-menselijke eenwording, dat ik niet in theoretische, maar in zijn centraal religieuze zin benaderde, nl. als centrale bijbelse drijfkracht van mijn denken. Deze eenwording zou echter juist haar bijbelse zin verliezen als daarbij de wezensgrens tussen God en schepsel zou worden miskend. En deze wezensgrens wordt weer aangegeven door het onder de wet gesteld zijn van Jezus Christus naar zijn menselijkheid. Ik had daarbij niet, zoals Van Peursen blijkbaar meent, op het oog de Joodse wet, maar de wet in haar kosmisch-religieuze zin, d.w.z. in haar tijdelijke zin-verscheidenhied en in haar religieuze wortel-eenheid.Alleen Christus kon zeze wet in haar volle zin-ontslotenheid vervullen, maar alleen, omdat Hij zich aan haar, als aan de wil des Vaders, met zijn ganse hart onderwierp en in blijvende gemeenschap met de Vader was, zowel naar zijn Godheid als naar zijn menselijkheid.
Wanneer men theologisch over het bijbels leerstuk der incarnatie gaat nadenken, dan worden wij voor theoretische problemen gesteld, die toch geen adaequate theoretische oplossing kunnen vinden, omdat het om grens-problemen gaat, die onmiddelilijk tot antinomieën voeren, zodra het theoretisch denken beproeft zijn grenzen in metafysische speculatie te overschrijden. Het ingaan op deze theologische problematiek naar haar dogmatische zijde ligt niet op de weg van de W.d.W. Maar wel heeft deze laatste de kritische taak te waarschuwen tegen iedere theoretsiche verzwakking van het onderscheid tussen wet en subject en tussen God en schepsel in de onderstelling dat men op deze wijze meer theologisch licht zou krijgen in de bedoelde problematiek.

[No further argument is needed to show that I cannot intend any “separation between world and God” in the sense that Van Peursen apparently understands it, and to which he opposes the idea of the “presence” or “immanence” of God in the law. How could such a deistic conception of the law ever fit with the sharp emphasis in the Philosophy of the Law-Idea, from out of the biblical motive of creation, of the meaning-character of what has been created both as to its law-side and its subject-side? How could it fit with God’s self-revelation in his creation, and with the incarnation of the Divine Word in Christ Jesus? […]
But there is nothing that is said [in the Philosophy of the Law-Idea] about a separation. And nothing can be said about such any separation, for this philosophy always proceeds from the great mystery of the becoming one of the Divine and the human. I do not approach this idea in a theoretical way, but in its central religious meaning—i.e. as the central biblical motive force of my thought. This becoming one would really lose precisely its biblical sense if thereby the essential boundary between God and creation is misunderstood. And this essential boundary is again set out by the way that Jesus Christ was set under the law according to his humanity. By that I did not intend, as Van Peursen apparently supposes, the Jewish law, but the law in its cosmic-religious sense—that is to say, in its temporal meaning-diversity and in its religious root-unity. Only Christ can fulfill this law in its full unfolded meaning, and only because He subjected Himself to the law, as to the will of the Father, with His whole heart, and because he was in continuing fellowship with the Father, both according to His divinity as well as according to His humanity.
Whenever we reflect theologically on the biblical doctrine of the incarnation, then we are presented with theoretical problems that have no theoretical solution, because they concern boundary problems, which lead immediately to antinomies as soon as theoretical thought tries to overstep its bounds in metaphysical speculation. It is not the path of the Philosophy of the Law-Idea to enter into this theological problematic according to its dogmatic side. But the Philosophy of the Law-Idea does have the critical task to warn against every theoretical weakening of the distinction between law and subject, and between God and creation, which people make in the hope that they can in this way obtain more theological enlightenment into the [theological] problematic that I have referred to.]

Dooyeweerd does not give details about Sonship. Generally he refers to our being created in the image of God. As image of God, we are the expression of God. The ideas of Sonship and image as expression of God are related. This is shown by the following quotation from Kuyper:

Moreover, you must understand that all this rests upon sober reality. It is not semblance, but actual fact, because God created you after His Image, so that with all the wide difference between God and man, divine reality is expressed in human form. And that, when the Word became Flesh, this Incarnation of the Son of God was immediately connected with your creation after God’s Image (To be Near Unto God).

Kuyper connects Christ’s incarnation with our creation as God’s Image, the expression of divine reality in human form.

Because we are its religious root, creation fell along with humanity in the fall. Since the Fall, the image of God is only revealed in its true sense in Jesus Christ (NC III 69). Christ was required as a New Religious Root of the temporal cosmos (NC I, 506). Dooyeweerd says that in Christ, sin is really propitiated:

“The Word has entered into the root and the temporal ramifications, in body and soul, of human nature. And therefore it has brought about a radical redemption. Sin is not dialectically reconciled, but it is really propitiated. And in Christ as the new root of the human race, the whole temporal cosmos, which was religiously concentrated in man, is in principle again directed toward God and thereby wrested free form the power of Satan.” (NC I, 175).

Baader says that we should not limit the incarnation of Christ to His earthly birth (Werke 4, 399).

See also body, embodiment

Notes revised Jan 29/08

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