There is no other doctrine more important to Christianity than that of the incarnation. Any proposed theology which is sans doctrine of incarnation is simply not Christianity. John Walvoord states, “The Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central fact of Christianity. Upon it the whole superstructure of Christian theology depends.”[1] Indeed, remove the incarnation from Christian theology and Jesus becomes just another failed revolutionary. It is little wonder, then, that so much Christian polemics and apologetics concern either directly or indirectly the incarnation.

Despite the significance of the incarnation, many Christians celebrate Christmas as the day Jesus was born without scarcely considering what it means that the Word (Greek: Logos) became flesh (Greek: sarx)[2] (John 1:14)[3] “Many who have a basic acquaintance with the events surrounding that birth fail to understand that it represented the merging of God and man into one human body.”[4] In fact, the general layperson accepts the traditional teaching as found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person forever.”[5] Scarcely does the laity stop to ask if this teaching is correct expression of truth or simply a church tradition? Furthermore, if the tradition is correct what does it mean in respect to the rest of Christian doctrine and theology which is built upon the foundation of this teaching?

It propose that the doctrine of the incarnation needs to be reexamined on the grounds of both modern biology and biblical considerations. The purpose, therefore, will be to demonstrate that insufficient biological knowledge led to the accepted teaching of the doctrine and that scriptural teachings may be correctly interpreted so as to offer a different understanding of the incarnation.

What Is the Incarnation?

The Gospel of John states, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was close beside God and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and lived among us. (1:1,14). This act of the Word becoming flesh is referred to as the incarnation. Although Elmer Towns understands this act to be a merging of two natures into one body; Paul Enns understands the incarnation to denote “the act whereby the eternal Son of God took to himself an additional nature, humanity, through the virgin birth.”[6] This latter definition is more in line with the traditional church teaching.[7] In other words, according to traditional church teaching the historical person of Jesus possessed a 100 percent divine nature and 100 percent human nature that were indivisible yet distinct.

Early Church Christology.

In order to grasp what the earlier church fathers understood to be the Incarnation, it is helpful to possess a basic knowledge of the history of debate surrounding the doctrine. However, before the history of the Incarnation can actually be discussed, it is prudent to examine briefly the Christology of the first century church.

Three Patterns in Early Christology

There are three basic patterns that emerge from the New Testament writings and the teachings of the early church in terms of the Christology of the church. The first of these patterns are the references of Jesus as Lord or Messiah. The early church began as sub-sect of Judaism. Indeed, one of Luke’s themes in the book Acts is the defense of Christianity as a protected religion under Rome as a sub-sect of second temple Judaism.[8] Yet, from very early on there is evidence of the early exalting of Jesus well beyond the sensibilities of any Jew. This is not to say that the early church immediately named Jesus as God; but already had begun a cultic devotion to the son of the carpenter within the first two decades. As Hengel states, “Thus the Christological development from Jesus as far as Paul took place within about eighteen years, a short space of time for such an intellectual process. In essentials more happened in Christology within these years than in the whole subsequent seven hundred years of church history.”[9] Certainly Hurtado sees a pattern of early exaltation among the first century church:

The exalted claims made for Jesus, including pre-existence, participation in creation of the world, heavenly enthronement, unique role as eschatological redeemer, and honorific titles such as Messiah, Son of God, Lord, and even God, for all these we can find occasional parallels in the rich and diverse ancient Jewish tradition. But we find no such parallels for these phenomena of earliest Christian devotional practice. They comprise a genuine and highly significant innovation in Jewish monotheistic tradition of the time.[10]

The next Christological pattern is revealed in the New Testament in the form of a hymn quoted by the Apostle Paul to the Phillipians:

 Who, though in God’s form, did not Regard his equality with God As something he ought to exploit. Instead, he emptied himself, And received the form of a slave, Being born in the likeness of humans. And then, having human appearance, He humbled himself, and became Obedient even to death, Yes, even the death of the cross. And so God has greatly exalted him, And to him in his favor has given The name which is over all names: That now at the name of Jesus Every knee within heaven shall bow— On earth, too, and under the earth; And every tongue shall confess That Jesus, Messiah, is Lord, To the glory of God, the father. (Phil 2:5-11).

By quoting this hymn, Paul highlights the reversal of the concept of power. God, in his love, descends to become subservient to death. Yet it this shocking divine humility which raises Jesus to the level of Messiah and Lord. Humility becomes the source of pride. Weakness becomes the source of strength. Service becomes the source of authority. It is no coincidence that Jesus’s sermon on the mount offers the same reversal of power structure (Matt 5).

