The Incarnation

Richard Cross

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596539
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Incarnation


The Christian doctrine of the Incarnation maintains that the second person of the Trinity became a human being, retaining all attributes necessary for being divine and gaining all attributes necessary for being human. As usually understood, the doctrine involves the claim that the second person of the Trinity is the subject of the attributes of Jesus Christ, the first-century Jew whose deeds are reported in various ways in the New Testament. The fundamental philosophical problem specific to the doctrine is this: how is it that one and the same thing could be both divine (and thus, on the face of it, necessary, and necessarily omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, immutable, impassible, and impeccable) and human (and thus, on the face of it, have the complements of all these properties). Most of the philosophical effort devoted to the specifics of the doctrine has centered on this issue, which is the focus of this article.

Keywords: Christian doctrine; Trinity; Jesus Christ; divine; human

Article.  12007 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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