Whether the incarnation is self-contradictory?

St Thomas AquinasObjection: It seems that the incarnation of Christ is self-contradictory. For, as John Hick says, to say that Jesus was both man and God is like saying the same shape can be both a square and a circle.

On the contrary, The Apostle Thomas says in John 20, “My Lord and my God!”

I answer that, For two propositions to be contradictory, they must occupy the same logical space, so that a comparison is possible between them. It is true that there is a contradiction between saying that the same shape can be both a square and a circle. However, there is no contradiction in saying that a shape can be both a square and yellow; or between “being yellow” and “its being 4.00 pm on Friday 26 October 2011.” As St Thomas Aquinas painstakingly shows in his doctrine of God, “there is not, and there could not be, any such common territory” between Creator and creature; hence “all possibility of exclusion between them is excluded.”

Reply to Objection: “It is precisely because of, not in spite of, the absoluteness of the difference between Creator and creature that the possibility of that immanence which is the incarnation, an indwelling of the divine and the human in the one person of Christ, is conceivable. […] [O]nly on a thoroughly idolatrous notion of God, one that reduces God to the standing of a creature, could it be true that, as Hick maintains, there is a contradiction in saying of one and the same person that he is truly human, truly divine.”

Based on Denys Turner’s argument on pp.224ff. of Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait. In jotting down my own brief summary of Turner’s argument, it seemed to fall naturally into this format… 


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