My 2021 ETS Proposal is partially based on a portion of my dissertation in which I explore a facet of Incarnation Anyway theology, or as Edwin Chr. van Driel appropriately labels it, Supralapsarian Christology. Here is my proposal:
The Eternal Son as Instructor: Incarnation Anyway, Continued
Most scholars agree that the incarnation happens in order to address the problem of sin, conceived both as guilt requiring atonement and as power requiring defeat. The counterfactual claim, however, receives less attention. That is, one might speculate, the Son would have become incarnate even if sin had not entered the world, given other purposes served by the former event. More recently, this latter theory has received greater attention under the heading ‘Incarnation Anyway,’ but its wider implications remain largely unexplored. Accordingly, this paper will build on contributions by Oliver Crisp and Edwin Chr. van Driel, arguing specifically that incarnation would have served an essential purpose, quite apart from the necessities of atonement and victory over the powers of evil. One such possible purpose is that if sin had not entered the world, then the Son would have become incarnate to serve as instructor and exemplar par excellence, now concerned with (a) humanity’s status as created in the image of God and (b) the eschatological entailments of this fact, chief among which is humanity’s escalation into likeness with the Son.
To that end, this papers argument will be as follows. In section 1, I will briefly address the foundations of Incarnation Anyway and some of its theories. In section 2, I will argue that these foundations open the possibility that the eternal Son would have come as an instructor of humanity from above, rather than from below as with the serpent. In section 3, I will demonstrate that Christ’s relation to the Father as the Eternal Son, and His relation to humanity by way of the incarnation paves the way for this instruction to enlighten mankind of their true and final imaging into the likeness of the Son.
I welcome any critiques, thoughts or questions you may have.