What was God to do?

May 14, 2014 in Atheism, Book Reviews, Church History, Creation, Cross of Christ, Eschatology, Human Condition, King Jesus, Quotations, Trinity, Word of God

I’m doing sermon prep on the Image of God and recalled this glorious passage from Athanasius:

     What was God to do in the face of this dehumanising of mankind, this universal hiding of the knowledge of Himself by the wiles of evil spirits? Was He to keep silence before so great a wrong and let men go on being thus deceived and kept in ignorance of Himself? If so, what was the use of having made them in His own image originally? It would surely have been better for them always to have been brutes, rather than to revert to that condition when once they had shared the nature of the Word. Again, things being as they were, what was the use of their ever having had the knowledge of God? Surely it would have been better for God never to have bestowed it, than that men should subsequently be found unworthy to receive it. Similarly, what possible profit could it be to God Himself, who made men, if when made they did not worship Him, but regarded others as their makers? This would be tantamount to His having made them for others and not for Himself. Even an earthly king, though he is only a man, does not allow lands that he has colonised to pass into other hands or to desert to other rules, but sends letters and friends and even visits them himself to recall them to their allegiance, rather than allow his work to be undone. How much more, then, will God be patient and painstaking with His creatures, that they be not led astray from Him to the service of those that are not, and that all the more because such error means for them sheer ruin, and because it is not right that those who had once shared His Image should be destroyed.
     What, then, was God to do? What else could He possibly do, being God, but renew His image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know Him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image Himself, our Saviour Jesus Christ? Men could not have done it, for they are only made after the Image; nor could angels have done it, for they are not the images of God. The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image.
     In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. The Image of the Father only was sufficient for this need.

Athanasius, On the Incarnation, Trans. Anonymous. (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1977) 40-41.

Is Christianity Good for the World?

November 11, 2008 in Atheism, Book Reviews

Just finished reading Is Christianity Good for the World?, a stimulating dialogue between Doug Wilson and Chrisopher Hitchens. Both men do a fine job representing their positions. Doug in particular does a great job keeping to the main point and gradually expanding his discussion to point to the centrality of Christ for the world. His insistence on the inability of atheism to answer the most fundamental questions about life, ethics, reason, etc. was superb. He keeps coming back to this central dilemma of atheism again and again while Hitchens continues to beg the question again and again. By what means can we objectively classify one action as wrong and another as right unless we have a transcendent source of values that exists outside of space and time? Without such a standard we are doomed to folly – the very thing Paul tells us in Ephesians, “being darkened in understanding and in the futility of our mind.” Hitchens lashes out at Wilson a couple times for classifying atheists as “fools” and urges the reader to pooh-pooh such name-calling as unprofessional and perhaps unethical. Nevertheless, in his last rejoinder he resorts to he same type of name-calling and illustrates that the creation of such categories is inescapable. The question is simply who has the grounds on which to categorize accurately. Scripture maintains that God has such grounds and provides those who follow His wisdom with the ability to do the same. On the whole, the book was a delightful read.