On the Incarnation
                               by St. Athanasius



(1) In our former book [1] we dealt fully enough with a few of the chief points
about the heathen   worship of idols,    and how those false   fears originally
arose. We also, by  God's grace, briefly indicated that  the Word of the Father
is Himself  divine, that all  things that are  owe their being  to His will and
power, and that it is through Him  that the Father  gives order to creation, by
Him  that   all things  are moved,   and  through Him  that  they receive their
being. Now, Macarius, true lover of Christ, we must  take a step further in the
faith of our holy religion, and consider  also the Word's  becoming Man and His
divine  Appearing in   our midst.  That mystery   the Jews traduce,  the Greeks
deride, but we adore; and your own love and  devotion to the  Word also will be
the greater, because in His Manhood He seems so little worth. For  it is a fact
that the more unbelievers pour scorn on Him, so much  the more does He make His
Godhead  evident. The things  which they,  as  men, rule out  as impossible, He
plainly shows to be possible; that which they deride as unfitting, His goodness
makes most fit; and things which these wiseacres laugh at  as "human" He by His
inherent might  declares divine.  Thus by  what   seems His utter  poverty  and
weakness on the  cross He overturns  the pomp and  parade of idols, and quietly
and hiddenly wins over the mockers and unbelievers to recognize Him as God.
Now  in dealing with  these matters it is   necessary first to  recall what has
already been said. You  must understand why it is  that the Word of the Father,
so great and so high, has been made manifest in bodily form. He has not assumed
a body as proper to His own nature, far from it, for  as the Word He is without
body. He has been manifested in  a human body for this  reason only, out of the
love and  goodness of His Father, for  the salvation of  us men. We will begin,
then, with the creation of the world and with God its Maker, for the first fact
that you must grasp is this:  "the renewal of  creation has been wrought by the
Self-same Word Who made  it in the beginning." There'  is thus no inconsistency
between creation and salvation for the  One Father has  employed the same Agent
for both works, effecting the salvation of the  world through the same Word Who
made it in the beginning.
(2) In regard to  the making of the  universe  and the  creation of  all things
there have been  various opinions, and   each person has propounded  the theory
that  suited his own  taste. For instance, some  say that  all things are self-
originated and, so  to speak, haphazard. The Epicureans  are among  these; they
deny that there is any Mind  behind the universe at all.  This view is contrary
to all the facts of experience, their own existence included. For if all things
had come into being in this automatic fashion, instead of  being the outcome of
Mind, though  they     existed, they  would  all   be   uniform   and   without
distinction. In the universe everything  would be  sun or  moon or whatever  it
was, and in the human body the whole would be hand or eye or foot. But in point
of fact the sun and the moon  and the earth are  all different things, and even
within  the human body there are  different members, such  as foot and hand and
head.  This distinctness of  things argues not  a  spontaneous generation but a
prevenient  Cause; and from that  Cause we can  apprehend God, the Designer and
Maker of all.
Others take the view expressed  by Plato, that giant  among the Greeks. He said
that God had made all things out of pre-existent and  uncreated matter, just as
the carpenter makes things only out of wood that already exists.  But those who
hold this view  do not realize that  to deny that God  is Himself the Cause  of
matter is to impute  limitation to Him, just as  it is undoubtedly a limitation
on the  part of the  carpenter that  he  can make nothing   unless he  has  the
wood.  How could God  be called  Maker and Artificer  if  His  ability to  make
depended on some other  cause, namely on matter   itself? If He only worked  up
existing  matter and did not  Himself bring matter into being,  He would be not
the Creator but only a craftsman.
Then,  again,  there is the   theory  of the Gnostics,  who   have invented for
themselves an Artificer of all things  other than the  Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ. These simply  shut their eyes to the  obvious meaning of Scripture. For
instance, the Lord, having reminded the  Jews of the  statement in Genesis, "He
Who created them in the beginning made them male and female . . . ," and having
shown that for  that reason a man  should leave his  parents and cleave to  his
wife,  goes on to say with  reference to the  Creator,  "What therefore God has
joined together, let no   man put asunder" [2]. How  can  they get  a  creation
independent of  the Father out  of  that? And,  again,  St. John,  speaking all
inclusively, says, "All things became by Him and without  Him came nothing into
being [3]. How then  could the Artificer  be someone different, other  than the
Father of Christ?
(3) Such are   the notions which men  put  forward.  But the  impiety of  their
foolish talk  is  plainly declared by  the  divine  teaching  of the  Christian
faith. From it we know that, because there is  Mind behind the universe, it did
not originate itself; because God is infinite, not finite, it was not made from
pre-existent matter,  but out of nothing and  out of non-existence absolute and
utter God brought it into  being through the Word.  He says as much in Genesis:
"In the beginning  God created the heavens and the earth [4]; and again through
that most helpful  book "The Shepherd,"  "Believe thou first and foremost  that
there is One  God Who created and  arranged all things and  brought them out of
non-existence into being."[5] Paul also indicates the  same thing when he says,
"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that
the  things which we  see now did not  come into being  out of things which had
previously appeared."[6]  For God  is  good--or rather, of   all goodness He is
Fountainhead, and it is impossible for  one who is good  to be mean or grudging
about anything.  Grudging existence  to none therefore, He  made all things out
of  nothing through His  own Word, our Lord Jesus  Christ and of  all these His
earthly creatures He  reserved especial mercy for the  race of men. Upon  them,
therefore, upon men who, as animals,  were essentially impermanent, He bestowed
a grace  which other creatures lacked--namely  the impress of  His own Image, a
share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him
and themselves becoming reasonable  and expressing the Mind  of God even  as He
does, though in limited degree they might continue  for ever in the blessed and
only true life of the saints in paradise. But since the will  of man could turn
either way, God secured this grace  that He had  given by making it conditional
from the first upon two  things--namely, a law and a  place. He set them in His
own paradise,  and laid  upon  them a single  prohibition.  If they guarded the
grace and retained the loveliness of their original innocence, then the life of
paradise should be  theirs, without  sorrow,  pain or care,   and after it  the
assurance of  immortality in heaven. But if  they went astray  and became vile,
throwing away their birthright   of  beauty, then  they  would come  under  the
natural law of death and live no longer in  paradise, but, dying outside of it,
continue  in death and  in  corruption. This is  what  Holy Scripture tells us,
proclaiming the command of God, "Of every tree that is in the garden thou shalt
surely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat,
but in   the day that ye  do  eat, ye  shall surely die" [7]. "Ye  shall surely
die"--not just die  only, but remain  in the state  of death and of corruption.
(4) You  may be wondering  why we are discussing the  origin of men when we set
out  to talk about the  Word's becoming Man.  The former subject is relevant to
the latter for this reason: it was our sorry case  that caused the Word to come
down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so  that He made haste
to help us and  to appear among us.  It is we who  were the cause of His taking
human form, and for our salvation that in  His great love  He was both born and
manifested in a human body. For God had made man thus (that  is, as an embodied
spirit), and had willed that he should remain  in incorruption. But men, having
turned  from the contemplation  of God to evil  of their own devising, had come
inevitably under the law of death.  Instead of remaining  in the state in which
God had created them, they were in process  of becoming corrupted entirely, and
death  had  them completely under its  dominion.  For  the transgression of the
commandment was making them turn back  again according to  their nature; and as
they had at the  beginning come into being  out of non-existence, so were  they
now  on the way to  returning, through corruption,  to non-existence again. The
presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore
when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God
alone Who exists, evil is non-being,  the negation and antithesis  of good.  By
nature, of course, man iS mortal, since he was made from  nothing; but he bears
also the Likeness   of Him Who is, and   if he preserves that Likeness  through
constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains
incorrupt. So  is it  affirmed  in Wisdom: "The  keeping   of His laws   is the
assurance of  incorruption" [8]. And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as
God, as Holy Scripture says, "I have said, Ye are  gods and sons of the Highest
all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes" [9].
(5) This,  then,  was the  plight  of men. God had  not  only made them  out of
nothing, but had also graciously bestowed on them His own  life by the grace of
the Word. Then,  turning from eternal  things to things corruptible, by counsel
of the devil, they had become the cause of their own  corruption in death; for,
as I said before, though they  were by nature subject  to corruption, the grace
of their union  with the Word  made them capable  of escaping  from the natural
law, provided that they  retained the beauty of innocence  with which they were
created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even
from natural corruption, as also Wisdom says:
God created man for  incorruption and as  an image of  His own eternity; but by
envy of the  devil death entered into  the world."[10] When this  happened, men
began to die, and corruption ran riot among them and  held sway over them to an
even more than natural  degree,  because it was   the penalty of which God  had
forewarned them  for transgressing the  commandment. Indeed,  they had in their
sinning surpassed all limits; for, having invented  wickedness in the beginning
and so involved themselves in death and corruption, they  had gone on gradually
from bad to worse,  not stopping at  any one kind of  evil, but continually, as
with insatiable appetite,  devising new kinds   of sins. Adulteries and  thefts
were everywhere, murder  and rapine filled  the earth,  law was disregarded  in
corruption and injustice, all kinds of iniquities were perpetrated by all, both
singly and  in common.  Cities  were warring with  cities, nations  were rising
against nations, and the whole earth was rent with  factions and battles, while
each strove  to outdo the other in  wickedness. Even crimes  contrary to nature
were not unknown,   but as the  martyr-apostle  of  Christ  says:  "Their women
changed the  natural use into that  which is against nature;  and the men also,
leaving  the natural use  of the woman, flamed out  in lust towards each other,
perpetrating  shameless acts with  their own  sex,  and receiving  in their own
persons the due recompense of their pervertedness" [11].

   [1] i.e. the "Confra Gentes."
   [2] Matt. xix. 4-6.
   [3] John i. 3.
   [4] Gen. i. 1.
   [5] "The Shepherd of Hermas," Book II. I.
   [6] Heb. xi. 3.
   [7] Gen. ii. 16 f.
   [8] Wisdom vi. 18.
   [9] Psalm lxxxii. 6 f.
  [10] Wisdom ii. 23 f.
  [11] Rom. i. 26 f.
(6) We saw in the last chapter that, because death  and corruption were gaining
ever firmer hold on  them, the human  race was in  process of destruction. Man,
who was created  in God's image and in  his possession of  reason reflected the
very Word Himself, was disappearing, and the work  of God was being undone. The
law of death, which followed  from the Transgression,   prevailed upon us,  and
from it there  was no escape.  The thing that was happening  was in truth  both
monstrous and unfitting.  It would, of course,  have been  unthinkable that God
should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die;
but it was equally  monstrous that beings which once  had shared the nature  of
the  Word should   perish and  turn   back  again into  non-existence   through
corruption. It was unworthy  of the goodness of  God that creatures made by Him
should be brought to nothing through the deceit  wrought upon man by the devil;
and it was   supremely  unfitting that  the  work   of God  in  mankind  should
disappear,  either through their own negligence  or  through the deceit of evil
spirits.  As, then, the  creatures  whom He had   created reasonable, like  the
Word, were  in fact perishing,  and such noble works  were on the road to ruin,
what then was God, being Good, to  do? Was He to let  corruption and death have
their way with them? In that case, what was the use of having  made them in the
beginning? Surely it would have  been better never  to have been created at all
than, having been created, to be neglected and perish;  and, besides that, such
indifference to the ruin of His own  work before His  very eyes would argue not
goodness in God but limitation, and that far more than if  He had never created
men at  all.  It was impossible,  therefore, that  God should  leave  man to be
carried   off by corruption,  because  it would be   unfitting  and unworthy of
(7)  Yet, true though this  is, it is not the  whole matter. As we have already
noted, it was unthinkable that  God, the Father of Truth,  should go back  upon
His word regarding  death in order to  ensure our continued existence. He could
not falsify  Himself; what, then, was  God to do? Was   He to demand repentance
from men for their  transgression? You might say that  that was worthy of  God,
and argue further  that, as  through the Transgression  they became  subject to
corruption, so through repentance they  might return to incorruption again. But
repentance would not guard the  Divine consistency, for,  if death did not hold
dominion over men,  God would still remain  untrue. Nor does  repentance recall
men  from what is according to  their nature; all that  it does is to make them
cease  from sinning.  Had it  been a case  of a  trespass only,  and  not of  a
subsequent corruption, repentance  would have been well  enough; but  when once
transgression had  begun men came under the  power of the  corruption proper to
their nature and were bereft of  the grace which  belonged to them as creatures
in the Image of  God. No, repentance could not  meet the case. What--or  rather
Who was it that was needed for such grace and  such recall as we required? Who,
save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out
of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible
to incorruption  and to maintain  for the  Father  His consistency of character
with all. For  He  alone,  being  Word of  the   Father and above  all,  was in
consequence both  able to recreate all,  and worthy to suffer  on behalf of all
and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.
(8) For this purpose,  then, the incorporeal  and incorruptible and  immaterial
Word of God entered  our world. In one  sense, indeed, He was  not far  from it
before, for no  part of  creation had ever  been  without Him Who, while   ever
abiding in union  with the Father,  yet fills all things  that are.  But now He
entered the  world  in  a  new  way, stooping  to  our  level in His  love  and
Self-revealing  to us. He saw  the reasonable race, the race  of men that, like
Himself, expressed the   Father's Mind, wasting  out  of existence,  and  death
reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer,
because it was the penalty for the  Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable
it would be for  the law to be  repealed before  it was  fulfilled. He saw  how
unseemly it was that the  very  things of which  He  Himself was the  Artificer
should  be  disappearing. He   saw how  the  surpassing wickedness  of  men was
mounting up against them; He  saw also their universal  liability to death. All
this He saw and, pitying  our race, moved with  compassion for our  limitation,
unable to  endure  that death should have   the mastery,  rather than that  His
creatures should perish and  the work of His Father  for us men come to nought,
He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely
to  become embodied  or merely  to  appear; had  that   been so, He could  have
revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body,
and  not only so,  but He took  it directly from  a spotless, stainless virgin,
without the agency of human father--a pure  body, untainted by intercourse with
man. He, the Mighty  One, the Artificer of  all, Himself prepared this  body in
the  virgin as  a temple for  Himself, and  took it  for His  very own, as  the
instrument  through which He was  known and in  which He  dwelt. Thus, taking a
body  like our own, because all  our  bodies were liable  to  the corruption of
death, He surrendered His body to  death instead of all,  and offered it to the
Father.  This He did out of sheer love  for us, so that in  His death all might
die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His
body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for
men. This He  did that He might  turn again to  incorruption men who had turned
back to corruption,  and make them alive  through death by the appropriation of
His  body and by  the grace of  His resurrection.  Thus  He would make death to
disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.
