Irenaeus of Lyons: The breath of life rendered man an animated being, and the vivifying Spirit caused him to become spiritual Sunday, Aug 23 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonAs the flesh is capable of corruption, so is it also of incorruption; and as it is of death, so is it also of life.

These two do mutually give way to each other; and both cannot remain in the same place.

One is driven out by the other, and the presence of the one destroys that of the other.

When death takes possession of a man, it drives life away from him, and proves him to be dead.

Much more, then, does life, when it has obtained power over the man, drive out death, and restore him as living unto God.

For if death brings mortality, why should not life, when it comes, vivify man?

Just as Isaiah the prophet says, “Death devoured when it had prevailed” (Isaiah 25:8 LXX). And again, “God has wiped away every tear from every face.”

Thus that former life is expelled, because it was not given by the Spirit, but by the breath.

For the breath of life, which also rendered man an animated being, is one thing, and the vivifying Spirit another, which also caused him to become spiritual.

And for this reason Isaiah said, “Thus saith the Lord, who made heaven and established it, who founded the earth and the things therein, and gave breath to the people upon it, and Spirit to those walking upon it” (Isaiah 42:5).

Isaiah tells us that breath is indeed given in common to all people upon earth, but that the Spirit is theirs alone who tread down earthly desires.

And therefore Isaiah himself, distinguishing the things already mentioned, again exclaims, “For the Spirit shall go forth from Me, and I have made every breath” (Isaiah 57:16).

Thus does he attribute the Spirit as peculiar to God which in the last times He pours forth upon the human race by the adoption of sons; but he shows that breath was common throughout the creation, and points it out as something created.

Now what has been made is a different thing from him who makes it. The breath, then, is temporal, but the Spirit eternal.

The breath, too, increases in strength for a short period, and continues for a certain time; after that it takes its departure, leaving its former abode destitute of breath. But when the Spirit pervades the man within and without, inasmuch as it continues there, it never leaves him.

“But that is not first which is spiritual,” says the apostle, speaking this as if with reference to us human beings; “but that is first which is animal, afterwards that which is spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:46).

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses 5,12,1-2 (slightly adapted).

Irenaeus of Lyons: “Those who do understand shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and many of the righteous as the stars forever and ever” Wednesday, Jul 29 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonIf anyone reads the Scriptures with attention, he will find in them an account of Christ, and a foreshadowing of the new calling.

For Christ is the treasure which was hid in the field (Matt. 13:44), that is, in this world – for “the field is the world” (Matt. 13:38).

But the treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ, since He was pointed out by means of types and parables.

Hence His human nature could not be understood, prior to the consummation of those things which had been predicted, that is, the advent of Christ.

And therefore it was said to Daniel the prophet:

“Shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of consummation, until many learn, and knowledge be completed. For at that time, when the dispersion shall be accomplished, they shall know all these things” (Dan. 12:4, 7).

Jeremiah also says, “In the last days they shall understand these things” (Jer. 23:20).

For every prophecy, before its fulfilment, is to men full of enigmas and ambiguities. But when the time has arrived, and the prediction has come to pass, then the prophecies have a clear and certain exposition.

[…] When…the law is read to the Jews, it is like a fable; for they do not possess the explanation of all things pertaining to the advent of the Son of God, which took place in human nature.

But when it is read by the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field, but brought to light by the Cross of Christ, and explained.

It enriches the understanding of men, showing forth the wisdom of God and declaring His dispensations with regard to man.

It forms the kingdom of Christ beforehand, preaching by anticipation the inheritance of the holy Jerusalem,

It proclaims beforehand that the man who loves God shall arrive at such excellency as even to see God, and hear His word, and from the hearing of His discourse be glorified to such an extent, that others cannot behold the glory of his countenance, as was said by Daniel:

“Those who do understand, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and many of the righteous as the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

Thus, then, I have shown it to be, if any one read the Scriptures.

For thus it was that the Lord discoursed with the disciples after His resurrection from the dead, proving to them from the Scriptures themselves “that Christ must suffer, and enter into His glory, and that remission of sins should be preached in His name throughout all the world” (Luke 24: 26, 47).

And the disciple will be perfected, and rendered like the householder, “who bringeth forth from his treasure things new and old” (Matt. 13:52).

