Theology in Reconciliation P. 222f

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There are several implications in all this for Athanasiusdoctrine of God which we must note.  It implies a breathtaking understanding of God in his own internal relations. Since the Logos is internal to the Being of God, essentially and eternally enousios in God, truly to know God in and through the Logos is to known him in the inner reality of his own Being.1 That is the epistemological centrality of the Incarnation, for it has opened up for us knowledge of God in himself, but to know God in himself, in the inner relations of his own Being like that, makes the doctrine of the Holy Trinity absolutely basic and essential in the Christian understanding of God. This will also become apparent when we come to Athanasius’ doctrine of the Spirit. Epistemologically, therefore, the Incarnation of the Son or Logos of God meant two things for Athanasis:

(i) It meant that physical and creaturely being, without losing their contingent and material nature, may actually know God, who according to his own divine nature is immaterial (ἀσώματος) through Jesus Christ. “Through the Incarnation of the Word the universal Providence has been made known, and the Leader and Maker of all things, the Word of God himself. For he was made man (ἐνανθώπησεν) that we might be made god (θεοποιηθῶμεν) and he manifested himself through a body (δὶα σώματος) that we might receive a conception (ἔννοιαν) of the invisible Father.2

(ii) It meant further that our knowing of the Father through the Son, who is correlated with the Father in a relation of mutual knowing and being, is objectively grounded with the eternal being of God himself, in knowing of himself: hence the great importance for Athanasius of the gospel passages in Matthew 11:27 and Luke:10:22.3 It is this access, granted to us through and in Christ, to knowledge of God in his own Being, which comes to articulation in the expression ‘gods’ (θεοί) and ‘deification’ (θεοποίησισ) made with reference back to the teaching of the Lord in John 10:34f.4

1. Contra Arianos 1.9ff., 14ff., 24f.; 2.1f., 22, 31ff.; 3.1f., 15ff., 24f.; 4.1, 5, 9; Ad Serapionem 1.14, 19ff., 25; 3.5f

2. De Incarnatione 54; cf. 18; Contra Arianos 1.6, etc

3.In illud omnia; and Contra Arianos 1.12, 39f.; 2.22f.; 3.36ff. etc.

4. Contra Arianos 1.38; Ad Afros 7; De synodis 51