How Christ’s Incarnation Differs From The Hindu Idea Of Avatar

In a reasoned approach, Kenneth R. Samples senior research scholar in a blog article on the popular website, seeks to make the comparison between the God-man Jesus Christ and the Hindu Prince Krishna.

He writes thus:

Photo Credit: Reasons To Believe.
Photo Credit: Reasons To Believe.

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 Deity lives in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9)
  4. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” (1 John 4:2)

But is Jesus Christ’s Incarnation unique among the world’s religions? Some would point to Hinduism’s concept of avatars as a very similar religious belief. Let’s examine briefly what Hinduism affirms concerning its idea of avatars and how that compares to the Incarnation.

Hindu Avatars

Prince Krishna is considered an appearance or the descent of a deity (an avatar) to the earth. In traditional Hinduism, Krishna is considered the eighth avatar of the Lord Vishnu. However, for Krishna devotees in Bhakti Hinduism this is reversed so that Vishnu becomes the avatar of Krishna. Here is Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita describing his cosmic divinity and his appearance as an avatar:

“Although I am unborn, everlasting, and I am the Lord of all, I come to my realm of nature and through my wondrous power I am born” (Bhagavad Gita 4:6).2

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Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Readers Bureau

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