Athanasian Atonement = Recapitulation (Irenaeus) + Satisfaction (Anselm)

I gave Athanasius’ De Incarnatione (hereafter DI, all quotations from St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1997 version) a careful re-read on a flight the other day, in order to compare his treatment of atonement with those of Anselm and Irenaeus, which I outlined in my last two posts. In DI, the themes of satisfaction and recapitulation merge together. The treatment is somewhat like a blending together of the main emphases of Irenaeus and Anselm. With Irenaeus, Athanasius affirms that the incarnation accomplished the restoration of human nature from corruption to incorruptibility. Yet he does not follow Irenaeus’ doctrine of recapitulation exactly:…

Athanasius (3): Incarnation and Atonement

I’ve been writing an article this spring and summer in which I question John Stott’s emphasis on the cross over the resurrection on pp. 232-234 of The Cross of Christ (IVP, 2006).  While reading Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word I was reminded of how similar questions arise with the incarnation: how does it fit in with Jesus’s saving activity, particularly his saving activity on the cross?  Stott says that “the resurrection was essential to confirm the efficacy of his death as his incarnation had been to prepare for its possibility” (233, italics mine).  I appreciate Stott’s emphasis on…

Athanasius (2): the extra-Calvinisticum

I’ve written before on Calvin’s extra – his view that during the incarnation God the Son still filled the heavens and upheld all things as Infinite God.  Before Calvin, this view was asserted by Athanasius in On the Incarnation of the Word, III.17: The Word was not hedged in by His body, nor did His presence in the body prevent His being present elsewhere as well. When He moved His body He did not cease also to direct the universe by His Mind and might. No. The marvelous truth is that being the Word, so far from being Himself contained…

Athanasius (1): Did Jesus get sick?

As part of my study of pre-reformation theology, I am reading  Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word, which is a great little primer on the Christian faith.  (If you get the Popular Patristics edition, you get the Introduction by C.S. Lewis which alone is worth the price of the book.)  One thing that has puzzled me, however, is Athanasius’ emphasis on the Incarnate Word’s incorruptibility.  A theme of the book is that the Word became incarnate in order to reverse the effects of the fall and restore corrupted creation to an incorruptible state.  So far, so good.  But at…