Friday, October 7, 2011

Wisdom from the Fathers - St Athanasius

From On the Incarnation, chapter 2

We saw in the last chapter that, because,death and corruption were gaining ever firmer hold on them, the human race was in the process of destruction. Man, who was created in God's image and in his possession of reason reflected the very Word Himself, was, disappearing, and the work of God was being undone. The law of death, which followed from the Transgression, prevailed upon us, and from it there as on escape. The thing that was happening was in truth both monstrous and unfitting. It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die; but it was equally monstrous that beings which once had shared the nature of the Word should perish and turn back again into non-existence through corruption. It was unworthy of the goodness of God that creatures made by Him should be brought to nothing through the deceit wrought upon man by the devil, and it was supremely unfitting that the work of God in mankind should disappear, either through their own negligence or through the deceit of evil spirits. As, then, the creature who He had created reasonable, like the Word, were in fact perishing, and such noble works were on the road to ruin, what then was God, being Good, to do? Was he to let corruption and death have their way with them? . . . It was impossible, therefore, that God should leave man to be carried off by corruption, because it would be unfitting and unworthy of Himself.

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