July 6th, 1983, Serial No. 00395

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Monastic Theology Series Set 1 of 3




So, continuing with Irenaeus, I continue to think we're going to get, we're going to finish in one period and then it kind of opens up and spreads, but we'll try to move kind of swiftly. The difficulty is, you see, you can't do two things at the same time. You can't get deeply into any of the texts and at the same time move fast. So we tend to get mired down in one text because there's a whole lot of depth there. And you have to work with them a while before you see what's in them. If you go over them quickly, you hardly get anything at all. You just get, you can get snagged on a particular point and then you go back and find out that there's much more there than you thought. So the rhythm of understanding this kind of material is not a quick rhythm. It's a slow rhythm and therefore it's hard to correspond, to conform to that rhythm and at the same time to move at any speed. So we find that a lot of our progress in this kind of material is not horizontal, it's vertical.


The fact is that as we go along, we may not sort of get an idea of the external shape of this thing, or we may not get all of the ideas, but we find that we're entering more deeply into the way of thinking. And I think that's more important because that gives you the taste for it and then when you come back, well first of all you have the reason to come back to it, and then you have a better standard, or you have a better sense of what you're looking for, if you get into the depth of a few texts. As it is, we have to touch a number of them, so that's why this kind of, the way it mushrooms. Now today I wanted to finish with Book Four and to begin Book Five, and the theme that I'd like to keep bringing up is this theology of the earth, which I think is a real axis in Irenaeus. Theology of the earth, and the earth is, after all, that out of which man is made. The earth is also that which furnishes the body of Christ.


The earth is that which furnishes the elements for the Eucharist, and the earth finally is the core of the new creation, according to Irenaeus at the end of Book Five, what he ends up with is trying to convince you that there is a new earth at the end. Now this is something that's very alien to modern thinking, at least to Christian theology of the last few centuries, and I have a feeling that if we get a hold of it, we'll find that a lot of other things fit together. If you look at the New Testament, you'll find that the earth and the body are very central. There's a book on St. Paul, about the body in St. Paul by an Anglican, which is pretty good. It's the first one I've done that's pulled all that together, I think it's Robinson. And then there's another book by Father Bagagini called The Flesh, the Hinge of Salvation, which is a translation of Tertullian, caro cardo salutis, the flesh is the hinge of salvation,


literally. It's that which salvation turns around, and that's really faithful, I believe, to the thought of St. Paul, especially St. Paul, but also John, as we'll see. So there's reason for going into that. Now, Irenaeus has other reasons for pressing on that, doesn't he? Because the Gnostics, the Valentinians, are precisely the people who wanted a Christianity without the body, without the flesh, without the earth. They wanted to do it along the line of the mind and the spirit, purely. So they simply amputated that element, and thought that they could do that and still have the core. But when you amputate that, you amputate the heart of Christianity, and that's what Irenaeus is trying to prove. References on this. The best thing that I know of on this theology of the earth is by Olivier Clément, called The Meaning of the Earth. Unfortunately, it's in French. It was a brilliant thing. He draws a lot... He doesn't quote much of Irenaeus, and I think he probably wasn't very familiar with Irenaeus. He quotes people like Maximus the Confessor, and then the Russians of the 19th century,


who recover, as I said, the earth, once again, for Christian theology. About Paul and John and the centrality of the body, the flesh, the earth, the incarnation, let me just refer you to two passages. One is a long passage. It's Romans 5 through Romans 8. In Romans 5, Paul is talking about the two atoms, remember? Now, implicit in that is the fact that there is a transmission, that there's a transmission of sin and there's some kind of transmission of grace. Because when he talks about two atoms, he's talking about the whole human race. And remember that atom, the word adam, adamah, in Hebrew, means earth and it means man at the same time. So there's an identity there right at the start. And you remember that molding out of the earth in Genesis. Well, Paul picks that up and he doesn't analyze it all. He doesn't set it all out there for you. But he points out, and Irenaeus picks this up, and it's kind of the pivot of his theology.


