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Would Jesus Have Come If Adam Had Not Sinned? Why Did He Wait So Long Before Coming?

December 21, 2016

summaContinuing our series of questions related to the Incarnation, we next ponder whether Jesus would have come at all had we not sinned in the Garden. We also wonder why He waited thousands of years before coming to our rescue.

Regarding the question of whether Christ would have come if Adam had not sinned, St. Thomas Aquinas (in his Summa Theologica) first states that there are different opinions on the matter. He also notes that God’s power is not limited and therefore God could have become incarnate even if sin had not existed. However, St. Thomas believes that if man had not sinned then the Son would not have become incarnate. As I often do, I’ve presented St. Thomas’ words in bold italics, while my commentary appears in red.

For such things as spring from God’s will, and beyond the creature’s due, can be made known to us only through being revealed in the Sacred Scripture, in which the Divine Will is made known to us. Hence, since everywhere in the Sacred Scripture the sin of the first man is assigned as the reason of Incarnation, it is more in accordance with this to say that the work of Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin; so that, had sin not existed, Incarnation would not have been (Summa Theologica, Part III, Question 1, Article 1).

While theological speculation may have its place, it is most certain that the Incarnation was instituted by God first and foremost as a remedy for sin. And while the Incarnation offers more than is required to remedy sin (e.g., an increase in human dignity (since God joined our family), God’s visitation, the opening of a heavenly (not merely earthly) paradise), Scripture presents remedy for sin as God’s primary motive. In remedying our sin, God shows the greatness of His mercy, because He does not merely restore us but elevates us to a higher place than before. The least born in to the Kingdom of God is greater that the exemplar of the Old Covenant, John the Baptist. Had we not sinned and had God merely wanted to elevate us, He could have done so in other ways. Hence, St. Thomas’ position is best suited to the evidence.

If the Incarnation is a remedy for sin, why did God wait so long to apply it? St. Thomas provides an answer that is sensible and addresses aspects of the question we might not have considered. His answer is found in the Summa Theologica (part III, question 1, article 5). First he addresses why the Incarnation did not happen before sin:

Since the work of Incarnation is principally ordained to the restoration of the human race by blotting out sin, it is manifest that it was not fitting for God to become incarnate at the beginning of the human race before sin. For medicine is given only to the sick. Hence our Lord Himself says (Matthew 9:12-13): “They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill … For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.”

Next, St. Thomas addresses why the Incarnation did not happen quickly, soon after Original Sin, rather than thousands of years later. He sets forth four reasons:

I. Nor was it fitting that God should become incarnate immediately after sin. First, on account of the manner of man’s sin, which had come of pride; hence man was to be liberated in such a manner that he might be humbled, and see how he stood in need of a deliverer. … For first of all God left man under the natural law, with the freedom of his will, in order that he might know his natural strength; and when he failed in it, he received the law; whereupon, by the fault, not of the law, but of his nature, the disease gained strength; so that having recognized his infirmity he might cry out for a physician, and beseech the aid of grace.

Quick solutions to problems do not always permit proper healing to take place. Most parents know that if they solve every problem a child has, important lessons may be lost. It is often beneficial to live with our questions for a while so that the answers are more appreciated and more effective.

Indeed, it took us humans quite a while to really acknowledge the seriousness of our sin and pride. Shortly after Eden, the tower of Babel indicated that human pride was still a grave problem. Even when given the Law, a good thing, the flesh corrupted it, turning perfunctory observance of it into an occasion for pride. The prophets then had to keep summoning Israel and Judah back to the Lord and away from prideful self-reliance. The Assyrian invasion of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian Captivity only further illustrated the depths of our sin, so that this cry went up: “O Lord, that you would rend the heavens and come down” (Is 64:1).

We had to be led gradually to recognize our profound need for a savior. Otherwise, even if the remedy were offered, too few might reach for it.

II. Secondly, on account of the order of furtherance in good, whereby we proceed from imperfection to perfection. Hence the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 15:46-47): “Yet that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual … The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man from heaven, heavenly.”