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses 4,26,1 (slightly adapted)

Irenaeus of Lyons: God is glorified by His Word who is His Son continually, and by the Holy Spirit who is the Wisdom of the Father of all Friday, Jul 17 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonBy the Spirit the Father is called Most High and Almighty and Lord of hosts; that we may learn concerning God that He it is who is creator of heaven and earth and all the world, and maker of angels and men, and Lord of all, through whom all things exist and by whom all things are sustained; merciful, compassionate and very tender, good, just.

[…] Now this world is encompassed by seven heavens, in which dwell powers and angels and archangels, doing service to God, the Almighty and Maker of all things: not as though He was in need, but that they may not be idle and unprofitable and ineffectual.

Wherefore also the Spirit of God is manifold in (His) indwelling, and in seven forms of service is He reckoned by the prophet Isaiah, as resting on the Son of God, that is the Word, in His coming as man.

The Spirit of God, he says, shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, (the Spirit of knowledge) and of godliness; the Spirit of the fear of God shall fill him (Isaiah 11:2f).

Now the heaven which is first from above, and encompasses the rest, is (that of) wisdom; and the second from it, of understanding; and the third, of counsel; and the fourth, reckoned from above, (is that) of might; and the fifth, of knowledge; and the sixth, of godliness; and the seventh, this firmament of ours, is full of the fear of that Spirit which gives light to the heavens.

For, as the pattern (of this), Moses received the seven-branched candlestick, that shined continually in the holy place; for as a pattern of the heavens he received this service, according to that which the Word spake unto him: Thou shalt make (it) according to all the pattern of the things which thou hast seen in the mount (Exodus 25:40).

Now this God is glorified by His Word who is His Son continually, and by the Holy Spirit who is the Wisdom of the Father of all: and the power(s) of these, (namely) of the Word and Wisdom, which are called Cherubim and Seraphim, with unceasing voices glorify God; and every created thing that is in the heavens offers glory to God the Father of all (cf. Rev. 5:13).

He by His Word has created the whole world, and in the world are the angels; and to all the world He has given laws wherein each several thing should abide, and according to that which is determined by God should not pass their bounds, each fulfilling his appointed task.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 8-10.

Irenaeus of Lyons: God the Father bestows on us regeneration through His Son by the Holy Spirit Sunday, Jun 28 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonWell does Paul say: One God, the Father, who is over all and through all and in us all (Eph. 4:6).

For over all is the Father; and through all is the Son, for through Him all things were made by the Father; and in us all is the Spirit, who cries Abba Father (cf. Gal. 4:6), and fashions man into the likeness of God.

Now the Spirit shows forth the Word, and therefore the prophets announced the Son of God; and the Word utters the Spirit, and therefore is Himself the announcer of the prophets, and leads and draws man to the Father.

This then is the order of the rule of our faith, and the foundation of the building, and the stability of our conversation: God, the Father, not made, not material, invisible; one God, the creator of all things: this is the first point of our faith.

The second point is: The Word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the dispensation of the Father:

through whom all things were made; who also at the end of the times, to complete and gather up all things, was made man among men, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and show forth life and produce a community of union between God and man.

And the third point is: The Holy Spirit, through whom the prophets prophesied, and the fathers learned the things of God, and the righteous were led forth into the way of righteousness; and who in the end of the times was poured out in a new way upon mankind in all the earth, renewing man unto God.

And for this reason the baptism of our regeneration proceeds through these three points: God the Father bestowing on us regeneration through His Son by the Holy Spirit. For as many as carry (in them) the Spirit of God are led to the Word, that is to the Son; and the Son brings them to the Father; and the Father causes them to possess incorruption.

Without the Spirit it is not possible to behold the Word of God, nor without the Son can any draw near to the Father: for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of the Son of God is through the Holy Spirit; and, according to the good pleasure of the Father, the Son ministers and dispenses the Spirit to whomsoever the Father wills and as He wills.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 5-7.

Irenaeus of Lyons: “Over all” is the Father, and “through all” is the Son, and “in us all” is the Spirit Friday, Jun 12 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonWe have received baptism for the remission of sins, in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate and died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit of God.