The final pattern of Christology in the early church is the incarnation of the Logos-Wisdom. Once again, Paul quotes an early hymn in his letter to the Colossians:

 He is the image of God, the invisible one, The firstborn of all creation. For in him all things were created, In the heavens and here on the earth. Things we can see and things we cannot— Thrones and lordships and rulers and powers— All things were created both through him and for him. And he is ahead, prior to all else, And in him all things hold together; And he himself is supreme, the head Over the body, the church. He is the start of it all, Firstborn from realms of the dead; So in all things he might be the chief. For in him all the Fullness was glad to dwell And through him to reconcile all to himself, Making peace through the blood of his cross, Through him—yes, things on the earth… (Col 1:15-20)

This hymn describes Jesus in verbiage usually reserved for the divine wisdom in ancient Judaism, which constantly employed personification. Here, Paul insists that Jesus not only personified divine wisdom, but also was divine wisdom in the flesh. “This image was a natural one for early Christians to describe Christ. Judaism personified God’s wisdom as divine and the roots of the image in Jewish tradition go back at least as far as Proverbs 8.”[11]

Additionally, John begins his gospel by weaving together ancient Judaism and Greek philosophical thoughts. It is within this passage that the first glimpses of an Incarnation Christology is revealed, John writes:

In the beginning was the Word (Logos). The Word was close beside God, and the Word was God.  In the beginning, he was close beside God. All things came into existence through him; not one thing that exists came into existence without him….He was in the world, and the world accept him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to anyone who did accept him, he gave the right to become God’s children; yes, to anyone who believed in his name….And the Word became flesh, and lived among us. We gazed upon his glory, glory like that of the father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:1-3,10-12,14)

The Greek word Logos had profound implications in the philosophy of a group known as Stoics. Logos was part of the triadic division of Stoic thought known as logic. “In Stoic tradition Logos is both divine reason and reason distributed in the world (and thus in the mind).” John uses this launching point to tell a narrative which aims to exclaim, “Here is Jesus, the pre-existent wisdom of God, who has come in human flesh to die and be raised again to life so that all might believe and live.” N. T. Wright accurately sums up early Christology this way, “The basic Jewish answer to the question, How is the creator active within creation, was, as we saw, to develop varieties of language that spoke of Wisdom, Torah, Spirit and Shekinah….The early Christians developed exactly the same ideas, transposing them again and again into language about Jesus and the divine spirit.”[12]

The Trinity

The major difficulty in studying the Incarnation, is that it requires studying Jesus Christ. “The study of the person of Christ is one of the most complicated and intricate studies that can be undertaken by a biblical theologian.”[13] Every other Christian doctrine is dependent upon the nature of Jesus Christ in both his preincarnate and incarnate forms. It is, therefore, a complete necessity that any study of the incarnation begins with a brief discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity. While this cannot be a full discourse, a quick survey will suffice for the purposes of this essay.

As has been demonstrated, the Church from very early on had an exalted view of Jesus.  However, as a sub sect of Judaism, Christianity maintained the monotheistic view of God. This was a problematic view especially since the teachings of Jesus, himself seemed to indicate a multiplicity about God. This is especially clear in Jesus’s teaching on baptism, where he commands, “So you must go and make all the nations into disciples. Baptize them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit” (Matt 28:19). At least as early as 250 AD the trinitarian doctrine had been taught. The Athanasian Creed states, “There is therefore a trinity, or trine, or triunity, in the Lord—the Divine itself, which is called the Father, the Divine human which is called the Son, and the proceeding Divine which is called the Holy Spirit.”[14] The early Church fathers were faced with the challenge of reconciling the multiplicity that seemed inherent within Jesus’s teaching and the singleness of monotheism.

One of the first theologies posited which attempted to reconcile this seemingly contradictory position was Modalism (also known as Sabellianism or Patripassian Monarchianism). Modalism chief position was that “the Trinity was three manifestations of the same God.”[15] Two of the most prominent proponents of this theology were Praxeas and Noetus.

