Torrance on the Ascension

Torrance’s section on the ascension in Atonement is very interesting. He discusses the extra-Calvinisticum at length and how particular understandings of space-time have hindered people from accepting it. But then he connects the incarnation and the ascension together in Christ’s redeeming work, calling the ascension “the reverse of the incarnation.” I tried to trace this same trajectory of thought in this post by drawing a connection between Christ’s assuming a body in the incarnation to his retaining that body in heaven in the ascension. Torrance makes the same point: “as in the incarnation we have to think of God the Son becoming man without ceasing to be transcendent God, so in his ascension we have to think of Christ as ascending above space and time without ceasing to be man or without any [diminishing] of his physical, historical existence” (287).

In other words, the extra-Calvinisticum establishes the mode of thinking by which we are to consider the ascension: if Christ can enter a body without leaving heaven, then he can enter heaven without leaving a body.

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