In his introduction to Athanasius’ great work, On the Incarnation, C. S. Lewis wrote that it was this 4th c. bishop who “stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, ‘whole and undefiled’ when it looked as if all the civilized world was slipping back from Christianity to the religion of Arius—into one of those ‘sensible’ synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen.” Lewis praises the saintly bishop, saying that “It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.” Athanasius was at the center of the great debate that led the Church to clarify its message about Jesus of Nazareth. At the heart of the debate was the question, “Who is Jesus?”
This is a vital question. As we move closer to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the question is front and center. We have Peter’s response. Jesus asked him directly, “Who do you say that I am?” to which Peter responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” But what does that mean?