How Christ’s Incarnation Differs from the Hindu Idea of Avatar

Kenneth Samples has written an excellent article demonstrating the differences between the incarnation of Christ and the Hindu religions avatars .   Over at the Muslim blog called bloggingtheology2 several Muslims accused me of not being able to answer the question how they are different.  This article demonstrates a lot of the same  evidence and argumentation that  I already told them .

Ken Samples also gave a great answer in the combox, which I want to make sure gets printed up front here:

Thanks for your comments.

Jesus Christ’s life, death, and miraculous resurrection are events rooted in history. Whereas the lives of the Hindu holy men are enveloped in mythology.

As an Eastern mystical religion, Hinduism does not emphasize chronology. And modern-day Hindus show little interest in the “historical” Krishna the way contemporary Christians inquire about the historicity of Jesus.

Scholar and Krishna devotee Mataji Devi Vanamali explains:

“Hinduism is not a historical religion. If somebody were to prove conclusively that Krishna, Rama, and the various gods of the Hindu pantheon never existed, most Hindus would not mind in the least, and the religion would continue to flourish as it has done for so many centuries. However, to the devotees of Krishna, he is as real as any of their friends or relatives or children, depending on how they regard him—as friend, relation, child, or lover. This being so, most Indians have not bothered to verify his existence.”1

Thus a major difference between Jesus Christ and the Hindu holy men (including Krishna) relates to history and the question of historical verification.

Best regards.

KS

1. Vanamali, The Complete Life of Krishna: Based on the Earliest Oral Traditions and Sacred Scriptures (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2012), xiii-xiv.

Reflections

Pregnant Mary Leaning on Manger

The doctrine of the Incarnation (God became man in Jesus of Nazareth) lies at the heart of Christianity; it’s a truth-claim celebrated all over the world at Christmastime. Historic Christianity affirms that Jesus Christ is a single person with both a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. As C. S. Lewis aptly put it, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”1

Here are four biblical passages that testify to the truth of Jesus Christ’s Incarnation:

  1. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
  2. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:5–7)
  3. “For in Christ all the fullness of…

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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1 Response to How Christ’s Incarnation Differs from the Hindu Idea of Avatar

  1. Scotttcast says:

    The ‘incarnation’ described in Hinduism is closer to the theophanies of the OT, where YHWH temporarily takes physical form without going through the whole conception, birth and childhood stages of a ‘full’ incarnation.

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