The Difference Between Manifestation And Incarnation
God Was “Manifest” In The Flesh
WRITTEN SOURCE: Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Lexicon
Manifestation: means to make known or to show forth (Strong’s 5319- to render apparent). From G5318, to render apparent (literally or figuratively):
BIBLE SOURCE: The word manifest is found used in various forms.
There is a big difference between being a manifestation of something (something that was made known) versus being an incarnation of something; something (i.e., an entity, a deity, a spirit, an angel, a god) that is able at will to change its normal physical state of existence and “appear as” something else (i.e., appearing as a human being, a burning bush, a donkey, etc.). (See: Incarnation vs. Omnipresence)
Note: A spirit taking on another form (as someone else or something else) is never going to ever literally be the actual object it is portraying (i.e., a Rock or a person) (See: What Is A Spirit?)
God is called God because he has inherent abilities that nothing or no one (humans) possesses. God appearing as a human (or dwelling within another human) is completely different than someone who is “totally human” (according to their definition and their attributes – See: Incarnation vs Indwelling). Humans cannot “at will” change our normal physical state of existence and “appear as” something else other than what we are. The best we can do is pretend to be something else.
Although an incarnation is a type of manifestation, there is, however, a significant difference that exists between the two that must be understood. Many things can be considered the manifestation of something or someone. We are the manifestation of Christ, who was the manifestation of God. We who follow Christ are likewise the manifestation of God yet we are not the complete “physical substance” of God literally but rather God is made known (manifest) through us. We have plenty of examples showing the variety of ways the Bible uses this word manifest (Romans 1:19; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Galatians 5:19; 1 Peter 1:20-21; 1 John 3:9-10).
(2 Corinthians 4:10-14) “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest [but not in person literally] in our body. 11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest [but not in person literally] in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he [God] which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you.
However, if we say God incarnated himself, and if it were true then by definition, God would not cease being God. The only change would be that of his appearance, God would have become material (visible). God became a visible God, a God that went around literally talking and walking with men in his fleshly state while he retained all his other Godly attributes, he still had, “all knowledge” and “all power” and therefore by definition he would not be “totally” human. The church is now forced to make the claim that God was either “playing a role” as Son or “acting as” a man (neither of which is what the Bible says) or we make Jesus a liar.
Water (H2O) can also be Manifested (revealed) in three ways. As a gaseous state (we call it vapor or steam), as a liquid state (we call it water), or as a solid state (which we call ice). In appearance, they are indeed different, yet H2O (water) will always remain water (H2O), they are “one and the same” just as these three different manifestations remain one (the same essence from which it began). Likewise, the manifestation of God (Almighty or Yahweh) can be (and was) made manifest in many ways, yet God always remained as what He always was, the Almighty (YHWH/ Yahweh/Jehovah), that which was, is, and is to come. (FYI, these are titles never found in the Bible as being attributed to Jesus)
When I put H2O in my body (drink it, inhale it or eat it) it remains water (H2O). It is the same concept spoken of by “The God In Christ.” You didn’t transform into H2O but it was a part of you and you become one with it!!
Likewise, Jesus didn’t become God, yet God was in (with) Christ. Better stated, God’s Spirit (or the Holy Ghost) was in (or with) this man named Jesus.
God could never be anything other than what He is, God!
Jesus could never be anything other than what God created Him to Be, the Son of God.
Angels have been said to appear (or manifest themselves) as men (made themselves human/flesh bodies, Heb 13:2).
In Genesis, chapter 18, Abraham welcomed three angelic guests who appeared at first to be nothing more than some travelers. In the following chapter, two angels went to Sodom where they were assumed to be simply a pair of human visitors.
Yet they remained as angels, not living humans which have an independent human will and a human soul/spirit given to them by God.
Nonetheless, An Angel will Always be an Angel and God will Always be God.
The old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, doesn’t hold true with God or angels. An angel is what God designed it to be, an angel, likewise, so is a man. If God can speak through a burning bush, I am sure he is capable of speaking through the human body of Christ without removing the one essential element that made Christ human, his human soul. That part of man which obeyed God (his Father) and was rewarded for his obedience, otherwise Christ was NEVER a real Human, but an “alien” implanted in the human body of a woman, and not the true human descendant of David.
There are two facts that never change:
God will never be anything less than “God”
The Almighty will never be anything less than “Almighty”
God Was Revealed
(1 Timothy 3:16) – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest (God was revealed, Not Incarnated) in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
God was manifest in the flesh, not incarnated in the flesh, in other words, God made himself evident (his will or Spirit) through the man Jesus Christ. Jesus became a conduit to God through obedience which allowed Jesus to work in direct alignment with God’s will, in his power, and with his authority. These were God-given attributes that Jesus availed himself of through obedience. God did not become Jesus, rather he worked through Jesus (Acts 2:22); Jesus did not become God but allowed God’s Spirit (God’s will, his words, and his plan) to flow through his humanity (“the Father that dwelleth in me” – John 14:10) translating the will of God (a Spirit) into the actions and demonstration of Jesus (a man). Because of Jesus Christ’s obedience, God’s purpose was exemplified and demonstrated. God’s purpose was fulfilled, and man was redeemed.
God gave specific criteria for the sacrifice that would satisfy the redemption of man, humanity satisfied that criterion not the deity of Jesus Christ. If you dilute the humanity of Jesus Christ and the overcoming of his human nature by submitting his flesh to an Almighty God, his example of being a human with the same challenges and temptations that we all face, we lose the significance of the sacrifice. It becomes God circumventing the natural order he created and the criteria he ordained and applying a human tendency of the end justifies the means. If we take away the humanity of Christ, we dilute the sacrifice. Jesus becomes a Man/God that never overcame the same temptations we face as human beings because he would have had the advantage of being God and perfect without ever having had the free will choice to “sin” by having the ability to disobey God.
God did not choose to be sinless; he was never anything but sinless and cannot sin so that is not unusual, but for a man (Jesus) to choose to be sinless in obedience to his father, unlike Adam who did disobey, that is a phenomenal feat and is what gives sinful mankind hope.
The Issue The Church Didn’t Explain To You:
Either Jesus COULD sin or Jesus COULD NOT sin; WHICH IS IT?
Note: (Having the “ability” to commit sin (or disobey God) is different than putting that ability you have into practice).
If Jesus was NOT capable of sinning, he would indeed be totally GOD, or on the other hand
If Jesus was capable (had the ability) of committing sin he would be human (or not “totally” God), because all “real” humans are capable of committing a sin against (or disobeying) God.
It is this aspect of Jesus’ total obedience to God (John 8:29-30, Romans 5:19) that was remarkable. God’s plan, even before the foundation of the world, was for Jesus to be our savior and redeemer. (1 John 4:14-15; Galatians 4:4-8; 1 Peter 1:19-21)
If Jesus was “totally” God it would be impossible for God to sin because God has no one to whom he must obey, Jesus would have never “truly” overcome the world as our example of being sinless flesh BY SURRENDERED WILL TO ANOTHER.
God’s Spirit (divinity) indwelling the human body of Jesus (humanity) demonstrated two different types of spirits in one body. This is why Jesus said the words he spoke were not his, but that of his Father [God] (John 12:49-50; John 14:24)