On the Incarnation of the Word 13 – What Was God To Do As We Worshiped Other Gods?

Posted: September 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Incarnation of the Word | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on On the Incarnation of the Word 13 – What Was God To Do As We Worshiped Other Gods?

In this next section, Athanasius explores the question: What was God to do in light pf our worship of gods we had created?

Or what profit to God Who has made them, or what glory to Him could it be, if men, made by Him, do not worship Him, but think that others are their makers? For God thus proves to have made these for others instead of for Himself.

Athanasius once again employs the metaphor of an earthly king.

Once again, a merely human king does not let the lands he has colonized pass to others to serve them, nor go over to other men; but he warns them by letters, and often sends to them by friends, or, if need be, he comes in person, to put them to rebuke in the last resort by his presence, only that they may not serve others and his own work be spent for naught. Shall not God much more spare His own creatures, that they be not led astray from Him and serve things of nought? especially since such going astray proves the cause of their ruin and undoing, and since it was unfitting that they should perish which had once been partakers of God’s image.

Notice how he phrases it not in terms of punishing his creatures (man), but of sparing them. We become like what we worship. And when we worship that which is not God, we begin to reshape ourselves into something less than human.

What then was God to do? or what was to be done save the renewing of that which was in God’s image, so that by it men might once more be able to know Him? But how could this have come to pass save by the presence of the very Image of God, our Lord Jesus Christ? For by men’s means it was impossible, since they are but made after an image; nor by angels either, for not even they are (God’s) images. Whence the Word of God came in His own person, that, as He was the Image of the Father, He might be able to create afresh the man after the image. But, again, it could not else have taken place had not death and corruption been done away. Whence He took, in natural fitness, a mortal body, that while death might in it be once for all done away, men made after His Image might once more be renewed. None other then was sufficient for this need, save the Image of the Father.

This is simply heartbreakingly beautiful. The Word took a mortal body to do away with death and renew his image in man. It was a task no other could accomplish.


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