Incarnation vs. Avatar – Notes

Notes from Christianity at the Religious Roundtable by Timothy C. Tennent


It’s very easy to say that Jesus was an avatar. Many people glibly say that. But was He really? I don’t think so. I think the only way you can use the term with reference to Jesus is if you water down the meaning of the term. Anyway – here are some notes on the issue.

Pg. 59-60 – Tennent points out three vital differences.
1) Avatars are repeated endlessly throughout each cycle of history. The Incarnation is however a unique, singular act in history.

2) Tennent states “an avatar comes forth because of accumulated karma and therefore is not a free act of God, whereas the Incarnation is an expression of the freedom of God to save. Though it may be a response to human sinfulnes, it is certainly not caused by human sinfulness of karma.”

~ I am not 100% clear on the second point. I fail to see why several successive avatars cannot all be free responses.

3) An avatar involves a blending of the human and divine, whereas the Incarnation is a union of two natures, divine and human, into one person who is fully man and yet fully God.

~ Indeed Jesus Christ is 100% divine and 100% human. He is not a combo mix. The Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD affirmed this.