Skip to comments.St. Athanasius: On the Incarnation, with an Introduction by C. S. Lewis
Posted on 05/02/2012 11:03:12 AM PDT by Salvation
St. Athanasius: On the Incarnation
With an Introduction by C. S. Lewis
Author: Athanasius of Alexandria
(Probably written before 313 A.D.)
St. Athanasius Contra Mundum (Against the World)
"This is a good translation of a very great book...St. Athanasius stood contra mundum for the Trinitarian doctrine, "whole and undefiled," when it looked as if all the civilized world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius---one of those "sensible," synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which then, as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen.
"I soon discovered I was reading a masterpiece..."
-C. S. Lewis
It is the glory of St. Athanasius that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.
When I first opened his De Incarnatione I soon discovered I was reading a masterpiece...for only a mastermind could have written so deeply on a subject with such classical simplicity.
-from the Introduction by C. S. Lewis
The Life of St. Athanasius
Those interested in Christian History (like us) will greatly enjoy the short summary of Athanasius' life and times: how he was present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. (Nicene Creed); how he was banished several times during the great persecution of the Church by some of the still-pagan Roman Emperors.
How he was several times re-instated as Bishop of Alexandria; his fight against the Arian heresy's attempted takeover of the Church, and how Athanasius met Antony of the Desert ("the first monk"--that's what he's called, but he wasn't, really) and wrote the story of his life in another book (Life of St. Antony) that inspired European monasticism, and especially Irish Celtic monasticism.
Then there's the story of how Athanasius took the first two monks to Rome ever to go there (up until that time Rome had no interest in monasticism), and laid the groundwork for the later inspiration of Benedict of Nursia who would live in a cave, found the monastery of Monte Cassino, the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in Europe, and become the author of The Rule of St. Benedict.
On the Incarnation
Oh yes, and if all that weren't enough, we also have the little book that Athanasius wrote, On the Incarnation. It is basic Christianity, or as C. S. Lewis would say, mere Christianity, and covers such subjects as:
The Creation and the Fall
The Divine Dilemma and its Solution in the Incarnation
The Death of Christ
Refutation of the Jews
Refutation of the Gentiles
How wonderful it is to see how Christ-centered and Bible-believing the Christians of the fourth century (300's A.D.) were.
Suffering some of the most extreme persecution in all of history, they are an inspiring example to we who are believers today.
The C. S. Lewis factor, though, is important!
Saint of the Day Ping!
Saint of the Day Ping!
The Athanasian Creed is a masterpiece but highly politically incorrect. It is one way to make enemies.
It’s best modern English translation IMO is found in the Daily Roman Missal, page 2356. Try reading it as a last act after brushing your teeth and before turning off the lights at night.
It looks like the good Saint had to confront his own "men without chests".
St. Athanasius: On the Incarnation, with an Introduction by C. S. Lewis
-—. NOWHERE in the New Testament is there a Trinitarian test.——
Where did you get the idea that every religious truth must be explicitly stated in the Bible? At the very least, this idea should appear in the Bible.
Your rejection of the Trinity is the logical consequence of Luther’s doctrine of “the Bible ALONE.”
“Your rejection of the Trinity is the logical consequence of Luthers doctrine of the Bible ALONE.”
And I AGREE with Luther on that.
-—And I AGREE with Luther on that.——
The problem is that Luther’s doctrine isn’t in the Bible.
Unless he’s infallible, there’s no logical reason to accept his doctrine as the sole rule of faith.
4 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. 6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, Do not go beyond what is written. Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
The drift of all he advanced was this: to deny that in any true sense God could have a Son; as Mohammed tersely said afterwards, "God neither begets, nor is He begotten" (Koran, 112). We have learned to call that denial Unitarianism. It was the ultimate scope of Arian opposition to what Christians had always believed. But the Arian, though he did not come straight down from the Gnostic, pursued a line of argument and taught a view which the speculations of the Gnostic had made familiar. He described the Son as a second, or inferior God, standing midway between the First Cause and creatures; as Himself made out of nothing, yet as making all things else; as existing before the worlds of the ages; and as arrayed in all divine perfections except the one which was their stay and foundation. God alone was without beginning, unoriginate; the Son was originated, and once had not existed. For all that has origin must begin to be.
As his reference to Mohammed implies, Arius view of the relationship between Father and Son was very like that of Mohammed. Which is one reason why Islam made such quick headway among the lands of north Africa and Spain overrun by the Muslims after 632.
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, Do not go beyond what is written. Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
~ ~ ~
But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.
I wanted to see if there was difference in the verses from
the English translation of the first Bible, the Latin
Seems like there is a rewording. Not good.
And an important, Paul was talking about the Old, there
was no Gospel yet. It doesn’t prove but cancels “Bible Alone.”
God’s revelation is given to the world via the oral Word, Tradition, the written Word, the Magisterial teachings of Church these last 2000 years and Prophecy.
If our brothers and sisters would look at Tradition, the oral Word which they say they reject, there is much they do believe.
-—who else should I trust besides the Bible?-—
You can trust the Bible.
BUT, the question is, How do we KNOW that we can trust the Bible?
Begin with the Bible simply as a historical document, the best-attested ancient historical document.
Within the document, the life and teachings of Jesus are recorded (just as Aristotle’s teachings are recorded in various documents from an even earlier era.)
From this document, we learn that Jesus claimed to be God, that He founded a single, visible church, (”take it to THE church. If he will not listen to THE church, treat him as a pagan...”), and that it would last forever (the gates of hell will not prevail against it).
Has a church been in continuous existence since apostolic times? Does it possess a non-contradictory body of teaching (to settle disputes as Jesus commanded)? To answer that question, one must examine history.
That authoritative Church is the Catholic Church, or the Church of Christ (It’s formal name).
Jesus’ astounding prediction regarding an incomparable, indestructible, authoritative, earthly organization is true.
Therefore, one can reasonably conclude that Jesus is Who He claimed to be: God.
Therefore, the Catholic Church is the Church of God.
God’s Church proposes books that are to be treated as divinely inspired.
Therefore, we can know with reasonable certainty that the Catholic Bible is the inspired word of God.
Importantly, we also know that the Church is the ultimate authority regarding Christ’s teachings, and the interpretation of Scripture.
“”stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” —St. Paul (2 Thess. 2:15).
This passage equates the authority of apostolic oral and written tradition (Scripture).
Yet other passages, like the one you cited, appear to contradict St. Paul.
Here is how the paradox is resolved:
Just downloaded this to my kindle.
Here is a great lecture on tis great book.
This is the link to Saint Athanasius writings. I got it from one of your earlier threads about the Saint.
Free down load. At least free to us as New Advent paid for the site & the electric bill.
I'm very sorry, friend. This first statement about Arianism being Christianity is simply false. Arius taught that Jesus was not co-eternal, but created at a finite point in chronos time. In Arius' own words, "There was a time when the Son was not." This contradicts the words of Christ, as recorded in the 8th chapter of the Gospel According to St. John, when he answered the Pharisees, "...before Adam was even born, I AM."
"The earliest Christians were not Trinitarians..."
Again, I'd point you to the Gospels, this time that of St. Matthew, 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
So, I offer to you the words of Jesus Christ on these matters.
And, by the way, the first known listing of the New Testament canon, in the familiar modern form, was in a letter written by +Athanasius around Pascha in the year 367. This took place between the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils.
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