On the Incarnation of the Word 18 – Humanity and Divinity Manifested Through His Body

In today’s section, Athanasius is saying something a bit more subtle than simply that Jesus’ miracles prove he was God. But especially in our modern context, it seems to me that his deeper point can easily be missed. Athanasius is making the point that both the humanity of Jesus and the divine Logos were made known to us in and through his body in a thoroughly united and inseparable manner.

But these things are said of Him, because the actual body which ate, was born, and suffered, belonged to none other but to the Lord: and because, having become man, it was proper for these things to be predicated of Him as man, to shew Him to have a body in truth, and not in seeming. But just as from these things He was known to be bodily present, so from the works He did in the body He made Himself known to be Son of God.

The birth of our Lord from a virgin played a significant role in the theology of the early church. The central title given to Mary and affirmed in the strongest terms in ecumenical council is Theotokos. That’s interesting because the title itself is essentially a theological statement about Christ. In addition, the “ever-virgin” belief about Mary (which was essentially a universal Christian belief until the last two hundred years or so) rests in the tremendous honor given to Jesus.

Therefore, even to begin with, when He was descending to us, He fashioned His body for Himself from a Virgin, thus to afford to all no small proof of His Godhead, in that He Who formed this is also Maker of everything else as well. For who, seeing a body proceeding forth from a Virgin alone without man, can fail to infer that He Who appears in it is Maker and Lord of other bodies also?

Take a moment to read this section of the treatise in its entirety. Then read it again slowly. Let it sink below the surface.

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