Athanasius and the “magic deeper still.”

If for C.S Lewis “magic” is simply the way things work and “deeper magic” is humanity’s search for meaning, then “magic deeper still” is the behind the scenes, outside the world, before Creation mystery of the ways things work. This is the domain of the mind of God. Did Jesus come to make us privy to the mind of God? Is this the deep and mysterious realm of theology? Well then, let’s press into Narnia. Let’s wonder. We have asked why God had to become mortal. Dare we ask how God became mortal? In the early centuries of the church a young man made a timeless mark by a short work called “On the Incarnation.” Athanasius was born around the turn of the 4th Century and by his 20s had made a contribution to orthodoxy that has shaped the understanding of the Christian faith. In this work he ably delves into the “magic deeper still.” Related to the question “why and how did God become mortal?” here is a poignant quote:

The Word perceived that corruption could not be got rid of otherwise than through death; yet He Himself as the Word, being immortal and the Father’s Son, was such as could not die. For this reason, therefore, he assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection. It was by surrendering to death the body which he had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that he forthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent.”

What exactly is meant by “corruption”?  This will occupy our minds this Sunday.