Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
Section 10. By a like simile, the reasonableness of the work of redemption is shewn. How Christ wiped away our ruin, and provided its antidote by His own teaching. Scripture proofs of the Incarnation of the Word, and of the Sacrifice He wrought.
Now in truth this great work was peculiarly suited to God's goodness.1. For if a king, having founded a house or city, if it be beset by bandits from the carelessness of its inmates, does not by any means neglect it, but avenges and reclaims it as his own work, having regard not to the carelessness of the inhabitants, but to what beseems himself; much more did God the Word of the all-good Father not neglect the race of men, His work, going to corruption: but, while He blotted out the death which had ensued by the offering of His own body, He corrected their neglect by His own teaching, restoring all that was man's by His own power.2. And of this one may be assured at the hands of the Saviour's own inspired writers, if one happen upon their writings, where they say: |For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died, and He died for all that we should no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him Who for our sakes died and rose again,| our Lord Jesus Christ. And, again: |But we behold Him, Who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste of death for every man.| 3. Then He also points out the reason why it was necessary for none other than God the Word Himself to become incarnate; as follows: |For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering;| by which words He means, that it belonged to none other to bring man back from the corruption which had begun, than the Word of God, Who had also made them from the beginning.4. And that it was in order to the sacrifice for bodies such as His own that the Word Himself also assumed a body, to this, also, they refer in these words : |Forasmuch then as the children are the sharers in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might bring to naught Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.| 5. For by the sacrifice of His own body, He both put an end to the law which was against us, and made a new beginning of life for us, by the hope of resurrection which He has given us. For since from man it was that death prevailed over men, for this cause conversely, by the Word of God being made man has come about the destruction of death and the resurrection of life; as the man which bore Christ saith: |For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive:| and so forth. For no longer now do we die as subject to condemnation; but as men who rise from the dead we await the general resurrection of all, |which in its own times He shall show,| even God, Who has also wrought it, and bestowed it upon us.6. This then is the first cause of the Saviour's being made man. But one might see from the following reasons also, that His gracious coming amongst us was fitting to have taken place.