Concerning Praxeas, there is not much historical evidence. However, the early Church Father Tertullian wrote a lengthy treatise called Adversus Praxean, “which has become an important work of Western Theology on the Trinity before the time of Augustine.”[16] Praxeas seems to have been concerned about maintaining the unity of God. According to Tertullian, Praxeas says, “that the Father Himself came down into the Virgin, was Himself born of her, Himself suffered, indeed was Himself Jesus Christ.”[17] Tertullian attacks this position by criticizing the implication of the Father dying on the cross. He writes:

 “Nay, but you do blaspheme; because you allege not only that the Father died, but that He died the death of the cross. For “cursed are they which are hanged on a tree,”—a curse which, after the law, is compatible to the Son (inasmuch as “Christ has been made a curse for us,” but certainly not the Father); since, however, you convert Christ into the Father, you are chargeable with blasphemy against the Father. But when we assert that Christ was crucified, we do not malign Him with a curse; we only reaffirm the curse pronounced by the law: nor indeed did the apostle utter blasphemy when he said the same thing as we.”[18]

Another defender of Modalism was Noetus. Noetus taught the following: “When, indeed, at the time when the Father was not yet born, He was justly styled the Father; and when it pleased Him to undergo generation and be begotten, He, himself, became His own Son, not another’s.”[19]

Hippolytus strongly attacked Noetus for what he saw as heretical error. Noetus best known argument is his interpretation of Jesus’s “I and the Father are one.” Hippolytus argued that the verb “are” implies a distinction. He suggested that if no distinction were intended Jesus would have used the verb “am.”[20] Again, the distinction of the persons within the Trinity were successfully differentiated.

This differentiation, in time, would result in another teaching. This time it would be Origen. Origen would suggest a graded view of the trinity. His approach would be two offer a three-tier view that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all God, but God existing at three different levels. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is lesser than the Son; the Son is lesser than the Father.[21]

Origen’s trinitarian views were not accepted by the orthodox church, but it did provide the basis for another view: Arianism. Arius taught that the Father, alone, was God. The Son was a created creature. Athanasius quoted Arius as teaching the following:

“God Himself then, in His own nature, is ineffable by all men. Equal or like Himself He alone has none, or one in glory. And Ingenerate we call Him, because of Him who is generate by nature. We praise Him as without beginning because of Him who has a beginning. And adore Him as everlasting, because of Him who in time has come to be. The Unbegun made the Son a beginning of things originated; and advanced Him as a Son to Himself by adoption. He has nothing proper to God in proper subsistence. For He is not equal, no, nor one in essence with Him.”[22]

It was in response to this teaching that Constantine would call the Coucil of Nicea (325 AD). It was at this council that the Church would settle the trinitarian debate by stating the Church’s official position. The Creed was written as follows:

“We believe in one God the Father all powerful, maker of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten begotten from the Father, that is from the substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia] of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten [Gr. gennethenta, Lat. natum] not made [Gr. poethenta, Lat. factum], CONSUBSTANTIAL [Gr. homoousion, Lat. unius substantiae (quod Graeci dicunt homousion)] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both those in heaven and those in earth; for us humans and for our salvation he came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the holy Spirit.”[23]

This statement of faith became an important factor in later trinitarian debates. However, it did little in its own time to settle the matter. Still, it is important in respect to the doctrine of incarnation as it defines the preincarnate state of Christ. As Walvoord notes, “The person of Christ incarnate is best understood in comparison to the person of Christ before He became incarnate.”[24] The Council of Constantine would eventually settle the matter once and for all.

The Incarnation

The doctrine of the Incarnation hinges primarily on two verses, John 1:14 and Philippians 2:6-7. The latter passage being the most controversial. It is referred to as the kenosis passage from the Greek word, kenosis, used in verse 7. The passage reads as follows: “Who, though in God’s form, did not Regard his equality with God As something he ought to exploit. Instead, he emptied (kenosis) himself, And received the form of a slave, Being born in the likeness of humans” (Vs. 6-7).

The Problem of the Kenosis Passage.

The central problem of the Kenosis passage is the meaning behind God emptying himself. How could God exploit his own equality? Towns sums up the difficulty brilliantly: “For ages theologians have faced the dilemma of interpreting this one word, “kenosis.” They cannot deny that “Christ emptied Himself,” but “What was poured out? Can Christ give away part of his deity and remain God? Can God be less than God?”[25]

In other words, how can Jesus be both God and man without ceasing to be either? As stated previously the Church answered this question by declaring what is called the hypostatic union.

