Crisp: The Orthodox View of Incarnation

Analytic theologian Oliver Crisp summarizes the orthodox understanding of incarnation:

A creedally orthodox account of the incarnation is any approach to the doctrine that takes as its point of departure the high Christology of the great catholic creeds, culminating in the “definition” of the person of Christ worked at at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. During this historically creative period of Christology, the theologians of the church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, sought to comprehend what scripture teaches concerning the person of Christ. The resulting synthesis is largely an exposition of the dogmatic proposition that ‘Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man,’ and includes (but is not exhausted by) the following tenets:

  1. Christ is of one substance (homoousios) with the Father.
  2. Christ is eternally begotten of the Father according to his divinity and temporally begotten of the Virgin Mary according to his humanity.
  3. Christ is one theanthropic (divine-human) person (hypostasis) subsisting in two natures (phuseis), which are held together in a personal union.
  4. Christ’s two natures remain intact in the personal union, without being confused or mingled together to form some sort of hybrid entity or tertium quid.
  5. Christ’s two natures are a fully divine nature and a fully human nature, respectively, his human nature consisting of a human body and ‘rational’ soul.

All orthodox theologians upheld this dogmatic synthesis.

Oliver Crisp, “Incarnation,” in The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, eds.┬áJohn Webster, Kathryn Tanner, Iain Torrance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), Kindle Locations 3988-4000.