The Middle Platonic concept of ‘participation’ in the Forms is important for understanding the connection that Athanasius finds between Christians and Christ. Yet, Athanasius adapts this concept to his Johannine view of the Word of God incarnate in Christ. He turns to the language of bodily creation and kinship rather than contemplation to express the relationship between Christ and Christians. For Athanasius, evil makes it impossible for humans to contemplate the divine Word by which they were created. Therefore, the Word embodied a new humanity in Christ. The Holy Spirit enables Christians to participate in Christ, becoming thereby part of a new humanity and children of God.
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