On the Incarnation of the Word 2 – Erroneous Views of Creation Rejected

In the next section, Athanasius briefly considers and rejects erroneous views of Creation. Two examples follow that always catch my eye.

For some say that all things have come into being of themselves, and in a chance fashion; as, for example, the Epicureans, who tell us in their self-contempt, that universal providence does not exist, speaking right in the face of obvious fact and experience. For if, as they say, everything has had its beginning of itself, and independently of purpose, it would follow that everything had come into mere being, so as to be alike and not distinct.

But others, including Plato, who is in such repute among the Greeks, argue that God has made the world out of matter previously existing and without beginning. For God could have made nothing had not the material existed already; just as the wood must exist ready at hand for the carpenter, to enable him to work at all.

While neither view precisely translates to the present, similar ideas are easy to find. The view of the Epicureans about creation is not dissimilar to that of the modern sort of atheist. They share the view that things came into being and still come into being by chance. And the idea of the eternal, uncreated nature of the fundamental stuff of reality or of spirit certainly permeates parts of the conglomeration often labeled New Age. A variation of that idea exists within Hinduism.

Athanasius is taking the time to briefly reject these erroneous views because until you understand God as the only one uncreated can you begin to grasp some shadow of the sort of God about which we are talking and what it means for the Logos to become human.

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