One of the great benefits of working on campus at Southwestern Seminary is that I get to interact with various professors outside of the standard classroom setting. Indeed, it has been my experience that the conversations that take place in the hallways are often the most beneficial. After a recent conversation regarding the Incarnation, it was suggested that I read Athanasius’ On the Incarnation.
Within days of reading Athanasius’ work, I was given the opportunity to lecture on the union of the two natures of Christ. In that lecture, my goal was not only to teach the truth of this doctrine, but also to help the students realize its profound importance. The Incarnation is not an abstract, arbitrary discussion akin to the number of angels dancing on the the point of a pencil. The Incarnation is the hope of man. Our very salvation hinges on the Incarnation.
Below is an excerpt shared with the class.
The Saviour of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way. he became Himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the Word of God, did in the body. Human and human-minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they looked in the sensible world they found themselves taught the truth. Were they awe-stricken by creation? They beheld it confessing Christ as Lord. Did their minds tend to regard men as Gods? The uniqueness of the Saviour’s works marked Him, alone of men, as Son of God. Were they drawn to evil spirits? They saw them driven out by the Lord and learned that the evil spirits were not gods at all. Were they inclined to hero-worship and the cult of the dead? Then the fact that the Saviour had risen from the dead showed them how false these other deities were, and that the Word of the Father is the one true Lord, the Lord even of death. For this reason was He both born and manifested as Man, for this he died and rose, in order that, eclipsing by His works all other human deeds, He might recall men from all the paths of error to know the Father.
St Athanasius, On the Incarnation