Beliefs across many religions around the world tend to have a lot of similarities. Hindu avatars and Christians’ belief in the incarnation of Jesus are among the beliefs that are always confused due to their similarities. Many scholars use the story of Jesus as an example to explain avatars, which is why many people want to understand, “Is Jesus an avatar?”
Philippians 2:5-7 implies that Jesus is not an avatar. Hindus define an “avatar” as the descent of a deity or God appearing in another form. However, in the case of Jesus, as speculated in Philippians, He incarnated in the flesh and was made in human likeness, took on the nature of a servant, and made himself nothing. Neither did he consider himself equal to God.
How does the Bible describe an avatar? Is Jesus the avatar of God instead of God Himself? Is Jesus an avatar of Lord Vishnu? Keep reading to get the answers to these and more questions.
How does the Bible describe an avatar?
Many Christians, even those with a great mastery of the Bible, are likely to be drawn back by the idea of avatars because it is not a thing in Christianity. The Bible does not give any speculation that hints at avatars nor does it give its definition. However many religious scholars have implied that Jesus is an avatar.
Avatar is a Hindu concept defined as the descent of divinity from heaven to earth. Traditional Hindus believe that God sends a manifestation of Himself on earth to help His people. Because an avatar is not described in the Bible, and the popular belief that Jesus is an avatar is growing, the Bible can be used to distinguish incarnation from avatars.
Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law.” The Bible implies that Jesus was under the law, born in the flesh, and had the same experiences as humans do. However, avatars are believed to be incapable of going through the same physical pain and other human experiences as humans because they are spiritual manifestations of God.
What is an avatar of God?
An avatar is the human-like manifestation of God. While Hindus believe that the descent is more spiritual than physical, many theologians disagree and instead argue that the avatar is God coming down in human form to interact with His people and love them as their own. Many religions have spiritual giants who are defined as avatars of God. They include Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, and Muhammad, among others.
The term “avatar” is associated with characteristics that are not beliefs of every religion, which is why it is mostly associated with Hindus, who agree with it the most. Christians believe in Jesus’ incarnation, not that He was God’s avatar. Jesus is God, but in the Hindus’ idea of avatars, there is the primary God and his avatars who are not him.
Is Jesus the avatar of God instead of God Himself?
It often confuses many Christians when biblical teachers explain that Jesus ministered on earth in the flesh and lived like a human being, but he is still God, as the Trinity suggests. John 1:1 speculates that in the beginning, Jesus was with God, and He was God. This immediately upholds the belief that Jesus is God and dismisses the notion that He is the avatar of God. God exists in three coeternal persons, according to the Trinity.
Jesus is not the avatar of God; instead, he incarnated into human flesh to save humanity. He is God Himself, God the Son. John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” The Bible speculates that Jesus acknowledged that he is God and, therefore, cannot be considered an avatar of God.
Is Jesus an avatar of Lord Vishnu?
According to Hindus, Lord Vishnu is the preserver of the universe. They consider Vishnu to be their primary God. For this reason, many Hindus believe that Jesus is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. This is so because of the similarities between the two in terms of incarnation and the possession of supernatural powers. Christians, however, believe that Jesus is not an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Christians do not believe that Jesus is an avatar at all.
John 1:14: “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The Bible implies that Jesus, the Word, was with God in the beginning, which means there is no way Christ is a manifestation of God on earth. The Trinity also explains the existence of God as three eternal beings.
Hindus believe Jesus is a manifestation of Vishnu, as are Buddha and Mohamed. Their beliefs and Christian beliefs are, however, contradictory.
How Christ’s incarnation differs from the Hindu idea of an avatar
Jesus’ incarnation is implied in many Bible verses, including John 1:14, Philippians 2:5-7 and 1 John 4:2, as Him taking up human form and dwelling among us. Some people have concluded that this is a similar concept to avatars. There are, however, some features that draw a line between the two.
Hindu avatars not only appear in various forms but also come in the past; more are expected to come in the future. On the other hand, the incarnation of Jesus was one time. It was for atonement of the sins of humans, as implied in 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great indeed we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
Avatars are believed to be different forms of God descended on earth. They still poses characteristic abilities of God, while the incarnation of Jesus was Him taking the physical body of a human and sharing in the struggles of being a man.
Biblical proof that Jesus is not an avatar
The identity of Jesus is perceived differently in many religions and cultures. As Christians, we have the Bible as a reference to know who Jesus truly is and if he is an avatar or not. The Bible suggests that only one God exists in three coeternal persons, so this is the first proof that Jesus is not an avatar.
John 1:1, “In the beginning, the word already existed, the word was with God, and the word was God .”The word in this verse is Jesus. The last part that says the word was God automatically tells us that Jesus is God.
The Bible speculates that Jesus existed with God before the creation of the world and that He was God. This also agrees with the Trinity, which states that the three divine beings exist as one.
Colossians 1:15, “Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things” This verse tells us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and not an avatar of God.
John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” This implies that Jesus couldn’t have just been a manifestation of God on earth. He was God Himself. He was in human flesh during His ministry until his transfiguration, when he was glorified, and his divinity revealed to his disciples. Mathew 17:1-9
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.