It’s not Right that Humankind Dies: Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius

Human beings are a creature of God – His highest creation in fact, as we are made in His image. Athanasius spends a great deal of energy in his magnum opus On the Incarnation of the Word discussing our relation to God as being made in His image. He sees much of God’s motive in sending His Son to redeem us in the fact that it would not have been proper for His creatures bearing His image to waste away into nothingness because of corruption.

While Athanasius’s categories are underdeveloped, and some of his theology a bit wonky, I can look past that a lot easier (as a fourth-century man), than anyone who in this twenty-first century is still underdeveloped and wonky. Read Athanasius with charity – I post his glorious words every Tuesday. Please subscribe to this blog if you have been blessed by any of these posts.

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Uncle Ath?

Yes, kids?

Do you think it’s OK for humanity to die off in their sin and corruption? If the whole race is eliminated, wouldn’t that be what we deserve?

Well…

…what possible profit could it be to God Himself, Who made men, if when made they did not worship Him, but regarded others as their makers?

This would be tantamount to His having made them for others and not for Himself. Even an earthly king, though he is only a man, does not allow lands that he has colonized to pass into other hands or to desert to other rulers, but sends letters and friends and even visits them himself to recall them to their allegiance, rather than allow His work to be undone.

How much more, then, will God be patient and painstaking with His creatures, that they be not led astray from Him to the service of those that are not, and that all the more because such error means for them sheer ruin, and because it is not right that those who had once shared His Image should be destroyed.

Tender words of a warrior-Christian. My favorite uncle.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Advertisements

Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius: Why is Repentance Not Enough to Save Us?

AthanasiusAthanasius (c.297-373), my favorite early church father, fought heretics with all of his soul. I am brought to tears reading his glorious writings. Please indulge with me each Tuesday, as we cozy up at the feet of Uncle Athanasius.

Uncle Ath?

Yes, kids?

Is repentance all it takes to be turned back from our corruption in sin, or was something more necessary?

Well,

As we have already noted, it was unthinkable that God, the Father of Truth, should go back upon His word regarding death in order to ensure our continued existence. He could not falsify Himself; what, then, was God to do? Was He to demand repentance from men for their transgression? You might say that that was worthy of God, and argue further that, as through the Transgression they became subject to corruption, so through repentance they might return to incorruption again. But repentance would not guard the Divine consistency, for, if death did not hold dominion over men, God would still remain untrue. Nor does repentance recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning.

Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God. No, repentance could not meet the case.

What—or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.

My favorite uncle. Christologically delicious!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Athanasius, On the Incarnation, chap. 2, sec. 7, http://www.ccel.org.