Is sin the cause of incarnation or just the crucifixion?
Christians believe that god the Son took flesh, became Jesus of Nzareth- The God-man, and dies to save us. I mean to ask would Jesus Christ the God-man have existed (incarnation) had man not fallen? Not Would God the Son/the Word exist- He does from eternity.
Sorry to bring up a slightly unrelated but still somewhat related topic.
I was thinking the other day about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. To be tempted means that you must have the capability to choose to sin, otherwise there would be no temptation. So I was wondering, if Jesus, being God incarnate, had chosen to do what the devil was telling Him to do in the wilderness, and thus sinned, what do you think would have happened?
Actually, I believe the Church teaches that our Lord was impeccable- incapable of sin. I think the understanding is that one cannot disobey one’s own will, and since he was really only one divine person, his human will could not disobey the divine will.
In regards to Catholicism, there’s a difference of opinions when you start talking to religious orders and theologians. Such as Dominicans believe that he wouldn’t have come based on St. Aquinas observations in his Summa, Tertia Pars Question 1 Article 3. Franciscans believe that he would have come regardless of the Fall, based on the works of Bl. John Duns Scotus.
Our Catechism points to very fine points, here. Paragrapghs 456-460. Though we acknowledge here He became flesh to save us we also acknowledge He became flesh “so that thus we might know God’s love”, “to be our model of holiness”, and to make us “partakers of the divine nature”. And if we hadn’t sinned, these points would still stand.
The question really boils down to, the Absolute Primacy of Christ. What is the primary reason why the Word became flesh? I fully believe the primary reason is for us to partake of the divine nature, thus He would’ve became flesh regardless of the Fall. But as I have always said, contemplation of possible worlds is incoherent due to the fact we live in the best possible world willed by God.
I suppose if the scenario you’re proposing was that Eve sinned and Adam did not, then Eve would have been banished from Paradise and lost forever, but Adam would have remained in the Garden. Unless God created another woman to keep Adam company, there wouldn’t be any other humans to ‘save’. Theoretically, if Adam had seen Eve banished for eating the fruit, even if another woman allowed for more humans to be born, Adam would not have allowed any of his children to eat the fruit.
That certainly would have created a strange paradox, wouldn’t it? :shrug:
Indeed! So do you think we would have had two parallel humanities, one fallen, one in original grace? Would Jesus then have incarnated for the fallen humans or even for Eve alone? Would we then be one race?
The biggest problem would be that Eve would have been alone and incapable of ever having any children. If God didn’t create another woman for Adam, the same thing would have been true of him. Since Eve was created from Adam’s rib, they were very much alike and were probably not capable of doing anything that the other wouldn’t also do. In the end, if Adam had become so lonely without her that he couldn’t stand being alone, he probably would have ended up eating the fruit just to be with her, anyway. The whole thing seems to have been inevitable after the first transgression happened, since they were created to be as one, forever, when they were joined together by God to be as ‘one flesh’.
I’m not sure that this is a given; that we would have sinned even if Adam and Eve had not sinned. A consequence of original sin is concupiscence, the tendency toward sin. Our intellect was dimmed and our will weakened so that the flesh became stronger than the will. Paul points this out in Romans 7:14-19:
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I conqur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want."
On the other hand, Adam and Eve were not living under the consequences of original sin when they chose to sin, so it is quite possible, and maybe even probable, that we would have fallen into sin anyway. It’s a very interesting question. When we reach heaven we do not become robots, but rather we remain beings with a free will, which would mean that we are still free to choose sin, yet we will not sin. So it is certainly possible to live with free will and not sin. Mary is a perfect example of this. She was born free from the consequences of original sin and remained sinless her entire life.
The primary purpose of Christ’s incarnation was to defeat sin and death by offering the perfect sacrifice to the Father and redeeming mankind. He came to conquer Satan. As others have pointed out, however, this was not his only purpose. We read that Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. If they walked with God, they walked with Christ, so I think it is quite possible that he would have accomplished his other purposes had we remained in the Garden.
This is a great question, but I think the best we can do at this point is to speculate.
Jesus still would have come to save Eve, but He wouldn’t have been “born” for 2 important reasons:
Eve would not have anyone to pro-create with
Jesus would never have entered her womb because she had sinned
Jesus would have come still come to save her, but He would have come in another manner.
But then what? Would Adam and Eve been reunited after she was saved? Or would Adam remain in the Garden of Eden & Eve remain outside of it? Would God create new spouses for them so they could each pro-create? Would you & I even exist?
Indeed! But impossible- The Church teaches that Christ was impeccable, not just sinless- His temptations were all external, never internal, as he was incapable of rebelling against his very own self (The one Divine person).
According to the eastern fathers, Christ would have been incarnated whether we fell or not. Man, in the eastern conception, was not made as a complete entity from the start, but rather with the capability of growing in grace towards God. Christ came down to unite divinity with humanity. God became man so that man might become united with God and this would have occurred with or without the fall. Now the crucifixion would not have occurred without the fall of course.
19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
I suppose it could be argued that if Adam (and Eve) had not sinned there would have been no need for the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” But it seems to have been a forgone conclusion, in other words God knew, that man would sin and therefore provided the means for his salvation.