And this baptism is the seal of eternal life, and is the new birth unto God, that we should no longer be the sons of mortal men, but of the eternal and perpetual God; and that what is everlasting and continuing is made God.

[…] It is necessary that things that are made should have the beginning of their making from some great cause; and the beginning of all things is God. For He Himself was not made by any, and by Him all things were made.

And therefore it is right first of all to believe that there is One God, the Father, who made and fashioned all things, and made what was not that it should be, and who, containing all things, alone is uncontained.

Now among all things is this world of ours, and in the world is man: so then this world also was formed by God.

Thus then there is shown forth  One God, the Father, not made, invisible, creator of all things; above whom there is no other God, and after whom there is no other God (cf. Isaiah 43:10).

And, since God is rational, therefore by (the) Word He created the things that were made; and God is Spirit, and by (the) Spirit He adorned all things: as also the prophet says: By the word of the Lord were the heavens established, and by his spirit all their power Psalm 32/33:6).

Since then the Word establishes, that is to say, gives body and grants the reality of being, and the Spirit gives order and form to the diversity of the powers; rightly and fittingly is the Word called the Son, and the Spirit the Wisdom of God. 

Well also does Paul His apostle say: One God, the Father, who is over all and through all and in us all (Eph. 4:6).

For over all is the Father; and through all is the Son, for through Him all things were made by the Father; and in us all is the Spirit, who cries Abba Father (cf. Gal. 4:6), and fashions man into the likeness of God.

Now the Spirit shows forth the Word, and therefore the prophets announced the Son of God; and the Word utters the Spirit, and therefore is Himself the announcer of the prophets, and leads and draws man to the Father.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 3-5.

Irenaeus of Lyons: “Death is swallowed up in victory” Thursday, Apr 16 2015 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonSt Paul says “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

“So, when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:53).

Now these words shall be appropriately said at the time when this mortal and corruptible flesh, which is subject to death, which also is pressed down by a certain dominion of death, rising up into life, shall put on incorruption and immortality.

For then, indeed, shall death be truly vanquished, when that flesh which is held down by it shall go forth from under its dominion.

And again, to the Philippians Paul says: “But our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, who shall transfigure the body of our humiliation conformable to the body of His glory, even as He is able according to the working of His own power” (Phil. 3:29f).

[…] While this “body of humiliation” is mortal and corruptible, it becomes immortal and incorruptible, not after its own proper substance, but after the mighty working of the Lord, who is able to invest the mortal with immortality, and the corruptible with incorruption.

And therefore he says “that mortality may be swallowed up of life. He who has perfected us for this very thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:4).

[…] What is mortal shall be swallowed up of life, when the flesh is dead no longer, but remains living and incorruptible, hymning the praises of God, who has perfected us for this very thing.

In order, therefore, that we may be perfected for this, aptly does he say to the Corinthians, “Glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).

[…] And again, “Always bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus Christ might be manifested in our body. For if we who live are delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, it is that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:10f).

And that the Spirit lays hold on the flesh, he says in the same Epistle, “That ye are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, inscribed not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3).

If, therefore, in the present time, fleshly hearts are made partakers of the Spirit, what is there astonishing if, in the resurrection, they receive that life which is granted by the Spirit?

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses 5,13,3-4.

 

Irenaeus of Lyons: The Spirit Accomplished the Father’s Will in Men who had Grown Old in Sin Friday, Jun 13 2014 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonWhen the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.

He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy.

So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation.

The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.

Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant.

So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first-fruits of all the nations.

This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God.

Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of broad, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven.

And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above.

Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to his Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to his own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.

If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an advocate as well.

And so the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having himself bound up his wounds…, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses 3,17,1-3 @ Crossroads Initiative.

 

Irenaeus of Lyons: The Eucharist – Life, Immortality, Incorruption, Resurrection to the Glory of God Wednesday, Oct 23 2013 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonThe mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist becomes the body of Christ, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported.

So how can anyone affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which flesh is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him?

St Paul declares, “we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30). He does not speak these words of some spiritual and invisible man, for a spirit has not bones nor flesh (Luke 24:39).

Rather, he refers to that dispensation by which the Lord became an actual man, consisting of flesh, and nerves, and bones—that flesh which is nourished by the cup which is His blood, and receives increase from the bread which is His body.

