Incarnation

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Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient creature (generally a human) who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial.[1]

In its religious context the word is used to mean the descent of a god, or divine being in human form on Earth.

Contents

Traditions with a conception of Incarnation

While Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism are perhaps the most widely-known traditions to employ this concept within the context of their respective belief systems, they are by no means the only ones to do so.

Ancient Egypt

The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were sometimes said to be incarnations of the gods Horus and Ra.

Bahá'í

In the Bahá'í Faith, God is described as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. The connection between God and the world is that of the creator to his creation.[2] God is understood to be independent of his creation, and that creation is dependent and contingent on God. God, however, is not seen to be incarnated into this world and is not seen to be part of creation as he cannot be divided and does not descend to the condition of his creatures. Instead, in the Bahá'í understanding, the world of creation emanates from God, in that all things have been realized by him and have attained to existence.[3] The Bahá'í concept of the intermediary between God and humanity is expressed in the term Manifestation of God, which are a series of personages, such as Jesus and Bahá'u'lláh, who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization.[4] In expressing God's intent, these Manifestations are seen to establish religion in the world.[4] The Manifestations of God are also not seen as an incarnation of God, but are instead understood to be like a perfect mirror reflecting the attributes of God onto this material world.[4][5]

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