There is a kind of theology of grace implicit in this answer. Grace builds on our nature. And it is our nature, physically and spiritually, to grow gradually. While sudden conversions and growth spurts have their place, the best and most typical growth is that which occurs steadily and in stages.

Thirdly, on account of the dignity of the incarnate Word, for on the words (Galatians 4:4), “But when the fullness of the time was come,” a gloss says: “The greater the judge who was coming, the more numerous was the band of heralds who ought to have preceded him.”

Here is underscored the dignity of the Son of God, that many should precede Him, announcing Him. But there was also a need for us to be prepared to meet Him, so that we would not miss Him or refuse Him when He came. As Malachi says, See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction (Mal 4:5-6). Those who were prepared were able to abide the day of the Lord’s coming and heed His call.

Fourthly, lest the fervor of faith should cool by the length of time, for the charity of many will grow cold at the end of the world. Hence (Luke 18:8) it is written: “But yet the Son of Man, when He cometh, shall He find think you, faith on earth?”

This is an interesting aspect of the question that many might not consider; we typically ponder more what is good for us than what is good for succeeding generations. But it is sadly true that fervor, both collective and individual, can fade as a wait becomes lengthy. And thus, St. Thomas suggests that God appointed a time for the Incarnation within human history such that the greatest possible number of people could be saved.

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Comments (39)

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  1. Nick says:

    I think the Immaculate Conception and Assumption proof that God would’ve become man had we never sinned. Saint Mary never sinned, yet is the first human person to share in Jesus’ Mystery as the first one to be redeemed.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      But why use an exceptional case to proof a general point?

      • Nick says:

        Because Mary is the Masterpiece, Mother, and Servant of God and the Mother, Model, and Figure of the Church and all mankind. What God does for her, He does for us.

        • Father Ryan Erlenbush says:

          Nick,
          Had Adam not sinned, Mary would not have received the grace of the Immaculate Conception – for this would have been the norm. Mary would not have been redeemed.
          Thus, the comparison fails, since your comparison already presumes the fall — which is the precise point, the Incarnation seems to presume the fall of man, such that the safest opinion is that there would have been no incarnation if man had not sinned.

          • Nick says:

            “The Church has never taught that the Sacraments would have been given if man had not sinned. Provide a magestrial citation for your claim. In fact, the general opinion of theologians is that there would not have been the sacraments of the New Law had man not sinned — most obviously, confession and anointing of the sick would not have been given. Because our Lord had instituted baptism, it was fitting and necesssary that Mary be baptized, but it does not follow from this that baptism would have been instituted if there weren’t a fall.”

            The Church is predestined: Catechism of the Catholic Church 760
            The Church includes the Sacraments: Catechism 1118-1119
            Ergo, the Sacraments are predestined.

            “Had Adam not sinned, Mary would not have received the grace of the Immaculate Conception – for this would have been the norm. Mary would not have been redeemed. Thus, the comparison fails, since your comparison already presumes the fall — which is the precise point, the Incarnation seems to presume the fall of man, such that the safest opinion is that there would have been no incarnation if man had not sinned.”

            Mary is predestined: Catechism 488-489
            Mary is Immaculate: Catechism 490-494
            Ergo, the Immaculate Conception is predestined.

        • Michael B Rooke says:

          @ Nick

          AUGUSTISSIMAE VIRGINIS MARIAE
          ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
          ON THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE HOLY ROSARY
          Mary’s Place in the Incarnation and Redemption
          2. God predestined her from all eternity to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, and for that reason so highly distinguished her among all His most beautiful works in the triple order of nature, grace and glory, that the Church justly applies to her these words: “I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures” (Ecclus. xxiv., 5). And when, in the first ages, the parents of mankind fell into sin, involving their posterity in the same ruin, she was set up as a pledge of the restoration of peace and salvation. The Only-begotten Son of God ever paid to His Most Holy Mother indubitable marks of honour. During His private life on earth He associated her with Himself in each of His first two miracles: the miracle of grace, when, at the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in the womb of Elizabeth; the miracle of nature, when He turned water into wine at the marriage – feast of Cana. And, at the supreme moment of His public life, when sealing the New Testament in His precious Blood, He committed her to his beloved Apostle in those sweet words, “Behold, thy Mother!” (John xix., 27).

          http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_12091897_augustissimae-virginis-mariae.html

          • Nick says:

            Predestination takes everything into account: Catechism of the Catholic Church 311 and 600

            Yet God is not bound by anything: Catechism 1257 (“God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.”)

