The idea of a “god” involving himself in the affairs of men by coming to the earth is not a novel one. In the Greek culture of New Testament times there were numerous instances in which the “gods” were said to have manifested themselves in human flesh.1 In our own times there are numerous examples of “super-beings” who have intervened in human history. In the movie “E.T.” this being was far from human. Characters like the “Bionic Man” and the “Bionic Woman” are more human than divine. “Superman” and “Wonder Woman” are more “other worldly” and more closely approximate the Greek heroes.
All of our present day “super-beings” offer provide little help when it comes to the doctrine of the incarnation, however. In the first place, these are fictional characters--nobody really believes in them. This predisposes us to doubt the description of our Lord in the New Testament. In addition, these “super-heroes” of our time are vastly different from the person of Christ, who is God incarnate. There is nothing in fact or in fiction in the history of man which matches the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanly speaking, no one anticipated God’s intervention into human history by the birth of a child, born in a manger. Not even Judaism was looking for Messiah to come in this way.2 Furthermore, we have become so accustomed to the biblical narratives of the birth of our Lord and the credal formulations of the doctrines involved that we have often ceased to appreciate the mystery of the incarnation.
If we are to properly appreciate the mystery of the incarnation, we must first come to recognize the importance of the coming of our Lord as God incarnate. For this reason I have chosen to devote this first message on the incarnation to the subject of the importance of the incarnation. Let us consider the reasons why it the doctrine of the incarnation is vital to every one of us.
(1) The Doctrine of the Incarnation Should be the Focus of a Christian Celebration of Christmas.
We are rapidly approaching Christmas. Strangely enough, this is a time of depression, not just for men and women in general, but particularly for Christians. The “let down” is noticeable, I think, for all of us. Some of this is probably the fact that we have spent considerable money and effort to make the celebration of Christmas enjoyable, and yet the returns have been minimal. A great deal of our depression is related to the fact that much of our concentration is turned away from the message of Christ’s incarnation. The great joy of Christmas is inseparably bound with the fact of His incarnation.
It is probably not necessary to remind you that December 25th is hardly to be considered the time when our Lord was actually born. No one really knows the exact date of our Lord’s birth.3 We do know that by the end of the fourth century Christ’s birth was celebrated on January 6th, and then later on, celebration was divided between January 6th and December 25th. In early Rome the Feast of Saturnalia was celebrated for seven days from the 17th of December to the 24th. This festive week was “marked by a spirit of merriment, gift giving to children and other forms of entertainment.”4
Throughout the centuries various elements of pagan celebrations have been included in the observance of Christmas. It is due to these “other-than-Christian” elements that the central focus of Christmas on the incarnation has been obscured. If we are to truly enter into the spirit and celebration of Christmas in Christian worship than we must focus our attention on the event of the incarnation, which is the heart of the Christmas message.
(2) The Doctrine of the Incarnation is Not Only Neglected by Christians Today, It is Under Attack By Those Who Would Call Themselves “Christians.”
While our culture is very open to “super-beings” who are fictional, there has been increased hostility and opposition to the biblical doctrine of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. In history there have been those who have sought to handle the difficulties of the incarnation by sacrificing either the deity of Christ (e.g. the Ebionites) or his humanity (e.g. the Docetists). Quite recently there has been a bold attack on the doctrine of the incarnation made by a group of theologians, whose essays have been published under the title, The Myth of God Incarnate (S.C.M., 1977).5 In no uncertain terms the incarnation is dismissed as a myth, along with other fundamental doctrines of the faith:
Michael Goulder astonishingly attributes belief in the deity of Christ to the supposed influence of Simon Magus on the Church, and also to the psychological impact of Peter’s experience of the (mythical!) resurrection, and the subsequent “power of hysteria within a small community.”6
But what in fact they seem to be doing, at least in the recent symposium, is to evacuate the divine element from Jesus just as surely as they have done it with Scripture. They are denying not merely Nicene and Chalcedonian definitions of Christ but the basic truth which these definitions sought, in the cultural heritage of their own day to express, that Jesus shared to nature of God as well as our nature. They are not reinterpreting traditional Christology but abandoning it.7
“Christianity is always adapting into something which can be believed” is a presupposition of the essayists in this symposium; so much so that it is quoted in the first paragraph of the book. And miracles cannot be believed. The miracles of Jesus must be repudiated, because miracles do not happen: so ran the message of the film Who Was Jesus?, directed by one of the contributors to The Myth of God Incarnate.8
A study of the incarnation of our Lord is therefore not only necessary in order to properly observe Christmas, but also to preserve the purity of sound doctrine, which has come under attack at this very point.
