Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Adams on the Mysteries of the Trinity & Incarnation:

Joshua Claybourn reproduces the following in his Christmas Meditation:

"The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man -- that the second person of the Godhead became the 'second man' (I Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human. Here are two mysteries for the price of one -- the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. 'The Word was made flesh' (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation."

-- J.I. Packer, "Knowing God"

John Adams reacts to the sentiment:

If I understand the Doctrine, it is, that if God the first second or third or all three together are united with or in a Man, the whole Animal becomes a God and his Mother is the Mother of God.

It grieves me: it shocks me to write in this stile upon a subject the most adorable that any finite Intelligence can contemplate or embrace: but if ever Mankind are to be superior to the Brutes, sacerdotal Impostures must be exposed.

-- John Adams to Francis van der Kemp, October 23, 1816. Adams Papers (microfilm), reel 122, Library of Congress. Taken from Hutson, The Founders on Religion, p. 223.


Jim Babka said...

If J. Adams is describing Christianity, I certainly don't recognize it. Seriously.

Jonathan said...

Glad your post finally got through!

Leo said...

Your point is well taken - John Adams was not an orthodox Christian. I recall another statement from Adams where he much harsher than this on the subject of the Incarnation and the Deity of Christ which he called, "This Awful Blasphemy"

Sad that this great man rejected that which he was unwilling to grasp by faith. Though I would think that Adams misunderstanding of the Person of Christ and the Nature of God is now corrected as he now resides in that "world" outside of time.