The Christian tradition’s core theological assertion is the embodiment of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Yet, even while asserting God’s incarnation in space and time, the tradition has usually denied embodiment unto the Godhead itself. Theologians have based this denial on Jewish iconoclasm, Greek idealism, and inferences from God’s omnipresence, transcendence, and infinity. This speculative essay will argue that Hindu Śrīvaiṣṇava theologian Rāmānuja successfully addresses these concerns. He argues for the embodiment of an omnipresent, transcendent, and infinite personal God. Rāmānuja largely derives his arguments from the Hindu scriptures. Nevertheless, their rational explication and internal coherence render divine embodiment a legitimate theological option for the Christian tradition, whose scriptures present both anthropomorphic and iconoclastic concepts of God. Since Godhead embodiment is ontologically coherent and rationally defensible, Christians must accept or reject it based on axiological grounds, by evaluating the felt consequences of the doctrine in Christian life. For embodied beings, any pastoral theology should commend embodiment within the Godhead.
Sydnor, Jon Paul
"Does God Have a Body? Rāmānuja’s Challenge to the Christian Tradition,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 31, Article 19.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1696