(9) The Word perceived that  corruption could not be  got rid of otherwise than
through death;  yet He Himself, as  the Word, being   immortal and the Father's
Son, was such as could not die.  For this reason, therefore,  He assumed a body
capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to  the Word Who is above
all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining
incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption
for    all others as  well,   by  the grace  of   the  resurrection.  It was by
surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice
free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for His human brethren
by the offering of  the equivalent. For naturally,   since the Word of  God was
above all, when He offered His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute
for the life of  all, He fulfilled  in death  all that was  required. Naturally
also, through this union of the immortal Son of  God with our human nature, all
men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of  the resurrection. For the
solidarity of  mankind is such  that, by virtue of the  Word's  indwelling in a
single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over
all. You know how it is when some great king enters a large  city and dwells in
one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city
is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so  is it with the
King of all; He has  come into  our country and   dwelt in one body amidst  the
many, and in  consequence the  designs of  the enemy against  mankind have been
foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them  in its power, has
simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the
Lord and Savior of all the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death.
(10) This great work was, indeed, supremely  worthy of the goodness  of God.  A
king who  has  founded a  city,  so far from  neglecting  it  when  through the
carelessness of the inhabitants it is attacked by robbers, avenges it and saves
it from destruction, having regard rather to his own honor than to the people's
neglect. Much more, then, the Word of the All-good Father  was not unmindful of
the human race that He had called to be; but rather, by the offering of His own
body He  abolished the  death which they   had  incurred, and  corrected  their
neglect by His own teaching. Thus by His own power He restored the whole nature
of man. The Savior's  own inspired disciples assure us  of this. We read in one
place: " For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that, if
One died on behalf of all, then all died, and He died for all that we should no
longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died and rose again from the dead,
even our Lord Jesus Christ."[1] And again another says: "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 honor,  that by the  grace of God He
should taste of death on behalf of every man." The same writer goes on to point
Our why it was necessary for God the Word and none other to become Man: "For it
became Him,  for Whom  are all   things and through  Whom   are all things,  in
bringing many sons unto  glory, to make  the Author of their salvation  perfect
through suffering.[2]  He means that the rescue  of mankind from corruption was
the proper part only of Him Who made them in the  beginning. He points out also
that the Word assumed a human body,  expressly in order that  He might offer it
in sacrifice for other  like bodies:  "Since then the  children are  sharers in
flesh and blood, He also Himself assumed the  same, in order that through death
He might bring to nought Him that hath the power of death,  that is to say, the
Devil, and might rescue those who all their lives were enslaved  by the fear of
death."[3] For  by the sacrifice of His  own body He did two  things: He put an
end to the law  of death which  barred our way; and He  made a new beginning of
life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection. By man death has gained its
power over men; by the  Word made Man death  has been destroyed and life raised
up anew.  That is what Paul says, that true servant of Christ: For since by man
came death, by man came also the resurrection of the  dead. Just as in Adam all
die, even  so   in Christ  shall  all be   made alive,"[4] and  so forth.  Now,
therefore, when we die we  no longer do so as  men condemned  to death, but  as
those who are even now in process  of rising we  await the general resurrection
of all, "which in its own times He shall show,"[5] even  God Who wrought it and
bestowed it on us.
This, then, is the  first  cause  of the Savior's    becoming Man. There   are,
however, other things which show how wholly fitting is  His blessed presence in
our midst; and these we must now go on to consider.
   [1] 2 Cor. v. 14 f.
   [2] Heb. ii. 9 ff.
   [3] Heb. ii. 14 f.
   [4] 1 Cor. xv. 21 f.
   [5] 1 Tim. vi. 15.
(11) When    God the Almighty  was making   mankind through His   own  Word, He
perceived  that they, owing to  the  limitation of  their nature,  could not of
themselves  have  any knowledge   of  their  Artificer,   the Incorporeal   and
Uncreated. He took pity on them, therefore, and did not leave them destitute of
the   knowledge  of  Himself,    lest  their  very   existence  should    prove
purposeless. For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its
Maker? How could men be reasonable beings if they had  no knowledge of the Word
and  Reason of the Father,  through  Whom they had  received  their being? They
would be  no better  than  the beasts,  had they  no  knowledge save of earthly
things; and why should God  have made them at all,  if He had not intended them
to  know Him? But, in fact,  the good  God has  given them  a  share in His own
Image, that is, in  our Lord Jesus Christ, and  has made even themselves  after
the same Image  and Likeness. Why? Simply  in order that  through this  gift of
Godlikeness in themselves they may be able to perceive the Image Absolute, that
is the Word Himself, and through  Him to apprehend  the Father; which knowledge
of their Maker is for men the only really happy and blessed life.
But, as we have already seen,  men, foolish as  they are, thought little of the
grace they had received, and turned away from  God. They defiled their own soul
so completely that  they not only lost  their apprehension of God, but invented
for themselves other gods of various kinds. They fashioned idols for themselves
in place of the truth and reverenced things  that are not,  rather than God Who
is, as St. Paul  says, "worshipping the creature  rather than  the Creator."[1]
Moreover, and much  worse, they transferred the honor  which  is due to  God to
material objects such as wood and stone, and also to man; and further even than
that they went,  as we said in  our former book.  Indeed, so impious were  they
that they worshipped evil spirits as gods in  satisfaction of their lusts. They
sacrificed  brute beasts and immolated  men, as the  just due of these deities,
thereby  bringing themselves more and  more  under their  insane control. Magic
arts also were taught among them, oracles in sundry  places led men astray, and
the cause of everything in human life was traced to the stars as though nothing
existed but that which  could be seen. In  a word, impiety and lawlessness were
everywhere, and  neither God  nor His Word  was known.  Yet  He had  not hidden
Himself from  the sight of  men nor given the knowledge  of Himself in  one way
only; but rather He had unfolded it in many forms and by many ways.
(12) God knew the limitation of mankind, you see; and though the grace of being
made in His Image was sufficient to give them knowledge of the Word and through
Him  of  the Father, as a   safeguard against their  neglect of  this grace, He
provided  the works of  creation  also as  means by which   the Maker might  be
known.  Nor was this all.  Man's neglect of the  indwelling grace tends ever to
increase; and  against this further frailty  also God  made provision by giving
them a  law, and by sending  prophets, men whom  they knew.  Thus, if they were
tardy in looking up to  heaven, they might still gain  knowledge of their Maker
from those close  at hand; for men can  learn directly about higher things from
other men.  Three ways thus  lay open to them, by  which they  might obtain the
knowledge of God. They   could look up into   the immensity of heaven,  and  by
pondering the harmony of creation   come to know  its  Ruler, the Word of   the
Father, Whose all-ruling providence makes known the Father to  all. Or, if this
was beyond them, they could converse with  holy men, and  through them learn to
know God, the Artificer of  all things, the  Father of Christ, and to recognize
the worship of idols as the negation  of the truth and full  of all impiety. Or
else, in the third place,  they could cease from  lukewarmness and lead a  good
life merely by  knowing the law. For  the law was not  given only for the Jews,
nor was it solely for their sake  that God sent the  prophets, though it was to
the Jews that they were sent and by the Jews that they were persecuted. The law
and the prophets were a sacred  school of the knowledge of  God and the conduct
of the spiritual life for the whole world.
So great, indeed, were the goodness and the love of God. Yet men, bowed down by
the  pleasures of the moment    and by the frauds  and   illusions of the  evil
spirits, did not lift up their  heads towards the  truth. So burdened were they
with their wickednesses   that  they seemed  rather   to be brute  beasts  than
reasonable men, reflecting the very Likeness of the Word.
(13) What was God to do in face of this dehumanising of mankind, this universal
hiding of the knowledge  of Himself by the  wiles of evil  spirits?  Was He  to
keep silence before so great a wrong and let men go  on being thus deceived and
kept in ignorance of  Himself? If so, what  was the use of  having made them in
His own Image originally? It  would surely have been better  for them always to
have been  brutes, rather than to revert  to that condition  when once they had
shared the nature of the Word.  Again, things being  as they were, what was the
use of  their ever having had the  knowledge of God? Surely  it would have been
better for God never to have bestowed it,  than that men should subsequently be
found unworthy to receive it.   Similarly, what possible  profit could it be to
God Himself, Who made men, if when made they did  not worship Him, but regarded
others as their makers?   This would be tantamount to  His having made them for
others and not for Himself. Even an earthly king, though he is only a man, does
not allow lands that he has colonized to pass into other  hands or to desert to
other rulers, but  sends letters  and friends and  even visits  them himself to
recall them to their allegiance, rather than allow His work to  be undone.  How
much more,  then, will God be patient  and painstaking with His creatures, that
they be not led astray from Him to the service of those  that are not, and that
all the more because  such error means  for them sheer  ruin, and because it is
not right that those who had once shared His Image should be destroyed.
What, then, was God to do? What else could He possibly do, being God, but renew
His Image in mankind, so that through it men might  once more come to know Him?
And how  could this be  done save by the coming  of the very Image Himself, our
Savior Jesus Christ? Men could not  have done it,  for they are only made after
the Image;   nor could angels   have done it, for they   are not the  images of
God. The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image
of the Father Who could recreate man made after the Image.
In  order to effect this   re-creation, however, He had first   to do away with
death  and corruption. Therefore  He assumed a human body,  in order that in it
death might once for all be destroyed, and that men  might be renewed according
to the Image. The Image of  the Father only was sufficient  for this need. Here
is an illustration to prove it.
(14) You know what  happens when a  portrait that has  been painted on  a panel
becomes obliterated  through external stains.  ,The artist does  not throw away
the panel, but  the subject of the  portrait has to  come and sit for it again,
and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the
All-holy Son of God. He, the Image of the Father, came and  dwelt in our midst,
in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself,  and seek out His lost
sheep, even  as He says in  the Gospel: "I came to  seek and to save that which
was lost.[2] This also explains  His saying to the Jews:  "Except a man be born
anew . . ."[3] a He was not referring to a man's natural birth from his mother,
as they thought, but to the  re-birth and re-creation of the  soul in the Image
of God.
Nor was this the only thing  which only the Word could  do. When the madness of
idolatry and  irreligion filled the world and  the knowledge of God was hidden,
whose  part was it to teach  the world about the Father?  Man's, would you say?
But  men  cannot run everywhere  over  the world, nor   would their words carry
sufficient weight if they did, nor would they be, unaided, a match for the evil
spirits.  Moreover, since even  the best  of men were  confused and  blinded by
evil, how could  they convert the  souls and minds  of  others? You cannot  put
straight in others what  is warped in yourself.   Perhaps  you will say,  then,
that creation was  enough to teach  men about the  Father. But if that had been
so, such  great evils  would  never have occurred.  Creation  was there all the
time, but it did not  prevent men from wallowing in  error. Once more, then, it
was the  Word  of God, Who   sees all that is  in  man and moves all  things in
creation, Who alone could meet the needs of the situation. It  was His part and
His alone, Whose ordering of the universe reveals the Father, to renew the same
teaching. But how was  He to do  it? By the  same means as before,  perhaps you
will   say,  that is, through   the  works of   creation. But  this  was proven
insufficient.  Men had neglected to consider  the heavens before,  and now they
were looking  in the  opposite  direction.  Wherefore,  in all  naturalness and
fitness. desiring to do good to men, as Man He dwells, taking to Himself a body
like the rest; and through His actions done in  that body, as  it were on their
own level, He teaches those who would not learn by other means to know Himself,
the Word of God, and through Him the Father.
(15) He deals with them as a good teacher with his pupils, coming down to their
level and using simple means. St. Paul says as  much: "Because in the wisdom of
God  the  world in   its  wisdom knew not   God, God  thought fit  through  the
simplicity of the News proclaimed to save those who believe."[4] Men had turned
from the contemplation of God  above, and were looking for  Him in the opposite
direction, down among created things and things of sense. The Savior of us all,
the Word of God, in  His great love took to  Himself a body   and moved as  Man
among men, meeting their  senses, so to speak, half  way. He became Himself  an
object  for the senses, so  that those who were  seeking God in sensible things
might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the  Word of God, did in
the body. Human and human minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they
looked in the sensible world they found themselves taught  the truth. Were they
awe-stricken  by creation? They beheld it  confessing Christ as Lord. Did their
minds tend to regard  men as Gods? The  uniqueness of the Savior's works marked
Him,  alone of men, as  Son of God. Were they  drawn to  evil spirits? They saw
them driven out by the Lord and learned that the Word of  God alone was God and
that the evil spirits were not gods at all.  Were they inclined to hero-worship
and the cult of the dead? Then the fact that the Savior had risen from the dead
showed them how false these other deities were, and that the Word of the Father
is the one true Lord, the Lord even of death. For  this reason was He both born
and manifested as Man,  for this He died and  rose, in order that, eclipsing by
His works all  other human deeds,  He might  recall  men from all  the paths of
error to know the Father. As He says Himself, "I came to  seek and to save that
which was lost."[5]
(16) When, then, the  minds of men had fallen  finally to the level of sensible
things, the Word submitted to appear in a body, in order that He, as Man, might
center their senses  on Himself, and convince  them through His human acts that
He Himself  is not man  only but  also  God, the Word  and  Wisdom of the  true
God. This is  what Paul wants to  tell us when he  says: "That ye, being rooted
and grounded  in love, may be  strong to apprehend  with all the saints what is
the length and breadth and height and  depth, and to  know the love of God that
surpasses knowledge, so that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God."[6]
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.
