Faith in the Incredible

  • Freelance theology is dedicated to answering every theological query, but obviously some of the answers encourage further questions. Here is one such dialogue between Jon the freelance theologian and MM, United Kingdom.

    MM wrote
    I have just read your response to the question posted about the ‘eternal gulf’, as experienced by CM in relation to their Muslim friend. It was good to read an independent and serious Christian opinion on this, but I feel you have made one crucial mistake. Referring to the Incarnation of Jesus, you describe the claims surrounding it as ‘incredible’; whilst this may be understood as an expression of awe, in literal terms the word chosen means ‘not able to be believed’. As you have explained the root of the word ‘creed[s]’ in your response to the question ‘What does the Bible say about the Trinity?’, it seems a shame to use the word in a way that could trip up a pedantic reader, or one who does not accept the truth of the Incarnation.

    Jon the freelance theologian responded
    There is a reference within the context of the article (‘Uncommon Ground’) to how the Islamic comprehension of God allows no possibility for the Incarnation: “The claim that Jesus is the “Son of God” is nonsensical to a Muslim, because the Qur’anic view of God is absolutely monotheistic.” In this sense, something that Christians take for granted is ‘beyond belief’ for a Muslim.

    Even within Christianity, the Incarnation remains a difficult concept to grasp, involving as it does various paradoxical statements. Most theologians would eventually admit that a certain amount of faith comes into play once the spheres of reasoned argument and historical study come to an end. Technically, ‘incredible’ means ‘hard to believe or imagine’, and can be used informally to mean ‘marvellous or amazing’ (Collins English Dictionary). All of those definitions can be applied to the Incarnation.

    Original questions or comments on previous posts are welcomed – just write to freelance theology.

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