On the Incarnation of the Word 43 – Not to Impress, But to Heal

Athanasius is circling his target and moving closer in his treatise. He is responding to those who might criticize the Incarnation as something humble rather than an impressive display of divine power and might.

Now, if they ask, Why then did He not appear by means of other and nobler parts of creation, and use some nobler instrument, as the sun, or moon, or stars, or fire, or air, instead of man merely? let them know that the Lord came not to make a display, but to heal and teach those who were suffering. For the way for one aiming at display would be, just to appear, and to dazzle the beholders; but for one seeking to heal and teach the way is, not simply to sojourn here, but to give himself to the aid of those in want, and to appear as they who need him can bear it; that he may not, by exceeding the requirements of the sufferers, trouble the very persons that need him, rendering God’s appearance useless to them.

The Son did not come to impress us with his glory. He became one of us so that he might heal us, and in healing us, truly save us. I would say that if you do not understand that about Jesus, then you don’t understand him at all.

Athanasius goes on to point out that the rest of creation had never of its own volition turned from its created purpose. Man had. We were the ones in need of rescue.

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