For this reason He did not offer the sacrifice  on behalf of all immediately He
came, for if He had surrendered His  body to death and  then raised it again at
once He  would have ceased  to be an object of  our senses. Instead of that, He
stayed in His body and let  Himself be seen in  it, doing acts and giving signs
which showed Him to be not only man, but also God the Word. There were thus two
things which the Savior did for  us by becoming Man.  He banished death from us
and  made us anew;  and, invisible  and imperceptible as  in  Himself He is, He
became  visible through  His works  and  revealed  Himself as  the Word  of the
Father, the Ruler and King of the whole creation.
(17) There is a paradox in this last statement which  we must now examine.  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 by  anything, He
actually  contained all things Himself. In   creation He is present everywhere,
yet is distinct in   being from it;  ordering,  directing, giving life to  all,
containing  all, yet  is He Himself   the Uncontained,  existing solely  in His
Father. As with the whole,  so also is it  with the part.  Existing in a  human
body, to which  He Himself gives life, He  is still Source  of life to all  the
universe, present in every part    of it, yet  outside   the whole; and He   is
revealed both through  the works of  His body and  through His activity in  the
world. It is, indeed, the  function of soul to behold  things that are  outside
the  body, but it cannot energize  or move them.  A man cannot transport things
from one place to another, for instance, merely by thinking about them; nor can
you or I  move the sun and the  stars just by sitting  at  home and looking  at
them. With the Word of God in His human  nature, however, it was otherwise. His
body was for Him not a limitation, but an instrument, so that He was both in it
and in all things, and outside all things, resting  in the Father alone. At one
and the same time--this is the wonder--as  Man He was living  a human life, and
as  Word  He was sustaining the  life  of the  universe, and  as  Son He was in
constant  union with the Father. Not  even His birth  from a virgin, therefore,
changed  Him in any way,  nor was He defiled by  being in  the body. Rather, He
sanctified the body by  being in it. For His  being in everything does not mean
that He shares  the nature of everything, only  that He gives all things  their
being and sustains them in it. Just as the sun is not defiled by the contact of
its rays with earthly objects, but  rather enlightens and  purifies them, so He
Who made the sun is not  defiled by being made known  in a body, but rather the
body is cleansed and quickened by His indwelling, "Who did  no sin, neither was
guile found in His mouth."[7]
(18) You must  understand, therefore,  that  when writers on this  sacred theme
speak of Him as eating and drinking and being born, they mean that the body, as
a  body, was born and sustained  with the food proper to  its nature; while God
the Word, Who was  united with it, was at  the same time ordering  the universe
and  revealing Himself through His  bodily acts as  not man only but God. Those
acts are  rightly said to  be  His acts, because  the  body which did them  did
indeed belong to Him and none other; moreover, it was right that they should be
thus attributed to Him  as Man, in order  to show that His body  was a real one
and not merely an appearance. From such ordinary acts  as being born and taking
food,  He was recognized  as  being actually present  in the  body; but by  the
extraordinary acts which  He did through the  body He proved  Himself to be the
Son of God. That is the meaning of His words to the  unbelieving Jews: "If I do
not the works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, even if ye believe not
Me, believe My works, that  ye may know that the  Father is in Me  and I in the
Invisible in Himself, He is known from the works of creation; so also, when His
Godhead is veiled in human nature, His bodily acts still declare  Him to be not
man  only, but the   Power and Word of  God.  To speak authoritatively  to evil
spirits, for instance, and to drive them out, is  not human but divine; and who
could see-Him curing all the diseases to which mankind is prone, and still deem
Him mere man and not also God? He cleansed lepers, He made the lame to walk, He
opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind, there was no sickness or
weakness that-He did not drive away. Even the most casual observer can see that
these were acts of  God. The healing of the  man born blind, for instance,  who
but the Father and Artificer of  man, the Controller  of his whole being, could
thus have restored the faculty denied at birth? He Who  did thus must surely be
Himself the Lord of birth.  This is proved also  at the outset of His  becoming
Man. He formed His own body from the virgin; and that  is no small proof of His
Godhead, since He Who made that was the Maker of all else. And would not anyone
infer from the fact of that body being begotten of a virgin only, without human
father, that He Who appeared in it was also the Maker and Lord of all beside?
Again, consider the miracle at Cana. Would not anyone who  saw the substance of
water transmuted into wine understand that He Who did it was the Lord and Maker
of the water that He changed? It was for the same  reason that He walked on the
sea as on dry land--to prove to the onlookers that He had mastery over all. And
the feeding of the multitude, when He made little into  much, so that from five
loaves five thousand mouths were filled--did not that prove Him none other than
the very Lord Whose Mind is over all?
   [1] Rom. i. 25.
   [2] Luke xix. 10.
   [3] John iii. 3.
   [4] 1 Cor. i. 21.
   [5] Luke xix. 10.
   [6] Eph. iii. 17 ff.
   [7] 1 Peter ii. 22.

(19) All these  things the Savior  thought fit to  do, so that, recognizing His
bodily acts as works of  God, men who were  blind to  His presence in  creation
might regain knowledge of the Father.  For, as I said  before, who that saw His
authority over evil  spirits and their response to  it could doubt that He was,
indeed, the Son, the Wisdom and the Power of God? Even  the very creation broke
silence at His behest and, marvelous to relate, confessed with one voice before
the cross, that  monument of victory, that He  Who suffered thereon in the body
was not man  only, but Son  of God and Savior of  all. The sun veiled his face,
the earth quaked,  the mountains were rent asunder,  all men were stricken with
awe. These  things  showed that Christ  on the   cross was  God,   and that all
creation was His slave and was bearing  witness by its  fear to the presence of
its Master.
Thus, then,  God the Word revealed Himself  to men through  His works.  We must
next consider   the end of  His  earthly  life and the    nature of His  bodily
death. This is, indeed, the  very center of our  faith, and everywhere you hear
men speak of it; by it, too, no less than by His other acts, Christ is revealed
as God and Son of God.
(20)  We have dealt as  far as circumstances   and our own understanding permit
with the reason  for His bodily manifestation. We  have seen that to change the
corruptible to incorruption was  proper to none other  than the Savior Himself,
Who in the beginning made all things out of nothing; that only the Image of the
Father could re-create the likeness  of the Image  in men,  that none save  our
Lord Jesus Christ could give to mortals immortality, and that only the Word Who
orders all things  and is alone the  Father's true and  sole-begotten Son could
teach men about Him and abolish the worship of idols But beyond all this, there
was a debt owing which must needs be paid; for, as I said  before, all men were
due to die.  Here, then,  is  the second  reason  why the Word dwelt  among us,
namely that  having proved  His  Godhead by  His  works,  He  might offer   the
sacrifice on  behalf of all,  surrendering His own  temple to death in place of
all,  to  settle   man's account with   death  and  free  him  from  the primal
transgression.  In the same act  also  He showed  Himself  mightier than death,
displaying His own body incorruptible  as the first-fruits of the resurrection.
You must  not  be surprised   if we  repeat ourselves   in dealing  with   this
subject. We are speaking of the good pleasure of God and of the things which He
in His loving wisdom thought fit to do, and it is better to  put the same thing
in several ways than to run the risk of leaving something out.  The body of the
Word, then,  being  a real human   body, in spite of  its  having been uniquely
formed from a  virgin, was of  itself mortal and, like  other bodies, liable to
death. But the indwelling of the Word loosed it from this natural liability, so
that corruption could not touch it. Thus it happened  that two opposite marvels
took place at once: the death  of all was consummated  in the Lord's body; yet,
because the Word was in  it, death and corruption  were in the same act utterly
abolished.  Death there had  to be, and death for  all, so that  the due of all
might be paid.   Wherefore, the Word,   as I said,  being Himself  incapable of
death,  assumed a mortal body,  that He might offer it  as His own  in place of
all, and suffering for the sake of all through His union with it, " might bring
to  nought Him  that  had the power of  death,  that is, the   devil, and might
deliver them who all their lifetime were enslaved by the fear of death."[1]
(21) Have  no fears then. Now that   the common Savior of all   has died on our
behalf,   we who believe  in  Christ no longer die,   as men died aforetime, in
fulfillment of the threat of the law. That condemnation has come to an end; and
now  that, by the  grace of the  resurrection, corruption has been banished and
done away, we are loosed from our mortal bodies in God's good time for each, so
that  we may  obtain  thereby a better  resurrection.  Like seeds cast into the
earth, we do not perish  in our dissolution, but  like  them shall rise  again,
death having  been brought to nought  by the grace of  the Savior. That  is why
blessed Paul, through whom we all have  surety of the resurrection, says: "This
corruptible must  put on incorruption and this  mortal must put on immortality;
but when this corruptible shall have put  on incorruption and this mortal shall
have put   on immortality, then   shall be brought to pass   the saying that is
written, 'Death is swallowed  up in victory.   O Death, where  is thy  sting? O
Grave, where is thy victory?"[2]
"Well then," some  people may say,  "if the essential thing  was that He should
surrender  His body to   death in place of   all, why did He   not do so as Man
privately, without  going to the length  of public crucifixion? Surely it would
have been more suitable for Him to have laid aside His body  with honor than to
endure so shameful  a death." But look at   this argument closely, and  see how
merely human it is, whereas what the Savior did  was truly divine and worthy of
His  Godhead for  several reasons. The  first is  this. The death  of men under
ordinary circumstances   is  the result  of their   natural  weakness. They are
essentially impermanent, so after a time  they fall ill and  when worn out they
die. But the Lord is not like that. He is not weak, He  is the Power of God and
Word of God and Very Life Itself. If He had died quietly in  His bed like other
men it would have looked as if He did so in  accordance with His nature, and as
though He was indeed  no more than other men.  But because He was Himself  Word
and  Life and Power His body  was made strong, and because  the death had to be
accomplished,  He  took  the  occasion of   perfecting His sacrifice  not  from
Himself, but from others. How could He fall sick, Who had healed others? Or how
could that body weaken and fail by means of which others are made strong? Here,
again, you may say, "Why did He not prevent death, as He did sickness?" Because
it was precisely in order to be  able to die  that He had taken  a body, and to
prevent the death would  have been to impede the   resurrection. And as to  the
unsuitability of sickness for His body, as  arguing weakness, you may say, "Did
He then not hunger?"  Yes, He hungered, because   that was the property of  His
body, but  He did not die   of hunger because  He  Whose body hungered  was the
Lord. Similarly, though He died to  ransom all, He did  not see corruption. His
body rose in perfect soundness, for it was the body of none other than the Life
(22) Someone  else might say, perhaps, that  it would have  been better for the
Lord  to  have avoided the   designs of the  Jews  against Him,  and so to have
guarded His body from  death altogether. But  see how unfitting this also would
have been for Him. Just as it would not have  been fitting for  Him to give His
body to death  by His own hand, being  Word and being  Life, so also it was not
consonant   with    Himself that He  should     avoid  the  death  inflicted by
others. Rather, He pursued it to the uttermost, and in  pursuance of His nature
neither   laid aside His  body  of  His own  accord   nor escaped  the plotting
Jews. And this action showed no limitation or weakness in the Word; for He both
waited for death in order to make an end  of it, and  hastened to accomplish it
as an offering on behalf of all. Moreover,  as it was  the death of all mankind
that the Savior came to accomplish, not His own, He  did not lay aside His body
by an individual act of dying, for to Him, as Life, this simply did not belong;
but He accepted death at the hands of men,  thereby completely to destroy it in
His own body.
There  are some further considerations which  enable one to  understand why the
Lord's body had such   an end. The supreme  object  of His coming was  to bring
about the resurrection of the body. This was to be  the monument to His victory
over death, the  assurance to all that  He had Himself conquered corruption and
that their own bodies also  would eventually be incorrupt;  and it was in token
of that  and as a  pledge of  the  future resurrection  that He kept  His  body
incorrupt. But there again, if His body  had fallen sick and  the Word had left
it  in that condition, how  unfitting it would  have been! Should He Who healed
the bodies of others neglect to keep His own in health?  How would His miracles
of healing be believed, if  this were so?   Surely people would either laugh at
Him  as unable to  dispel disease or else  consider Him lacking in proper human
feeling because He could do so, but did not.
(23) Then, again, suppose without  any illness He  had just concealed His  body
somewhere, and then  suddenly reappeared  and said  that He had  risen from the
dead. He  would have been  regarded merely  as a  teller  of tales, and because
there was no witness of His death, nobody would believe His resurrection. Death
had to precede  resurrection, for there could be  no resurrection without it. A
secret and unwitnessed death would have left the resurrection without any proof
or evidence to support  it. Again, why  should He die a  secret death,  when He
proclaimed the fact of His rising openly?  Why should He drive out evil spirits
and heal the man blind from birth and change  water into wine, all publicly, in
order to convince men that He was the Word, and  not also declare publicly that
incorruptibility of His mortal body, so that He might Himself be believed to be
the Life? And  how could His  disciples have  had boldness  in  speaking of the
resurrection unless  they could state it as  a fact that  He had first died? Or
how  could their hearers  be expected to  believe  their assertion, unless they
themselves also  had  witnessed His  death?  For if  the  Pharisees at the time
refused to  believe and  forced  others to   deny also,  though the things  had
happened before their very eyes, how many excuses for  unbelief would they have
contrived, if it had taken  place secretly? Or how could  the end of death  and
the  victory over it have  been declared, had  not the  Lord thus challenged it
before  the sight  of all,  and by the   incorruption of  His body  proved that
henceforward it was annulled and void?
