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Incorporation Is Incarnation—What Apple Borrowed From Augustine

The secret to the spectacular success of Apple has been putting the right idea in the right form.

At Apple’s founding, Steve Wozniak brought the engineering insights, and Steve Jobs brought the knack for packaging those ideas in desirable and usable products.[1] The result was the Mac, the iPod and the iPhone.

Knowingly or not, Jobs and Wozniak inherited their successful formula from the 5th Century church father Augustine. Augustine’s theology said that Jesus Christ is the right idea—divine truth—embodied in the right form—human flesh and human speech.

Photo courtesy of Apple Inc.

As sinful humans, none of us has access to the divine. But Christ is both divine and human. Through his sinless humanity, he reconnects us with God the Father. Through his perfect speech, he gave us the gospel.

Augustine wasn’t the first to articulate this doctrine of the Incarnation. But he took the idea a step further. According to Calvin Troup, Augustine recommended the incarnation formula—the embodiment of divine truth in a beautiful, usable form—as the basis for preaching, writing books and, by extension, all cultural work.[2]

“Through his incarnation, Christ perfectly integrates philosophy and rhetoric, form and content,” wrote Troup, now the president of Geneva College, in his examination of Augustine’s Confessions. […]