            So He predestines out of love – not just because of our sins: Catechism 2012.

            In short, you cannot oppose Church Document to Catechism, for we profess One Faith. And what we profess in the Nicene and Apostolic Creeds, God predestined: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWCoN4lDmw

          • Michael B Rooke says:

            @ Nick
            The music for your video is from ‘ Little witch music’ that seems to me inappropriate.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Nick. Blessed Scotus also taught that the incarnation was not merely contingent upon the fall, but rather was *eternally* decreed by God. Of course, if there were no sin, then the incarnation would have been a very different event! One in which the Kingship was handed over to Christ, not one in which a death sentence was handed over to Christ. (and let’s remember that Bl. Scotus has certainly been right when in disagreement with Aquinas before… see a certain proclamation made in 1854 😉 )

      • Nick says:

        Saints can disagree, but the Church teaches that Mary and Jesus, the Church and the Sacraments, and the whole Divine Economy is predestined, because of the oneness of God’s Will, Providence and Predestination.

        Thus, even if we had not sinned, God still would have died, we would still receive the Sacraments (like Mary did), and – in short – God would still gradually perfect Creation and mankind unto the predestined consummation.

        After all, the Lord created us for our own sakes and loves us as much as He loves Himself, even though He needs nothing.

        • Father Ryan Erlenbush says:

          The Church has never taught that the Sacraments would have been given if man had not sinned. Provide a magestrial citation for your claim.

          In fact, the general opinion of theologians is that there would not have been the sacraments of the New Law had man not sinned — most obviously, confession and anointing of the sick would not have been given.

          Because our Lord had instituted baptism, it was fitting and necesssary that Mary be baptized, but it does not follow from this that baptism would have been instituted if there weren’t a fall.

        • Father Ryan Erlenbush says:

          Nick,

          Do you see the insanity in your comment that “even if man had not sinned God still would have died”? And exactly how? Since before sin,man had the gift of immortality– death only enters humanity because of sin.

          This is the kind of radical absolutizing that tends to happen when people insist that the Incarnation would have occured even if man had not sinned. It really gets a bit silly.

          • Brian Ingram says:

            Immortality is a preternatural gift accessible to those in the garden through the tree of life. If Adam and Eve had remained in the garden, they having access to the tree would have had eternal life. The death in Gen 2:17 was a spiritual death. As Gen 3:22 says And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” If that had happened man would have been eternally separated from God, spiritually dead but physically immortal. Man being driven from the garden was an act of mercy from God, and the first step in God’s redemptive plan.

      • Just fyi, it is actually not entirely clear that St Thomas did deny the Immaculate Conception. In his first writtings he seems to affirm it, then seems to deny it, then finally seems to affirm (though not entirely clear).

        Fr Garrigou-Lagrange explains it well. This article summarizes things — http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/12/did-st-thomas-deny-dogma-of-immaculate.html

        We do want to be careful of accusing the saints of error! Especially if there is some reason to think the common accusation is exaggerated! 🙂