(24) There are some other possible objections that must be answered. Some might
urge that, even granting the necessity of a public  death for subsequent belief
in the resurrection, it would surely have been better  for Him to have arranged
an honorable death  for  Himself, and so to   have avoided the ignominy  of the
cross. But even this would have given ground for suspicion  that His power over
death was limited to the particular  kind of death which  He chose for Himself;
and that  again would furnish excuse for   disbelieving the resurrection. Death
came to His body, therefore,  not from Himself but from  enemy action, in order
that the Savior might utterly abolish death in whatever form they offered it to
Him. A generous   wrestler,  virile and strong,   does not  himself choose  his
antagonists,   lest it   should be  thought   that of    some  of  them he   is
afraid. Rather, he lets  the spectators choose them, and  that all the  more if
these are hostile, so  that he may overthrow  whomsoever they match against him
and thus vindicate his  superior strength. Even so was  it with Christ. He, the
Life of all, our Lord  and Savior, did not arrange  the manner of his own death
lest He should seem to be afraid  of some other  kind. No. He accepted and bore
upon  the cross a  death inflicted   by others,  and those  others  His special
enemies, a death which  to them was supremely  terrible and by  no means to  be
faced; and He did  this in order that, by  destroying even this death, He might
Himself be believed to  be the Life,  and the power  of death be  recognized as
finally annulled. A marvelous  and mighty paradox has   thus occurred, for  the
death which they thought to inflict on Him  as dishonor and disgrace has become
the glorious monument to death's defeat. Therefore it  is also, that He neither
endured  the death of John, who   was beheaded, nor  was  He sawn asunder, like
Isaiah: even in death He preserved His body  whole and undivided, so that there
should be no excuse hereafter for those who would divide the Church.
(25) So much for the objections of those outside  the Church. But if any honest
Christian wants  to know why He  suffered death on   the cross and not  in some
other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient  for us, indeed the
Lord offered for our sakes the one  death that was  supremely good. He had come
to   bear the curse  that lay  on us;   and  how could   He "become a curse"[3]
otherwise than by accepting  the accursed death? And that  death is  the cross,
for it is written  "Cursed is every one that   hangeth on tree."[4] Again,  the
death  of the  Lord  is the ransom   of  all, and  by   it "the middle  wall of
partition"[5] is  broken  down and the  call  of the Gentiles  comes about. How
could He have  called us if He  had not been crucified, for  it is only  on the
cross that a man dies with arms  outstretched? Here, again,  we see the fitness
of His  death and of  those outstretched arms:  it was  that He  might draw His
ancient people with the one  and the  Gentiles with  the  other, and join  both
together in Himself. Even so,  He foretold the manner  of His redeeming  death,
"I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself."[6] Again, the air is the
sphere of the  devil, the enemy  of our race  who,  having fallen from  heaven,
endeavors with the  other evil spirits who  shared in his disobedience both  to
keep souls from the truth and to hinder the progress of those who are trying to
follow it. The apostle refers to this when he says, "According to the prince of
the   power of the  air, of   the spirit that    now  worketh in   the sons  of
disobedience."[7] But  the Lord came  to overthrow the  devil and to purify the
air and to make "a way" for us up to heaven, as the  apostle says, "through the
veil, that is to say, His flesh."[8] This had to  be done through death, and by
what other kind of death could it be done, save by a death in the air, that is,
on the cross? Here, again, you see how  right and natural it  was that the Lord
should suffer thus;  for being thus "lifted up,"  He cleansed the air from  all
the evil influences of the enemy. "I  beheld Satan as lightning falling,"[9] He
says; and  thus He re-opened  the road to heaven,  saying  again, "Lift up your
gates, O ye princes,  and be ye lift up,  ye everlasting doors."[10] For it was
not the Word Himself Who needed an opening of the gates, He  being Lord of all,
nor was any of His works closed to their Maker. No, it was we who needed it, we
whom He  Himself upbore in His own  body--that body which  He  first offered to
death on behalf of all, and then made through it a path to heaven.
   [1] Heb. ii. 14 f
   [2] 1 Cor. xv. 53 ff.
   [3] Gal. iii. 13.
   [4] Gal. iii. 13.
   [5] Eph. ii. 14.
   [6] John xii. 32.
   [7] Eph. ii. 2.
   [8] Heb. x. 20.
   [9] Luke x. 18.
  [10] Psalm xxiv. 7.
(26) Fitting indeed, then, and wholly consonant was the death  on the cross for
us; and we can see how reasonable  it was, and why  it is that the salvation of
the world could be accomplished in  no other way. Even  on the cross He did not
hide Himself from sight;  rather, He made  all creation witness to the presence
of its Maker. Then, having once let  it be seen that  it was truly dead, He did
not allow that temple  of His body to  linger long, but  forthwith on the third
day  raised it up, impassable and  incorruptible, the  pledge  and token of His
It was, of course, within His power thus to have raised  His body and displayed
it as alive directly after death. But the all-wise Savior did not do this, lest
some should deny that it had really or  completely died.  Besides this, had the
interval between His death and resurrection been but two days, the glory of His
incorruption might not have appeared. He waited one whole day  to show that His
body was really dead, and   then on the  third  day showed it incorruptible  to
all. The interval was no longer, lest people should have forgotten about it and
grown doubtful whether it were in truth the same body. No, while the affair was
still ringing in their ears and their eyes were still straining and their minds
in turmoil, and while those who had put Him to death were still on the spot and
themselves witnessing to the fact of it, the Son of God after three days showed
His once dead  body immortal and incorruptible; and  it was evident to all that
it was from no natural weakness that the body  which the Word indwelt had died,
but in order that in it by the Savior's power death might be done away.
(27) A very strong proof of this  destruction of death  and its conquest by the
cross is supplied by  a present fact, namely this.  All the disciples of Christ
despise death; they take the  offensive against it  and, instead of fearing it,
by the sign of the cross and  by faith in Christ trample  on it as on something
dead.  Before the divine  sojourn of the Savior, even   the holiest of men were
afraid of death,  and mourned the dead as  those who perish.  But now that  the
Savior has  raised His body,  death  is no longer  terrible,  but all those who
believe in Christ tread it underfoot as nothing, and  prefer to die rather than
to deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die they do not
perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the resurrection. But
that devil who of old  wickedly exulted in death,  now that the pains of  death
are loosed, he alone it is who remains truly dead.  There is proof of this too;
for men who, before they believe in Christ, think death horrible and are afraid
of it, once they are converted despise it so completely that they go eagerly to
meet it,   and themselves become witnesses  of  the Savior's  resurrection from
it. Even   children hasten thus to  die,   and not men   only,  but women train
themselves by bodily discipline to meet it. So  weak has death become that even
women, who used to be taken in by it, mock at it now as a  dead thing robbed of
all its  strength.  Death has become  like   a tyrant  who has been  completely
conquered by the  legitimate monarch; bound hand  and foot the passers-by sneer
at him, hitting him and abusing him, no longer afraid  of his cruelty and rage,
because of the  king who has conquered  him.  So has  death  been conquered and
branded for what it is by the Savior on the cross.  It  is bound hand and foot,
all  who are in Christ trample  it as they pass and  as witnesses to Him deride
it, scoffing and saying, "O Death, where is thy victory? O  Grave, where is thy
sting ?[1]
(28) Is this a slender proof of the impotence of death, do you  think? Or is it
a slight indication of the Savior's victory over it,  when boys and young girls
who are in Christ look  beyond this present life and  train themselves to  die?
Every one is by nature afraid of death and of bodily dissolution; the marvel of
marvels is  that he who  is enfolded in  the faith of  the cross  despises this
natural fear and  for the sake  of the cross is no  longer cowardly in face  of
it. The natural  property of fire is  to burn. Suppose, then,  that there was a
substance such as the Indian asbestos is said to be, which had no fear of being
burnt,  but rather  displayed the   impotence of  the  fire by  proving  itself
unburnable. If anyone  doubted the truth  of this, all he need  do  would be to
wrap himself up  in  the substance  in question and  then  touch the  fire. Or,
again, to revert to our former figure, if anyone wanted to see the tyrant bound
and helpless, who used to be such a terror to others, he  could do so simply by
going into  the country of   the tyrant's conqueror.  Even  so, if anyone still
doubts the conquest of  death, after so many proofs  and so many  martyrdoms in
Christ and such daily scorn of death by His truest  servants, he certainly does
well to marvel  at so great a thing,  but he must not  be obstinate in unbelief
and disregard of  plain facts. No,  he must be like  the man who wants to prove
the property of the asbestos, and like him who enters the conqueror's dominions
to see the tyrant bound. He must embrace the faith  of Christ, this disbeliever
in the  conquest of  death,  and come  to  His teaching. Then  he will  see how
impotent death  is and how completely  conquered. Indeed,  there have been many
former unbelievers and deriders who,  after they  became believers, so  scorned
death as even themselves to become martyrs for Christ's sake.
(29) If, then, it is by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ that death
is trampled underfoot, it is clear that it is Christ Himself and none other Who
is the Archvictor over death and has robbed it of its power.   Death used to be
strong and terrible, but now, since the sojourn of the Savior and the death and
resurrection of His body,  it  is despised; and   obviously it is by the   very
Christ Who   mounted on the cross that   it has been   destroyed and vanquished
finally.  When the sun rises after  the night and the whole  world is lit up by
it, nobody doubts that it is the sun  which has thus  shed its light everywhere
and driven away the  dark. Equally clear is  it, since this utter  scorning and
trampling down of death has ensued upon the Savior's  manifestation in the body
and His death on the cross, that  it is He  Himself Who brought death to nought
and daily raises  monuments to His victory  in  His own disciples.  How can you
think otherwise, when you  see men naturally  weak hastening to death, unafraid
at the prospect of corruption, fearless of the  descent into Hades, even indeed
with eager soul provoking it, not  shrinking from tortures, but preferring thus
to rush on death for Christ's sake, rather than to remain in this present life?
If you see with your own eyes men and women  and children, even, thus welcoming
death for the sake  of Christ's religion, how can  you be so utterly silly  and
incredulous and maimed  in your  mind as not  to  realize that Christ, to  Whom
these all  bear  witness, Himself  gives   the victory  to  each, making  death
completely powerless for those who  hold  His faith and  bear  the sign of  the
cross? No one   in his senses doubts   that a snake  is dead  when he  sees  it
trampled underfoot, especially when he knows how savage it used  to be; nor, if
he sees boys making fun of a lion, does he doubt that the  brute is either dead
or completely bereft of strength.  These things can be seen  with our own eyes,
and it is the same with the conquest of death.  Doubt no longer, then, when you
see death mocked and  scorned by those who  believe  in Christ, that by  Christ
death was destroyed, and the corruption that goes  with it resolved and brought
to end.
(30) What we have said is,  indeed, no small proof  of the destruction of death
and of the fact that the cross of the Lord is the monument  to His victory. But
the resurrection  of the body to  immortality, which results  henceforward from
the work of Christ, the common Savior and true Life of all, is more effectively
proved by facts than by  words to those whose mental  vision is sound. For, if,
as we have shown, death  was destroyed and everybody tramples  on it because of
Christ, how much more did  He Himself first  trample and destroy  it in His own
body! Death  having been slain  by Him, then,  what other  issue could there be
than the resurrection of His body and its open demonstration as the monument of
His  victory? How could  the destruction of death  have been manifested at all,
had not the   Lord's  body  been raised?  But    if  anyone finds  even    this
insufficient, let him find proof  of what has  been said in present facts. Dead
men cannot take effective action; their power of influence on others lasts only
till the  grave. Deeds  and  actions that energize  others  belong only  to the
living.  Well, then, look  at  the facts in  this case.  The Savior is  working
mightily among men, every day He is invisibly  persuading numbers of people all
over the world, both within and beyond  the Greek-speaking world, to accept His
faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt
that He has  risen and lives, or  rather that He is  Himself the Life?   Does a
dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of
their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ? If He is
no longer active in the  world, as He  must needs be if He  is dead, how is  it
that He makes the living to cease from their activities, the adulterer from his
adultery,   the murderer  from murdering, the    unjust from avarice, while the
profane  and godless man  becomes religious? If He  did not rise,  but is still
dead, how is  it that He  routs and persecutes  and overthrows the false  gods,
whom unbelievers think to be alive, and the evil spirits whom they worship? For
where Christ is named, idolatry is  destroyed and the  fraud of evil spirits is
exposed; indeed, no such spirit  can endure that  Name, but takes to flight  on
sound of it. This is the work of One Who lives, not of one dead; and, more than
that, it is the  work of God. It  would be absurd  to say that the evil spirits
whom He drives out and the idols  which He destroys are alive,  but that He Who
drives out and destroys, and Whom they themselves acknowledge to be Son of God,
is dead.
(31) In a word, then, those who disbelieve in  the resurrection have no support
in facts, if their gods and evil spirits do not  drive away the supposedly dead
Christ. Rather, it is He Who convicts them of being dead.  We are agreed that a
dead person  can do nothing:  yet the Savior  works mightily every day, drawing
men to  religion, persuading them  to virtue,  teaching them about immortality,
quickening their thirst for  heavenly things,  revealing  the knowledge  of the
Father,  inspiring strength in face of  death, manifesting Himself to each, and
displacing the irreligion of   idols; while the  gods  and evil spirits of  the
unbelievers can do  none of these things, but  rather  become dead at  Christ's
presence, all their ostentation  barren and void. By the  sign of the cross, on
the contrary, all magic is  stayed, all sorcery confounded,  all the idols  are
abandoned and deserted, and all senseless pleasure  ceases, as the eye of faith
looks up from earth to heaven. Whom, then,  are we to  call dead? Shall we call
Christ dead, Who effects all this? But the dead have not  the faculty to effect
anything. Or shall we call death dead, which effects nothing whatever, but lies
as lifeless and ineffective as are  the evil spirits and the  idols? The Son of
God, "living and effective,[2] is active every day and effects the salvation of
all; but death  is daily proved to be  stripped of all  its strength, and it is
the idols and the evil spirits who are dead, not He. No room for doubt remains,
therefore, concerning the resurrection of His body.
