Original Research - Special Collection: Christina Landman Festschrift

The radical embodiment of God for a Christology of a new era

Pieter van Niekerk, Nelus Niemandt
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5633 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5633 | © 2019 Pieter van Niekerk, Nelus Niemandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 June 2019 | Published: 06 December 2019

About the author(s)

Pieter van Niekerk, Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Nelus Niemandt, Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


The research focussed on the embodiment of God and approached this theme through a discussion on the deep incarnation of God in Christ. This article provides an overview of the existing literature on incarnation. Jesus Christ made God human and understandable. Theology is placed in the sphere of humanity by the humanness of Jesus. This positioning of theology in the sphere of humanity attended to the humanness of Jesus as a biological and social being, on par with human nature, in direct contact with other human beings. Jesus’ bodily existence makes his life and living inevitably fragile and vulnerable, but also one in solidarity with the ongoing misery of humans. Special attention was given to the Gospel of John and John 1:14 as an influential expression of the incarnation, and also to the concept of logos. The research attended to the implications of the embodiment of God and the way in which humans participate in the mystery of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. This mutual participation implies that the relationship with God and the call to reflect God is done as embodied beings and not apart from human bodies. The discussion of deep incarnation and God’s radical presence in flesh motivated the conclusion that God is part and parcel of nature’s vulnerability, pain and suffering. Jesus’ powerlessness accentuated the dignity of all bodies, and that there are actually no marginal cases of being ‘human’. The radical embodiment of God, the body of the earthly Jesus, reminds followers of Jesus of the significance of leading creative lives, resulting in authentic Christian spirituality that is embodied and vulnerable.


Deep incarnation; Humanness; Embodiment of God; John 1:14; H.N. Gregersen


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