The following quote is my response to Bobby Grow’s latest attempt to trick people into thinking his “vicarious humanity of Christ” Docetism is somehow not Docetism:

I’ve read Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word of God many times. And there is nothing there even remotely similar to your “vicarious humanity” heresy.  Not only does Athanasius’ not use this Docetic heretical phrase “vicarious humanity,” but he does not teach that Jesus did everything for us so that we don’t have to do anything.  He also rejects original sin.  His view is not that human nature was lowered below human by the fall, but that it lowered to human by the fall.  Before the fall, he says, there was a superadded grace, which was lost.  The loss of this grace represents a diminishing of the likeness to the image, i.e. Christ, and therefore in order for the fullness of the image to be restored, (he uses a metaphor) the same one who posed for the painting in the beginning had to appear again and pose once more.  Christ’s birth as a human being restores the image, and his death on the cross defeats death, and in his body he teaches men saving words.  But nowhere is there any concept in Athanasius’ treatise of him doing everything for us so that nothing is left.

Here is a link to a polished modern English translation of Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word of God (made by a woman translator, by the way), and here is an older more rigid translation.

One other thing that can be noted in Athanasius’ presentation is the absence of hell.  His theory clearly involves the idea that the punishment for sin is lapsing into nonexistence.  If you read his treatise, you will have no doubt in your mind that is exactly what he means. His theory is plainly that the loss of the superadded grace makes every aspect of man (including the spirit and soul) mortal, and that without a restoration of this grace, man will simply cease to exist.  Therefore, according to Athanasius, by restoring the image in his incarnation, Jesus rescued us from absolute oblivion.

And how is any of that Calvinism or “vicarious humanity of Christ” Docetism again?

In any case, even if one could find a Docetic statement in Athanasius, what would it amount to?  We can find a virtual denial of the existence of hell, but who will follow him in it?   If Athanasius taught Docetism, and the Calvinist will follow him in it, it is merely a case of the blind leading the blind.

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