“It was within the parameters of this profound interlocking of creation and redemption, of incarnation and atonement, that Nicene theology continued to expound and deepen its grasp of the Gospel of the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ with which the Church had been entrusted by the apostles. In the course of that development the soteriological implications of the Nicene homoousion, in particular of the oneness in act as well as in being between the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, were worked out more fully through persistent exegetical activity in the face of Hellenising and Judaising distortions of the Gospel. As a result Nicene theology considerably deepened the Church’s understanding of the personal self-offering of Christ in terms of his vicarious obedience and the inner relation between his Person and work. The prolonged debates of Athanasius with Arians and semi-Arians, and of the Cappadocians with Eunomians and Apollinarians, were of great importance in this respect. At the same time, they brought to light the basic issues in the doctrine of atoning mediation and redemption, but with the realisation that they mystery of the incarnate assumption of our humanity in Christ and of his mediatorship reaches out beyond all forms of theological expression. As we probe into these issues, however, we shall find that they form a more coherent doctrinal pattern than is usually claimed.”
43. See especially Hilary De Trin., 11.20
44. It is surely in this way the saving import of the virgin birth of Jesus is to be understood, for while it was a pure act of divine grace, it was an act made to issue out of true human flesh – Athanasius Con. Ar., 2.70; 3.56; Ad Epict., 4-8; cf. De vit Ant., 67. Not that while in these passages Athanasius could speak of holy Mary as ‘ever-virgin’ and ‘God-bearer,’ he could also insist that she was ‘our sister in that we are all from Adam’. See also Con Ar., 3.29; Epiphanius Haer. 78.5; Didymus, De Trin., (Greek/Latin text only) 1.27.
45. Cyril of Alex. Ep. Ad Mon. Aeg., 25-26.
46. This was the emphatic teaching of Irenaeus Adv. hear., 3.19.6 (3.18.7), vol. 2, pp. 100f; of Athanasius, Con Ar., 1.38-44; and Gregory Naz., Or., 30.14. Augustine represents much the same teaching in the West, Conf., 10.68; Serm. 293E.3; In Jn. en., 82.4. For ‘real atonement,’ not as a direct deed of God ‘over man’s head,’ but as God’s act in man and from the side of man, and as issuing forth from man’s life and offered to God, consult the illuminating essay by F. W. Camfield, ‘The idea of substitution in the doctrine of Atonement,’ SJT, vol. 1, 1948, pp. 282-293.
47. Athanasius Ad Ant., 7: οὐδὲ σώματος μόνου ἀλλὰ καὶ ψυχῆς ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ Λόγῳ σωτηρία γένομεν.
48. Gregory Nyss., Or. cat., 22.
49. Gal. 4.3f: So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Rom. 3.20f: because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
50. I have in mind here what Kierkegaard spoke of as the ‘teleological suspension of ethics’ in the transition from a merely moral to a religious situation before God – Fear and Trembling (Eng. tr. by Robert Payne. pp. 75ff).
51. Rom. 8.3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
2Cor 5.21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
See Athanasius Con Ar., 1.43, 51, 60; 2.47, 55, 66, 69; 3.31ff; Ad Adel., 4; In Ps., 21.31; Con Apol., 1.7; and cf. De vit. Ant., 7 and also Irenaeus, Adv. haer., 3.21.2 (3.21.2), vol.2, p. 107; and Eusebius of Caeserea, Dem. en. 1.10; 10.1.
53. Cf. Con Apol., 2.6 ‘If sinlessness had not been seen in the nature which had sinned, how could sin have been condemned in the flesh, when that flesh had no capacity for action, and the Godhead knew not sin?’ Cf. T. A. Smail, Reflected Glory. The Spirit in Christ and in Christians, 1975, p. 67f.
54. Hilary De Trin., 1.13. However, Hilary had a habit of qualifying what he said in his connection which appears to leave his conceptions of God’s self-identification with sinful humanity somewhat ambiguous – see De Trin., 10.47f; 11.16f.
55. Athanasius pointed out that what it was from the virgin birth of Jesus that ‘the beginning of our new creation took place,’ Con Ar., 2.70. Cf. Irenaeus, Adv. haer., 3.32.1 (3.22.3), vol. 2, pp. 123f; Dem., 37f
56. Gregory Nyss, Adv. Apol., Jaeger, vol. 3.1, p. 171. Thus also his Ep. Adv. Apol.: ‘Although he was made sin and a curse because of us, and took our weakness upon himself, yet he did not leave the sin and curse and the weakness enveloping him unhealed . . . Whatever is weak in our nature and subject to death was united with his Deity and became what the Deity is.’
57. Gregory Naz., Or., 30.5
59. Athanasius, Ad Epict., 7; see also Ad Ant., 7; Con Ar., 2.36; 3.22; 4.35; Con Apol. 1.5, 14f. For the same emphasis on the whole man see Irenaeus, Adv. haer., 5.6.1, vol. 2, p. 333f; 5.9.1, p. 342; 5.20.1, p. 378; Hilary De Trin., 10.15, 19, 21, 59; Epiphanius, Haer., 77.29.
60. Athanasius De inc., 15; Con Ar., 1.41-50; 2.14, 53, 56; 3.27, 30-35, 38f, 43f, 52f; 4.6; Ad Epict. 7; Ad Ant., 7, 11; Ad Ser., 1.6, 9; 2.9; ap. Theodoret, Dial., 2, MPG, 83.177; see Con Apol. 1 & 2, passim, 1.5, 13-19; 2.1, 6, 10, 13, 16ff.
61. Origen Dialektos, 7. The whole man would not have been redeemed if he had not assumed the whole man (εἰ μὴ ὅλον τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀνειλήφει).’ SC 67, p. 70. Cf. Irenaeus Adv. haer. 5.9.1, vol. 2, pp. 341f.
62. Basil Ep. 261.2. For Western views of this see Marius Victorinus . Adv. Arium 3.3 (For the Latin refer to this page in the book). Also Ambrose, Ep. 261.2, ‘The very purpose for which he came was to save the whole man. If he had not redeemed the whole man, he would have failed.’
64. Gregory Nyss., Antir. con Eun., Jaeger, 2, p. 386
65. Athanasius Con Apol. 1.17
68. Athanasius De inc., 11-16
70. See, for example, Clement, Paed., II., Protr. 11; Strom., 6.15. Clement could make effective use of traditional biblical teaching about Christ giving himself as a ransom in the new covenant, but he transmuted simple faith in Christ as Redeemer into a spiritual gnosis – cf. Quis dives salvetur?, 23, 34, 37; Paed., 3, 12, 37, 39; Strom., 2.15.64; 4.7; 5.1.2f; 5.1.1ff; 5.10.70; 5.26.1ff (typo?); In Jn., 5.6.
71. Cf. Irenaeus’ discussion of the Gnostic idea that ‘gnosis is the redemption of the inner man’ (ὤστε εἶναι τὴν γνῶσιν ἀπολυτρωσιν τοῦ ἔνδον ἀνθρώπου), Adv. haer 1.14.3 (1.21.4), vol. 1, p. 185.
74. Cf. Hilary De Trin., 11.18ff
75. Athanasius Con Ar., 1.37-52
77. Hebrews 5.8f Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
80. Cf. the eucharistic prayer in the Der-Balyzeh papyrus, J Beckmann, Quellen zur Geshichte des christlichen Gottesdienstes, 1956, pp. 8ff; and the Liturgies of St James and St Mark, F E Brightmann, Liturgies Eastern and Western vol. 1, pp. , 31ff, 113ff.