The doctrine of the incarnation provides the Christian with a doctrinal touchstone to determine a departure from orthodoxy:9
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world (I John 4:1-3).
(3) The Doctrine of the Incarnation is Frequently the Point of Departure for Those Who Reject the Christian Faith.
We have already stated that the doctrine of the incarnation is central to a biblical Christian celebration of Christmas and that it is a truth currently under attack. But the doctrine of the incarnation is also one which is vital to the Christian faith because other biblical doctrines will stand or fall with it. Where men stand on the doctrine of the incarnation often defines the dividing line between orthodoxy and heresy, between true Christianity and the cults:
This is the real stumbling-block in Christianity. It is here that Jews, Moslems, Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many of those who feel the difficulties above mentioned (about the virgin birth, the miracles, the atonement, and the resurrection), have come to grief.10
The uniqueness of the Christian faith is directly related to the biblical teaching of the incarnation of Christ:
The Christian doctrine of the incarnation is one of the two central doctrines which set out the unique features of Christian faith in God. Christianity shares with some other religions belief in an infinite and transcendent God, the source of the world’s being and of all its values. It recognizes that in every part of the world, traditions of religious belief and religious experience have made it possible for men and women to enjoy the blessedness of spiritual life and of the knowledge and love of God. But the Christian doctrine of the incarnation expresses the conviction of Christians that this God has made himself known full, specifically and personally, by taking our human nature into himself, by coming amongst us as a particular man, without in any way ceasing to be the eternal and infinite God.11
Perhaps the best way to underscore the importance of the doctrine of the incarnation is to consider the price for putting it aside. The Bible reveals a number of purposes for the incarnation of our Lord. When we do away with the incarnation, these purposes will not be realized. Consider with me the consequences of doing away with the truth of God incarnate.
(1) To Reveal God To Men
In the past, God had revealed Himself through His works (as recorded in the Scriptures), His world (Psalm 19:1-6), and His word (Ps. 19:7-14). In the coming of Christ, God was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:1-3a).
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (John 1:17-18).
Our Lord can therefore say without any hesitation, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And not only does the Lord Jesus reveal the Father to men, He also reveals men for what they are in God’s sight:
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it . . . . There was a true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him (John 1:4-5, 9-10).
Before, God had revealed His standard of righteousness in precept and in principle, but in Christ that standard was revealed in person. The “measure of a man” is the measure of this Man (cf. Eph. 4:13).
The Lord clearly claimed to be the very One whom the apostles represented as the incarnate Son of God (John 1:1; 6:38; II Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6,7; Gal. 4:4-5). To refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God incarnate is therefore to reject all of God’s divine revelation, be that the Old or the New Testament Scriptures (cf. John 5:39-40; 6:45, 68; 8:26, 31-32, 42-47; Matt. 22:29).
It is little wonder, then, that those who reject the biblical teaching of the incarnation also reject the authority of the Scriptures which so emphatically teach this doctrine. James Barr’s words are the logical outworking of his rejection of the doctrine of the incarnation:
My account of the formation of the biblical tradition is an account of a human work. It is man’s statement of his beliefs, the events he has experienced, the stories he has been told, and so on. It has long been customary to align the Bible with concepts like Word of God, or revelation, and on effect has been to align the Bible with a movement from God to man.
It is man who developed the biblical tradition and man who decided when it might be suitably fixed and made canonical. If one wants to use the Word of God type of language, the proper term for the Bible would be Word of Israel, Word of some leading Christians.12
(2) To Redeem Fallen Man
Nothing could be more clearly documented in the Scriptures than the fact that the principle purpose of the incarnation was to save men from their sins:
But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5).
