APOLOGETICS: No, Hindu Avatars Aren’t ‘Just Like’ The Incarnation Of Jesus; It’s Not Even Close

Bhakti Hinduism’s Krishna devotees believe Vishnu is an avatar for Krishna, a god who as an avatar lived among human beings and who declared that “Although I am unborn, everlasting, and I am the Lord of all, I come to my realm of nature and through my wondrous power I am born” (Bhagavad Gita 4:6).

Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash

Hey, that sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it?  For New Agers and others who seek to render Jesus anything but what He claimed to be, the Avatar comparison is probably too good to resist.

Well, actually no, there is an apparent surface similarity but the reality is that there are multiple profound differences that make the comparison useless, according to philosopher and theologian Kenneth Samples of Reasons To Believe, writing on his Reflections blog.

The Gospel of John opens with the classic statement of Jesus’ incarnation, saying:

In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men … 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 1:1-4, 14, ESV)  

Samples points to five significant differences between the incarnation of Jesus and the appearance of Vishnu. For example, he notes that:

“The specific purpose of the Incarnation was to reveal God to humankind and to reconcile lost sinners back to God through Christ’s sacrificial atonement (see Titus 2:13); none of the Hindu avatars provides revelation nor do they in any way make atonement for human sin.”

The issue of atonement is huge and by itself would be sufficient, in my mind, to render the Hindu claim entirely different from the incarnation of Jesus.

That said, Samples’ other four points are well-worth considering and I encourage readers to check them out here.


Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

5 thoughts on “APOLOGETICS: No, Hindu Avatars Aren’t ‘Just Like’ The Incarnation Of Jesus; It’s Not Even Close”

  1. Jesus never claimed to be God and the God of gods clearly declared him to be His only begotten beloved son.

    You speak about an incarnation, but nowhere in the Bible is said such a thing. The Word becoming in the flesh is about a word, which is the result of speaking, having god given the promise in the Garden of Edne that there shall come some one to make an end to the curse of death. That promised one is the son of man Jesus, who is called the Christ, the anointed of God.


      1. Jesus refers to him being promised a long time before Abraham was born (namely in the Garden of Eden), plus also already written in the ‘Book of life’, like you and others could or can be, long before Abraham became a living person on this earth. It is not because your name perhaps also could be found in that book, that you would have lived already before Abraham.


      2. No, the “I Am” formulation was what God instructed Moses to call Him at Exodus 3:14. Thus, Jesus was specifically identifying Himself as God. You will have to account for your refusal to acknowledge the triune God – God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit – when He returns in glory on His white horse (Rev. 19:11-16 ESV).


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