Indeed, it would seem that he who disbelieves this bodily rising of the Lord is
ignorant  of the power  of the Word  and Wisdom  of God.  If He  took a body to
Himself at  all, and made it  His own in  pursuance of His  purpose, as we have
shown that He did, what was the Lord to do with  it, and what was ultimately to
become of that  body upon which the  Word had descended?  Mortal and offered to
death on behalf of all as it was, it could not but die; indeed, it was for that
very purpose that the Savior had prepared it for Himself. But on the other hand
it could not remain  dead, because it had  become  the very temple of  Life. It
therefore died, as mortal,  but lived again because of  the Life within it; and
its resurrection is made known through its works.
It  is, indeed, in   accordance with the nature  of  the invisible God that  He
should be thus  known   through His works;   and  those who doubt  the   Lord's
resurrection because they do not now behold Him with  their eyes, might as well
deny the  very laws of  nature. They have ground for  disbelief when  works are
lacking; but when the works cry out and prove the  fact so clearly, why do they
deliberately  deny the risen  life so manifestly shown?    Even if their mental
faculties are defective, surely their eyes  can give them irrefragable proof of
the power and Godhead of Christ.  A blind man cannot  see the sun, but he knows
that  it is above  the earth from the warmth  which it  affords; similarly, let
those   who are still in  the  blindness of unbelief   recognize the Godhead of
Christ and  the resurrection which He  has brought about through His manifested
power  in others.    Obviously He would  not   be  expelling evil spirits   and
despoiling idols, if He were dead, for the evil  spirits would not obey one who
was dead. If, on the other hand, the  very naming of Him  drives them forth, He
clearly  is not dead;  and the  more so  that the  spirits, who perceive things
unseen by men, would know if He were so and would refuse to obey Him. But, as a
matter of fact, what profane persons doubt,  the evil spirits know--namely that
He is God; and for that reason they flee from Him  and fall at His feet, crying
out even as they cried when He was in the body, "We know Thee Who Thou art, the
Holy One of God," and, "Ah, what have I in common with Thee, Thou Son of God? I
implore Thee, torment me not."[3]
Both from the confession of the evil spirits and from the  daily witness of His
works, it is manifest, then, and let none presume to doubt  it, that the Savior
has raised His own body, and that He is very Son of  God, having His being from
God as from a Father, Whose Word and Wisdom and Whose Power He is. He it is Who
in these latter days assumed a body for the salvation of us all, and taught the
world concerning the Father. He it is Who has destroyed death and freely graced
us all with incorruption through the promise of the resurrection, having raised
His own body as its first- fruits, and displayed it by the sign of the cross as
the monument to His victory over death and its corruption.
   [1] Cor. xv. 55.
   [2] Heb.iv. 12.
   [3] Cf. Luke iv. 34 and Mark v. 7.
(33) We have dealt thus far with the Incarnation  of our Savior, and have found
clear proof of the resurrection of His Body and His  victory over death. Let us
now go  further and investigate  the unbelief and the  ridicule with which Jews
and Gentiles respectively regard these same facts. It seems  that in both cases
the points at issue are  the same, namely  the unfittingness or incongruity (as
it seems to them) alike of the cross and of the Word's becoming man at all. But
we have no  hesitation in taking up  the argument against  these objectors, for
the proofs on our side are extremely clear.
First, then,  we will consider the Jews.  Their unbelief has  its refutation in
the Scriptures which even themselves read; for from cover to cover the inspired
Book  clearly  teaches these  things  both in its  entirety  and  in its actual
words. Prophets foretold the  marvel of the Virgin and  of the Birth from  her,
saying, "Behold, a  virgin shall conceive  and bear a son,  and they shall call
his name  'Emmanuel,' which means 'God  is with us.'"[1]  And Moses, that truly
great one in whose  word the Jews trust  so implicitly, he also recognized  the
importance and truth of the matter. He puts it thus:  "There shall arise a star
from Jacob and  a man from Israel,  and he shall break in  pieces the rulers of
Moab.[2] And,  again,  "How lovely are  thy  dwellings, O Jacob,  thy  tents, O
Israel! Like  woodland valleys they give shade,  and like parks by rivers, like
tents which the Lord has pitched, like cedar-trees by streams. There shall come
forth a Man from among his seed, and he shall rule  over many peoples."[3] And,
again, Isaiah  says, "Before the  Babe shall  be  old enough  to call father or
mother,  he shall take  the  power of Damascus and   the spoils of Samaria from
under the eyes of the king  of Assyria."[4] These  words, then, foretell that a
Man  shall appear. And Scripture  proclaims further that He that  is to come is
Lord of all. These  are the words,  "Behold, the Lord  sitteth on an airy cloud
and shall come   into  Egypt,  and the   man-made  images  of Egypt shall    be
shaken."[5] And it is from Egypt  also that the  Father calls him back, saying,
"Out of Egypt have I called My Son."[6]
(34) Moreover, the   Scriptures are not silent  even  about His  death. On  the
contrary, they refer to it  with the utmost  clearness. They have not feared to
speak also of the cause of it. He  endures it, they say, not  for His own sake,
but for the sake of bringing immortality and salvation  to all, and they record
also the plotting  of the Jews  against Him and all   the indignities which  He
suffered at  their hands. Certainly nobody  who reads the  Scriptures can plead
ignorance of the  facts as an  excuse for error!    There is this passage,  for
instance: "A man that is afflicted and knows how to bear weakness, for His face
is  turned away. He was  dishonored and not considered,  He  bears our sins and
suffers for our sakes. And we for our part thought Him distressed and afflicted
and  ill-used; but it   was  for our  sins that   He  was wounded  and  for our
lawlessness that He was  made weak.  Chastisement for our  peace was upon  Him,
and by His bruising we  are healed."[7] O  marvel at the love  of the Word  for
men, for it is on our account that He is dishonored, so  that we may be brought
to honor. "For all we," it goes  on, "have strayed like  sheep, man has strayed
from his path, and the Lord has  given Him up for our  sins; and He Himself did
not open His mouth at the ill-treatment. Like a sheep He  was led to slaughter,
and as a lamb is  dumb before its shearer,  so He opened  not His mouth; in His
humiliation His judgment was taken away."[8] And then Scripture anticipates the
surmises of  any who might think  from His suffering thus  that  He was just an
ordinary man, and shows what power worked in His  behalf. "Who shall declare of
what lineage  He comes?" it says,  "for His life  is exalted from the earth. By
the lawlessnesses of the  people was He brought to  death, and I will give  the
wicked in return for His  burial and the  rich in return  for His death. For He
did no lawlessness, neither was  deceit found in  His mouth. And the Lord wills
to heal Him of His affliction."[9]
(35) You have heard the  prophecy of His death,  and now, perhaps, you want  to
know what indications there are  about the cross. Even this  is not passed over
in silence:  on the contrary,  the sacred writers  proclaim  it with the utmost
plainness. Moses foretells it first, and that right loudly,  when he says, "You
shall see your Life hanging before your eyes, and shall not believe."[10] After
him the  prophets also give their witness,  saying, "But I  as an innocent lamb
brought  to be offered was  yet ignorant of it.  They  plotted evil against Me,
saying, 'Come, let us cast wood into His bread, and wipe Him  out from the land
of the  living."[11]  And, again,  "They pierced  My  hands and  My feet,  they
counted all My bones, they divided My garments for themselves and cast lots for
My  clothing."[12] Now a death  lifted up and that takes   place on wood can be
none other than the death of the cross; moreover, it is only in that death that
the  hands and feet  are pierced.  Besides  this, since  the Savior dwelt among
men, all nations  everywhere have begun to   know God; and  this too  Holy Writ
expressly mentions. "There  shall be the Root of  Jesse," it says, "and he  who
rises up to rule the nations, on Him nations shall set their hope."[13]
These are just  a few things in  proof of what has  taken place; but indeed all
Scripture teems with  disproof of Jewish   unbelief. For example,  which of the
righteous men and holy  prophets and patriarchs  of whom the  Divine Scriptures
tell ever had his bodily birth from  a virgin only? Was not  Abel born of Adam,
Enoch of Jared, Noah  of Lamech, Abraham of  Terah, Isaac of Abraham, and Jacob
of Isaac? Was  not Judah begotten by  Jacob and Moses and  Aaron by Ameram? Was
not Samuel the  son of Elkanah,  David of Jesse, Solomon  of David, Hezekiah of
Ahaz, Josiah of Amon, Isaiah of Amos, Jeremiah of  Hilkiah and Ezekiel of Buzi?
Had not each of these  a father as author of  his being? So  who is He that  is
born  of a virgin only, that  sign of which the  prophet  makes so much? Again,
which of all those people had his birth announced to the world by a star in the
heavens? When Moses was born his parents hid him. David was unknown even in his
own neighborhood, so that  mighty Samuel himself  was ignorant of his existence
and asked whether Jesse had yet another son.  Abraham again became known to his
neighbors  as a  great   man only after  his  birth.  But  with Christ it   was
otherwise.  The witness to  His birth  was not man,  but a  star shining in the
heavens whence He was coming down.
(36) Then,  again, what king  that ever was  reigned and took trophies from his
enemies before he had  strength to call father or  mother? Was not David thirty
years  old when he came to  the throne and Solomon  a grown young man?  Did not
Joash enter on his reign at the age of seven, and Josiah,  some time after him,
at about the same age, both of them fully  able by that time  to call father or
mother? Who is there, then, that was reigning and despoiling his enemies almost
before he was born? Let the Jews, who have investigated  the matter, tell us if
there was ever such a king in Israel or Judah--a king upon whom all the nations
set their hopes and  had peace, instead of being  at  enmity with him  on every
side! As long as Jerusalem stood there was constant war  between them, and they
all  fought  against  Israel. The  Assyrians   oppressed  Israel, the Egyptians
persecuted them, the  Babylonians fell upon them, and,  strange to relate, even
the Syrians their neighbors were at war with them. And did not David fight with
Moab and smite the Syrians, and Hezekiah quail at  the boasting of Sennacherib?
Did not Amalek make war on Moses  and the Amorites  oppose him, and did not the
inhabitants of Jericho array themselves against Joshua the son  of Nun? Did not
the  nations always regard  Israel with implacable  hostility? Then it is worth
inquiring who it  is, on whom the  nations  are to  set their hopes.  Obviously
there must be someone, for the prophet could not  have told a  lie. But did any
of  the holy prophets  or  of the early  patriarchs  die on the  cross  for the
salvation of  all? Was any of  them wounded and  killed for the healing of all?
Did the idols of  Egypt fall down before any   righteous man or king that  came
there? Abraham came there certainly, but  idolatry prevailed just the same; and
Moses was born there, but the mistaken worship was unchanged.
(37) Again, does Scripture tell of anyone who was pierced  in hands and feet or
hung  upon a tree at  all, and by means of  a cross perfected his sacrifice for
the salvation of all? It was not  Abraham, for he died in  his bed, as did also
Isaac and Jacob. Moses and Aaron died in the mountain, and David ended his days
in  his house, without  anybody having plotted against  him.   Certainly he had
been sought by Saul,   but he was  preserved  unharmed. Again Isaiah  was  sawn
asunder, but  he was not hung on  a tree. Jeremiah  was shamefully used, but he
did not die under condemnation. Ezekiel suffered, but he  did so, not on behalf
of the people, but only to signify to them what was  going to happen. Moreover,
all these even when they suffered were but men, like other men; but He Whom the
Scriptures declare to suffer on behalf of all is called not merely man but Life
of all, although in point of fact He did share our human nature. "You shall see
your Life hanging before your eyes,"  they say, and  "Who shall declare of what
lineage  He comes?" With all   the saints we can  trace  their descent from the
beginning, and see exactly how  each came to be; but  the Divine Word maintains
that we cannot declare the lineage of Him Who is the Life.  Who is it, then, of
Whom Holy Writ  thus  speaks? Who is  there so  great  that even  the  prophets
foretell of Him such mighty things? There is indeed no one in the Scriptures at
all, save the common Savior of all, the Word of  God, our Lord Jesus Christ. He
it is  that proceeded from a virgin,  and appeared  as  man on earth,  He it is
Whose earthly lineage cannot be  declared, because  He  alone derives His  body
from  no human  father,  but from a  virgin alone.  We  can  trace the paternal
descent of David and Moses and of  all the patriarchs.  But  with the Savior we
cannot do so, for it was He Himself Who caused the  star to announce His bodily
birth, and it was fitting that the Word, when  He came down from heaven, should
have  His sign in  heaven  too, and  fitting that  the King  of creation on His
coming forth should  be visibly recognized by  all  the world. He was  actually
born  in Judea, yet   men from Persia  came  to worship Him.   He it is Who won
victory from  His demon foes  and trophies from the   idolaters even before His
bodily appearing--namely, all the  heathen who from  every region  have abjured
the tradition of  their fathers  and the false   worship of idols and  are  now
placing their  hope  in Christ and  transferring their  allegiance to Him.  The
thing is happening before  our very eyes, here  in  Egypt; and thereby  another
prophecy is fulfilled, for  at  no other  time  have the Egyptians ceased  from
their false worship save when the Lord of all, riding as on  a cloud, came down
here in the body  and   brought the error of   idols  to nothing and  won  over
everybody   to Himself and  through Himself  to  the Father. He   it is Who was
crucified with  the sun and  moon as witnesses;  and by His death salvation has
come to all men, and all creation has been redeemed. He is the Life of all, and
He it is Who like a sheep gave up His own body to  death, His life for ours and
our salvation.
