The majority of Christian theologians and preachers have seen Jesus’ incarnation as a response to the sin of Adam and Eve: no sin, no incarnation. In effect, that makes the Incarnation Plan B.
Blessed John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan theologian who died in 1308 and was beatified in 1993, saw this differently. Starting with the assertion that Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15), Scotus called the Incarnation God’s greatest work (summum opus) and reasoned that it could not have been occasioned by human sin.
Francis of Assisi’s love for the crib, the cross, and the Eucharist suggests that he would have supported John Duns Scotus on this issue. That minority position among theologians has drawn increased support in recent years. Scotus’ teaching on Mary’s Immaculate Conception was not mainstream before 1854. “Was the Incarnation Plan A?” is an extremely practical question with enormous implications. For more on this, at StAnthonyMessenger.org, see articles by Fathers Stephen Doyle, OFM (December 1999) and Kenneth Overberg, SJ (December 2001).
Easter is a couple weeks away. May it be a blessed one for us all!
This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.
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