Abstract
A central part of the Christian doctrine of the incarnation is that the Son of God ‘becomes’ incarnate. Furthermore, according to classical theism, God is timeless: He exists ‘outside’ of time, and His life has no temporal stages. A consequence of this ‘atemporalist’ view is that a timeless being cannot undergo intrinsic change—for this requires the being to be one way at one time, and a different way at a later time. How, then, can we understand the central Christian claim that the Son of God ‘becomes’ human? This paper examines one such explanation, drawn from a brief remark by Brian Leftow: the Word takes on flesh by exhibiting modal variation with regards to the incarnation. On this account, a timeless God ‘becomes’ incarnate simply due to variation across logical space: at some possible worlds He is incarnate and at others He is not. Modal variation need not, therefore, require temporality: it only requires variation across possible worlds. I draw out the problems with Leftow’s modal claim under the heads of Ersatzism and Genuine Modal Realism about possible worlds, respectively. I argue that in both instances, Leftow’s desired cross–worldly variation of the Son’s incarnation cannot be achieved.
Keywords Son of God, Incarnation, Atemporality, Modality, Divine Freedom
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.14428/thl.v2i3.2283
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Attitudes de Dicto and de Se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
Counterpart Theory and Quantified Modal Logic.David K. Lewis - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):113-126.
The End of the Timeless God.R. T. Mullins - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

God’s place in the world.Matthew James Collier - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (1):43-65.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kenosis, Necessity and Incarnation.Robin Poidevin - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (2):214-227.
Kenosis, Necessity and Incarnation.Robin Le Poidevin - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (2):214-227.
God and Necessity.Brian Leftow - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and the Incarnation.Timothy Pawl & Kevin Timpe - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):743-756.
The Compositional Account of the Incarnation.Thomas D. Senor - 2007 - Faith and Philosophy 24 (1):52-71.
A Timeless God Incarnate.Brian Leftow - 2002 - In Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall & Gerald O'Collins (eds.), The Incarnation. Oxford Up. pp. 273--299.
Anselm on the Necessity of the Incarnation.Brian Leftow - 1995 - Religious Studies 31 (2):167 - 185.
Timelessness, Omniscience, and Tenses.Laura L. Garcia - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:65-82.
Anselm on the Beauty of the Incarnation.Brian Leftow - 1995 - Modern Schoolman 72 (2-3):109 - 124.
The Incarnation As Action Composite.Katherin A. Rogers - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (3):251-270.
Timelessness, Omniscience, and Tenses.Laura L. Garcia - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:65-82.
Omniscience, Tensed Facts, and Divine Eternity.William Lane Craig - 2000 - Faith and Philosophy 17 (2):225-241.
Divine Eternity and the Nature of Time.Alan Gregory Padgett - 1989 - Dissertation, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-05-04

Total views
18 ( #611,146 of 2,519,679 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,314 of 2,519,679 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes