“He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour,
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 other 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 recognised as finally annulled.

A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred,
for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace
has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.”

– Athanasius, On the Incarnation

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5 thoughts on “A Marvelous and Mighty Paradox”

  1. Steve Martin says:

    Awesome!

    Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Wesley says:

    “A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred,
    for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace
    has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.”

    Great quote Trev. Couldn’t tell though; earlier on when he says that Christ “did not arrange the manner of His own death”, is he saying that God didn’t plan the crucifixion? Figure i must be missing something but …
    Either way, thanks for sharing this.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      I don’t think that’s what Athanasius was saying at all. The idea is that Jesus submitted to death, even death on the cross, not resisting or asking for another way. He is talking about Jesus accepting crucifixion planned by the Father.

      1. Wesley says:

        I see that now. Thanks for the reply.

  3. dean says:

    Look the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world ! (John 1:29)

    Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done (Lk 22:42)

    Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22)

    It speaks to me more as the atonement rather than the incarnation but nevertheless….the paradox of the Servant King

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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