  2. John says:

    Is this possible?
    Jesus, God, became man to redeem man because “man/humans” had fallen from grace and could no longer live with Him in His Divine Will.
    [A “test” was needed to prove the existence of a free will and the opportunity to choose to love and trust or not to do that since real love and freedom gives thither person the opportunity to reject, however painful that may be, on the part of the lover.]
    By doing so, Jesus, thru Redemption, raised the status/returned the status of humans back to the possibility of living in His Divine Will.
    Had Adam and Eve not sinned and “passed” the test of trust and obedience, there would have been no need for a Redeemer or the need to establish a Church for the salvation of souls who came after the time of Christ.
    Could the “plan” of a Redeemer have been a “plan” only in the possibility if man had failed the test.
    If man had not sinned, would our Blessed Mother have needed a Redeemer?
    While our Lord redeemed her also, could that have occurred only because her “original parents” had fallen and so she too could have theoretically “inherited” the original sin but as the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception states, she was preserved from that condition from the beginning of time, only in case ” our original parents” had failed the test, as they did?
    Since original humans did, Jesus became her Redeemer by preserving her from the stain of sin.
    And, since Adam and Eve did sin, could it be assumed that if any other two individuals, male and female, who came after Adam and Eve could have been as easily tempted and would have failed also thru pride and disobedience after listening to the lies of Satan?
    Is it not possible, that if man had not fallen from grace and out of God’s Divine Will, the human race could have remained in, be blessed by and have benefited from always living in the Divine Will, so in a sense there would have been no need for a Redeemer but somehow God could have allowed each person to “know” that if “man” had fallen what their horrible state could have been and why they would have been in need of a Redeemer?
    An example might be: could parents somehow “show” what would happen if their child ran into the street and were hit by a car, all the hurt and pain that could have resulted, but did not occur by not running into the street, so they would “know” that by obeying their parents they avoided all the possible hurt and pain.
    The Fall brought about the need of a Redeemer and shows how loving our God, Creator, Father is, hence the phrase ” oh wondrous fault” but could we not have “known” that also by not having to “experiencing/going through” the fallen state of man?
    Or, was the only way to “fully experience and understand” the fact that we are not God and that we are completely and wonderfully dependent on Him was to actually have the story of Creation/Redemption/Sanctification turn out as it has?
    Hope, I have made the questions clear. I’m not questioning God. For too many reasons, I know He is always right and while we humans can second guess or question Him, I believe He knows us better than we know ourselves.
    But in way I think either possibility could have shown how awesome/loving and merciful the Trinity is.
    What do you think or more importantly: what do you think God thinks?
    Searching for these truths, I think, can make us better know, love and serve the Trinity in a way that benefits us far more than any “plan” we could develop on our own.
    Even in the “advanced age” we live in, we realize there are many intelligent people who make and fall victim to their own mistakes and poor choices because they fail to exercise the gift of wisdom, knowing the difference between right and wrong as revealed by God to assist us to know and experience only the good.
    I believe by asking questions and trying to “understand” how awesome God is, will only draw us closer to and love Him more.
    May his Will be done!
    Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

    • John Radice says:

      I was very blessed by your comment, John. My thoughts follow similar paths.

      The love for Him which God has graced us with is so totally bound up with His life, death and resurrection as Jesus Christ that I find it near impossible to imagine this alternative course of events: that our communion with Him had never been impaired by Adam’s sin. My intuition is that I could not have known the same kind of love that I do. So, it seems God’s plan for His creation of us has required our fall and redemption… But again, from that conclusion my heart and mind recoil. Deep mysteries indeed

  3. Rene says:

    The Creed says that “for us men and our salvation He came down from heaven…etc” But it is interesting the also the Prophet Isaiah reads that is because of His love the reason why He redeems us, not because of ourselves. And yet the Franciscan school of theology will give primacy to Christ, not only as Redeemer but as Mediator. But yes, realistically Our Lady too though preserved from original sin was redeemed from the foreseen merits of her Son, hence she is an exception under the universal rule that all human persons after Adam and Eve need redemption and mediation by Christ!

  4. crazylikeknoxes says:

    How timely. As I was teaching PSR this past Sunday, I made the spur-of-the-moment observation that, if Adam had not sinned, we would not be celebrating Christmas. Felix culpa indeed.

