All of these attempts lead one to think Jesus’ death on the cross is inadequate, and in different ways they deny God’s plan to come in the flesh and die for the sins of the world.
Opposition to the idea of a God in human flesh didn’t end with these early controversies. In our earlier discussion on the eternal nature of Jesus and the Arian problem, we noted the Nicene Creed was an attempt to establish, for the church universal, the “full God-full man” principle. But even this didn’t completely settle the matter, and as we have mentioned there are church bodies today who claim Jesus was a created being. As problematic as this might be for orthodoxy, there is yet another influence which continues to reject the incarnation.
Modern liberal scholarship has been relentless in its attempt to put the biblical teaching of God incarnate in the category of myth. The onslaught was fueled by German theologians in the nineteenth century, when some tried to label Jesus as a mythological recreation of ancient folklore, and continues to this day. The present arguments range from the proposal that the scriptures never claim God literally came in the flesh to, and often including the dismissal of biblical authority altogether. Interestingly, those who make these assertions place a high value on their personal academic accomplishments, and strive to show how it is possible to practice Christianity without accepting one of its most basic tenets. Sound familiar?