The Incarnation: Did a Person Become God?

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

Some will ask, so with Jesus, did a person become God? That’s a very common question. The answer is no. There’s a difference between a person becoming God and God becoming a human being. In fact, a great difference.

Now, the first lie that was told to our first parents in Genesis was that they could be God. And so any religion that teaches you you can be God-Mormonism teaches you that. Hinduism and many Eastern religions say that through karma and cosmic progress you can pay off your karmic debt so that you are one with the divine. That is another way of saying that you become one with that which is divine. You’re in effect divine. You’re godlike.

Some of the New Spirituality or New Age, Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, will say essentially that there is a spark of divinity within us. They don’t believe in a personal God with a name. They believe in pantheism and panentheism, that all of creation is imbued and endowed with this divine cosmic force and that we don’t go out to God, we go into self through prayer and yoga and meditation and centering and we connect with the divinity within us so that we can connect with the cosmic power with the divine consciousness. It’s another way of saying you can be godlike or divine.

That’s not what the Bible is teaching at all. There’s really only two ways that everyone answers the question, how do we connect to God: everyone else’s way and the Bible’s way.

Everyone else’s way is: the distance between us and God, particularly exacerbated by sin, is closed by us ascending toward God through morality, reincarnation, good works, paying off our karmic debt, trying harder, doing better.

It’s pride.

We rise up to God. We become closer to God, more like God through our own effort.

Christianity is about God coming down to be with us.

We don’t go up to God. He comes down to us. It’s not about pride. It’s about humility. It’s not about what we do. It’s about what he does. It’s not about the favor we merit. It’s about the grace that he gives. The whole doctrine of the incarnation is not that a person became God to show us how we can be godlike. It’s how God became a person because he loves us and he came to be with us.

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