Athanasius: God is not just a higher Power
In the previous post we saw how Athanasius argued against “sensible” synthetic religions which taught that God is essentially the Unoriginate one. They saw God as distant, the unmoved mover. Athanasius time and again wanted us to see God is not a distant, higher power.
Athanasius has been dead a long time, but I reckon he would want Christians to stand up and clearly explain our God is not just a higher power.
He would be seeking to persuade everyone that God is knowable and he is life-giving. He is inherently life giving, a fountain that continually pours forth.
Athanasius spent his life defending the divinity of Jesus, because he had a clear vision of who God is. Most of his life was spend defending a statement written in 325 against Arius:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
As Athanasius defended this summary statement of what the Bible teaches he carefully pointed out God is not just a higher power.
Imagine chocolate, mmm chocolate. If you have Chocolate you can make a chocolate bar or an Easter egg. We sometimes think at the very beginning, before creation, there was God stuff, a bit like chocolate. Some of this God stuff became the father and some became the son. Athanasius says no. Remember the Son of God is; begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father (not just some generic God stuff). Jesus is of the same being with the father.
There was never a point when God was not a Father. He is most fundamentally a father eternally and so must have always had a Son. God did not decide one day to become Father, Son and Spirit.
Athanasius’s big point is this: God’s most essential identity is father not just some higher power.
That changes everything. If God is a higher power we need to follow his system to get a blessing, but he is not, he is a father who we can personally grow to know more and more. God is not distant, you can know him.