August 15, 2008

On the Incarnation: Thoughts

On the Incarnation is a short but profound volume. St. Athanasius writes with simplicity, authority, and more than a bit of wonder at the very idea that a person would disbelieve the present reality of the incarnate, risen, and reigning Christ. "Even if their mental faculties are defective," says Athanasius, "surely their eyes can give them irrefragable proof of the power and Godhead of Christ."

For Athanasius Christ is saturated and saturating all the more everday into everything, every part of life, every dimension, seen and unseen, imagined and beyond imagination. "The Self-revealing of the Word is in every dimension - above, in creation; below, in the Incarnation; in the depth, in Hades; in the breadth, throughout the world. All things have been filled with the knowledge of God."

Athanasius speaks of a risen Christ, a cosmic Christ, who manifests great power through his people, and I wonder, where is this power today? The reality of the power of the cosmic Christ seems to have been exchanged for political agenda, religious showmanship, and a shallow pop culture veneer which shimmers and twinkles today and is gone tomorrow. It is tragic to me that the Christ whom this Egyptian father knew so well in the 4th century has been replaced by the materialistic Christianity of 21st century America. But there is a light beginning to shine on Athanasius' continent. The reigning Christ is beginning to once again manifest in the same power Athanasius knew so well in Africa and in other third world countries. My prayer is that I may see the reformation of American minds during my lifetime. A.W. Tozer wrote, "Complacency is the deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted." I'm not sure what it will take for the self-satisfied Christians of our time to toss away their self-made caricatures of Christ and start desiring the real deal, but I sure would love to witness the same power in my neighborhood and in my church and home that Athanasius wrote about in De Incarnatione Verbi Dei.

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