  5. Since God had joined Adam and Eve in marriage, and thus they became a new united spiritual entity, I think the really interesting question is, after Eve ate the forbidden fruit, what would have happened if Adam had refused to eat? In Genesis, in the account of the Fall, when Eve ate, nothing happened. t is not until Adam also ate that everything came crashing down.
    As for the timing of Jesus’ coming, I read someplace, and I don’t recall where, that Jesus waited until every sin that would be committed by mankind had been committed, and all the sins since then are just variations on those which had been committed. He came to forgive all sin, so He waited until all sins had been committed. You cannot forgive what has not been done.

    • John Radice says:

      Indeed, and that is why our fall is always understood to be from Adam’s sin. This theological truth is corroborated in the account itself in ways quite easy to see. Eve’s response to God’s question was a simple and humble confession: “I was deceived by the serpent and ate”. But Adam’s was self-exculpatory and even accused God – “the woman You gave me”. No humility there, yet.

      Eve found herself in a very difficult situation, as so many faithful wives have since who opt to stand by their man. We cannot criticise her, in fact a break-up of the that first marriage is unimaginable for the fate of mankind.

  6. Paul says:

    Thank you Msgr. Pope. As one independently studying St. Thomas Acquinas as a late life project, I appreciate the clarity of his arguments as you set them out.

    IN my own simple way I have come to appreciate the magnanimous gift of time humanity is given. If one considers God gave us time as a means of affording us our own dominion, our time / space wherein we could have both separation from and voluntary union with him, it can be a cause for wonder that God so selflessly desired us to be both free and happy. If you think about it, time gave us the opportunity for salvation not even given the angels whose decision, according to St. Thomas was in an instant and final.

  7. Jeffrey Job says:

    If there was no sin then wouldn’t we ALL have been Immaculately conceived? And if no sin no need for redemption.

  8. Claude Culross says:

    Perhaps not intended, but the description sounds as if God’s response depends on whether man sinned or not. Even taking God’s foreknowledge into account, the Incarnation would still sound like God responding. But God doesn’t change (St. Thomas [First Part, Question 9]; James 1:17). God’s immutability could be used to argue that the Incarnation was of God from before always, independent of whether man sinned or not.

  9. With all due respect to St. Thomas, the doctrine of the absolute predestination of Christ has just as a great a pedigree as that of the Atonement. In this doctrine, with patristic roots at least as ancient as St. Irenaeus of Lyons, God’s “eternal counsel” was to become Man, and the Incarnation was eternally predestined — this “plan for the fullness of time” was chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:10 and 1:4). The corollary is the patristic dictum of our divination — “God became Man that Man might become as God.”

    One must stress, however, that we should need cleave Christ’s absolute predestination and his Incarnation as a remedy for our sin. The logic of salvation history involves both — as Bl. Julian of Norwich put it, “Sin is behovely [befitting / “conveniens”], but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” (“A Revelation of Love” [Long Text], ch. 27)

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Whenever a comment begins “With all due respect” I usually sense that the author is in reaction mode (rather than reflection mode) and about to err. And the error usually sets up shop in the absolutizing of the point they wish to refute. Hence a straw man is being knocked down.

      But of course St. Thomas is clear that there are differing views on the matter. He is very clear on that, and the article states this. Thus your comment seems to protest too much. St Thomas’ tone is: “Ok, there are different views abut this (and he quotes some of them) but here is my view and here is why.” But you comment as though he were making some dogmatically certain claim, at least that seems to be your tone. Why is this? Why not just say, “Interesting, but I disagree with his conclusions and here is why?”

      Perhaps you presume that St. Thomas is being dogmatic because that is what you do. For example, you use the word “doctrine” But as St Thomas is clear, there are different opinions about this, so we are not having a debate about doctrine per se, which you seem to presume.

      Finally, I object to some of your terminology. In particular the “doctrine of the absolute predestination of Christ” You also set in opposition the “patristic dictum of our divination” with Thomas’ opinion in this matter. But there is no necessary opposition between these views and he treats of divination elsewhere. God’s first and primary reason for sending the Son does not preclude that he added other benefits (and I mention this in the article).