The Hypostatic Union

The early church fathers were faced with a challenging enigma: how to reconcile the Biblical teachings of both divinity and humanity in the person of Jesus. The divinity of Jesus has always been accepted since the earliest days of the church and is well attested to by Scripture. Additionally, scripture is equally emphatic that Jesus was equally human. As Walvoord notes, “The evidence for His human body in Scripture is seemingly even more compelling than the evidence for His deity”[26]

One of the earliest attempts to harmonize the divine and human natures in the person of Jesus was proposed by Nestorius. Nestorius argued that Jesus was human that merely had the Word indwelling with him. In other words, Jesus, for Nestorius, was separate from the Word. He believed Jesus “to be a man united with the Word in a unique and perfect way.”[27] This view of Jesus forced Nestorius to teach that Mary did not give birth to the Word, but rather that of the human body of Jesus.[28]

When Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, heard of this teaching, he sent several letters to Nestorius who was Bishop of Constantine at the time. Cyril responds simply by invoking the doctrine of the Incarnation – that the Word became Flesh. Cyril wrote the following in his response:

“You have written in this wise,

“Thus it says elsewhere too, He spoke to us in His Son Whom He appointed Heir of all things through Whom also He made the worlds, Who being the Brightness of His Glory:having put Son, it calls Him fearlessly both Brightness of His Glory, and appointed Heir; Heir, appointed after the Flesh, Brightness of the Father’s Glory after the Godhead: for He departed not, made flesh, from likeness to the Father. And in addition it again says thus, for the times of ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men to repent, because He fixed a Day in which He will judge the world by the Man Whom He appointed, having given assurance unto all men in that He raised Him from the dead. Having first said, By the Man, he then adds, In that He raised Him from the dead, that no one might suppose that the Godhead Incarnate had died.”

Who then is He Who was Incarnate, or in what way was He incarnate, what Godhead was incarnate…But if He was truly Incarnate and has been made flesh, He is accredited as Man, and not connected with a man, by mere indwelling or external relation or connection, as you say.”[29]

The dispute between Cyril and Nestorius culiminated in the Council of Epheseus. Called by Emperor Theodosius II in 431 AD, the Council was to settle the controversy between Cyril and Nestorius. However, the result of the Council was to actually cause a schism between some of the Antiochenes who supported Nestorius and the Bishops who supported Rome. Two years later in attempt to repair the divide, Nestorius accepted an Antiochene document which stated:

“We confess then our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and body; before the ages begotten of the Father according to his divinity, the same for us and for our salvation in the last days begotten of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity; the same cosubstantial with the Father according to his divinity and cosubstantial with us according to his humanity.”[30]

This became the final expression of faith in the doctrine of the Incarnation. The later Council of Chalcedon positively affirmed the Council of Ephesus and the Council of Nicaea. Although some scholars see the Council of Chalcedon in primarily negative terms against the heresies of Nestrorius and others.[31] Still the Council of Chalcedon provided an expository on the Incarnation in which the person of Jesus remained one person with two distinct but indivisibly united natures: the human and divine. The creed states as follows:

“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”[32]

Challenges to the Doctrine of Incarnation

The orthodox definition of the Incarnation has had several challenges since the early Church first began to express it. The final orthodox form in which it now stands has certainly withstood several centuries of challenges and attacks. This, however, does not mean, nor should it indicate that the orthodox statement is not in need of revisitation.

While there are most certainly other challenges, I will highlight two significant biological challenges from the discovery of chromosomes which necessitate a review of the doctrine. Since the church fathers did not have such knowledge available, such discussions did not occur as to the biological nature of the Incarnation. Their focus was on the nature of the soul in the person of Jesus.


The Paternal Challenge

In the late 1800’s scientist first discovered the existence of chromosomes within organic life. In the early 1900’s Thomas Morgan Hunt research demonstrated the role of chromosomes in determining inherited traits. Scientist have determined that each individual living organism has a specific number of chromosomes that make it what it is. Therefore, part of what makes a human being a human being is the exact number of chromosomes. This means that humanity, at least as anthropology goes, is defined by the forty-six chromosomes that every person possesses. Out of these forty-six chromosomes half are given by the mother and the other half by the father. Both parents, then, are necessary to produce human life.

In the case of the person of Jesus, Scripture and the creeds tell us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary (Matt 1:18). This means that 23 of Jesus’s chromosomes were totally derived from the physical human in the form of his mother. However, the other twenty-three were derived from the divine third person of the trinity. In order for Jesus to be 100 percent human, he must have possessed all forty-six chromosomes. It is not an illogical leap to infer, then, that on the biological level, Jesus divinity and humanity were united into a single person through anthropology. Such a union, calls into the question the orthodox assertion of two distinct natures. For if there are two distinct natures, Jesus is not a distinct person but a hybrid of God and humanity. He would be neither God, nor man; but a demi-god of sorts.

