Athanasius Explains Christmas

Because it is actually still Christmas—for seven more days.

It’s all here, in this quote. This is Christianity in a nutshell. Athanasius should’ve had an altar call when he finished this passage.

“All this He [God]  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. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. 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. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire” (On the Incarnation 2.8).

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3 comments so far

  1. Josh on

    Reading Athanasius quotes on Jeff’s blog while listening to Seven Swans after working with my daughter to complete her first snowman – life is good. This Fall has made me an Athanasius man (did you follow Leithart’s discussion?). Wonderful. And, by the way, praise God the Father, Son, and Spirit for that salvation plan.

  2. Scott Quinn on

    Hi Jeff,

    I have a question unrelated to the above post. You appear to know the work and thought of Robert Wilken quite well. Do you know why he uses C.E. and B.C.E. instead of the Christian terminology?

    Thanks,

  3. jeffreimer on

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry for the delay. It could be as simple as the publisher’s requiring C.E. and B.C.E. rather than any preference of Wilken’s. Beyond that, I don’t really know. It could have to do with audience. Wilken’s books aren’t necessarily written exclusively to a traditional Christian audience; little would be gained by making an implicit polemical point about nomenclature when more core cultural and religious issues are at stake.


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