The incarnation includes all creation
This view of the incarnation is expressed by Robert Webber (pictured right) in his book Who Gets to Narrate the World?
The book is cited in the September 1 issue of Preaching Now, noting that Webber (now deceased) attributes much of the secularization of Western culture to the church's shift away from this comprehensive view of the incarnation. According to Webber...
"God, in the incarnation, took up unto himself the entire creation, so that the creation redeemed by God himself is now to be once again, as in the Garden, the theater of his glory. The ancient church understood the impact of creation, incarnation and re-creation on all of creation, and that is why Christians were the leaders in the arts, in learning, and in the sciences. The Christian faith narrates the world and gives shape to culture-making and to all of civilization.
"The historic understanding of the incarnation as the assumption of the entire created order has been replaced by a view that in the incarnation God stepped into history to save souls. The focus is no longer on the cosmic work of God in history but on personal salvation. The language often used to describe salvation through Christ expresses this shift. We speak of God 'saving souls.' We focus then not so much on God who redeems the world but on Christ who saved me.
"Obviously it is true that God has saved me. We don't want to lose that personal touch. What I decry here is the loss of the cosmic vision, the idea that God's work of redemption narrates the entire world. . . . God redeemed all of life by the cross and empty tomb, so that when he returns to the earth not just souls but all of creation will be made perfect. . . .
"The assumption that the true me is a soul that lives inside of and is redeemed from the body to soar into some kind of ethereal realm is not Christian, it is Gnostic. And this is the primary spirituality of the New Age religion of our time. The current misunderstanding of the incarnation logically results in a split between the sacred and the secular because if Christ only redeems souls, the stuff of this world is unredeemable. This split in turn resulted in our loss of God's narrative of the world. Modernity began to see creation and all of life apart from God. The origin, meaning and destiny of the world found new gods in reason and science. Creation separated from redemption will always result in the secularization of life."