The Challenge of Substance

God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24). Towns defines spirit as “inmmaterial, incorporeal, and invisible.”[33] This creates serious problems for the doctrine of the incarnation. How can Jesus be God if then He is a corporeal being and forever in humanity, for humans are biologically corporeal from creation. Jesus, Himself, recognizes the differences between spirit and matter. In referring to his resurrected body he said, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Lk 24:39).[34] Such a distinction implies then that Jesus is not spirit. In fact, N. T. Wright argues that Jesus resurrection came about in a “transformed physicality.”[35] If this is the case, how (as we have seen) did the early church develop such a high Christology. If God is spirit, and Jesus is in a transformed physicality (corporeal) state of existence, he cannot be God, can He?

A Proposed Solution

The biological challenges of the Incarnation are daunting, yet a solution maybe offered. The solution requires a slight shift of perspective for many Christians, still if accepted the view will clear many of the problems that are posed for the incarnation. God possess an eternal alternate physicality and the nature of the incarnation is one in which the incorruptible physicality of God assumes the corruptible physicality of creation.

Evidence for the Physicality of God

The physicality of God can be seen throughout the Scripture. Beginning in the first Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (NKJV). Wright has argued that the Heavenly reality and the Earthly reality are “two overlapping and interlocking” spheres of realities.[36] Jonathan Edwards argued that the motivation behind God’s creative act was to expand himself.[37] It is, therefore, natural logic to assume that God, in expanding himself, would use a substance similar to himself. This even more so given that humans are made in the image of God (1:26). Concerning this verse, Von Rad notes, “The interpretations, therefore, are to be rejected which proceed from an anthropology strange to the Old Testament and one-sidedly limit God’s image to man’s spiritual nature, relating it to man’s “dignity,” his “personality” or “ability for moral reason,” etc.”[38] It is a definite possibility, if not probability, that God possess some sort of physicality although different from our own.

Additionally, God’s meeting with Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah may also hint at God’s physicality (18:1-10). In these verses, two points of physicality may be noticed. First, Abraham perceived God as physical. Immediately, after seeing the visitors Abraham commands his wife to fix a meal (v.6). While this does not guarantee physicality, it is suggestive especially given the later verse which states that the visitors ate (v.8).

Furthermore, Paul writing on the resurrection of the dead states:

“Not all physical objects have the same kind of physicality. There is one kind of physicality for humans, another kind for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. Some bodies belong in the heavens, and some on the earth; and the kind of glory appropriate for the ones in the heavens is different from the kind of glory appropriate for the ones on the earth. kind of glory appropriate for the ones in the heavens is different from the kind of glory appropriate for the ones on the earth… That’s what it’s like with the resurrection of the dead. It is sown decaying, and raised undecaying” (1 Cor 15:39-40,42, KNT).

While the Apostle John writes, “We know that when he is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 JN 3:2).

It may be concluded therefore that the troubling kenosis passage, may indeed refer to God emptying himself of his incorruptibility and assuming a physicality which is indeed corrupted unto death, in order that all may be transformed into a physicality in which there is no corruption.


The purpose of this was not to tear down the doctrine of the Incarnation as a falsity. However, this is not to say there are not reasons for church leadership and Biblical scholars to revisit the doctrine and modify it. The biological considerations offered provide such reasoning. Although an alternative proposal has been offered, there is much work within the sphere of Biblical scholarship that needs to be looked into before such an alternative can be deemed as both viable and truthful to Scripture. It is merely my hope and prayer that a discussion will begin by those esteemed and knowledgeable persons concerning the doctrine of the Incarnation.











“Definition of Chalcedon.” Last modified Accessed July 2, 2017.


Athanasius. De Synodis, Part Ii, Chapter 15.


Athanasius. The Anthanasius Creed. Translated by Samuel H. Worcester and John Whitehead. 1760.


Cyril. Five-Book Contradiction of the Blasphemies of Nestorius or Five Tomes of S. Cyril. Translated by P. E. Pusey. Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius. Book 1. Oxford, 1881.


Enns, P.P. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Moody Publishers, 2014.


Gould, Graham. “Cyril of Alexandria and the Formula of Reunion.” The Downside Review 106, no. 365 (1988): 235-52.


Hengel, M. Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003.


