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NPNF2-04. Athanasius: Select Works and Letters
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§41. Answer to the Greeks. Do they recognise the Logos? If He manifests Himself in the organism of the Universe, why not in one Body? for a human body is a part of the same whole.

But one cannot but be utterly astonished at the Gentiles, who, while they laugh at what is no matter for jesting, are themselves insensible to their own disgrace, which they do not see that they have set up in the shape of stocks and stones. 2. Only, as our argument is not lacking in demonstrative proof, come let us put them also to shame on reasonable grounds,—mainly from what we ourselves also see. For what is there on our side that is absurd, or worthy of derision? Is it merely our saying that the Word has been made manifest in the body? But this even they will join in owning to have happened without any absurdity, if they show themselves friends of truth. 3. If then they deny that there is a Word of God at all, they do so gratuitously310310    Athan. here assumes, for the purpose of his argument, the principles of the Neo-platonist schools. They were influenced, in regard to the Logos, by Philo, but even on this subject the germ of their teaching may be traced in Plato, especially in the Timæus, (See Drummond’s Philo, i. 65–88, Bigg’s Bamp. Lect. 14, 18, 248–253, and St. Aug. Confess. in ‘Nicene Fathers,’ Series 1, vol. 1, p. 107 and notes.), jesting at what they know not. 4. But if they confess that there is a Word of God, and He ruler of the universe, and that in Him the Father has produced the creation, and that by His Providence the whole receives light and life and being, and that He reigns over all, so that from the works of His providence He is known, and through Him the Father,—consider, I pray you, whether they be not unwittingly raising the jest against themselves. 5. The philosophers of the Greeks say that the universe is a great body311311    Especially Plato, Tim. 30, &c.; and rightly so. For we see it and its parts as objects of our senses. If, then, the Word of God is in the Universe, which is a body, and has united Himself with the whole and with all its parts, what is there surprising or absurd if we say that He has united Himself312312    ἐπιβεβηκέναι, cf. above, 20. 4, 6. The Union of God and Man in Christ is of course ‘hypostatic’ or personal, and thus (supra 17. 1), different in kind from the union of the Word with Creation. His argument is ad homines. It was not for thinkers who identified the Universe with God to take exception to the idea of Incarnation. with man also. 6. For if it were absurd for Him to have been in a body at all, it would be absurd for Him to be united with the whole either, and to be giving light and movement to all things by His providence. For the whole also is a body. 7. But if it beseems Him to unite Himself with the universe, and to be made known in the whole, it must beseem Him also to appear in a human body, and that by Him it should be illumined and work. For mankind is part of the whole as well as the rest. And if it be unseemly for a part to have been adopted as His instrument to teach men of His Godhead, it must be most absurd that He should be made known even by the whole universe.


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