The Veil : Contemplating the Christian Tradition

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Against the Arians

St Athenasius

The Saviour, then, saying of us, 'As Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in You, that they too may be one in Us,' does not signify that we were to have identity with Him; for this was shown from the instance of Jonah; but it is a request to the Father, as John has written, that the Spirit should be vouchsafed through Him to those who believe, through whom we are found to be in God, and in this respect to be conjoined in Him. For since the Word is in the Father, and the Spirit is given from the Word, He wills that we should receive the Spirit, that, when we receive It, thus having the Spirit of the Word which is in the Father, we too may be found on account of the Spirit to become One in the Word, and through Him in the Father. And if He say, 'as we,' this again is only a request that such grace of the Spirit as is given to the disciples may be without failure or revocation. For what the Word has by nature, as I said, in the Father, that He wishes to be given to us through the Spirit irrevocably; which the Apostle knowing, said, 'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?' for 'the gifts of God' and 'grace of His calling are without repentance.' It is the Spirit then which is in God, and not we viewed in our own selves; and as we are sons and gods because of the Word in us, so we shall be in the Son and in the Father, and we shall be accounted to have become one in Son and in Father, because that that Spirit is in us, which is in the Word which is in the Father. When then a man falls from the Spirit for any wickedness, if he repent upon his fall, the grace remains irrevocably to such as are willing; otherwise he who has fallen is no longer in God (because that Holy Spirit and Paraclete which is in God has deserted him), but the sinner shall be in him to whom he has subjected himself, as took place in Saul's instance; for the Spirit of God departed from him and an evil spirit was afflicting him 1 Samuel 16:14 . God's enemies hearing this ought to be henceforth abashed, and no longer to feign themselves equal to God. But they neither understand (for 'the irreligious,' he says, 'does not understand knowledge') nor endure religious words, but find them heavy even to hear.