A cutting from the vine planted in the ground fructifies in its season; a corn of wheat falling into the earth and becoming decomposed, rises with manifold increase by the Spirit of God, who contains all things.

Then, through the wisdom of God, it serves for the use of men, and having received the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ.

So also our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth, and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time, the Word of God granting them resurrection to the glory of God, even the Father, who freely gives to this mortal immortality, and to this corruptible incorruption (1 Cor. 15:53).

For the strength of God is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:3), in order that we may never become puffed up, as if we had life from ourselves, and exalted against God, our minds becoming ungrateful;

that, learning by experience, we might possess eternal duration from the excelling power of this Being, not from our own nature;

that we may neither undervalue that glory which surrounds God as He is, nor be ignorant of our own nature;

that we may know what God can effect, and what benefits man receives, and thus never wander from the true comprehension of things as they are, that is, both with regard to God and with regard to man.

And might it not be the case, perhaps, as I have already observed, that for this purpose God permitted our resolution into the common dust of mortality, that we, being instructed by every mode, may be accurate in all things for the future, being ignorant neither of God nor of ourselves?

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses, 5, 2, 3.

Irenaeus of Lyons: Christ Graciously Poured Himself Out, that He Might Gather Us Into the Bosom of the Father Tuesday, Sep 10 2013 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonNor did Christ truly redeem us by His own blood except by really becoming man, restoring to His own handiwork what was said of it in the beginning—that man was made after the image and likeness of God.

He did not not snatch away by stratagem the property of another, but took possession of His own in a righteous and gracious manner.

As far as concerned the apostasy, indeed, He redeems us righteously from it by His own blood; but as regards us who have been redeemed, He does this graciously.

For we have given nothing to Him previously, nor does He desire anything from us, as if He stood in need of it; but we do stand in need of fellowship with Him.

And for this reason it was that He graciously poured Himself out, that He might gather us into the bosom of the Father.

But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption.

But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body (1 Cor. 10:16).

For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own blood he redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins” (Col. 1:14).

And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills (Matt. 5:45).

He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.

The mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist becomes the body of Christ, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported.

So how can anyone affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which flesh is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him? As St Paul declares…:“we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30).

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses, 5, 2, 1-3.

Irenaeus of Lyons: Christ the New Adam, Re-Created after the Image and Likeness of God Wednesday, Aug 7 2013 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonVain indeed are those who allege that He appeared in mere seeming. For these things were not done in appearance only, but in actual reality.

[…] And I have proved already, that it is the same thing to say that He appeared merely to outward seeming, and to affirm that He received nothing from Mary.

For He would not have been one truly possessing flesh and blood, by which He redeemed us, unless He had summed up in Himself the ancient formation of Adam.

Vain therefore are the disciples of Valentinus who put forth this opinion, in order that they may exclude the flesh from salvation, and cast aside what God has fashioned.

Vain also are the Ebionites, who do not receive by faith into their soul the union of God and man, but who remain in the old leaven of the natural birth.

They do not choose to understand that the Holy Ghost came upon Mary, and that the power of the Most High did overshadow her.

For this reason what was generated is a holy thing, and the Son of the Most High God the Father of all, who effected the incarnation of this being, showed forth a new kind of generation.

This happened so that, as by the former generation we inherited death, so by this new generation we might inherit life.

Therefore do these men reject the commixture of the heavenly wine, and wish it to be water of the world only. They do not receive God so as to have union with Him, but they remain in that Adam who had been conquered and was expelled from Paradise.

Yet, at the beginning of our formation in Adam, that breath of life which proceeded from God, having been united to what had been fashioned, animated the man, and manifested him as a being endowed with reason.

So also, in the times of the end, the Word of the Father and the Spirit of God, having become united with the ancient substance of Adam’s formation, rendered man living and perfect, receptive of the perfect Father, in order that as in the natural Adam we all were dead, so in the spiritual we may all be made alive.

For never at any time did Adam escape the hands of God, to whom the Father speaking, said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.”

And for this reason in the last times, not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by the good pleasure of the Father, His hands formed a living man, in order that Adam might be created again after the image and likeness of God.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Adversus Haereses, 5, 1, 2-3.

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