(38) Yet the Jews disbelieve this. This argument does not  satisfy them.  Well,
then, let them be persuaded by other things in their own  oracles. Of whom, for
instance, do the  prophets say "I  was made manifest to those  who did not seek
Me, I was found by those who had not asked for Me? I said, 'See, here am I,' to
the  nation that had not called  upon  My Name. I  stretched out  My hands to a
disobedient  and gainsaying  people."[14] Who   is  this person that  was  made
manifest, one might ask the  Jews? If the  prophet is speaking of himself, then
they  must  tell us   how he  was first   hidden, in  order   to be  manifested
afterwards. And,  again, what kind of  man  is this  prophet,  who was not only
revealed after being hidden,  but also stretched  out his hands upon the cross?
Those things happened to none of those righteous men: they happened only to the
Word of God Who,  being by nature without body,   on our account appeared  in a
body and suffered for us all.   And if even this  is not enough for them, there
is  other overwhelming evidence by  which they  may  be silenced. The Scripture
says, "Be strong, hands that  hang down and  feeble knees, take courage, you of
little faith, be strong and do not fear. See, our God will recompense judgment,
He Himself will  come and save us. Then  the eyes of blind  men shall be opened
and   the   ears  of   deaf  men   shall   hear, and    stammerers  shall speak
distinctly."[15] What can they say to this, or how can they look it in the face
at all?  For the prophecy  does not only declare that  God will dwell  here, it
also makes known the signs and the time of His coming. When God comes, it says,
the blind will see, the  lame will walk, the deaf  will hear and the stammerers
will speak distinctly. Can the Jews tell us when such signs occurred in Israel,
or when anything of the kind  took place at all in  Jewry? The leper Naaman was
cleansed, it is true, but no deaf  man heard nor did  any lame man walk. Elijah
raised a  dead person and so  did Elisha; but no one  blind from birth received
his sight. To raise a dead  person is a great thing  indeed, but it is not such
as the Savior did. And surely, since the Scriptures have not kept silence about
the leper and the dead son of  the widow, if a lame  man had walked and a blind
man had  received his sight,  they would  have  mentioned these  as well. Their
silence on these points proves that the events never took place. When therefore
did these things happen, unless when the Word of God Himself  came in the body?
Was it not when He came  that lame men walked and  stammerers spoke clearly and
men blind  from birth  were given sight?  And the  Jews who saw   it themselves
testified  to the fact  that such things had never  before occurred. "Since the
world began," they said,  "it has never been heard  of that anyone should  open
the eyes of  a  man born blind. If   this Man were  not from  God, He could  do
(39) But   surely they cannot fight  against  plain facts. So  it may  be that,
without denying what is written, they will maintain that they are still waiting
for these things to happen, and that the  Word of God is yet  to come, for that
is a theme on which they are always harping most  brazenly, in spite of all the
evidence against them. But  they shall be  refuted  on this supreme  point more
clearly than on any, and that not by ourselves but by the most wise Daniel, for
he signifies  the actual  date  of the Savior's coming  as  well as  His Divine
sojourn in our midst. "Seventy weeks," he says, "are cut  short upon thy people
and upon the holy city, to make a complete end of sin and for sins to be sealed
up and iniquities  blotted out, and to  make reconciliation for iniquity and to
seal vision and prophet, and  to anoint a Holy   One of holies. And thou  shalt
know  and understand from  the  going forth of the  Word  to answer,[17] and to
build Jerusalem,  until  Christ   the  Prince."[18] In    regard to the   other
prophecies, they may  possibly  be able to   find excuses  for deferring  their
reference to a future  time, but what  can they say to this  one? How can  they
face  it at all?  Not only does it expressly  mention the Anointed One, that is
the Christ, it even declares that He Who is to be anointed is not man only, but
the Holy One of holies! And it says that Jerusalem is to stand till His coming,
and that after it prophet and vision shall cease  in Israel! David was anointed
of old, and Solomon, and Hezekiah; but then  Jerusalem and the place stood, and
prophets were prophesying, Gad and Asaph and Nathan, and later Isaiah and Hosea
and Amos  and others. Moreover, those men  who  were anointed were  called holy
certainly, but none of  them was called  the Holy of  holies. Nor is it any use
for  the Jews to take refuge  in the Captivity, and say  that Jerusalem did not
exist then, for what about the prophets? It is a fact that at the outset of the
Exile Daniel and Jeremiah were there, and Ezekiel and Haggai and Zechariah also
(40) So the Jews  are indulging in  fiction,  and transferring present time  to
future. When did prophet and vision  cease from Israel?  Was it not when Christ
came, the Holy One of holies? It is, in  fact, a sign  and notable proof of the
coming of the Word  that Jerusalem no longer  stands, neither is prophet raised
up nor vision revealed among them. And it is natural  that it should be so, for
when He that was signified had come,  what need was  there any longer of any to
signify Him? And when  the Truth had come,  what further need  was there of the
shadow? On  His account only  they prophesied continually,   until such time as
Essential  Righteousness  has come, Who  was  made the  Ransom for  the sins of
all.  For the same reason  Jerusalem stood until  the  same time, in order that
there  men might premeditate   the types before   the Truth  was known. So,  of
course, once the Holy  One of holies  had  come, both vision and  prophecy were
sealed.  And the kingdom  of Jerusalem ceased at  the  same time, because kings
were to be   anointed among them   only  until the   Holy  of holies  had  been
anointed. Moses also prophesies that the kingdom  of the Jews shall stand until
His time, saying, "A  ruler shall not  fail from Judah   nor a prince  from his
loins, until the things laid up  for him shall come  and the Expectation of the
nations Himself."[19] And that is why the Savior Himself was always proclaiming
"The law and the prophets prophesied until John."[20] So if there is still king
or prophet or vision among the Jews, they do well  to deny that Christ is come;
but if there is neither king  nor vision, and  since that time all prophecy has
been sealed and city and temple taken, how can  they be so irreligious, how can
they so flaunt the  facts, as  to  deny Christ Who has   brought it all  about?
Again, they  see the heathen  forsaking idols  and  setting their hopes through
Christ on the  God of Israel;  why do they yet  deny Christ Who after the flesh
was  born  of the root  of  Jesse and reigns henceforward?    Of course, if the
heathen were worshipping some other god, and not  confessing the God of Abraham
and Isaac and  Jacob and Moses, then  they would do well  to argue that God had
not  come. But if the  heathen are honoring  the same  God Who gave  the law to
Moses and the promises to Abraham--the God Whose  word too the Jews dishonored,
why do they not recognize or rather why do they deliberately refuse to see that
the Lord  of Whom the Scriptures prophesied  has shone forth  to  the world and
appeared to it  in a bodily form?  Scripture declares it  repeatedly. "The Lord
God has appeared  to us,"[21] and  again,  "He sent forth  His  Word and healed
them."[22] And again, "It  was no ambassador, no angel   who saved us,  but the
Lord  Himself."[23] The Jews are afflicted  like some demented  person who sees
the earth lit up by the sun, but denies the sun that lights it up! What more is
there for their Expected One to do when he comes? To call the heathen? But they
are called already. To put an end to prophet and king and  vision? But this too
has  already happened.  To expose the  Goddenyingness  of idols?  It is already
exposed and condemned. Or to destroy death?  It is already destroyed. What then
has not  come  to pass  that the  Christ must  do?  What is  there left  out or
unfulfilled that the Jews should disbelieve  so light-heartedly? The plain fact
is, as I  say, that there is  no longer any king or  prophet  nor Jerusalem nor
sacrifice  nor vision among them;    yet the whole earth   is  filled with  the
knowledge of God, and  the Gentiles, forsaking  atheism, are now taking  refuge
with the God of Abraham through the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Surely, then, it must be plain  even to the  most shameless that the Christ has
come, and that He has  enlightened all men  everywhere, and given them the true
and divine teaching about His Father.
Thus the Jews  may  be refuted by these   and other arguments  from the  Divine
   [1] Isaiah vii. 14.
   [2] Numbers xxiv. 17.
   [3] Numbers xxiv. 5-7.
   [4] Isaiah viii. 4
   [5] Isaiah xix. 1.
   [6] Hosea xi. 1.
   [7] Isaiah liii. 3-5
   [8] Isaiah liii. 6-8.
   [9] Isaiah liii. 8-10.
  [10] Deut. xxviii. 66.
  [11] Jer. xi. 19.
  [12] Psalm xxii. 16-18.
  [13] Isaiah xi. 10.
  [14] Isaiah lxv. 1, 2.
  [15] Isaiah xxxv. 3-6.
  [16] John ix. 32, 33."
  [17] "Answer" is LXX misreading for Hebrew "restore."
  [18] Daniel ix. 24, 25.
  [19] Gen. xlix. 10.
  [20] Matt. xi. 13.
  [21] Psalm cxviii. 27.
  [22] Psalm cvii. 20.
  [23] Isaiah lxiii. 9.
(41) We come now to the unbelief of  the Gentiles; and  this is indeed a matter
for complete astonishment, for  they laugh at that which  is no fit subject for
mockery, yet fail to  see the shame and ridiculousness  of their own idols. But
the arguments on  our side do not lack  weight, so we will  confute them too on
reasonable grounds, chiefly from what we ourselves also see.
First of all, what is there in our belief that is unfitting  or ridiculous?  Is
it only that we say that the Word has been manifested  in a body? Well, if they
themselves really love the truth, they will agree with us that this involved no
unfittingness at all. If  they deny that  there is a Word of  God at all,  that
will be   extraordinary, for  then  they will  be ridiculing   what they do not
know.  But suppose they confess that  there is a  Word of  God, that  He is the
Governor of all things, that  in Elim the Father wrought  the creation, that by
His providence the whole receives light and life and being, and that He is King
over all,  so that He is known   by means of  the works  of His providence, and
through Him the Father. Suppose they confess all this,  what then? Are they not
unknowingly turning the ridicule against themselves? The Greek philosophers say
that the  universe is a great body,  and  they say  truly, for we  perceive the
universe and  its parts with our   senses. But if  the  Word of  God  is in the
universe, which is a body, and has entered into  it in its  every part, what is
there surprising or unfitting in our saying that He has entered also into human
nature? If it were unfitting for Him  to have embodied Himself  at all, then it
would be unfitting for Him to have entered into the universe,  and to be giving
light and movement by His providence to all things in it, because the universe,
as we have seen, is itself  a body. But  if it is  right and fitting for Him to
enter  into the  universe  and  to  reveal Himself   through it, then,  because
humanity is part of the universe along with the rest, it is no less fitting for
Him to appear in a human body,  and to enlighten and to  work through that. And
surely if it were wrong for a part of the universe to have  been used to reveal
His Divinity to men, it would be much more wrong that He  should be so revealed
by the whole!
(42) Take a parallel case. A man's personality actuates  and quickens his whole
body. If anyone said it was unsuitable for the man's power to be in the toe, he
would  be thought  silly, because,  while  granting that  a  man penetrates and
actuates the whole of his body, he denied  his presence in the part. Similarly,
no one who admits  the presence of the  Word of God in the  universe as a whole
should  think it unsuitable for a  single human body  to be by Him actuated and
But is it, perhaps, because humanity is a thing  created and brought into being
out of non-existence that  they regard as   unfitting the manifestation of  the
Savior in  our  nature? If  so, it  is high time   that they spurned  Him  from
creation too; for it, too, has been brought out of  non-being into being by the
Word. But  if, on the other hand,  although creation is a  thing that  has been
made, it is not unsuitable for the Word to be present in it, then neither is it
unsuitable  for Him to  be in man. Man  is a part  of  the creation,  as I said
before; and the reasoning which applies to one applies to the other. All things
derive from the Word their light and movement and  life, as the Gentile authors
themselves say, "In Him   we live and move and   have our being."[1] Very  well
then. That being so, it is by no means unbecoming that the Word should dwell in
man. So if, as we  say, the Word has used  that in which He is  as the means of
His self-manifestation,  what is there ridiculous   in that? He  could not have
used it had He not been present in it; but we  have already admitted that He is
present both in the whole and in the parts. What,  then, is there incredible in
His manifesting Himself through that in which He is? By His own power He enters
completely into each and all, and orders them throughout ungrudgingly; and, had
He so willed, He could have revealed Himself and His Father  by means of sun or
moon or sky or earth  or fire or  water. Had He done  so, no one could  rightly
have accused  Him of acting   unbecomingly, for He sustains  in  one whole  all
things at once, being present and invisibly revealed not only in the whole, but
also in each particular part. This being so, and since, moreover, He has willed
to reveal Himself through men, who are part of  the whole, there can be nothing
ridiculous in His using a human body to manifest the truth and knowledge of the
Father.  Does not the mind  of   man pervade his   entire  being, and yet  find
expression through one part only, namely the tongue?  Does  anybody say on that
account that Mind has degraded itself? Of course not.  Very well, then, no more
is it degrading for  the Word, Who pervades  all things, to  have appeared in a
human body. For, as I said before, if it were unfitting for Him thus to indwell
the part, it would be equally so for Him to exist within the whole.
(43) Some may then ask, why did  He not manifest Himself by  means of other and
nobler parts of creation, and  use some nobler instrument, such  as sun or moon
or stars or fire or air, instead of mere man? The answer is this.  The Lord did
not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. For one
who wanted to make   a display the thing  would  have been just to   appear and
dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach the way was not
merely  to dwell here,  but to put Himself at  the disposal of those who needed
Him, and  to be manifested according  as they could bear  it, not vitiating the
value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.
Moreover, nothing in creation had erred from the path of  God's purpose for it,
save only man. Sun, moon, heaven, stars, water, air,  none of these had swerved
from their order, but, knowing the Word as their Maker and their King, remained
as they   were made. Men alone  having   rejected what is   good, have invented
nothings instead of the truth,  and have ascribed the  honor due to God and the
knowledge concerning Him to demons and men in the form of stones. Obviously the
Divine goodness could not overlook so grave a matter as this. But men could not
recognize Him as ordering and  ruling creation as a  whole. So what does He do?
