Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Did the Logos Change When He Became Flesh (John 1:14)

Here is something I posted elsewhere about the Incarnation:

Let "S" represent a human person:

1) S became a doctor
2) S became a Christian
3) S became a ruffian

In each of the cases listed above, it would be safe to conclude that some type of actual change or process has occurred to/regarding S. But if we now consider another proposition:

4) The Logos became flesh

We are asked to believe (by the majority of Incarnation advocates) that change neither occurred to the nature of the Logos nor to the divine person who was supposed to be the subject of the Incarnation: no real alteration took place. Yet if the Logos became (was made) flesh, it is still hard to comprehend how he (the person) became flesh without undergoing some kind of change. To just argue that God cannot experience actual change, the Logos is God, therefore, the Logos did not experience actual change seems like petitio principii to me.

Using the language of assumption doesn't make the problem go away either. If by assume, we mean "take to oneself" (Aquinas in the Summa Theologica), then to say that the Logos assumed human nature (flesh) could possibly be akin to assuming another identity or assuming a posture that one did not previously had. No, I'm not saying that Christ just assumed a new identity; my point is that the word "assumption" could also indicate change/alteration.

Before: The Logos is strictly spirit
Post-Incarnation: The Logos is flesh

However, most say that no actual change occurred to the nature or person of the Logos (Word).

1 comment:

Duncan said...

I think the key to decision making about this text lies with John 14:6 compared with Exodus 18:20, Psalms 119:142 & Deuteronomy 32:47.

Exodus 8:18, 19 - “It is the finger of God!”

Deuteronomy 9:10 "then YHWH gave me the two tablets of stone written upon with God’s finger."

So the Christ BECOMES the word IN ACTION - he puts on all its aspects. So the word does not change but the method of application does.

I think the more important aspect of John 1:1 is "beginning" - what beginning? in light of Matthew 19:28 "In the re-creation" also 1 John 1:1 "That which was from beginning" also Mark 1:1 "beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ" also Luke 1:2 just as those who from beginning became eyewitnesses and attendants of the message delivered these to us.

Interestingly "News" & "Flesh" in Hebrew come from the same root:-

H1319
בּשׂר
bâśar
BDB Definition:
1) to bear news, bear tidings, publish, preach, show forth
1a) (Piel)
1a1) to gladden with good news
1a2) to bear news
1a3) to announce (salvation) as good news, preach
1b) (Hithpael) to receive good news

H1320
בּשׂר
bâśâr
BDB Definition:
1) flesh
1a) of the body
1a1) of humans
1a2) of animals
1b) the body itself
1c) male organ of generation (euphemism)
1d) kindred, blood-relations
1e) flesh as frail or erring (man against God)
1f) all living things
1g) animals
1h) mankind

A Pleasant coincidence?