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The ‘Disabled God’: An exploration and critique of the image of Jesus Christ as the ‘disabled God’ as presented by Nancy Eiesland

Cox, Jennifer (2009) The ‘Disabled God’: An exploration and critique of the image of Jesus Christ as the ‘disabled God’ as presented by Nancy Eiesland. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis expands on and critiques the image of the ‘disabled God’ as presented by Nancy Eiesland in The Disabled God. Eiesland posits that the risen Jesus is the ‘disabled God’ because he still bears the wounds of crucifixion. This thesis takes a different approach to Eiesland by utilising evangelical theology in conversation with writers of theology of disability. It contains four chapters based around the kenosis, life, cross, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Triune God is not essentially disabled but has chosen to take on disability, in Christ. The second person of the Trinity freely became incarnate and, in taking on human frailty, he
subjected himself to the possibility of experiencing disability. Jesus did not experience disability during his ministry but he did minister to persons with disabilities. Jesus brought healing in its various forms – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual - to persons with disabilities. This healing was within the context of the
kingdom of God and, therefore, will not be completed until the eschaton. It is on the cross where Jesus fully identified with persons with disabilities by taking on physical disability and by sharing some of the experiences of persons with intellectual disabilities – loss of personhood, poverty, loneliness, shame, and stigma. The fact
that Jesus is the ‘disabled God’ brings a change in the Godhead in that disability is now part of “the history of God”. It provides a theodicic function and changes the meaning of weakness. It also gives dignity, status, healing, comfort, and hope to persons with disabilities. The final chapter explains why the resurrected Christ is not disabled by exploring the meaning of his wounds and the nature of the resurrection body. Jesus Christ as the ‘disabled God’ has radically identified with person with disabilities, both physical and intellectual.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Jensen, Alexander
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