The correspondence between Adam and Christ, the correspondence between Eve and Mary, and the old earth and the new earth and the whole thing, it pivots around that. Well, Adam is the physical ancestor of all humanity. So his life and his act is transmitted to us. That's what lies behind this whole scheme of St. Paul. And similarly, the grace of Christ is transmitted to us, but through baptism. And this is physical. Both the generation, the transmission of humanity and of sin, too, by Adam, is physical. Bodily generation, at least this is a theory. And the transmission of grace by Jesus is through baptism, which comes out in Romans 6. And that, too, is a physical, sacramental act. So, I'm not going to go into this in detail because it would take too long. Romans 7, you've got that war between the flesh and the spirit, which is like the war


between the old and the new. It's the war almost between the kind of weight that was put into us by the sin of Adam, put into our flesh by the sin of Adam, which turns the flesh into something it wasn't supposed to be, turns it into a force which in some way is contrary to God's Spirit. The war between that and the Spirit that Christ brings us through baptism. Then, in Romans 8, the thing emerges. It comes out and sort of fills the whole creation. Remember, Romans 8 is where he says, first of all, this victory of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death, which was the law of the flesh. So, we're continually moving around this center of the flesh, the body, and implicitly the earth. Now, the earth thing comes out again in Romans 8 because it expands into the whole cosmic context. And this is an astonishing thing, the way this leaps out in St. Paul. He doesn't talk about it much elsewhere. He doesn't talk about it in exactly the way he talks about it here.


First of all, if the Spirit of God dwells in you, then God's going to raise your body up too, just like he raised up Christ. But secondly, this is verses 18 and the following. I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that's to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. The creation for him... The image of creation is the image of earth, first of all. It's the creation that we live in. It's the creation that we walk around on and touch and are nourished by. Not of its own will, but by the will of him who subjected it in hope. Because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay, to death. So, it's mortality, so it's once again mortal, earthly life. Obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been growing in travail together until now, bringing forth. Not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit in our bodies.


Grown inwardly as we wait for adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies. So, somehow the whole thing turns around the redemption of the body. Turns around the resurrection of the body. And even the liberation of the creation, which can be none other in some way than the transformation of the earth, the transformation of the creation. How else can it be liberated? Because it's so permeated by this futility, this mortality that he talks about. So, it really is a pivot in St. Paul when he's talking about salvation. In John, I'll just point out the notion, the word logos in John, and how it operates in his prologue. First of all, in the logos, in the word, all things are created. Now, when he says all things are created, the things that are important for us are the things that we can see. And, of course, man was created in the logos, but also the earth. In other words, our world was created in the logos, the visible universe, the habitable universe. And then, the word became flesh.


In other words, the word became earth. So, there's a cosmology, a new one, that turns around that logos and its incarnation, flesh with man. You can see how everything pivots around Christ, everything pivots around the human person, man, because the word became flesh, and that's where everything turns around. St. Paul says in Romans that the creation waits for the redemption of our bodies. And then, everything pivots around the earth in some way. That's a thing we're not familiar with. See, we're so Cartesian in a way. We're minds looking at bodies, that's what we are. But that's not the way it was for Paul and John and their names. There's a Roman prophet, there's a man named John, and he barely started to read the Bible, because he had to accomplish his work. They prepared him, and he read it. And he sent our friend down. Yes. Who was it, Bellamy?


Bellamy, the Danish prophet. OK. ... There's a revolution that waits for us when we find this point. It's got a lot to do with the kind of freedom and confidence and wholeness of the Fathers in this particular point. But what I want to do is try to follow it and erroneous just in this last book of his practically speaking. Now, what about the Valentinians, what about the Gnostics? What's the fate of the... What's the origin of the earth? Talk just about the earth to be specific, OK? Because the body goes along with it. The physical body. The origin of the earth, the value of the earth, and the destiny, the final end of the earth. But then, what is it? You can find it pretty easily from Oerster's collection here. First of all, he summarizes it himself


and then he gives Irenaeus' version of the Valentinian doctrine. This is on page 125, his own summary. First of all, there are three classes of men, three classes of human beings. All men share in flesh and dust. Many have in addition souls from the demi-earth, but not many have a spiritual part as well. And that's all that gets back into God, into the firmament, is that spiritual part. Matter and flesh perish by nature. For, in the last analysis, they derive from passion and it must disappear. You see, there's a kind of existential thing behind this Gnostic doctrine. They're writing from their experience. And yet, writing from experience in that way is not sufficient without the Word of God, because otherwise you fall into a trap of not even knowing one's soul. We are not what we feel that we are. That which is spiritual cannot perish, for as the saying goes, it is delivered by nature


