Reformed Articles

Was God Incarnate tempted?
A part of me wonders why unitarians churn out painfully incompetent videos like this:

1. A problem many atheists have when attacking Christianity is that because they hold it in such intellectual contempt, they are unable to take it seriously even for the sake of argument. But this means their attacks on Christianity are sophomoric. By the same token, the unitarians who made this video lack the intellectual patience to acknowledge and engage Christian responses to their half-baked critique. They can’t be bothered to consider the implications of the two-natures of Christ. That’s because they don’t believe in the two-natures of Christ. But if they’re going to say the Incarnation is contradictory, they have to show it’s contradictory on the model they reject. If, say, a Christian theologian operates with a two-minds Christology, then it’s not contradictory for Jesus to be tempted in reference to his human mind but not his divine mind. The unitarians who produced this video are too jejune to distinguish between what they think is factually true and what they think is logically consistent. 

2. I’d add that quoting passages which say Jesus was “tempted” is not very informative inasmuch as temptation can mean more than one thing. On the one hand, it can mean exposure to an external inducement. On the other hand, it can mean to feel the appeal of something. The second kind of temptation is psychological. But it’s possible to be exposed to something intended to be tempting, which some people find tempting, which others may not find attractive, or may even find repellant. 

I once read about a failed attempt by Ava Gardner to seduce Anthony Perkins. Gardner was one of the all-time great Hollywood beauties, but as she quickly discovered, Perkins wasn’t wired like a normal man, so he didn’t find her overtures tempting. Her effort was future from the start. 

My immediate point is not to determine in which sense Jesus could be tempted, but to point out that just seizing on the word “tempted” doesn’t settle the issue because the concept is ambiguous. We’re apt to read into it more than the word itself implies.