Incarnation (Term)

In Christian theology, the Incarnation refers to the doctrine that the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, assumed human nature and became man in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, two natures united in one person without division, confusion, mixture, or change. This central tenet is foundational to Christian faith, as it affirms that Jesus Christ is both true God, co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and true man, born of the Virgin Mary.

The Incarnation is celebrated and emphasized particularly in the events of the Annunciation and Nativity, as recounted in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Theologically, it is expounded upon in the writings of the early Church Fathers and was definitively articulated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, which declared that Jesus is to be acknowledged in two natures, “without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.”

This doctrine underscores the unique and profound belief that God entered into human history in a tangible way to redeem humanity from sin and death, making possible a restored relationship with God. It highlights the love and humility of God, who “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7), to bring about salvation through His life, death, and resurrection.