and destined for entry into the firmament. And then the psychic is in between and has free will, he can go either way. At the end, the visible world is consumed by the fire of ignorance and simultaneously with the fire, fire of ignorance, by the fire of entropy. Then Irenaeus' account. I won't read it to you because it simply says the same thing in more differentiated terms. There's only one thing I wanted to read and that is at the end of this account of the creation of earth, remember it comes from passion, it comes from kind of the mistakes and the imperfection, the impurity of this Sophia in Acoma. It's a kind of slip, the result of a slip in creation. Whereas, look at the positivity, the optimism of Irenaeus, that God wanted to make it. He made it the way he wanted it, he had his hands on it, but every moment he still does. He never gets out of his control. And he makes fun of the kind of negligent or careless


or powerless creating agencies that make things not so well. But you do have to explain the defects of nature and the whole problem of ego and so on. Where is it? Now here it is. Just as it is impossible that the coet, that is the earthly, should participate in salvation, since, they say, it is incapable of receiving it, so again it is impossible that the spiritual, and by that they mean themselves, should succumb to decay, regardless of what kind of actions it performs. That's a pretty good joint quote, it sounds like. Just as gold when placed in mud, remember we found that image before, first we picked it out as kind of a summary, an epitome of the whole of the Gnostic attitude, the image of the gold in the mud. Now I haven't found it before, but here it is Irenaeus quoting the Valentinians. Now this is significant because of what Irenaeus does later


with those same two images. Just as gold when placed in mud does not lose its beauty, but retains its own nature, since the mud is unable to harm the gold. So they say that they themselves are spiritual, cannot suffer any injury or lose their spiritual substance, whatever material actions they may engage in. The other side of that, of course, is that the gold is the inner man, the spiritual man, which is to be taken out, rescued from the mud of earthly existence, and then brought back into God, brought back into the plural. Now we find the same images moving around in Irenaeus, but how does it work with Irenaeus? God makes gold out of the mud. He takes the mud and he transforms it. In some places he talks about his clothing it, or coating it. We're going to see that. But he forms the very mud into his image and likeness. And that's the magnificent power of Irenaeus' thought, that it goes right down and picks up everything. Nothing is left out of God's hands. Because he made it all, he's got it in his


hands, and then he makes of it what he wants to make of it, eventually. So, that earth, see it in the Valentinians. The earth, and then what Irenaeus is going to do with it. Until finally he has this culmination of the new earth, in those exultant last few chapters of Book 5. The anthropology of Valentinus and Irenaeus. The Valentinians believe that there are three classes of men, as we've seen. The pneumaticoi, the psychicoi, and the helicoi, or helicoi. The spiritual, the psychic, and the material. The spiritual were always that way. And somehow they get into bodies, but eventually they're going back where they come from, going back to the firm. They can't be lost. The purely earthly men can't be saved. They're going to end up in that fire. The ones in the middle seem to have trouble with those. He has to invent a kind of limbo for them.


I forget what you call it. But there seems to be some indecisiveness about their final destination, the psychicoi. They can be saved, but it's a kind of an inferior salvation. Okay. Let's go to some of his texts now. Let's finish up the texts of Book 4 that we wanted to look at. Book 4, Chapter 38. This is on page 5. 521 and 522. And you remember we began, we started getting into Irenaeus' argument here.


The idea is you have to be patient and you have to follow God's program, not your own. So if you want to be perfect from the outset and sort of spin reality out of your own mind, and even spin God out of your own imagination, your own mind, okay, but it's not real. We have to be willing to be less than God's at first and then finally to be fashioned into God's. That's what he's saying here. And then he gets rather concrete about it. These are very rich chapters, the last couple of chapters of this Book 4. You find that Irenaeus tends to get really eloquent at the beginning and at the end of a section, either of a book or one of the sections of his work. The question, if anyone say what then? Could not God have exhibited man as perfect from the beginning? He goes into a kind of logical thing. These arguments really are not what we would call absolute arguments.


