Paul Fiddes on Participation in God

When describing the nature of salvation and the Christian life, the conceptual options are many. As of late, one of the more popular has been “participation” (due, in part, to renewed interest among Protestants in Patristic voices such as Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas).

Consider, for example, how Paul Fiddes describes the participation of human persons in God:

We dwell and dance in triune spaces. The room that God makes for us within God’s ownrublev_trinity.jpg self is not a widening of the gap between individual subjects, but the opening up of intervals within the interweaving movements of giving and receiving (p. 54).

The comprehensiveness of Christ as incarnate wisdom consists therefore in his relationship as Son to Father. This relationship in which Christ participates within the communion of God’s life comprehends the infinite aspects of all relations of giving and receiving in God. The filial relationship of this particular human son [Christ] to God exactly corresponds to the movement of relationship within God which is like that between a son and a father; thus, in Christ, human sonship is the same as divine sonship not only in function but in being, since relations in God are more being-full than anything else. Continue reading

(Saving Power, Ch. 5) Athanasius & the Renewal of Creation or “Why American Evangelicals need Athanasius”

We turn our attention now to Peter Schmiechen’s appraisal of Athanasius saving-power.jpg(Chapter 5).

As it relates to atonement theology, Athanasius is good for North American Evangelicals for at least two reasons (both of which are emphasized by Schmiechen). First, Athanasius moves our focus away from personal forgiveness and freedom from sin. Certainly these are powerful marks of the new life in Christ, but the presence of God in Christ is “not simply the means for accomplishing liberation and forgiveness.” Continue reading