May 2, 2006

Feast of Athanasius

Athanasius writes in his Orations Against the Arians:

But if it is for our sakes that he sanctifies himself, which he did when he became a human being, then it is quite clear that the descent of the Spirit upon him in the Jordan was a descent upon us, because of our body which he carried.

The Son of God was not incarnate in a human nature, but in our human nature; the story of the good news of Jesus Christ is not a tale of a single, discrete human being, but is our story. The doctrine of the two natures of Christ, fully human and fully divine, means that when you read the Gospel you are reading about yourself.

And this is why the Resurrection is more than the greatest miracle that ever happened. It is the renovation of our human condition, that we might be able to call God our Father in the same way that the Eternal Word does in the inner life of the Trinity. What a gift!

A fine, recent translation of Athanasius is available in the Routledge Early Church Fathers series.

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