St. Athanasius’s tome, On the Incarnation, was required reading in my seminary. I have to wonder if we wouldn’t better require it as a catechismal reading, and to require it every so often from older Christians as well. In this, we find remnants of Wisdom Christology and a solid notion of theosis. My personal theology of God as Creator — and everything that comes from that, i.e., grace and judgement — is formed from this short book and this section in particular. Herein is no substitutional atonement, but still harkens back to the recapitulation (the re-creation) of St. Irenaeus
But if any honest Christian wants to know why the Lord suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and who could He “become a curse” otherwise than by accepting the accursed death. And that death is the cross, for it is written, “cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.” – Athanasius, Treasury, p. 176
First, the pertinent part of St. Antony’s life: Thus tightening his hold upon himself, Antony departed to the tombs, which happened to be at a distance from the village; and having bid one of his acquaintances to bring him bread at intervals of many days, he entered one of the tombs, and the other having shut the door on him, he remained within alone. And when the enemy could not endure it, but was even fearful that in a short time Antony would fill the desert with the discipline, coming one night with a multitude of demons, he so
Allan “I’ll be a Duke fan regardless of how awful they are until the day I die” Bevere points out another blogger’s post regarding the theological showdown in the Fourth Century. I’m just going to meme this and say it happened not just in the Fourth Century, but in 343 in the city of Sophia, Bulgaria, formerly known as Serdica. This council was called to remedy the continued war between those who were supporting a more reconciling station with Arius (the East) and those who sought to maintain the Apostolic tradition as handed down by the only begotten, but
Image via Wikipedia The Fourth Century of Christianity is by far my personal favorite. This is part of the assignment this week, so I thought I might share a rough draft or so… Athanasius’ Christology was, as it should be, focused on Christ, and with all of his effort in De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (c. 328[i]) pointed only to the teleological precept that Christ, the very Image of God, was incarnated for the express purpose to recreate the fallen human race. Further, by necessity, the Word of God must be fully divine, full deity, to accomplish this great feat.
Many scholars date Athanasius’ greatest work defending the Incarnation of Word of God to right after the Council of Nicaea. (You can read, and should read, the entire work.) Opening the letter, Athanasius writes, In our former book we dealt fully enough with a few of the chief points about the heathen worship of idols, and how those false fears originally arose. We also, by God’s grace, briefly indicated that the Word of the Father is Himself divine, that all things that are owe their being to His will and power, and that it is through Him that the
Image via Wikipedia Hawking: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” (here) Athanasius: “Of the making of the universe and the creation of all things many have taken different views, and each man has laid down the law just as he pleased. For some say that all things have come into being of themselves, and in a chance fashion; as, for example, the Epicureans, who tell us in their self-contempt, that