The season of Advent is nearly here (it already is if you’re Orthodox). I want this Advent season to be a bit different so I have several things lined up. I will be leading my church through an online reading and discussion of the Gospel of St. Luke through December. I’m really looking forward to it and I pray it will be a blessing to everyone involved. The other task I wish to complete this Advent season is to finally read On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius.
Saint Athanasius wrote On the Incarnation sometime between 335-337, and noted patristic scholar Rev. Dr. John Behr notes that it is the “defining exposition of Nicene theology.” Its importance cannot be overemphasized and it is one of the seminal works of Christian theology. C.S. Lewis wrote a preface to an older edition of the book and in it he wrote, “It has always therefore been one of my main endeavors as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only worth more acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.” As Lewis is a personal hero of mine, whose writings opened my eyes to a wider world of Christian theology beyond charismatic evangelicalism, I will take his words to heart and read it for myself.
As I read it I will post here some of my thoughts and questions as I interact with the content of this book. It is not long, only 60 pages or so, but it is remarkably deep and I would like to finally jump in the water. Getting ones feet wet may be fun for about five minutes but if one wants to enjoy the sea one must dive in.
(A free online copy can be accessed at the following URL: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.pdf)