Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Dilemma and Its Solution

In the second chapter of On The Incarnation, appropriately titled The Divine Dilemma and Its Solution in the Incarnation, Athanasius presents the predicament that is a result of humans and their sin.
He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own.
The incarnation of the Word of God should cause us to wonder and worship; we were destined to death only had he not come to save us; Athanasius writes, "For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death." That was our inheritance as a result of sin. But, he loved us. And so he condescended and became one of us that he might live, die, and be raised for our salvation.
This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be  abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection.

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