Mascall, Eric Lionel (1905–1993)

Eric Mascall

Eric Mascall was an Oxford lecturer in the philosophy of religion who rejected the notion that a unique Earthly incarnation of Christ would be sufficient to redeem beings on other worlds (see incarnation and redemption), as proposed, for example, by Edward A. Milne. For him, the significance of the incarnation of the Son of God on Earth was restricted to Homo sapiens alone and not exportable. As for intelligent creatures elsewhere, he cited the argument of Saint Thomas Aquinas that the incarnation could have involved any one of the Trinity (God the Son, the Father, or the Holy Ghost). Therefore, if such alternatives were not theologically excluded on Earth, he reasoned, there should be no bar to multiple incarnations throughout the Universe:1


It would be difficult to hold that the assumption by the Son of the nature of one rational corporeal species involved the restoration of other rational corporeal species ... The suggestion I wish to make ... is that there are no conclusive theological reasons for rejecting the notion that, if there are, in some other part or parts of the universe, rational corporeal beings who have sinned and are in need of redemption, for those beings and for their salvation the Son of God has united (or one day will unite) to his divine Person their nature, as he has united it to ours ....