Athanasius Contra Ar., 2.15; 3.28, 35, 58

2.15. This, at least according to my nothingness, is the meaning of this passage; moreover, a true and a good meaning have these words of Peter as regards the Jews. For Jews, astray from the truth, expect indeed the Christ as coming, but do not reckon that He undergoes a passion, saying what they understand not; We know that, when the Christ cometh, He abideth for ever, and how sayest Thou, that He must be lifted up [2292] ?’ Next they suppose Him, not the Word coming in flesh, but a mere man, as were all the kings. The Lord then, admonishing Cleopas and the other, taught them that the Christ must first suffer; and the rest of the Jews that God was come among them, saying, If He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God [2293]


3.28. Such error then being Judaic, and Judaic after the mind of Judas the traitor, let them openly confess themselves scholars of Caiaphas and Herod, instead of cloking Judaism with the name of Christianity, and let them deny outright, as we have said before, the Saviour’s appearance in the flesh, for this doctrine is akin to their heresy; or if they fear openly to Judaize and be circumcised [2994] , from servility towards Constantius and for their sake whom they have beguiled, then let them not say what the Jews say; for if they disown the name, let them in fairness renounce the doctrine. For we are Christians, O Arians, Christians we; our privilege is it well to know the Gospels concerning the Saviour, and neither, with Jews to stone Him, if we hear of His Godhead and Eternity, nor with you to stumble at such lowly sayings as He may speak for our sakes as man. If then you would become Christians [2995] , put off Arius’s madness, and cleanse [2996] with the words of religion those ears of yours which blaspheming has defiled; knowing that, by ceasing to be Arians, you will cease also from the malevolence of the present Jews. Then at once will truth shine on you out of darkness, and ye will no longer reproach us with holding two Eternals [2997] , but ye will yourselves acknowledge that the Lord is God’s true Son by nature, and not as merely eternal [2998] , but revealed as co-existing in the Father’s eternity. For there are things called eternal of which He is Framer; for in the twenty-third Psalm it is written, Lift up your gates, O ye rulers, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates [2999] ;’ and it is plain that through Him these things were made; but if even of things everlasting He is the Framer, who of us shall be able henceforth to dispute that He is anterior to those things eternal, and in consequence is proved to be Lord not so much from His eternity, as in that He is God’s Son; for being the Son, He is inseparable from the Father, and never was there when He was not, but He was always; and being the Father’s Image and Radiance, He has the Father’s eternity. Now what has been briefly said above may suffice to shew their misunderstanding of the passages they then alleged; and that of what they now allege from the Gospels they certainly give an unsound interpretation [3000] , we may easily see, if we now consider the scope [3001] of that faith which we Christians hold, and using it as a rule, apply ourselves, as the Apostle teaches, to the reading of inspired Scripture. For Christ’s enemies, being ignorant of this scope, have wandered from the way of truth, and have stumbled [3002] on a stone of stumbling, thinking otherwise than they should think.


35. These points we have found it necessary first to examine, that, when we see Him doing or saying aught divinely through the instrument [3052] of His own body, we may know that He so works, being God, and also, if we see Him speaking or suffering humanly, we may not be ignorant that He bore flesh and became man, and hence He so acts and so speaks. For if we recognise what is proper to each, and see and understand that both these things and those are done by One [3053] , we are right in our faith, and shall never stray. But if a man looking at what is done divinely by the Word, deny the body, or looking at what is proper to the body, deny the Word’s presence in the flesh, or from what is human entertain low thoughts concerning the Word, such a one, as a Jewish vintner [3054] , mixing water with the wine, shall account the Cross an offence, or as a Gentile, will deem the preaching folly. This then is what happens to God’s enemies the Arians; for looking at what is human in the Saviour, they have judged Him a creature. Therefore they ought, looking also at the divine works of the Word, to deny [3055] the origination of His body, and henceforth to rank themselves with Manichees [3056] . But for them, learn they, however tardily, that the Word became flesh;’ and let us, retaining the general scope [3057] of the faith, acknowledge that what they interpret ill, has a right interpretation [3058] .


58. Idle then is the excuse for stumbling, and petty the notions concerning the Word, of these Ario-maniacs, because it is written, He was troubled,’ and He wept.’ For they seem not even to have human feeling, if they are thus ignorant of man’s nature and properties; which do but make it the greater wonder, that the Word should be in such a suffering flesh, and neither prevented those who were conspiring against Him, nor took vengeance of those who were putting Him to death, though He was able, He who hindered some from dying, and raised others from the dead. And He let His own body suffer, for therefore did He come, as I said before, that in the flesh He might suffer, and thenceforth the flesh might be made impassible and immortal [3199] , and that, as we have many times said, contumely and other troubles might determine upon Him and come short of others after Him, being by Him annulled utterly; and that henceforth men might for ever abide [3200] incorruptible, as a temple of the Word [3201] . Had Christ’s enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognised the ecclesiastical scope as an anchor for the faith, they would not have made shipwreck of the faith, nor been so shameless as to resist those who would fain recover them from their fall, and to deem those as enemies who are admonishing them to be religious [3202]  But [3203] , as it seems, a heretic is a wicked thing in truth, and in every respect his heart is depraved [3204] and irreligious. For. behold, though convicted on all points, and shewn to be utterly bereft of understanding, they feel no shame; but as the hydra of Gentile fable, when its former serpents were destroyed, gave birth to fresh ones, contending against the slayer of the old by the production of new, so also they, hostile [3205] and hateful to God [3206] , as hydras [3207] , losing their life in the objections which they advance, invent for themselves other questions Judaic and foolish, and new expedients, as if Truth were their enemy, thereby to shew the rather that they are Christ’s opponents in all things.