      I guess the bottom line is that I do not think you give St. Thomas his “due respect” and my suspicion every time I see such a phrase is born out once again. Disagree with him as you please but don’t misrepresent him. He is not as dogmatic as you seem to be in this matter and there is plenty of room to discuss (rather than debate) this matter.

      • I should take to heart your points about the rhetorical force of “with all due respect.”

        And I think perhaps I could have been stronger in my second paragraph (which I see was marred by a typo that undercut its point): we should not cleave Christ’s predestination from the atonement. Both are a necessary (“behovely,” “conveniens”) part of the sometimes inscrutable logic of the story of salvation. This is why I brought up Bl. Julian of Norwich — she sees that the question, “Would Christ have come if Adam had not sinned?” is ultimately ridiculous because such is not, in fact, the narratival logic of salvation. Her crucial insight was, again, that sin “is behovely” — befitting, “conveniens.” Such is the strange comfort of her revelation, that sin is a necessary part of the economy of salvation. This is the import of the enigmatic central parable of her “Revelation of Divine Love,” the parable of the Lord and the Servant. In brief, the Lord sends his servant on a mission, and in his over-eager haste to carry out his Lord’s command, the servant trips and falls into a puddle of mud. This falling is twofold: Adam’s fall into the mud of sin, and Christ’s fall into the “mud of the earth” of Incarnation. The overeagerness is also twofold: Adam’s bungling of his Lord’s mission, on the one hand; and Christ’s superabundant love for his fellow servants, on the other.

        (I am indebted to the insights of Denys Turner, in his book, “Julian of Norwich: Theologian.”)

  10. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    It seems presumptuous to ask if Adam hadn’t sinned would Jesus have incarnated. This is God’s creation and it serves His purpose which is for mankind to realize. Just as we are made in His image, as children we have to learn the benefits of right from wrong or good from evil as passed through imperfect generations guided by the errors of free will in an evolving civilization. Jesus taught us what love is. We are in the mist of creating an artificial intelligent world that will remove all the necessities of human existence and the only thing that can save us from ourselves was the birth of Christ and living the Way He revealed while on earth. When ifs and buts are candy and nuts we’ll all have a Merry Christmas. Jesus is real not sophisticated.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Not sure why you place a legitimate question in the category presumptuous. I also struggle with saying “Jesus is not real sophisticated” Of course he is beyond any human distinctions but you seem too dismissive of what is surely legitimate theology.

  11. Blarneyman says:

    Isn’t there a tradition that God announced his plan for the Incarnation to the angels before the creation of Adam and Evening and this is the reason for the first sin, that of Lucifer and his cohort who said: Non service? This would at least imply that God would have become incarnate, had man not sinned, although, nothing prevents God’s foreknowledge from seeing ahead that Adam would abuse his free will.

  12. MG says:

    Here are my own thoughts, that are probably just rubbish… if the creation, of which man (Adam first) is the pinnacle, had not separated itself from God (through sin) then how could it ever become free as a creation and complete in its form as perfect and separate? It would just be an extension of God’s perfection, following his will (i.e. without freewill) like the angels, which people often forget have no freewill. The creation, once separated, can then become the recipient of love so immense that God suffers because it is separate… while perfect justice requires that it be impossible for the separated (sinful) to redeem itself and unite (dare I say reunite) with perfection no matter how great the given love. But alas divine mercy and the perfect love incarnates so it can join the creation, redeem it by making manifest the suffering, so that it can be allowed an opportunity to achieve perfection and join with it’s lover.

    And the time component is both trivial and important, trivial to God because it all happens as a complete instantaneous thought for Him… important for us as the object of love, because it allows us to participate in all aspects of creation, perhaps most importantly, being loved perfectly.