He takes  to Himself for  instrument a part of  the whole, namely a human body,
and enters into that. Thus He ensured that men should recognize Him in the part
who could not do so in the whole, and that those who could  not lift their eyes
to His unseen   power might  recognize   and behold  Him  in   the likeness  of
themselves. For, being men, they would naturally learn to  know His Father more
quickly and directly by means of a body  that corresponded to  their own and by
the Divine works  done through it; for  by  comparing His works with  their own
they would judge His to be not  human but Divine. And  if, as they say, it were
unsuitable for  the Word  to reveal  Himself  through bodily acts, it  would be
equally  so for Him to  do so through the works  of  the universe. His being in
creation does not mean that He shares its nature;  on the contrary, all created
things  partake of His  power.  Similarly,  though He    used the body  as  His
instrument, He shared nothing of its defect,[2] but rather sanctified it by His
indwelling. Does not even Plato, of whom the Greeks think so much, say that the
Author of the Universe,  seeing it storm-tossed  and in danger of sinking  into
the state of dissolution, takes his  seat at the helm  of the Life-force of the
universe, and comes  to the rescue  and  puts everything right? What,  then, is
there incredible in   our saying that, mankind  having  gone astray, the   Word
descended upon it  and was manifest as man,  so that by His intrinsic  goodness
and His steersmanship He might save it from the storm?
(44) It may be, however, that, though  shamed into agreeing that this objection
is void, the  Greeks will want to raise  another. They  will  say that, if  God
wanted to instruct and save  mankind, He might have done  so, not by His Word's
assumption   of a body, but, even   as He at first created    them, by the mere
signification of His will.    The  reasonable reply   to   that is  that    the
circumstances in  the two cases are  quite different. In the beginning, nothing
as yet existed  at all; all that  was needed, therefore,  in order to bring all
things into being, was that His will to do so should be signified. But once man
was in existence, and things that  were, not things that  were not, demanded to
be healed, it followed as a matter of course that  the Healer and Savior should
align Himself with  those things  that existed already,  in  order to heal  the
existing evil. For that reason, therefore, He  was made man,  and used the body
as His human instrument. If this were not the fitting way, and He willed to use
an instrument at all, how otherwise  was the Word to come?  And whence could He
take His instrument, save from among those already in existence and needing His
Godhead through One like themselves? It was not things non-existent that needed
salvation, for which  a bare creative word might   have sufficed, but  man--man
already  in existence and  already in  process of  corruption and  ruin. It was
natural and  right, therefore, for  the Word to use  a human  instrument and by
that means unfold Himself to all.
You must know, moreover, that the corruption which had set  in was not external
to the  body but  established  within it. The  need,  therefore, was  that life
should cleave to it in corruption's  place, so that, just  as death was brought
into being in the body, life also might be engendered  in it. If death had been
exterior to the body, life might fittingly have been the same. But if death was
within the  body,  woven into its very  substance  and dominating it  as though
completely one with it, the need was  for Life to be woven  into it instead, so
that  the  body   by  thus  enduing itself   with  life  might  cast corruption
off. Suppose the Word had come outside the body instead  of in it, He would, of
course, have defeated death,  because death is powerless  against the Life. But
the  corruption  inherent in   the  body would have  remained   in it none  the
less.  Naturally, therefore, the Savior  assumed  a body for  Himself, in order
that the body, being interwoven as it were with life, should no longer remain a
mortal thing, in thrall to death, but as endued with immortality and risen from
death, should thenceforth remain  immortal. For once  having put op corruption,
it could not rise, unless  it put on life  instead; and besides this, death  of
its very nature could not appear otherwise than in a  body. Therefore He put on
a body, so that in the body He  might find death and blot  it out. And, indeed,
how could the Lord  have been proved to  be the Life  at all, had He not endued
with life that which was  subject to death?  Take an illustration. Stubble is a
substance naturally destructible by fire; and it still remains stubble, fearing
the menace of fire which has the natural property of consuming it, even if fire
is kept  away from  it, so  that  it is not  actually  burnt. But suppose that,
instead of merely keeping the  fire from it somebody  soaks the stubble with  a
quantity of asbestos,  the   substance which is   said  to be the   antidote to
fire. Then the  stubble no longer fears  the fire, because  it has put on  that
which  fire cannot touch, and  therefore it is safe.  It is just  the same with
regard to the body and death. Had death been kept from it by a mere command, it
would  still have remained mortal and  corruptible, according to its nature. To
prevent   this, it put on   the incorporeal Word   of God,  and therefore fears
neither  death nor  corruption  any more, for  it is  clad with  Life as with a
garment and in it corruption is clean done away.
(45) The Word of  God thus acted  consistently in assuming a  body and  using a
human instrument to vitalize the body. He was consistent in working through man
to reveal  Himself  everywhere, as  well  as through  the  other  parts of  His
creation, so that nothing  was left void  of His Divinity  and knowledge. For I
take up now the point I  made before, namely that the  Savior did this in order
that He might fill all things everywhere with the knowledge of Himself, just as
they are already  filled with His presence,  even as the Divine Scripture says,
"The whole universe was filled  with the knowledge   of the Lord."[3] If a  man
looks up to heaven he sees there His ordering; but if he cannot look so high as
heaven,  but   only so  far  as men,  through His  works   he sees   His power,
incomparable with human might, and learns from them that He  alone among men is
God the Word. Or, if a man has gone astray among demons and is in fear of them,
he may see this Man drive them out and judge therefrom that  He is indeed their
Master. Again,  if a man  has been immersed in the  element of water and thinks
that it is God--as indeed the Egyptians  do worship water--he  may see its very
nature changed by Him and learn that the Lord  is Creator of  all. And if a man
has gone down  even to Hades, and stands  awestruck before the heroes who  have
descended thither,  regarding   them as gods,  still   he may see   the fact of
Christ's resurrection and  His victory over death,  and reason from it that, of
all these, He alone is very Lord and God.
For the Lord touched all parts of  creation, and freed  and undeceived them all
from every deceit.  As   St. Paul says,    "Having  put off from Himself    the
principalities and the powers, He  triumphed on the cross,"[4]  so that no  one
could possibly be any longer deceived, but everywhere  might find the very Word
of  God. For thus man,   enclosed on every  side by  the  works of creation and
everywhere--in  heaven,  in  Hades, in men  and  on  the  earth,  beholding the
unfolded   Godhead  of the Word, is   no  longer  deceived  concerning God, but
worships Christ alone, and through Him rightly knows the Father.
On these grounds, then, of reason and of principle, we  will fairly silence the
Gentiles  in their turn.  But if  they  think  these arguments  insufficient to
confute them, we will go on in the next chapter  to prove our point from facts.
   [1] See Acts xvii. 28.
   [2] Literally, "He shared nothing of the things of the body."
   [3] Isaiah xi. 9.
   [4] Col. ii. 15.
(46) When did  people begin to   abandon the worship of  idols,  unless it were
since the very Word of God came among men? When have  oracles ceased and become
void of meaning, among the Greeks  and everywhere, except  since the Savior has
revealed Himself on earth? When  did those whom the poets  call gods and heroes
begin to be adjudged as mere mortals,  except when the  Lord took the spoils of
death and preserved incorruptible the body He had taken,  raising it from among
the dead ?  Or when did  the  deceitfulness and madness   of demons fall  under
contempt, save when the  Word,  the Power of God,   the Master of all these  as
well, condescended on account of the weakness of mankind and appeared on earth?
When did the  practice and theory of  magic begin to  be spurned under foot, if
not at the manifestation  of the Divine Word  to men? In  a word, when did  the
wisdom of the Greeks become foolish, save when  the true Wisdom of God revealed
Himself on earth? In old  times the whole world and  every place in it was  led
astray by the worship  of idols, and men  thought the idols  were the only gods
that were. But now all over the world  men are forsaking  the fear of idols and
taking refuge with Christ; and by worshipping Him as God  they come through Him
to know the  Father also, Whom formerly they  did not know.  The amazing thing,
moreover,  is this. The objects of  worship formerly were varied and countless;
each place had its own idol and the  so-called god of  one place could not pass
over to another in order to  persuade the people there  to worship him, but was
barely reverenced even by his own. Indeed  no! Nobody worshipped his neighbor's
god, but every  man had his own  idol and thought that it  was lord of all. But
now  Christ  alone is  worshipped,   as One  and  the   Same among all  peoples
everywhere; and  what the  feebleness of idols  could  not do, namely, convince
even those dwelling close at hand, He  has effected. He  has persuaded not only
those close at hand, but literally the entire world to worship one and the same
Lord and through Him the Father.
(47) Again, in former times every  place was full of  the fraud of the oracles,
and the utterances of those at Delphi and Dordona  and in Boeotia and Lycia and
Libya and Egypt  and  those of  the Kabiri and  the  Pythoness  were considered
marvelous by the minds   of men. But  now,   since Christ has  been  proclaimed
everywhere, their madness too has  ceased, and there is no  one left among them
to give oracles at all. Then, too, demons used to deceive men's minds by taking
up their abode in springs or rivers or trees or stones and imposing upon simple
people by their  frauds. But now, since  the Divine appearing  of the Word, all
this fantasy has ceased, for  by the sign of  the cross, if  a man will but use
it, he  drives out their  deceits.  Again, people used  to regard as gods those
who are mentioned in the poets-- Zeus and Kronos and Apollo and the heroes, and
in  worshipping them they  went  astray. But now that   the Savior has appeared
among men, those  others have been exposed as  mortal men, and  Christ alone is
recognized as true God, Word of God, God Himself. And  what is one to say about
the magic that they think so marvelous? Before the  sojourn of the Word, it was
strong and active among Egyptians and Chaldeans and Indians  and filled all who
saw it  with terror and astonishment.  But by the coming of  the  Truth and the
manifestation of the Word it too has been confuted  and entirely destroyed.  As
to Greek wisdom, however, and  the philosophers' noisy  talk, I really think no
one requires argument from us; for the amazing fact is  patent to all that, for
all that they had  written so much, the  Greeks failed to  convince even a  few
from their own neighborhood in regard  to immortality and the virtuous ordering
of life.  Christ alone, using common speech  and through the  agency of men not
clever  with their tongues, has  convinced  whole assemblies  of people all the
world over to despise death, and to take heed to the things that do not die, to
look past the  things of time and  gaze on things eternal,  to think nothing of
earthly glory and to aspire only to immortality.
(48) These  things which we have  said are no  mere words: they are attested by
actual experience. Anyone who  likes may see the  proof of glory in the virgins
of Christ, and   in  the young men  who  practice  chastity as  part  of  their
religion, and in the assurance of immortality in so great and glad a company[1]
of martyrs. Anyone, too, may put  what we have said  to the proof of experience
in another way. In the very  presence of the  fraud of demons and the imposture
of the  oracles and the wonders  of magic, let  him use the  sign  of the cross
which they all mock at, and but speak the Name of Christ, and  he shall see how
through Him demons are  routed, oracles cease, and  all magic and witchcraft is
Who, then,  is this Christ and how  great is He, Who by  His  Name and presence
overshadows and confounds all things on every side, Who alone is strong against
all and has filled  the whole world with His  teaching? Let the Greeks tell us,
who mock at Him without stint or shame. If He is a man, how is  it that one man
has proved stronger than all those whom they themselves regard  as gods, and by
His own power has shown them to be nothing? If they call Him a magician, how is
it that by a magician all magic is destroyed, instead of being rendered strong?
Had He  conquered certain magicians or proved  Himself superior to one  of them
only, they might reasonably think that He excelled the rest only by His greater
skill. But the fact is that His cross has vanquished all magic entirely and has
conquered the very name of it. Obviously, therefore, the Savior is no magician,
for   the very demons  whom the  magicians invoke  flee from  Him as from their
Master. Who is He, then? Let the Greeks tell us, whose  only serious pursuit is
mockery!  Perhaps they will  say that He, too,  is a demon, and  that is why He
prevailed. But even so the laugh is still on our  side. for we can confute them
by the same proofs as before. How could He  be a demon,  Who drives demons out?
If  it were only certain ones  that  He drove  out, then  they might reasonably
think that He prevailed  against them through the power  of their Chief, as the
Jews, wishing to insult Him, actually said. But  since the fact is, here again,
that at the mere naming of His Name all madness of the demons is rooted out and
put to  flight, obviously  the  Greeks are wrong  here,  too, and our Lord  and
Savior Christ is not, as they maintain, some demonic power.
If, then, the  Savior is neither a  mere  man nor a  magician,  nor one of  the
demons, but has by His Godhead confounded and  overshadowed the opinions of the
poets and the delusion of the demons  and the wisdom  of the Greeks, it must be
manifest and will be owned by all that He is in truth Son of God, Existent Word
and  Wisdom and Power of the  Father. This is the  reason why His  works are no
mere human works, but, both intrinsically and by comparison  with those of men,
are recognized as being superhuman and truly the works of God.
(49) What man  that ever was, for  instance, formed a body  for himself  from a
virgin only? Or  what man ever healed so  many diseases as  the  common Lord of
all? Who restored that which was lacking in man's nature or made one blind from
birth to see? Aesculapius  was deified by  the Greeks because he  practiced the
art of healing  and discovered herbs as remedies  for bodily diseases, not,  of
course, forming them himself out   of the earth, but   finding them out by  the
study of nature. But what is that in comparison with  what the Savior did when,
instead of just healing a wound, He both fashioned essential being and restored
to health the thing  that He had formed? Hercules,  too, is worshipped as a god
by the Greeks because he fought against other men and destroyed wild animals by
craft. But what is that to what the Word did, in driving away from men diseases
and demons and even death itself? Dionysus is worshipped among them, because he
taught men drunkenness; yet they ridicule the true Savior  and Lord of all, Who
taught men temperance.
That, however, is enough on this point. What will they say to the other marvels
of His Godhead? At what man's death was the  sun darkened and the earth shaken?
Why,  even to  this  day  men are dying,   and  they did  so also  before  that
time. When  did any such  marvels happen in their  case? Now shall we pass over
the deeds  done in His earthly body  and mention those after  His resurrection?