They're relative arguments. They presuppose some kind of understanding. And one of the big things is, whether you consider Irenaeus to be a lawyer or a poet, a lot of people write as if he spends innumerable pages proving one little point which is obvious from the first argument. That's to consider Irenaeus as a lawyer. Where he's just using these things as flat proofs. But that's to impose a later theology upon Irenaeus, the kind of positive scholastic theology. Where you simply use scripture to prove something. But Irenaeus is using it to prove something, but he's doing a lot else meanwhile. Meanwhile he's building this enormous beautiful structure of theology. I shouldn't say it that way. But he's doing something else. The argumentative thing is kind of one level, and it's a kind of external cloak for what's really going on. And what's really going on is initiating you into the beauty of God's mystery, of the mystery of Christ. And so he's much more a poet than he is a lawyer. But see, part of this is for the people outside. For the Gnostics,


in a way, he's using these legal arguments, or these logical arguments. And for the people inside, he's reawakening the joy and the thrill of Christianity, the beauty of it. But at the same time, I think he's trying to win over those Gnostics by showing them that this is really something much superior to the thing that they've known. I was reminded of this when I saw somebody who outlined the whole thing, the whole of Book 5. And he outlines it in this way. Chapters 1 to 14, he's proving A. And in Chapter 15 to 24, he's proving B. And in the rest of the book, he's proving C. Which may be true, but it doesn't say anything about what he's really doing, what he's really saying, about what really makes his theology valuable for us. And the Fathers are like they don't separate their kind of scientific work, or their logic, or their argumentation, from the whole depth and fullness of it. From the poetry realm.


Or the Gnostics. Okay, now he goes on to similarly here, he doesn't just put out the logical argument, but he makes it very concrete. He doesn't say he makes it poetic, but It was possible for God himself to have made man perfect from the first, but man could not receive his perfection, being as yet an infant. Well, that sounds kind of funny, because if God was that powerful, then he could have made him differently, too. I mean, he didn't have to make him an infant, did he? So the logic here is always a kind of relative logic. We have to bear with him, you know, we have to sort of admit his presuppositions, and then listen to him carefully. For this cause our Lord, in these last times when he had summed up all things unto himself, recapitulation, came to us not as he might have come, but as we were capable of beholding him. He might easily have come to us in his immortal glory, but in that case we should never have endured the greatness of the glory. Now here, for the first time in these texts we've been reading, we come across this word which is bastadzein in the Greek,


and here it's endured, and the Latin translation is usually portare, to carry, to bear. Now this is going to come up in a very important way in the next book, in this book five. And it has a bunch of different meanings, and Irenaeus plays between the different meanings. It means to carry a load. It means to endure. It also means, just as our word bear, to bring to birth. So, we'll see how this develops later on. But he applies it to the Virgin Mary, bearing the word herself, you see. He applies it to the creation, bearing the word when it comes into it, and that puzzles us. And here he applies it to man bearing the weight of God, bearing the weight of God's glory. Do you remember in 2 Corinthians where Saint Paul talks about the weight of glory? Because it passes very parallel to what we read in Romans 8, where he says this momentary affliction earns for us a great weight of glory.


That's a Hebrew notion, that glory is weight, glory is heavy. And I think that's in Irenaeus' mind here, he talks about bearing the glory of God, bearing the spirit of God. That's something important, we'll have to try to see what he's saying right away. Okay, here he couldn't endure the glory. Therefore it was that he who was the perfect bread of the Father offered himself to us as milk. Now here there's a playing between the notions of bread and milk and the notion of the word and the spirit. And we find that he's not consistent with himself all the time. Let's go through it and then come back. He's the Logos, the perfect bread of the Father. He offered himself to us as milk because we were infants, when he appeared as a man. So the word made flesh is like the milk, and the breast is his humanity, is the human Christ. So we might become accustomed, that's another important word there, this whole thing of habituation, to be trained.