Hippolytus. “Against the Heresies of One Noetus.” In Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Alexander Donaldson and James Donaldson, vol 5. Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885.


Hurtado, Larry W. “Early Devotion to Jesus: A Report, Reflections and Implications.” The Expository Times 122, no. 4 (2011): 167-76.


Keener, C.S. and InterVarsity Press. The Ivp Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. InterVarsity Press, 1993.


Kelly, D.F., P.B. Rollinson, and F.T. Marsh. The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1986.


Lane, T. and A.N.S. Lane. Concise History of Christian Thought, A. Baker Publishing Group, 2006.


Lee, J.Y. God Suffers for Us: A Systematic Inquiry into a Concept of Divine Passibility. Springer Netherlands, 2012.


Stevens, B. Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation. Tyndale House Publishers, 2014.


Tanner, N.P. and G. Alberigo. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Nicaea I to Lateran V. Sheed & Ward, 1990.


Tertullian. “Against Praxeas.” In Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Phillip Schaff and Allan Menzies, vol 3. Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885.


Towns, E.L. Theology for Today. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2001.


Von Rad, G. Genesis: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press, 1973.


Walvoord, J.F. Jesus Christ Our Lord. Moody Publishers, 1969.


Wright, N. T., “Jesus at the Crossroads of History.” N. T. Wright at Perkins, Perkins School of Theology, 2016,


Wright, N.T. The New Testament and the People of God. Fortress Press, 1992.


Wright, N.T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Fortress Press, 2003.


Wright, N.T. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. HarperCollins, 2008.




[1] J.F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Moody Publishers, 1969), 96.

[2] The Biblical terminology will be dealt with later.

[3] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references N.T. Wright, The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation (HarperCollins, 2011).

[4] E.L. Towns, Theology for Today (Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2001), 198.

[5] D.F. Kelly, P.B. Rollinson, and F.T. Marsh, The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1986).

[6] P.P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Moody Publishers, 2014), 235.

[7] Even scholars who subscribe to the Westminster catechism concerning the incarnation disagree on the nuances as these two definitions demonstrate.

[8] C.S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The Ivp Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 315.

[9] M. Hengel, Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003), 39-40.

[10] Larry W. Hurtado, “Early Devotion to Jesus: A Report, Reflections and Implications,” The Expository Times 122, no. 4 (2011),

[11] Keener and Press, 571.

[12] N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Fortress Press, 1992), 520-21.

[13] Walvoord, 106.

[14] Athanasius, The Anthanasius Creed, trans., Samuel H. Worcester and John Whitehead (1760).

[15] Towns, 145.

[16] J.Y. Lee, God Suffers for Us: A Systematic Inquiry into a Concept of Divine Passibility (Springer Netherlands, 2012).

[17] Tertullian, “Against Praxeas,” in Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Phillip Schaff and Allan Menzies (Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885), 1334.

[18] Ibid., 1401.

[19] This quotation is allegedly taken from Hippolytus’s Refutatio II, which is a missing manuscript. Hippolytus, “Refutatio II,” cited by Lee, 26.

[20] Hippolytus, “Against the Heresies of One Noetus,” in Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Donaldson and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885).

[21] T. Lane and A.N.S. Lane, Concise History of Christian Thought, A (Baker Publishing Group, 2006), 23.

[22] Athanasius, De Synodis, Part Ii, Chapter 15.

[23] N.P. Tanner and G. Alberigo, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Nicaea I to Lateran V (Sheed & Ward, 1990).

[24] Walvoord, 106.

[25] Towns, 191.


[26] Walvoord, 110.

[27] Lane and Lane, 54.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Cyril, Five-Book Contradiction of the Blasphemies of Nestorius or Five Tomes of S. Cyril, trans., P. E. Pusey, Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius. Book 1 (Oxford: 1881).

[30] Formula of Reunion cited in Graham Gould, “Cyril of Alexandria and the Formula of Reunion,” The Downside Review 106, no. 365 (1988),

[31] Lane and Lane, 451.

[32] “Definition of Chalcedon,” accessed July 2, 2017.

[33] Towns, 98.

[34] Holy Bible: New King James Version : New Testament (Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 1979).

[35] N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Fortress Press, 2003), 758.

[36] N. T. Wright, “Jesus at the Crossroads of History” (paper presented at the N. T. Wright at Perkins, Perkins School of Theology2016), See also N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperCollins, 2008).

[37]See B. Stevens, Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014).

[38] G. Von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press, 1973), 58.