Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Incarnation of the Word.: On the other hand there was the consistency of God's nature, not to be sacrificed for our profit. Were men, then, to be called upon to repent? But repentance cannot avert the execution of a law; still less can it remedy a fallen nature. We have incurred corruption and need to be restored to the Grace of God's Image. None could renew but He Who had created. He alone could (1) recreate all, (2) suffer for all, (3) represent all to the Father.
§7. On the other hand there was the consistency of Gods nature, not to be sacrificed for our profit. Were men, then, to be called upon to repent? But repentance cannot avert the execution of a law; still less can it remedy a fallen nature. We have incurred corruption and need to be restored to the Grace of Gods Image. None could renew but He Who had created. He alone could (1) recreate all, (2) suffer for all, (3) represent all to the Father.
But just as this consequence must needs hold, so, too, on the other side the just claims 215 of God lie against it: that God should appear true to the law He had laid down concerning death. For it were monstrous for God, the Father of truth, to appear a liar for our profit and preservation. 2. So here, once more, what possible course was God to take? To demand repentance of men for their transgression? For this one might pronounce worthy of God; as p. 40 though, just as from transgression men have become set towards corruption, so from repentance they may once more be set in the way of incorruption. 3. But repentance would, firstly, fail to guard the just claim 216 of God. For He would still be none the more true, if men did not remain in the grasp of death; nor, secondly, does repentance call men back from what is their nature—it merely stays them from acts of sin. 4. Now, if there were merely a misdemeanour in question, and not a consequent corruption, repentance were well enough. But if, when transgression had once gained a start, men became involved in that corruption which was their nature, and were deprived of the grace which they had, being in the image of God, what further step was needed? or what was required for such grace and such recall, but the Word of God, which had also at the beginning made everything out of nought? 5. For His it was once more both to bring the corruptible to incorruption, and to maintain intact the just claim 217 of the Father upon all. For being Word of the Father, and above all, He alone of natural fitness was both able to recreate everything, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be ambassador for all with the Father.
Literally “what is reasonable with respect to God,” i.e. what is involved in His attributes and in His relation to us, cf. Rom. iii. 26, cf. Anselm, ib. I. 12, who slightly narrows down the idea of Athan. Si peccatum sic dimittitur impunitum, similiter erit apud Deum peccanti et non peccanti, quod Deo non convenit….Inconvenientia autem iniustitia est.40:216
See previous note.40:217
See previous note.
Next: The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present ; and saw all these evils. He takes a body of our Nature, and that of a spotless Virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own, wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life.
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