Jesus the God-Man : the doctrine of the Incarnation in Edward Irving in the light of the teaching of the Church Fathers and its relevance for a twentieth century African context
Irving's doctrine of the incarnation stems from his doctrine of the fall. The fall had detesting effects on human nature. Man's will, reason and understanding became subjected to his bodily desires and the whole of man's nature became corrupt in the sense of always turning towards sin. The enslavement of human nature to sin is such that Irving freely refers to human nature as that sinful stuff; but he does not by this identify sin with the nature itself.At the incarnation, Christ took human nature in 'exactly the same condition in which it is. after the fall. His mainn point here is that there is no difference whatsoever between the humanity of Christ and ours, except our sin; that in order to reconcile usback to God He needed to become exactly what we are. This teaching led to his condemnation as a heretic.However, the same kind of teaching on the true humanity ofChrist can be traced to the Church Fathers. Both Irenaeue and Athanasius emphasized the. true humanity of Christ as.Irving does. Although they. do not use the exact terminology of "fallen human nature",their teaching is easentislly the same. Gregory of Nyasa is the clearest in this teaching with the exact terminology that Christ assumed fallen human nature in order to redeem the whole man.Finally, in an African situation where life is marked by fear of witches and other spiritual and human forces, the doctrine of the incarnation as taught by Irving and the Fathers is good news indeed.