As I continue to read & write on Cyril of Alexandria, I have been reading through other Patristic works with Ben Blackwell and friends (including our own Jessica Parks and Michelle Mikeska). Thus, I recently re-read Athanasius’ On the Incarnation and was struck by the following sentiments regarding the relationship between the divine Word of God and the body of Jesus:
For he [the Word of God] was not enclosed in the body, nor was he in the body but not elsewhere. Nor while he moved that [body] was the universe left void of his activity and providence. But, what is most marvelous, being the Word, he was not contained by anyone, but rather himself contained everything. And, as being in all creation, he is in essence outside everything but inside everything by his own power, arranging everything, and unfolding his own providence in everything to all things, and giving life to each thing and to all things together, containing the universe and not being contained, but being wholly, in every respect, in his own Father alone. So also, being in the human body, and himself giving it life, he properly gives life to the universe also, and was both in everything and outside all. And being made known from the body through the works, he was not unseen even from the working of the universe. … The Word of God in the human being was not bound to the body, bur rather was himself wielding it, so that he was both in it and in everything, and was outside everything, and at rest in the Father alone. And the most wonderful thing was that he both sojourned as a human being, and as the Word begot life in everything, and as the Son was with the Father.
Athanasius is here suggesting that the Word of God continued his intra-Trinitarian cosmic roles even after he “became flesh.” Is this simply a necessary paradox of the mystery of God and the Incarnation? Or is this a poor understanding of the kenosis inherently involved in the Incarnation? Is there more to the Word of God than what we see in Jesus? Is there a Word of God to be found behind Jesus?
When we see Jesus getting tired in John 4, should we also understand that at the same moment the Word of God was continuing to uphold all things by his power *outside* of the body? (Maybe that is why he was so tired?)
One way to ask the question:
Was the Word of God still omnipresent post-Incarnation?
What are the implications of saying “yes” or “no”?
 Behr, John, (On the Incarnation. Yonkers, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011), 85-87.