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 there is more.
God is Creator. That’s why He secures us. God is Creator. That’s why He loves us.
Moreover, an emperor, although only a man, does not permit regions settled by himself to come under the sway and service of others, nor to desert to them; but he reminds them by letters, and frequently also sends to them through friends, and even, if there is need, he himself comes, making them further ashamed by his presence, merely that they may not serve others, and his work be useless. And shall not God much more spare His own creatures, that they be not made to wander away from Him and serve things that are not?—all the more that such wandering is the cause of their ruin and destruction; and because it was not right for those creatures to perish who once had been partakers of the Image of God.
What, then, must God do? or what else was it right to do, but to renew again the grace by which they had been made after His Image, so that through it men might be able once more to know Him? But how could this have been done except by the coming of the very Image Himself of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ?
For it could not be through men, seeing that they are only made after the Image: nor through angels, for not even they are (God’s) images. Therefore the Word of God came in His own Person, in order that, as He was the Image of the Father, He might be able to re-create the man made after the Image. But this re-creation could not otherwise have taken place unless death and corruption had been entirely abolished. Whence He naturally took a mortal body, in order that in it death might be finally abolished, and that men might be again renewed after the Image. To satisfy this need was the part of no other than the Image of the Father.
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.