Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Impact of the Incarnation

One astounding impact that the Incarnation (God becoming man) has had on the history of the world is the fact that it split history in two.  The Incarnation divided all of history into two periods:  the time before the coming of Christ, BC, meaning "Before Christ," and the time after the coming of Christ, AD, meaning "Anno Domini," Latin for "In the Year of Our Lord."  The entire world, including Christians, Muslims Jews, atheists, Russians, Chinese, and any other group you can name uses the birth of Christ as the epoch point in time that divides history.  That is pretty mind-blowing if you ask me, given the different belief systems that  are out there and the apparent rivalries that exist between them, sometimes to the point of war.  

This division of history was one of three major impacts cited by archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his book Life of Christ.  Archbishop Sheen was a Catholic archbishop who had a popular weekly television show back in the 1950's.  He is the foremost of all Catholic apologists.  Archbishop Sheen died in 1979 and is on track to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church.  According to the synopsis on the back cover of the book, Life of Christ "has been hailed as the most eloquent of Sheen's writings (which are extensive) and the fruit of many years of dedication and research."

What are the other two major impacts according to Sheen?  They are 1) Jesus is the only religious leader in history who was pre-announced, whose very birth, life, and death were prophesied, and who validated those prophecies; and 2) Jesus is the only person who ever lived who came into the world specifically to die.  His death was first and His life was last.

Protestant David Limbaugh in his book Jesus on Trial:  A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel has this to say concerning Sheen's statements:  "Imbibing these truths caused me to look at Christ and Christianity in an entirely different way; it provided a new prism through which to understand the faith, one that infused salvation history with fuller meaning and helped me to understand Scripture with greater depth."

What other religious leader was prophesied, divided history, and came to die?  None!  All other religious leaders were not predicted to exist, did not have an epoch impact on the history of all humanity, and did not die to save mankind from sins.  That should be enough to convert even the worst of sinners.  Thank you, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, for your eloquence and brilliant scholarship.

The photo accompanying this post depicts the Incarnation.  It is a painting found inside the Pantheon in Rome.

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