But here it should be noted, Athanasius makes the same careful distinction that is made by Origen and Malchion. Because the Logos has made His won the things of the flesh, he affirms, it must be said that “God suffered”; for the same reason, as is clear, he uses the title “Theotokos” when speaking of the Virgin.1 But he carefully distinguishes between what must be said of the Logos in His divine and eternal being, and what must be said of Him as He becomes man. He would not have it thought that he attributes passibility to the Divine: in His divine being, the Logos remains what He was. So, explaining how the expression “God suffered” should be interpreted, he appeals to “that trustworthy witness, the blessed Peter.” The Apostle, he points out,2 has declared that Christ suffered for us “in the flesh” (1Peter 4:1)__hence it is only the Logos “in the flesh” that passibility can be ascribed. But ascribed it must be, Athanasius would say, since he who suffered was the God who assumed flesh for our salvation.
Such are the aspects of Athanasius’ teaching which may be grouped under what we would call the first foundation principle of the Alexandrine theology. This we now venture to summarise as follows: In Jesus Christ, the Logos, while remaining what He was, has, for our salvation, united manhood with Himself, thereby making it His own; He is not, therefore, two Persons, but one Person, the Logos Himself in His incarnate state.