Rightly, then, Dr. B. B. Warfield concludes:
Eliminate sin as the proximate occasion and redemption as the prime end of the Incarnation, and none of the other relations in which it stands, and none of the other effects which flow from it, will be fulfilled, at least in the measure of their rights.13
The inseparable relationship of the incarnation of Christ and the atonement can be seen at the communion table. In our church we observe the Lord’s ordinance of communion weekly. Here, we are reminded that our salvation has been obtained through the shed blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary. What two elements are used to represent the work of Christ on man’s behalf? They are the bread and the wine. Both these elements are evidence of the necessity of the incarnation. The bread is a symbol of the body--the human body of our Lord which was given for man’s salvation. The unleavened bread reminds us that His body was without sin, which was also a result of the incarnation of our Lord. And the cup symbolizes the blood of our Lord which was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Blood could not have been shed apart from a human body. Thus, the atonement which our Lord accomplished for us was dependent upon the incarnation. To put in more directly, “apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (Heb. 9:22), and apart from a human body, there could be no shedding of blood (cf. Heb. 10:5-10).
We should hardly be surprised that Satan would choose to give his best efforts at undermining the doctrine of the incarnation, for it is foundational to man’s redemption. Dr. Hick, one of the authors of The Myth of God Incarnate, is quick to draw the conclusion that once the incarnation is set aside, Christianity has no special or exclusive claim to redemption:
The problem which has come to the surface in the encounter of Christianity with the other world religions is this: If Jesus was literally God incarnate, and if it is by his death alone that men can be saved, and by their response to him alone that they can appropriate that salvation, then the only doorway to eternal life is the Christian faith. It would follow from this that the large majority of the human race so far have not been saved. But is it credible that the loving God and Father of all men has decreed that only those born within one particular thread of human history shall be saved? (p. 180).14
The entire matter of man’s eternal salvation hinges upon the argument which is found in Romans chapter 5. The question underlying this chapter has to do with how the righteousness of one man, Jesus Christ, is able to save many. The answer is that it was through the sin of one man, Adam (5:12, 14-15) constituted the entire human race to be sinful before God and thus worthy only of His eternal wrath. The solution which God has provided is Christ, the ‘second Adam’ (5:14, I Cor. 15:45), whose righteousness will save all who are “in Him” by faith:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. so then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men (Romans 5:17-18).
Satan seeks to undermine man’s salvation by attacking the truths of Romans chapter 5 from both sides. On the one hand he seeks to deceive men so that they will not believe there was any Adam (evolution can be used very effectively here), thus there is no one sinful act which condemns the entire race. The result is that man is no longer a sinner by nature. If man is not a sinner, under divine wrath, then he surely needs no such thing as salvation.
Secondly, Satan seeks to deceive us as the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ. By corrupting the biblical doctrine of the incarnation Satan can bring us to the “logical” conclusion that since Jesus Christ was not God manifested in the flesh, He was not the one and only means of procuring man’s salvation. One man’s way of getting to heaven is as good as another’s.
Once the doctrine of the incarnation is set aside, the whole matter of redemption through the person and work of Christ is scuttled. And thus we find a great deal of controversy surrounding this vital doctrine.
(3) God’s Initial Purpose for Man, as Well as His Ultimate Purpose, is that Man Will Reign Over His Creation.
When man was created and placed in the Garden of Eden, he was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). While there is a great deal of discussion about all that is meant by the phrase “in Our image” one aspect of this is that man will, like God, rule:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26, emphasis mine).
When Adam fell, all mankind, indeed all creation (cf. Rom. 8:20-22), fell, and chaos resulted. Man’s rule is at best, distorted. God’s promise, both to Israel and to the church, is that His people will be a “kingdom of priests” who will reign with Him (Exod. 19:6; I Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10). This reign will be established when the Messiah comes to the earth to subdue it and to rule over it. The Messiah was to be of the offspring of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12), and of the seed of David (II Sam. 7:12-16).
In the gospels we find the genealogy of our Lord establishing Him as one of the descendants of Abraham, Judah, and David, as a legal (but not biological) son of Joseph (cf. Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38). In the accounts of the birth of our Lord there is a decided emphasis upon the promises which God had made to the Israelites of old, and especially those which pertained to the righteous reign of Messiah:
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the “Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:30-33; cf. Matt. 2:2, 6; Luke 1:49-54; 68-75).
Strange as it may seem, it was not enough that the second person of the Godhead was truly God--He must also be man in order to fulfill God’s purposes and His promises to man. The reason is that God’s purposes and God’s promises were made to man, as man. It was man who was made in God’s image, and who was destined to rule over His creation. It was a man who must fulfill God’s purposes and promises. Fallen man neither could nor would fulfill God’s purposes, due to his sin. Thus, a new man, a “second Adam” must intervene in human history. This man must also be free from all sin. To fulfill the scriptures He must also be divine (we shall study this more in our next lesson). In order for God’s purposes and promises to be fulfilled, the incarnation must occur. When the incarnation did take place, those who witnessed the event were assured that God’s reign (and thus the reign of the faithful) would now be established on the earth.
