The death of Alasdair Heron
Not happy news today. Saddened to hear also of the death of theologian, Alasdair Heron. I didn’t meet him personally, either, but for better or worse his reading of Athanasius has left a mark on me. Give his article, “Homoousios with the Father”, a read in his honour. (It is found in Incarnation: Ecumenical Studies in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed A.D. 381, edited by T. F. Torrance, 58-87. Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1981)
There, he argued:
“What was missing in Arius’ entire scheme was, quite simply, God himself. True, he was there – after a fashion. He was there, but he was silent, remote in the infinity of his utter transcendence, acting only through the intermediacy of the Son or Word, between whose being and his own, Arius drew such a sharp distinction” (68).
On the contrary, Athanasius “stresses (a) the identity of being between the Father and the Son; and (b) the assumption by the Son of our human nature. These are the cardinal points around which his Christology falls into shape: together they constitute the ‘scope’ (skopos), the overall message of Scripture, and thus also the horizon within which Scripture itself must be interpreted” (71).
In an age of therapeutic deism, when a distant God and a lower Christology may feel instinctively more plausible, Heron’s theology is a powerful reminder of what is at the heart of Christian faith: God in Christ Jesus.