It didn’t hurt that at the time of writing Pope Francis and Redeemed Atheists I had been reading through On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius. Naturally, my thoughts have been focused on the incarnation and the resurrection of the dead for the last several weeks. I decided it would be fitting to post a review of the book.
Athanasius begins by setting forth the deity and pre-existence of Christ. Jesus is the Word of the Father and it was through the Word that all things were made. This is important to incarnational theology because it means that the creator of humanity is the same one who re-creates humanity. Athanasius eloquently explains:
The renewal of creation has been wrought by the self-same Word who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation for the one Father has employed the same agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word who made it in the beginning.”
But why does man need saving? Athanasius summarizes man’s nature in the Garden of Eden as being subject to corruption, but shielded from corruption because of their union with the incorruptible God. When Adam and Eve sinned, however, their union with God was broken and they became the cause of their corruption. At that point man began to die just as God had warned if unfaithful to his Word. Athanasius goes on to describe the level of wickedness man continued to involve himself: adultery, theft, murder, rape, war, and homosexuality. This is why humanity needed saving. The image of God on earth was “disappearing” and God’s work of creation was being “undone.” Read more…