This post does little more than indicate the place I'm currently reading. I'm gradually accommodating to Athanasius style of argument. I indicated below one place where I experienced a little difficulty. Provided several translations. I now have a hard copy John Behr 2011, I found portions of it available here and there on the web so I can cite it accurately.
Athanasius on the Incarnation 2.1
Τὴν δημιουργίαν τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν τῶν πάντων
κτίσιν πολλοὶ διαφόρως ἐξειλήφασι, καὶ ὡς ἕκαστος
ἠθέλησεν, οὕτως καὶ ὡρίσατο. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ αὐτομάτως, καὶ
ὡς ἔτυχε, τὰ πάντα γεγενῆσθαι λέγουσιν, ὡς οἱ Ἐπικούρειοι,
οἳ καὶ τὴν τῶν ὅλων πρόνοιαν καθ' ἑαυτῶν οὐκ εἶναι
μυθολογοῦντες, ἄντικρυς παρὰ τὰ ἐναργῆ καὶ φαινόμενα
The making of the world and the creation of all things have been taken differently by many, and each has propounded as each has wished. Some say that all things have come into being spontaneously and as by chance, such as the Epicureans who, according to themselves, fantasize that there is no providence over the universe, speaking in the face of the clear and apparent facts.
Athanasius on the Incarnation, Translation John Behr
Athanasius on the Incarnation 2.2.1-8
Εἰ γὰρ αὐτομάτως τὰ πάντα χωρὶς προνοίας
κατ' αὐτοὺς γέγονεν, ἔδει τὰ πάντα ἁπλῶς γεγενῆσθαι
καὶ ὅμοια εἶναι καὶ μὴ διάφορα. Ὡς γὰρ ἐπὶ σώματος
ἑνὸς ἔδει τὰ πάντα εἶναι ἥλιον ἢ σελήνην, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν
ἀνθρώπων ἔδει τὸ ὅλον εἶναι χεῖρα, ἢ ὀφθαλμόν, ἢ πόδα.
Νῦν δὲ οὐκ ἔστι μὲν οὕτως· ὁρῶμεν δὲ τὸ μέν, ἥλιον· τὸ
δέ, σελήνην· τὸ δέ, γῆν· καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων
σωμάτων, τὸ μέν, πόδα· τὸ δέ, χεῖρα· τὸ δέ, κεφαλήν.
For if all things came into being spontaneously without providence, as they claim, all things would necessarily have simply come into being and be identical and without difference. Everything would have been as a single body, sun or moon, and regarding human beings, the whole would have been a hand or eye or foot. But, now, this is not the case: we see, here, the sun, there the moon, there the earth; and again regarding human bodies, here a foot, there a hand, and there a head. Such order indicates that they did not come into being spontaneously, but shows that a cause preceded them, from which one can apprehend the God who ordered and created all things.
Translation John Behr
... here Athanasius puts forth a brief argument from design based on the complexity of the observed created order ... I didn't have any difficulty reading it so I didn't spend much time thinking about it. At the end of this section I had to slowdown and unscramble his concluding remarks quoted below.
Ἡ δὲ τοιαύτη διάταξις οὐκ αὐτομάτως αὐτὰ γεγενῆσθαι
γνωρίζει, ἀλλ' αἰτίαν τούτων προηγεῖσθαι δείκνυσιν·
ἀφ' ἧς καὶ τὸν διαταξάμενον καὶ πάντα ποιήσαντα Θεὸν
Now, such separate arrangement as this tells us not of their having come into being of themselves, but shews that a cause preceded them; from which cause it is possible to apprehend God also as the Maker and Orderer of all.
Archibald Robertson 1891
distinctness of things argues not a spontaneous
generation but a prevenient Cause; and from that
Cause we can apprehend God, the Designer and
Maker of all.
Penelope lawson 1946
Such order indicates that they did not come into being spontaneously, but shows that a cause preceded them, from which one can apprehend the God who ordered and created all things.
Translation John Behr 2011
Observed complexity, variety, difference combined argue against "come into being spontaneously" ... This isn't how I would expect an argument for the incarnation to be launched. Athanasius is apparently expounding on the implications of John's prologue.
A 15 minute conversation with a church historian half a lifetime ago sparked my interest in Athanasius, the next day I went to the library and checked out an english translation from the 19th century. The book was not suffering from overuse. I think the last time that it had been checked out was before I was born. A brief taste of something mysterious and foreign, I quickly returned to my studies, I had papers to write and exams to prepare for I didn't have time for Athanasius, he wasn't in the syllabus.
C. Stirling Bartholomew