Monday, January 28, 2013

Good Christology

On the IncarnationOn the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the Incarnation, though short and at times helpfully repetitive, was not a quick read. Taking a few notes was helpful. Several of his emphases were fresh to me, which I found rewarding.

I don't know whether his "Refutation of the Jews" or "Refutation of the Gentiles" persuaded any Jews or Gentiles, but they certainly bolstered my confidence in Christ.

Just a couple of glimpses. In arguing that Jesus was divine, the very Son of God, Athanasius points to some of his accomplishments:
--He has put the Greek philosophers "in the shade."
--He has filled assembly halls with worshippers by drawing all men to himself.
--Demons are exorcised by his death and name.
--He has tamed heathens and barbarians all over the world.
--He has given men confidence in physical resurrection and immortality; it is no longer a vague hope many.
--He has inspired chastity among many.
--He has reached people who were considered unreachable.
--He has made warmongers into peace-lovers, reconciling feuding factions. (from "Refutation of Gentiles--continued")

Arguing for the resurrection of Christ: "Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ? If He is no longer active in the world, as He must needs be if He is dead, how is it that He makes the living to cease from their activities, the adulterer from his adultery, the murderer from murdering, the unjust from avarice, while the profane and godless man becomes religious? If He did not rise, but is still dead, how is it that He routs and persecutes and overthrows the false gods, whom unbelievers think to be alive, and the evil spirits whom they worship? For where Christ is named, idolatry is destroyed and the fraud of evil spirits is exposed; indeed, no such spirit can endure that Name, but takes to flight on sound of it. This is the work of One Who lives, not of one dead; and, more than that, it is the work of God. It would be absurd to say that the evil spirits whom He drives out and the idols which He destroys are alive, but that He Who drives out and destroys, and Whom they themselves acknowledge to be Son of God, is dead." (from "The Resurrection")

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