This being our 1001 post on this site, we ask with Celsus
But that certain Christians and all Jews should maintain, the former that there has already descended, the latter that there will descend, upon the earth a certain God, or son of a God, who will make the inhabitants of the earth righteous, is a most shameless assertion, and one the refutation of which does not need many words. He is said by the Christians to have already come, but by the Jews that his advent as Messiah is still future. What is the meaning of such a descent upon the part of God? Was it in order to learn what goes on amongst men? Does he not know all things? And if he does know, why does he not make men better? Is it then not possible for him, by means of his divine power, to make men better, unless he send some one for that special purpose? Then God does know all things indeed, but does not make men better, nor is able to do so by His divine power! If God Himself will come down to men, then he has left his own abode, although if you were to change a single one, even the least, of things on earth, all things would be overturned and disappear.
Now I suppose God, being unknown amongst men, and deeming himself on that account to have less than his due, would desire to make himself known, and to make trial both of those who believe upon him and of those who do not, like those of mankind who have recently come into the possession of riches, and who make a display of their wealth; and thus they testify to an excessive but very mortal ambition on the part of God. God does not desire to make himself known for his own sake, but because he wishes to bestow upon us the knowledge of himself for the sake of our salvation, in order that those who accept it may become virtuous and be saved, while those who do not accept may be shown to be wicked and be punished. After so long a period of time, then, did God now bethink himself of making men live righteous lives, but neglect to do so before? It is perfectly manifest that they babble about God in a way that is neither holy nor reverential, like those who in the Bacchic mysteries introduce phantoms and objects of terror.
The belief has spread among them, from a misunderstanding of the accounts of these occurrences, that after lengthened cycles of time, and the returns and conjunctions of planets, conflagrations and floods are wont to happen. Because after the last flood, which took place in the time of Deucalion, the lapse of time, agreeably to the vicissitude of all things, requires a conflagration, this made them give utterance to the erroneous opinion that God will descend, and come down bearing fire like a torturer.
Enquiring minds want to know