‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c.296–373) took this verse from the Gospel of John in order to unpack his Christology of the incarnation. In this essay I will examine the work of Athanasius in order to study the claim that ‘The Word became flesh.’ Athanasius argued that God ‘became man, and did not come into man.’ The implications of his conviction are firstly, only God could save humanity and secondly, the Word was fully divine. I will assess the implications of Athanasius’ arguments in his treatise ‘On the Incarnation’ with reference to some of his other works.
The study of the nature and person of Jesus Christ, known as Christology, has provoked much debate and controversy from the early Christian period up to the present day. To answer the question whether Jesus was only human or whether he was divine or both is the task for the practitioner of the Gospel when faced with those who challenge the historical understanding of Jesus. To illustrate this task, the position of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and contemporary writers on the identity of Jesus will be compared to the Arian heresy.