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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Athanasius on "Why the Cross of All Deaths?"

Athanasius (298-373 AD) has to be one of my favorite church fathers. Here is a little snippit from his treatise called On the Incarnation of the Word in which he explains why Christ had to die on a cross. (Chapter 25.2-4) 2. For if He came Himself to bear the curse laid upon us, how else could He have "become a curse," unless He received the death set for a curse? and that is the Cross. For this is exactly what is written: "Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree." 3. Again, if the Lord's death is the ransom for all, and by His death "the middle wall of partition" is broken down, and the calling of the nations is brought about, how would He have called us to Him, had He not been crucified? For it is only on the cross that a man dies with his hands spread out. Whence it was fitting for the Lord to bear this also and to spread His hands, that with the one He might draw the ancient people, and with the other those from the Gentiles, and unite them in Himself. 4. For this is what He Himself has said, signifying by what manner of death He was to ransom all: "I, when I am lifted up," He saith, "shall draw all men unto Me." (italics mine) One thing I have learned when reading the Church Fathers is that we must give them some slack with their theological terminology and precision. They haven't had 2000 years of refinement, debate, controversy, and history to study nor the interaction available for us today as critical thinkers to evaluate thoroughly documents and ideas as we have been privied to. For instance, in Athanasius' writings, one could quickly see the overtones of immortality and universalism in his thought and text, yet when weighed against his own writing, one would see clearly that is not what he is meaning. Unfortunately, I have been slow to read up on these great men of the faith, and if you haven't taken the time to consider their writings, let these posts encourage you to do so. Trust me, it would be well worth your time.


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