On Thomas Aquinas's Rejection of an 'Incarnation Anyway'
In the recent literature on whether there would have been an incarnation if there had been no fall, Thomas Aquinas is often cited as arguing for a negative answer on the grounds that it is more fitting. Little attention, however, has been given to what fittingness amounts to for Thomas, or what relation this has to the primarily biblical reasons he gives for denying an incarnation without the fall. In this paper, I argue that the fittingness derives primarily from what kinds of conclusions can be drawn from the biblical text – fitting conclusions are those that, though short of necessary truths, nevertheless ought to be preferred over all of the possible alternatives because they best cohere with the nature of the scriptural canon. The answer to whether an incarnation would have occurred, for Thomas, is an example of one such biblical conclusion. I then place Thomas’ arguments in conversation with contemporary advocates in favor of an ‘Incarnation Anyway’ and show that their strategy of argumentation is actually accommodated by Thomas’ position, leaving it safe from criticism.