Day 27/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – How the Resurrection heals humanity – St. Athanasius the Apostolic

[Today the 7th Pashons in the Coptic calendar, the great pillar of Orthodoxy, Pope St. Athanasius I of Alexandria departed, his prayers be with us. ]

Next, this must also be known, that the corruption which has occurred was not outside the body, but attached to it, and it was necessary that instead of corruption, life should cleave to it, so that as death had come to be in the body, so too life might come to be in it. If, then, death had been outside the body, life would also have had to be outside it.

But if death was interwoven with the body, and dominated it as if united to is, it was necessary for life to be interwoven with the body, so that the body putting on life should cast off corruption. Otherwise, if the Word had been outside the body, and not in it, death would have been conquered by him most naturally, since death has no power against life, but nonetheless the attached corruption would have remained in the body.

For this reason, the Savior rightly put on a body, in order that the body, being interwoven with life, might no longer remain as mortal in death, but, as having put on immortality, henceforth it might, when arising, remain immortal. For, once it had put on corruption, it would not have risen unless it had put on life. And, moreover, death does not appear by itself, but in the body; therefore he put on the body, that finding death in the body he might efface it. For how at all would the Lord have been shown to be Life, if not by giving life to the mortal?

And just as straw is naturally destroyed by fire, if anyone keeps the fire away from the straw, the straw does not burn, but remains fully straw, straw fearful of the threat of fire, for fire naturally consume it. But if someone covers the straw with much asbestos, which is said to be fireproof, the straw no longer fears the fire, having security from the covering of asbestos.

In the same way one may talk about the body and about death. If death were kept away from it by a command only, it would still be mortal and corruptible, according to the principal of bodies. But that this should not be, it put on the incorporeal Word of God, and thus no longer fears death or corruption, having life as a garment and corruption being destroyed in it.

[St. Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation of the Word]

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