Wisdom of Solomon 2:24


21 Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, 22 and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls; 23 for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, 24 but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.

Athanasius On the Incarnation of the Word 5:2


2 For because of the Word dwelling with them, even their natural corruption did not come near them, as Wisdom also says : God made man for incorruption, and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death came into the world. But when this had come to pass, men began to die, while corruption thence-forward prevailed against them, gaining even more than its natural power over the whole race, inasmuch as it had, owing to the transgression of the commandment, the threat of the Deity as a further advantage against them.

 Notes and References

"... As Athanasius does not expound the whole faith, even less does he engage in speculation for its own sake, though he touches in passing on a number of matters of interest to theological experts. Man's original state, apparently, was one of natural perfection as the near image of God to which, had he not fallen, the gift of immortality would easily have been added — as in the book of Wisdom, it is by the envy of the devil that death came into the world (3-6; Wisdom of Solomon 2:23-24). We are not told how the old deceiver fell into his deception; he is not worth so much attention. The coming of the Word is a victory over the usurper and his angels. As part of it the Word, being man, pays for man and as man the sacrifice which fallen man could never pay, but there is no special statement as to why this is necessary ..."

Hardy, Edward R. Christology of the Later Fathers (p. 48) Westminster John Knox Press, 1977

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