Athanasius: The Coherence of his Thought (Routledge Early by Khaled Anatolios

By Khaled Anatolios

During this quantity, Khaled Anatolios provides a finished research of Saint Athanasius, the most influential figures within the improvement of Christian doctrine. He analyzes the coherence of Athanasius' theology via concerning some of the features of his doctrine - God, construction, theological anthropology, Christology and redemption, and the lifetime of grace - to a pervasive emphasis at the radical contrast, and simultaneous relation, among God and international. Athanasius: The Coherence of his idea provides a scientific account of the general internal common sense of the Athanasian imaginative and prescient. It exhibits how some of the features of his doctrine are collectively similar and in so doing elucidates the complexities either one of Athanasian suggestion and Christian doctrine commonly.

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To be sure, even on this last point , certain critics have found Athanasius·s position ambivalent. Focusing especially on Contra GenIe! 30-4, they have considered Arnanasius to be saying that human beings can return to God by themselves, merely by contemplation, and apan from the grace of the incarnation. 94 Since such a posit ion is obviously at variance with the whole argument of the double treatise, these critics have understood Athanasius to be making a temporary conces5ion to G reek sensibiliry in the interest of apologetics - a concession, however, which is inconsistent with the rest of his argument.

However, if Athanasius rejects the attempt to delineate the distinCtion between di~'ine otherness and nearneSS along the lines of an ontological prioritizing of the Father over the Son, he does not relinquish the project of acrnally making this distinction. But he does not locate the distinCtion widun the Godhead it5elf. Rather, it is articulated in terms of God being "outside" creation by his essence and yet present within it by his power. 42 This essence-power distinction in Athanasius seems to be a distinCtion between the divine realm in se, encompassing both Father and Son (not to memion the Spirir), and ad extroY' It5 point is simply that God's aCtive agency within creation does not mitigate against his otherness as an agent: God does not become consubsrantial with creation through his aCtivity within it.

Xfhile it remains true that the Word is the primary agent in the securing and maimeDance of humanity, humanity itself is called to secure and maimain itself in its accessibilir}' co the prior activity of the Word. Dt 11lcamationt 3 offers an instance of this transference of rerminology. First Athanasius says that God, knowing humanity's natural inability ro remain forever (e£(Opi)o~ ~ otx hcovov E:1T1 KO-t O. oyov ola)l£v£lv net), granted it a special parricipation in the power of the Word, so that it mighr be able to remain (Ota)lEv£l v) in feliciey- Then he goes on to speak of human free will, and in that context, the active funCtions of securing and maintaining are seen to be "passed on~ from the Word to humanity itself: T he power of free choice (it npoalpecn9 thus conditions the active passive paradigm that is integral to the parricipation model, insofar as it is meant to lead humaniry into an anive clinging to the prior beneficent activity of the Word.

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