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On the Incarnation: Translation (Popular Patristics Series)

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This is a component resource and is included in On the Incarnation, Greek Text and English Translation but is unavailable individually.

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By any standard, this is a classic of Christian theology. Composed by St. Athanasius in the fourth century, it expounds with simplicity the theological vision defended at the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople: that the Son of God himself became “fully human, so that we might become god.” Its influence on all Christian theology thereafter, East and West, ensures its place as one of the few “must read” books for all who want to know more about the Christian faith. This resource contains the English translation and not the original Greek text.

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“For God would not be true if, after saying that we would die, the human being did not die. On the other hand, it was improper that what had once been made rational and partakers of his Word should perish, and once again return to non-being through corruption. It was not worthy of the goodness of God that those created by him should be corrupted through the deceit wrought by the devil upon human beings. And it was supremely improper that the workmanship of God in human beings should disappear either through their own negligence or through the deceit of the demons.” (Page 63)

“For he was incarnate that we might be made god; and he manifested himself through a body that we might receive an idea of the invisible Father; and he endured the insults of human beings, that we might inherit incorruptibility.” (Page 167)

“Once the mind of human beings descended to perceptible things, the Word himself submitted to appear through a body, so that as a human he might bring humans to himself and return their sense perception to himself, and then, by their seeing him as a human being, he might persuade them through the works he effected that he is not a man only but God and the Word and Wisdom of the true God.” (Page 85)

“But repentance would neither have preserved the consistency of God, for he again would not have remained true if human beings were not held fast by death, nor does repentance recall human beings from what is natural, but merely halts sins. If then there were only offence and not the consequence of corruption, repentance would have been fine.” (Page 65)

Athanasius (298–373 AD) was the archbishop of Alexandria (Egypt) in the fourth century. He is revered as a Saint by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, and recognized as a great leader and doctor of the early church by Protestants.


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