The importance of the humanity of Christ (thus, the incarnation) is underscored by the writer to the Hebrews in the second chapter of his epistle. He is writing of the superiority of Christ to the angels. In verses 6-8, he turns to Psalm 8, applying the verses which speak of the dignity and glory of man, in that he has been appointed to “rule over the works of Thy hands” (v. 7b). Not only is the writer using this psalm to speak of Christ, but to speak of Him who will reign as man. In verses 4 and 5 the author goes on to show that it was necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to take on human flesh in order to minister to His brethren. The Messiah who was to reign, would do so as man.
In the 10th chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews the point is clearly made that the Lord Jesus, of necessity, had to add humanity to His deity:
Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, But a body Thou hast prepared for Me” (Heb. 10:5).
Do you see the importance of the incarnation to the future hopes of both Israelites and the church? The return of the Lord and the establishment of His kingdom will only occur for men when God does so as man. When our Lord added humanity to His deity, He did so for all eternity. It is as the God-Man that He will return and He will reign, and we with Him. Do away with the incarnation and both the purposes and the promises of God are worthless.
(4) The Present Ministry of Christ is also One Which has Greater Meaning Because of His Incarnation.
Our salvation, accomplished in the past by the death of Christ on the cross and fully realized in His second coming and reign is contingent upon His humanity. In between the past and the future there is yet another ministry which our Lord carries on as man:
For there is one god, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time (I Tim. 2:5-6, emphasis mine).
At the present time, while the Son waits for the Father’s word to return to the earth and subdue His enemies (cf. I Cor. 15:20-28; Rev. 5). In this present time the Lord Jesus is our advocate with the Father (I John 2:1). His present high priestly role has special relevance to us because He has come to the earth as man, making Him a compassionate and understanding advocate and source of strength and encouragement:
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Heb. 2:17-18).
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).
The consequences of denying or rejecting the incarnation of our Lord are substantial, as we have seen. This is due, in part, because our Lord’s incarnation is eternal. What He became in the manger centuries ago, is what He shall forever be--the God-Man. To deny the incarnation is to deny the virgin birth, the miracles of our Lord, His substitutionary atonement, and His bodily resurrection. In effect, to deny the incarnation is to deny all. To accept the incarnation is to believe in all:
It is from misbelief, or at least inadequate belief, about the incarnation that difficulties at other points in the gospel story usually spring. But once the incarnation is grasped as a reality, these other difficulties dissolve . . . . Once we grant that Jesus was divine, it becomes unreasonable to find difficulty in any of this; it is all of a piece, and hangs together completely. The incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains.15
If, indeed, the Bible is correct in teaching us that our destiny is inseparably linked to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (which Romans 5 and many other texts emphatically demonstrate), then to deny the incarnation is to undermine the very core of our faith.
Incarnation is not just a debate about something which took place 2,000 years ago in history. The issues at hand in the incarnation of our Lord are matters of principle which have very practical ramifications. The broader issue of the incarnation is the relationship between the divine and the human, between the sovereign working of God and the human responsibility of man.
Let me attempt to illustrate what I mean by referring to the issue of the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. The real question lying behind the issue of the inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures is whether anything which is dependent upon human participation can be said to be divine and without error. To deny the incarnation is to deny the deity or the humanity (or both) of our Lord. Such a denial is to conclude that it is impossible for our Lord to be both undiminished deity and sinless humanity at the same time. To conclude this about the living Word is to necessitate doing so with the written word.
The underlying principle here is the relationship between the divine and the human. One of the most pressing problems for the Christian is how can God (the divine) indwell and manifest Himself in the human (me). To deny that the divine and human can be joined together in any practical or personal way is to deny the essence of our salvation and sanctification, for when we are born again we become one with God and He with us. To live the spiritual life is to be joined with Him in whatever we do. The Christian is urged to exert himself because of the divine enablement which God has provided, thus merging divinity and humanity, divine power manifested in human weakness (cf. Rom. 12:1-2; II Pet. 1:3-11).
The doctrine of the incarnation implies several truths which the Bible elsewhere verifies. Let us conclude by considering what the incarnation of our Lord implies to us, which we dare not ignore.
