Devil in Athanasius of Alexandria, part 6

Herein we continued, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, considering info on the Devil in Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373 AD).

Herein we continued, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, considering info on the Devil in Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373 AD). The fuller complete result consists of quotations of those sections within the text that refer to Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Devil, Satan, demons, serpent and dragon. The point is not to elucidate these references but to provide relevant partial quotations and citations. See my section on Angels here, Cherubim and Seraphim here, Satan here and Demons here.

Devil in Athanasius of Alexandria’s Four Discourses Against the Arians.

Discourse 1
1 Wherefore, as says the Saviour, in that they gather not with us, they scatter with the devil, and keep an eye on those who slumber, that, by this second sowing of their own mortal poison, they may have companions in death…the Arian, as it is called, considering that other heresies, her elder sisters, have been openly proscribed, in her craft and cunning, affects to array herself in Scripture language, like her father the devil, and is forcing her way back into the Church’s paradise

6 Afterwards, as though he had succeeded to the devil’s recklessness, he has stated in his Thalia, that ‘even to the Son the Father is invisible,’ and ‘the Word cannot perfectly and exactly either see or know His own Father.’

8 If such bewilderment and empty speaking be from ignorance, Scripture will teach them, that the devil, the author of heresies, because of the ill savour which attaches to evil, borrows Scripture language, as a cloak wherewith to sow the ground with his own poison also, and to seduce the simple…But what is not from our fathers, but has come to light in this day, how can it be but that of which the blessed Paul has foretold, that ‘in the latter times some shall depart from the sound faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, in the hypocrisy of liars; cauterized in their own conscience, and turning from the truth ?’

10 Therefore, since all that remains is to say that from the devil came their mania (for of such opinions he alone is sower ), proceed we to resist him— for with him is our real conflict, and they are but instruments—that, the Lord aiding us, and the enemy, as he is wont, being overcome with arguments, they may be put to shame, when they see him without resource who sowed this heresy in them, and may learn, though late, that, as being Arians, they are not Christians.

50 For the Jews saying that He cast out devils in Beelzebub…He said, ‘Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him;’ such as were those who said, ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son?’ but they who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, and ascribe the deeds of the Word to the devil, shall have inevitable punishment.

Discourse 2
8 He writes then in the Epistle to the Hebrews thus; ‘Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

17 But if they do not understand it of his essence nor of his coming into being, though Jacob was by nature creature and work, is not their madness worse than the Devil’s, if what they dare not ascribe in consequence of a like phrase even to things by nature originate, that they attach to the Son of God, saying that He is a creature?

38 Rather this is some recklessness of the devil, or worse, if they are not unwilling that they should truly subsist themselves, but think that God’s Word is but in name.

54 And John has written: ‘For this was manifested the Son of God, that He might destroy the works of the devil.’

55 To give a witness then, and for our sakes to undergo death, to raise man up and destroy the works of the devil, the Saviour came, and this is the reason of His incarnate presence…through death He might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.’

58 And next he says, ‘They sacrificed unto devils, not to God, to gods whom they knew not. New gods and strange came up, whom your fathers knew not; the God that begot you you deserted. ‘

69 …the Lord Himself says , ‘The prince of this world comes, and finds nothing in Me;’ and ‘For this end was He manifested,’ as John has written, ‘that He might destroy the works of the devil.’

70 But this would not have come to pass, had the Word been a creature; for with a creature, the devil, himself a creature, would have ever continued the battle, and man, being between the two, had been ever in peril of death, having none in whom and through whom he might be joined to God and delivered from all fear.

73 This also the father of the Arian heresy asked as one of his first questions; ‘If Thou be the Son of God;’ for he knew that this is the truth and the sovereign principle of our faith; and that, if He were Himself the Son, the tyranny of the devil would have its end; but if He were a creature, He too was one of those descended from that Adam whom he deceived, and he had no cause for anxiety…The Arians then ought, even in imitation of their own father the devil, to take some special pains on this point.

Discourse 3
8 Indeed when God said this, He said it through His own Word, unless forsooth the modern Jews add this too, that He has not said this through His Word; but so has He spoken, though they rave, these followers of the devil.

17 that we too are proper to the Father’s Essence, or He foreign to it, as we are foreign.’ Thus they idly babble; but in this their perverseness I see nothing but unreasoning audacity and recklessness from the devil, since it is saying after his pattern, ‘We will ascend to heaven, we will be like the Most High’…they deceive themselves, and are arrogant enough to think that they may be such as the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son; not considering the fall of their ‘father the devil ,’ which happened upon such an imagination.

59 After so many proofs against them, at which even the devil who is their father had himself been abashed and gone back, again as from their perverse heart they mutter forth other expedients, sometimes in whispers, sometimes with the drone of gnats; ‘Be it so,’ say they; ‘interpret these places thus, and gain the victory in reasonings and proofs; still you must say that the Son has received being from the Father at His will and pleasure;’ for thus they deceive many, putting forward the will and the pleasure of God.

67 For this, as well as their other pretences, is shown and proved to be mere fantasy and fable; and on this account, they ought, however late, contemplating the precipice of folly down which they have fallen, to rise again from the depth and to flee the snare of the devil, as we admonish them…But the Lord according to His wont is loving to man, and would fain ‘help them that are fallen,’ as the praise of David says; but the irreligious men, not desirous to hear the Lord’s voice, nor bearing to see Him acknowledged by all as God and God’s Son, go about, miserable men, as beetles, seeking with their father the devil pretexts for irreligion.

In the next segment, we will consider more on the Devil in Athanasius.

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