The Incarnation of the Word of God (Large Print)
Athanasius was born in the later half of AD 299 and died in AD 373. During this time, in 325, one of the most important Church meetings in history took place (second probably only to the Jerusalem Council). Convened by...
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Athanasius was born in the later half of AD 299 and died in AD 373. During this time, in 325, one of the most important Church meetings in history took place (second probably only to the Jerusalem Council). Convened by Constantine, the Council of Nicaea's primary task was seeking unity in all Christendom on the nature of the person of Jesus and his relation to the Father. While we mostly take it for granted today, most of what is now considered orthodox Christian doctrine were once items up for debate. At the council of Nicaea there were two views on the person of Christ being debated.The first was that of Arius, who believed that the Son was a created creature, albeit the first created, and not God. This makes sense if Jesus is "the Son" he must then come after the father. Colossians calls him the "firstborn of all creation." Arius argued that the Son was created from nothing and then he was the creator of all other things. This made him a finite being as well as a being capable of wrong.The second view, and the one the council decided on, was that of St. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria. Alexander argued that the Father's attributes are eternal, even his fatherhood and so he has always had the Son with him. Technically, he said the son was "begotten" and not created. Begotten of the same substance as the Father. This meant he was God and equal with the Father.Alexander had assistants at the council, the most notable of which was a 26 year old deacon by the name of Athanasius. Athanasius would spend the rest of his life fighting the Arian heresy. He did this most notably through his work On the Incarntion.On the Incarnation is the second half of a two part treatise and in it Athanasius covers creation, the fall, and the incarnation and resurrection as well as some refutations to common objections from Jews and Greeks regarding the Son, or as he calls him, the "God Word."
C S Lewis (1898 -1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. This Irish-born Oxford and Cambridge academic wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular writings include his seven-part fantasy series for children The Chronicles of Narnia (1956); the science fiction Space Trilogy (1938-1945); the apologetical The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942), Miracles (1947), Mere Christianity (1952), and The Four Loves (1960); and the autobiographical Surprised by Joy (1955) and A Grief Observed (1961). Countless Christian writers, pastors, thinkers and artists have credited C S Lewis as a key influence on their faith journey, and his Narnia books have become classics of children's literature.
Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on 29 November 1898, the son of Albert James Lewis, a solicitor of Welsh ancestry. Lewis became known as 'Jack' as a young child after he adopted the name of his pet dog who was killed by a car. His mother Flora was the daughter of an Anglican priest, and died when Lewis was just ten. Lewis had one brother, Warren - known affectionately as Warnie - who was three years his senior. The two would remain close friends and creative collaborators throughout Lewis' life. When children, they shared a fascination with humanised animal characters like Beatrix Potter's, and wrote and illustrated stories of an imaginary world they called 'Boxen', run entirely by such fanciful beings.
Lewis' childhood home was full of books, and he became a keen and intrepid reader at an early age. Until his mother's death, Lewis was educated by private tutors, then moved on to a series of boarding schools in both Ireland and England. It was during his time at the last of these, aged 15, that Lewis gave up his childhood Christian faith and became an atheist. It was also at this time that he developed an intense love for ancient Norse legends and the natural world - an aesthetic complex which he called 'Northernness' and associated with the mysterious inner longing of 'joy'. Under the influence of his tutor William Kirkpatrick, Lewis would go on to a deep involvement with ancient Greek literature. Lewis' academic acumen won him a scholarship at Oxford in 1916, but shortly afterward his studies were interrupted by military service in World War I. Lewis was commissioned as a lieutenant in a light infantry regiment and sent to the Western Front in France, where he experienced the horrors of trench warfare, and was wounded by what would now be called 'friendly fire'.
After the war, Lewis resumed his studies at Oxford, and in the years between 1920 and 1923 received firsts in Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and English. By 1925 he was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford - a position he would hold for nearly three decades. In 1954, Lewis transferred to Cambridge, where he had been awarded professorship in the new chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature.
In the late 1920s, Lewis' circle of literary friends at Oxford coalesced into a discussion group known as The Inklings, which would meet regularly over about two decades. Members shared an enthusiasm for narrative tales, myths, legends - particularly Norse, Celtic, folkloric and mediaeval material - and fantasy fiction. They would read aloud their own works-in-progress and receive suggestions and criticism from their fellows. Members included J R R Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and Warnie Lewis. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Lewis' science fiction novel Out of the Silent Planet were among the material workshopped with The Inklings.
His friend Tolkien's devout Catholic faith decisively influenced Lewis' return to Christianity between 1929 and 1931. The way was prepared also by Lewis' love for the fantastical fiction of Scottish writer and Congregational pastor George MacDonald (1824-1905), as well as G K Chesterton's apologetic work The Everlasting Man (1925). Lewis famously described himself as a stubbornly difficult convert in his spiritual autobiography Surprised By Joy (1955):
"In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."
As a Christian, Lewis maintained a commitment to the Anglican communion in which he was raised, though he tried to downplay sectarian differences in his apologetic writings, extolling instead the perennial essence of orthodox belief. It was the latter which Lewis presented in his popular work Mere Christianity, adapted from a series of radio talks he made for the BBC from 1942 to 1944, and which has become one of the most influential Christian books of modern times. Lewis' theology was basically Anglican, with an ecumenical breadth shaped by the formative influences of Tolkien's and Chesterton's Catholicism, and the Christian universalism of MacDonald.
Lewis married relatively late in his life at age 57, in unusual circumstances. He had befriended Joy Davidman Gresham - an American intellectual of Jewish background, and a convert, like Lewis, from atheism to Christianity. Joy was trying to remain in the UK with her two sons, having escaped an abusive marriage, and Lewis kindly agreed to a civil union to enable her to stay. Shortly afterward, Joy was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. What had begun as a marriage of convenience between friends became much deeper, and Lewis and Joy obtained a full Christian marriage in 1957. As it turned out, Joy was the love of Lewis' life, and when she died after three years of remission, Lewis experienced a shattering grief from which he never really emerged. Lewis related his profound loss in A Grief Observed, which he published under a pseudonym. The story of Lewis' and Joy's love became the subject of the film and stageplay Shadowlands.
Lewis died of renal failure in 1963, less than an hour before the assassination of John F Kennedy. Lewis is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington, the Oxford parish church with which he and his brother Warnie were actively involved from 1930.
Athanasius (c.297-373), was born at Alexandria, Egypt, around AD 297, and would serve for forty-five years as that city's bishop, having begun as a bishop's assistant at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. Athanasius spent seventeen years of his tenure in exile, having provoked several Roman emperors with his unflinching defense of the doctrine of the Trinity. Athanasius was one of the most brilliant and influential theologians in Christian history, and is venerated across all the major streams of the faith - Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, and mainline Protestant. He is remembered for his writings, still read today, his great pastoral concern, his courageous faithfulness despite immense opposition, and his profound interest in monasticism.