contra sacramentalism, the Incarnation is not a principle

Jesus Christ was/is an historical person.  Per the New Testament, he is presently at the right hand of the Father, preparing a place for his children, and he will return at the time assigned by the Father.  Though we Christians have developed a number of principles for understanding his Incarnation, we always remember that he is not a principle, but a person.  Indeed, for the Christian ‘Incarnation’ is not a deverbal noun but a name for Jesus Christ.
Thus, the symbolic interpretation of the sacraments, especially the Lord’s Supper.  It is not so much the difficulty of Christ’s omnipresence that drives me from a hard interpretation of the bread and wine as Christ’s more-than-symbolic body and blood, but the fact that Christ was an historical person and that he still exists as such, and that Incarnation is his being and not simply a principle initiated by him and repeated weekly.

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  • Stephen  On January 17, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I think that we need to define “historical person.” Does it mean physical body of a human being at a certain moment and never living on into the future of human history? I would disagree with that definition. How does Paul fill up the sufferings of Christ through participation in Christ’s body then? One could object that Paul is only speaking “symbolically,” but that seems to rely on the notion that ideal symbols are less real than the matter from which they are derived. In the case of Jesus, historical personhood (due to the work of the Holy Spirit guiding the church into all Truth – that Truth being a person, not a thing) seems to be a lot more than just the momentary physical presence of a human body.

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