(1) The Doctrine of the Incarnation Informs us of the Depravity of Man and of His Desperate Condition Apart from Divine Intervention.
Hopefully it has become clear that the incarnation involved a great condescension on the part of the second person of the Godhead. While there was much humiliation in His death, there was also humiliation in His incarnation (cf. II Cor. 8:9). The fact that God was willing to “stoop” to identifying with man in the incarnation of our Lord is evidence to the utter fallenness of mankind. Surely God would never have considered the incarnation unless there was no possible means by which man could save himself. The incarnation implies what the first three chapters of the Book of Romans boldly asserts--that man was totally, irreversibly, lost, if left to himself. Man neither could, nor would, choose to save himself.
The point is simply to be stated in this way: if the cure requires drastic measures, the ailment is severe. No one would conceive of allowing the doctor to remove a limb to cure an infection which could be treated by antibiotics. But if the ailment were a cancer that would kill the patient, then a limb is gladly sacrificed to preserve the life. No cure is more drastic than that of the incarnation and the cross. Man’s problem of sin is indeed fatal.
(2) The Doctrine of the Incarnation Informs us of God’s Desire and His Ability to Save Fallen Man.
If we would wish to attempt to fathom the love of God for fallen man, let us ponder the wonder of the incarnation. While it is usually to the cross that we turn our attention to ponder the love of God, we must recognize that, as someone has said, “the wood of the cradle and the wood of the cross are the same.” The cradle was but the first step to the cross. And it is by that cradle that we should seek to ponder the willingness and the ability of God to save men from their sins.
(3) The Doctrine of the Incarnation Warns us of the Folly of Rejecting Salvation in Christ and Substituting Our Own Efforts.
I have suggested (and I acknowledge this logical argument may have its flaws) that if man were not hopelessly lost, God would hardly have sent his Son to the cradle or the cross. If the salvation of man takes such drastic measures as a cradle and a cross, surely God is rightly angered by man’s efforts to save himself and thereby rejecting the person and the work of God’s Son. Because God has chosen to save sinners by sending His only begotten Son, surely God is righteous to demand that men find salvation only in His Son. How foolish it is to seek to stand before God in any righteousness which rejects Jesus Christ, God incarnate.
We shall shortly return to our study of the Book of Revelation. When we study chapters 6 and following we must agree with the writer to the Hebrews who has said (in a different context),
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the furry of fire which will consume the adversaries . . . . It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:26-27, 31).
What a wonderful, and reassuring view of God we have in the cradle, and on the cross. But for those who refuse the Christ of the gospels, they must face the Christ of the Book of Revelation, Who will subdue His enemies.
“Augustine points to the prevailing tradition in the 5th cent. among western churches concerning the birth of Christ and the observance of Christmas. ‘For He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also He suffered; . . . But He was born according to tradition upon December the 25th” (De Trinitate, Bk. IV, Ch. 5).” G. Lambert, “Christmas,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975, 1976), I, p. 804.
5 The major arguments of this book are summarized: (1) The idea of ‘incarnation’, that God became man in Jesus of Nazareth, is a construction built upon the New Testament and not found in it. (2) We must recognize that the idea of ‘incarnation’ is a myth. (3) Jesus was a real man born in normal fashion, a child of Mary and Joseph. He did not exist before his conception and birth. (4) The significance of Jesus lies in his ‘faith-response’ to God. (5) Christ’s Sonship can be seen as a development from the idea of God’s ‘man’ to that of God’s son, by analogy. The later full-blooded conception of God’s only Son was a mistaken development. (6) Jesus is not different in kind from other men. (7) His death was martyrdom which crowned his life and activated his mission. Taken from: George Carey, God Incarnate: Meeting the Contemporary Challenges to a Classic Christian Doctrine (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1978), pp. 7-8.
10 J. I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), p. 46. In this 5th chapter, entitled “God Incarnate,” Packer does an excellent job of underscoring the importance of the doctrine of the incarnation.
12 As quoted in The Truth of God Incarnate, pp. 108-109. To deny the incarnation of our Lord necessitates the rejection of divine revelation (the Bible) which clearly teaches it. The normal sequence of events is that the denial of the incarnation is the final step of rejecting divine revelation, not the first step. Usually man begins by denying the authority and the message of the Bible and the final departure is to deny the incarnation. In the preface to the book, The Truth of God Incarnate, Michael Green summarizes the sequence of events which led to the publication of the book, The Myth of God Incarnate.