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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2009 - 4:58PM #1
DeweyCMH
Posts: 64

Just what was God's reason for entering creation via the incarnation?

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5 years ago  ::  May 30, 2009 - 9:06PM #2
greenponder
Posts: 1,395

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

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5 years ago  ::  May 31, 2009 - 5:19PM #3
DeweyCMH
Posts: 64

Agreed, certainly. But is there more to the question than that? In other words, I'm asking about the infralapsarian/supralapsarian discussion that has been around, in one form or another, since Origen. Much of that debate can be framed around the hypothetical question, "If sin had never entered creation, would the Son nontheless have become incarnate within it?" Framed another way, the question might be whether sin was the only reason for the incarnation. The question seemed to annoy Calvin, who brushed it off as a moot point, a hypothetical that was only a waste of time, and a way for those who would ask it to avoid the implications of the incarnation in its atoning function. I don't think Calvin's charge is well founded, but in any case, the question need not be as hypothetical as all that. Given the reality of sin having entered creation, the point of the original question may be reframed, "Was solving the problem of sin the *primary* reason for the incarnation?" Or does its primary purpose/meaning lie elsewhere?

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5 years ago  ::  May 31, 2009 - 10:30PM #4
greenponder
Posts: 1,395

Dewey,
I was hoping you would say that.
I've thought about the infralapsarian/supralasarian debate quite a bit since doing some research before attending a debate between Richard Mouw and the president of the Protestant Reformed Seminary on the topic of common grace.
I've gone back and forth since then as far as which I think is the best position. Recently, I came across an article by Alvin Plantinga entitled "Supralapsarianism, or 'O Felix Culpa'". After reading it I am pretty firmly convinced that I am a surpralapsarian. He approaches the problem from the standpoint of the problem of evil. His discussion, in addition to dealing with supralapsarianism, also sheds a lot of light on why bad things happen and, if they understood his argument, would provide solace to Christians who are suffering.
It would be difficult for me to summarize his argument because Plantinga is a pretty tight thinker but you can find the article at the following site:
philosophy.nd.edu/people/all/profiles/pl...
If that link doesn't work you can google plantinga supralapsarianism.
When I was attending Calvin College Dick Mouw, Alvin Plantinga and Nick Woltersdorf were teaching philosophy there. I was not able to work any courses by Plantinga and Woltersdorf into my schedule but I did take one with Mouw. That was, at the time, arguably the best philosophy department in existence.
I can't believe you brought this up. Most people's (except for some Protetant Reformed) eyes role back in there head and then they look for the closest exit if this subject comes up. While I wouldn't say that the infralapsarians won't get into heaven, I do think wrestling with the issue has increased my understanding of God and the universe.
In answer to your question, "Was solving the problem of sin the *primary* reason for the incarnation? Or does its primary purpose/meaning lie elsewhere?" I think the answer lies elsewhere. I think the primary purpose was to show God's love and glory more so than to solve the problem of sin. God created a world in which free will existed which allowed for the possibility of sin. Of all the possible worlds He could have created the one in which the incarnation would take place was the one that showed His goodness, mercy and love to the fullest possible extent.
I will defer to Plantinga for a fuller explanation of this.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 12:57AM #5
spudette
Posts: 959

I don't think you can separate the purpose of solving the sin problem from the purpose of showing God's mercy and glory. God created Adam and Eve sinless. He came to visit with them in the cool of the day. He wasn't incarnated then, and the first two humans were able to see Him as He really is. Only when sin entered the world through their disobedience did God need to veil Himself from them, because if He had not, they would have died instantly.


God could have dealt with the sin problem by destroying Adam and Eve immediately, along with the fallen Lucifer and all the angels who followed him, but then all the other created beings would have obeyed Him out of fear instead of out of love, and they would have thought that maybe Lucifer was right about God being a selfish tyrant. But God didn't want to destroy His humans. He wanted to save them, and to restore them to the perfect state in which He had created them, so He did the only thing He couyld do under the circumstances: He came as one of us, to teach us about His love and grace, and to pay the penalty for our sins so we wouldn't have to.

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