Contend Earnestly: On the Incarnation

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

On the Incarnation

I was parusing the local "Christian" book store, I put that in quotes because when you have TD Jakes on the shelf one has to wonder where this store draws the line. I am guessing it is drawn on profit margin. Anyways, I found a small book on their "classics" bookshelf by Athanasius. I wanted to pick up this book so that I could read one of the greatest defenders of God incarnate in our history. I have read many quotes by Athanasius and also read some biographies on Athanasius, but I had never taken up the task to read any of his works. I am glad I decided to do so.

On the Incarnation is very well put together and I wish that more people would put together their argumentation for Christ in this way. Athanasius wrote this book sometime probably in his youth in the early 4th century to his friend, new to the faith, named Macarius.

To prove the incarnation of God the Word, Athanasius starts at Creation and the Fall, continues with the Divine dilemma and its solution in the incarnation, the death of Christ, the resurrection and then ends with refuting the Jews and Gentiles.

The letter to his friend is very easily set up and the use of logic as a defense and offense of argumentation is done very well. He not only does this, but also uses the Scriptures (a lot) and external proofs to lay out his argumentation for the incarnation of God through Christ.

I was expecting this read to be very laborious, but the translation is done very well and makes for an easy, yet edifying read. By the time the reader gets to the refutation of the Jews and Gentiles the arguments have been laid out so well that these arguments are not difficult to prove. Although some of these would not hold water now, as Athanasius does employ the fruits of conversion of people as proof. Using this same logic one could point to Mormomism and Islam in the same light. Even with this, the way that he shows these proofs is still very interesting to read and look to as great reminders of what Christ and the Holy Spirit were doing in the early years of Christianity.

What I like most about this book is that I was still able to glean much truth from it even though it was written 1700 years ago. I was able to take a glimpse into life in the 4th century and to see what was happening in early Christianity and watch a messenger of God put forth the great Gospel truths.

This book is still for readers and apologists today and shows why Athanasius was one of the most intelligent and used men of God. Highly Recommended.


Anonymous said...

Hi Seth,

I read Athanasius' "On the Incarnation" many years ago and it was very influential in forming my Christology. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

David McCrory

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