Has any man's teaching, in any place or at any  time, ever prevailed everywhere
as  one and  the  same, from one end  of  the earth to  the  other, so that his
worship has fairly flown through every land? Again, if, as  they say, Christ is
man only and not God the  Word, why do  not the gods of  the Greeks prevent His
entering  their domains? Or   why, on the other    hand, does the Word  Himself
dwelling  in our midst make an  end  of their worship by   His teaching and put
their fraud to shame?
(50) Many before Him  have been kings and  tyrants of the earth, history  tells
also of many  among the Chaldeans  and Egyptians and Indians  who were wise men
and magicians. But which of those, I do not say after  his death, but while yet
in this life, was ever able so  far to prevail as to  fill the whole world with
his teaching and retrieve  so great a multitude from  the craven fear of idols,
as our Savior has won over  from idols to  Himself? The Greek philosophers have
compiled many works with persuasiveness and much skill in words; but what fruit
have they to show for this such as has the cross of Christ? Their wise thoughts
were persuasive  enough  until they died;   yet even in   their life-time their
seeming  influence was counterbalanced by  their  rivalry with one another, for
they were a jealous company and  declaimed against each  other. But the Word of
God, by  strangest paradox, teaching in  meaner language,  has put the choicest
sophists in the shade,  and by confounding their  teachings and drawing all men
to  Himself  He has   filled His  own  assemblies. Moreover,   and this  is the
marvelous thing by  going  down as  Man to   death He  has confounded  ail  the
sounding utterances of the wise men about the idols. For whose death ever drove
out demons, or whose death did ever demons fear, save that of Christ? For where
the Savior is  named, there every demon is  driven out. Again,  who has ever so
rid men of their natural passions  that fornicators become chaste and murderers
no longer wield  the sword and those   who formerly were craven cowards  boldly
play the  man? In a  word,  what persuaded  the barbarians and  heathen folk in
every place to  drop their madness  and give heed to peace,  save  the faith of
Christ and the sign of the cross? What other things have given men such certain
faith in immortality as have  the cross of  Christ and the resurrection of  His
body? The Greeks told  all sorts of false  tales, but they could never  pretend
that their  idols rose again from  death: indeed it  never entered  their heads
that a  body  could  exist  again after   death  at  all.   And  one  would  be
particularly ready to listen to  them on this point,  because by these opinions
they have exposed the weakness of their own idolatry, at the same time yielding
to Christ the   possibility of bodily  resurrection, so  that by that  means He
might be recognized by all as Son of God.
(51) Again, who among  men, either after his death  or while yet living, taught
about  virginity and did not account  this  virtue impossible for human beings?
But Christ  our Savior and  King of all has  so prevailed with His  teaching on
this subject  that even children not yet  of lawful age  promise that virginity
which  transcends the law.  And who among  men has ever  been able to penetrate
even to Scythians  and Ethiopians, or Parthians  or Armenians or those who  are
said to  live beyond Hyrcania, or even  the Egyptians and Chaldeans, people who
give heed to magic and are more  than naturally enslaved  by the fear of demons
and savage in their habits, and to preach  at all about virtue and self-control
and against the worshipping of idols, as has the Lord of all, the Power of God,
our Lord Jesus Christ? Yet He not only preached  through His own disciples, but
also wrought so persuasively on   men's understanding that, laying aside  their
savage habits and forsaking the worship of their ancestral gods, they learnt to
know Him and through Him to worship the Father. While  they were yet idolaters,
the Greeks and  Barbarians were always  at war  with each other,  and were even
cruel to  their own kith  and kin. Nobody could  travel by land  or  sea at all
unless he was armed with swords, because of  their irreconcilable quarrels with
each other.  Indeed, the whole  course of  their life was   carried on with the
weapons, and the sword with them replaced the staff and was the mainstay of all
aid. All  this time, as I   said before, they  were  serving idols and offering
sacrifices to  demons, and for all the  superstitious awe that accompanied this
idol worship, nothing could wean them from that warlike spirit. But, strange to
relate, since they  came over to the school  of Christ, as  men moved with real
compunction they have laid aside their murderous  cruelty and are war-minded no
more. On the contrary, all is peace among  them and nothing remains save desire
for friendship.
(52) Who, then, is He Who has  done these things  and has united in peace those
who hated each other, save the beloved Son of the  Father, the common Savior of
all, Jesus Christ, Who by His own love underwent  all things for our salvation?
Even from  the beginning, moreover, this peace   that He was  to administer was
foretold,  for Scripture says, "They  shall beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into sickles, and nation  shall not take sword against nation,
neither shall they learn any  more to wage war."[2]   Nor is this by any  means
The barbarians of the present day are naturally savage in  their habits, and as
long as they  sacrifice to their idols they  rage furiously against  each other
and cannot  bear to be  a single hour  without weapons. But  when they hear the
teaching  of Christ, forthwith they turn  from fighting to farming, and instead
of  arming themselves with  swords  extend their  hands in prayer.   In a word,
instead of  fighting each other, they take  up arms against  the devil  and the
demons, and overcome them  by  their selfcommand  and integrity of  soul. These
facts are proof of the Godhead of the  Savior, for He has  taught men what they
could never learn among the idols. It is also no small exposure of the weakness
and nothingness of demons  and idols, for it  was because  they knew their  own
weakness that  the demons were always setting  men to fight each other, fearing
lest, if they ceased from mutual  strife, they would  turn to attack the demons
themselves. For  in truth  the disciples  of Christ, instead  of fighting  each
other, stand arrayed against  demons by their  habits and virtuous actions, and
chase  them away and mock  at their captain the  devil. Even in  youth they are
chaste, they endure in  times of testing and  persevere in toils. When they are
insulted, they are patient,  when robbed they  make light of it, and, marvelous
to relate, they make light even of death itself,  and become martyrs of Christ.
(53)  And here is  another proof of the Godhead  of the Savior, which is indeed
utterly amazing. What mere man or  magician or tyrant  or king was ever able by
himself  to do so  much?  Did anyone ever   fight against the  whole system  of
idol-worship and the whole host of  demons and all  magic and all the wisdom of
the Greeks, at a time when all of these were strong  and flourishing and taking
everybody   in, as did our  Lord,  the very Word  of  God?  Yet He  is even now
invisibly exposing every man's error, and single-handed is carrying off all men
from them all, so  that those who  used to worship  idols now tread  them under
foot, reputed magicians burn their books and the wise prefer to all studies the
interpretation of  the  gospels. They are  deserting those  whom  formerly they
worshipped, they worship and  confess as Christ and God  Him Whom they  used to
ridicule as  crucified. Their  so-called  gods are routed  by  the sign of  the
cross, and the crucified Savior is  proclaimed in all  the world as God and Son
of God.  Moreover, the gods worshipped  among the Greeks  are  now falling into
disrepute among them on  account of the  disgraceful things they did, for those
who receive the teaching of Christ are more chaste in life than they. If these,
and the like of them, are human works, let anyone who will show us similar ones
done by men in former time,  and so convince  us. But if they  are shown to be,
and are the works not of men but of God, why are the unbelievers so irreligious
as not to recognize the Master Who did them? They  are afflicted as a man would
be who failed to recognize God the Artificer through the works of creation. For
surely if they had recognized His Godhead  through His power over the universe,
they would  recognize also that the  bodily works of  Christ are not human, but
are those of the Savior of all, the Word of God.  And had they recognized this,
as Paul says, "They would not have crucified the Lord of glory."[3]
(54) As, then, he who desires to see God Who by  nature is invisible and not to
be beheld, may yet perceive and know Him through His  works, so too let him who
does not see Christ with his understanding at  least consider Him in His bodily
works and test whether they be of man or  God. If they be of  man, then let him
scoff; but if  they be of  God,  let him not mock  at  things which are no  fit
subject for scorn, but rather let him recognize the fact and marvel that things
divine  have been  revealed  to us by  such  humble  means, that  through death
deathlessness  has been made  known to us, and   through the Incarnation of the
Word the  Mind whence all things  proceed has been declared,  and its Agent and
Ordainer, the Word of  God Himself. He,  indeed, assumed humanity that we might
become God. He  manifested Himself by  means of a body  in order  that we might
perceive the Mind of the unseen Father. He endured shame from men that we might
inherit immortality. He Himself  was unhurt by this,  for He is impassable  and
incorruptible; but by  His own impassability  He kept and healed  the suffering
men  on whose  account He thus  endured.  In short, such  and  so many  are the
Savior's achievements that  follow from His Incarnation,  that to try to number
them is like gazing at the  open sea and trying to  count the waves. One cannot
see all the waves with one's eyes,  for when one tries to  do so those that are
following on  baffle one's senses. Even  so, when one wants  to take in all the
achievements of  Christ in the body,  one cannot do so,  even by reckoning them
up, for the things that transcend one's thought are  always more than those one
thinks that one has grasped.
As we cannot speak adequately about even a part of His work, therefore, it will
be better for us not to speak about it  as a whole.  So we will mention but one
thing more,   and then leave  the whole  for   you to marvel   at. For, indeed,
everything about it is marvelous, and wherever a man turns his gaze he sees the
Godhead of the Word and is smitten with awe.
(55)   The  substance  of  what we  have  said  so  far   may be summarized  as
follows. Since  the Savior came  to dwell among us, not  only  does idolatry no
longer  increase,   but  it is   getting less  and   gradually  ceasing to  be.
Similarly, not only does the wisdom of the Greeks  no longer make any progress,
but that which used to  be is disappearing. And demons,  so far from continuing
to impose  on  people by their  deceits  and oracle-givings  and sorceries, are
routed  by the sign of the  cross if  they so much  as  try. On the other hand,
while idolatry and everything else  that opposes the faith  of Christ is  daily
dwindling and weakening  and falling, see, the  Savior's teaching is increasing
everywhere! Worship, then, the  Savior "Who is  above all" and mighty, even God
the Word,  and condemn those who  are being defeated  and  made to disappear by
Him. When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of  it that may be
left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word
of God has taken place, the  darkness of idols prevails no  more, and all parts
of the world in every direction are enlightened  by His teaching. Similarly, if
a  king be reigning  somewhere, but  stays in  his own house   and does not let
himself be  seen, it often    happens that some  insubordinate fellows,  taking
advantage of his retirement, will have  themselves proclaimed in his stead; and
each of  them, being  invested with  the  semblance of  kingship, misleads  the
simple who, because they cannot enter the palace and see the real king, are led
astray by just hearing a king  named. When the  real king emerges, however, and
appears to  view, things  stand differently.  The  insubordinate impostors  are
shown  up by his presence, and   men, seeing the  real  king, forsake those who
previously misled them. In the same  way the demons  used formerly to impose on
men, investing themselves with the honor due to God. But since  the Word of God
has been manifested  in a body,  and has made known  to us His own  Father, the
fraud  of the demons is stopped  and made to disappear;  and men, turning their
eyes  to the true God, Word  of the Father, forsake  the idols and come to know
the true God.
Now this  is proof that Christ is  God, the Word  and Power of God. For whereas
human things cease and the fact of Christ remains, it is clear  to all that the
things which cease are temporary, but  that He Who  remains is God and very Son
of God, the sole-begotten Word.
   [1] Literally, "so great a chorus . . .". "choros"  being properly a band of
       dancers and singers.
   [2] Isaiah ii. 4.
   [3] Cor. ii. 8.
(56) Here,  then, Macarius, is our  offering  to you  who love  Christ, a brief
statement of the faith  of Christ and of   the manifestation of His Godhead  to
us. This will give you  a beginning, and you  must go on  to prove its truth by
the study of the Scriptures. They were written and inspired by God; and we, who
have learned from inspired teachers who  read the Scriptures and became martyrs
for the  Godhead of Christ,   make further contribution   to your eagerness  to
learn. From the Scriptures you will  learn also of  His second manifestation to
us, glorious and divine indeed, when He shall come  not in lowliness but in His
proper glory, no longer in humiliation but in majesty,  no longer to suffer but
to   bestow  on us  all    the  fruit of  His    cross--  the resurrection  and
incorruptibility. No longer will He then be judged,  but rather will Himself be
Judge, judging each and all according to their deeds  done in the body, whether
good or ill. Then for the good  is laid up the  heavenly kingdom, but for those
that  practice evil outer  darkness  and the  eternal   fire. So also  the Lord
Himself says, "I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see the Son  of Man seated on
the right  hand of power,  coming on the clouds of  heaven in  the glory of the
Father."[1] For that  Day we have one of  His own sayings  to prepare us,  "Get
ready and watch, for  ye know not the  hour in which  He cometh"[2] And blessed
Paul says, "We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one
may receive according as he practiced in the body, whether good or ill."[3]
(57) But for the  searching and right  understanding of the Scriptures there is
need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind
to grasp,  so far as human nature  can, the truth  concerning God the Word. One
cannot possibly understand  the teaching of the saints   unless one has  a pure
mind and is trying to imitate their life. Anyone who wants  to look at sunlight
naturally wipes his   eye clear first,  in order  to make,  at any rate,   some
approximation to the purity of that on which he looks; and  a person wishing to
see a city or  country goes to  the place in  order to do so. Similarly, anyone
who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred  writers must first cleanse his
own life, and approach the saints  by copying their  deeds. Thus united to them
in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the  things revealed to them
by God  and, thenceforth  escaping   the peril that  threatens sinners   in the
judgment, will receive that which  is laid up for the  saints in the kingdom of
heaven. Of that reward it is written: "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither
hath entered into the  heart of man the  things  that God has  prepared"[4] for
them that live a godly  life and love the God   and Father in Christ Jesus  our
Lord, through Whom  and with  Whom  be to   the  Father Himself, with  the  Son
Himself, in the Holy Spirit,  honor and might and glory  to ages of ages. Amen.
   [1] Matt. xxvi. 64.
   [2] Matt. xxiv. 42.
   [3] 2 Cor. v. 10.
   [4] 1 Cor. ii. 9.