Monday, October 5, 2015

He Spoke. You Weren't Listening

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.… No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.  (John 1:14, 18)

“But,” say my opponents, “if Christ was God, why did He appear in human shape, and why was He cut off by death after the manner of men?”

Could that power which is invisible, and which has no bodily substance, have come upon earth and adapted itself to the world and mixed in human society, otherwise than by taking to itself some covering of a more solid substance, which might bear the gaze of the eyes, and on which the look of the least observant might fix itself?  For what mortal is there who could have seen Him, who could have distinguished Him, if He had decreed to come upon the earth such as He is in His own primitive nature, and such as He has chosen to be in His own proper character and divinity?  Therefore, He took upon Himself the form of man; and under the likeness of our race He enclosed His power, so that He could be seen and carefully regarded, might speak and teach, and without encroaching on the sovereignty and government of the King Supreme, might carry out all those objects for the accomplishment of which He had come into the world.

“What, then,” says my opponent, “could not the Supreme Ruler have brought about those things which He had ordained to be done in the world, without feigning Himself a man?”

If it were necessary to do as you say, He perhaps would have done so—because it was not necessary, He acted otherwise.  The reasons why He chose to do it in this way, and did not choose to do it in that, are unknown, being involved in so great obscurity, and comprehensible by scarcely any.  You might perhaps have understood if you were not already prepared not to understand them and were not boldly preparing yourself for unbelief before what you sought to know and to hear was explained to you.

Arnobius of Sicca, Against the Pagans, I.60-61

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