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
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DOI 10.14428/thl.v2i3.2283
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
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The End of the Timeless God.R. T. Mullins - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

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

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