  13. Brad Cooper says:

    Jesus would have become Incarnate even without original sin, as many of you have stated Jesus and Mary were predestined. Blessed Duns Scotus reveals this in his defense of the Immaculate Conception. St Maximilian Kolbe takes it to another level. He describes the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary as the “Created Love” of the Holy Trinity and her spouse the Holy Spirit is the “Uncreated Love” of the Father and Son. Therefore Jesus would have become Incarnate out of “LOVE” both Created in receiving perfect created love from the Blessed Virgin and Uncreated Love of her spouse the Holy Spirit. This unites all of the Love from heaven with all of His Love in creation perfectly manifested from the flesh of the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven and earth. This is why Satan hates the Immaculate so much , she clothed God with the created flesh of love.

    Ave Maria!

    Brad Cooper

    • @Brad: “Jesus would have become Incarnate even without original sin”. Maybe so, maybe not. It is in a sense a hypothetical question. But just suppose He did become Incarnate, and came to a sinless world. First, there would have been no one to die for, nor anyone to put Him to death. Sin changed all the parameters. I think Christmas time is a good time to reflect on what He did for us, and the great love that prompted both Jesus and His Father to initiate Incarnation.

  14. Mr. M. Savage says:

    In the order of things , the Incarnation was God’s primary thought. Next in order was a companion (and also the means by which it would come pass) ie Our Lady.

    If Adam had not sinned, Our Lord would still have come, but in all his glory.

    To credit Lucifer with getting one over God by requiring him to become incarnate is putting Lucifer over God.

    Lucifer’s mistake is many fold: firstly he mistook the identity of Eve with the woman he saw in the vision described in Apocalypse; secondly, he mistook Adam as the grown child of Eve and the one he would “non Servum!”, and now which he thought he had beaten; thirdly, Lucifer knew now that the Incarnation was still to happen and the Woman and the Child of Apocalypse would appear and conquer him, the dragon of Apocalypse, “I will put enmity between her ‘seed’ and yours”; and that, ultimately, the Son would be even more glorified than before given all he would suffer.

  15. Peter says:

    Christ said he came for the sinners. That’s very explicit.

    I don’t understand the controversy. I read this blog all the time, and there are often no disagreements at all. Msgr Pope is pretty consistent, so possibly you should ask yourselves why you react so aggressively to this alone, and not everything he posts.

  16. David says:

    Peter,

    There are usually no disagreements with Msgr Pope because usually the articles are on topics not open to opinion in which as you pointed out Msgr Pope is pretty consistent. The topic of this article is open to opinion, and if it has become controversial it is because of our fallen nature as sinners.

    St Thomas Aquinas and all those who agree with him make very good logical sounding points on their opinion of the Incarnation not occurring if man had not sinned.

    I think the Incarnation would have occurred if man had not sinned because of God’s love for man. My human perspective can not envision a more intimate loving act on God’s part than the Incarnation. God becoming Incarnate for sinful man should prove all the more to man God’s love for us, not that he loves us more or less for sinning or not sinning.

  17. Doug says:

    Quite a discussion. Here’s my related question: Where would Adam & Eve be now if they hadn’t sinned?

  18. Michael says:

    God knew Lucifer would rebel after he told his angles of his plan for creation.
    God knew that his creation (mankind primarily) would fall to the temptation of sin and thus would need salvation.
    So the incarnation was thus predestined from the beginning of time.

    This question is a thought experiment and should be treated as such. If mankind did not sin there would be no need for the word to become flesh to save us since we wouldn’t need to be saved.

  19. Claude Culross says:

    Thomas was supremely logical, and a more profound thinker then me, yet still fallible.
    But logic stands independent of and above Thomas.
    God didn’t just decide to create humanity one “day” in eternity, or decide to save it AFTER it sinned, or choose the Incarnation AFTER deciding to save it.
    All those things would require God to change, that is, to begin to will what He had not previously willed (which doesn’t necessarily require God to be in time.)
    Instead, the will to create humanity, to save it if it sinned, and to become Incarnate were always in and of God.
    Therefore, Jesus would have become Incarnate, regardless of human sin, because God’s immutability requires it.
    That is, immutability requires that God not will what He hasn’t already willed, regardless of humanity’s choices, which in turn requires that He always willed the Incarnation, independent of whether humanity sinned or not.