To be educated is to be habituated to bear something. See the education and the learning, the enlightenment and the strengthening go along together with Irenaeus. And remember how the vision is the ultimate goal. That is to be able to see God. Now that's the enlightenment, but along with it goes being strengthened, being habituated to bear the weight of God, you see. You only see him when somehow you can bear the weight of God's glory. The vision of God's glory and the weight of God's glory. And we do that somehow by bearing the imprint of his hands here in this life. By bearing the training, the discipline. I call it the cross, because this comes out in the other book. So you see how many sides there are to that word. To eat and drink the word of God. Now that's through the humanity of Jesus. May be able also to contain in ourselves the bread of immortality. Fine, we expect the logos. And then he says, which is the spirit of the Father. So first he called Jesus the perfect bread of the Father,


and then he calls the bread of immortality the spirit of the Father. On one level it can be a problem, on another level it's not a problem. If we try to assign these different queer roles to the different persons of the Trinity, then it's a problem. If we're talking about levels where the person gradually is filled with the spirit until it can bear the fullness of the spirit, which is the same as the fullness of the logos, without that mediation of the flesh. You can see. Because of your infirmity, the spirit of the Father has not yet rested upon you. Now here's another paradox, another fluctuation in Irenaeus, because you remember before where he said, the spirit leads you to the Son, and then the Son leads you to the Father. And here he's saying that the Son enables you to receive the spirit, the Son enables you to bear the weight of the spirit. So if we try to find a real consistency there, we get very frustrated.


I'm skipping through here, up on the top of the right-hand column. And here is coming from that verse of St. Paul, I've fed you with milk, not with meat. Those upon whom the Apostles laid hands received the Holy Spirit, who was the food of life, but they were not capable of receiving it because they had the sentient faculties of the soul still feel. It sounds like John of the Cross to part of the passive purification is to make those accommodate, strengthen those senses, sentient faculties, so they can bear God, bear the spirit. And undisciplined in the practice of things pertaining to God. Okay, then there's a number three there, there's a long passage and very rich passage which we'd better not get into because it's too complicated. In the translation, a lot of these things kind of drift together and don't make much sense. You get the notion


of this Here's the participation of the three persons down to the bottom of 521 and then going over nicely Man, a created and organized being that's a formed being that's a Pet plasmenos, remember that word plasmon, it means moulded in the hands. A created and moulded being is rendered after the image and likeness of the uncreated God. He insists on that image and brings it back again again. The father planning everything well and giving his commands. The son carrying these into execution and performing the work of creating. And the spirit nourishing and increasing. But man making progress day by day. Notice you've got four terms there. The father, the son the spirit, the man. That's where Irenaeus' Quaternity comes out again. You know that Gnostics liked those Quaternities, those fourfold systems. He reflects a lot of, the more you read the Valentinians


and so on, the more you see reflections of them in Irenaeus. Man making progress day by day and ascending towards the perfect that is approximated to the uncreated one. Now here's that kind of paradox that comes out in Irenaeus again and again. The notion of recapitulation is to go back to the beginning. Man starts out by, he starts at the end and he ends at the beginning, you see. He starts out by being, as it were, the last of beings for Irenaeus. The created being. The created being. At the end of God's arm as it were, at the end of God's work. And the whole of his movement forward, the whole of his progress is a progress towards the beginning. Towards the beginning. And there of course is this magic not magic, but this kind of metaphysics, this power of the Logos. When you find the Logos you're back at the beginning and there all things are made anew with the full power of existence in them. You see, you're back at the creative beginning of things. But for Irenaeus


he's found a way not to make that a simple return. When you put a heavy sin trip, you see, on history what you do is you make it just a return. But Irenaeus has found a way to keep it moving forward, even though it's a movement back to the beginning. Because he's got that sense of the Logos, that sense of the Word. It's a recapitulation of that. Moving forward to the beginning. Then he's got these different stages, and I'm mystified by these. I looked up the original, and it simply makes it more mysterious. There are seven stages there. It was necessary that man should in the first instance be created. Having been created should receive growth. Having received growth should be strengthened. But actually in the Greek it says I think andrestha or something like that. It means he becomes a man. And then the next one is having been strengthened should abound. But that's not abound, that's multiply. So man is to reach maturity, and then in some way he's to multiply himself, he's to reproduce himself. Now, I don't know


what he's talking about here. Which level he's talking about. Whether he's talking about the whole human race, whether he's talking about the incarnation, and then somehow man becoming himself as the Word becomes flesh. And then Jesus multiplying somehow, that like. I'm not sure which level to interpret it on. Very simple, one interpretation would be to mature in Christ, to manifest oneself as Christ in the world in each situation. In the sense that we manifest ourselves as Christ in different situations. We're multiplying ourselves, but we're multiplying Christ. Well, that could be also. It seems like he's got something pretty specific in mind, because of the way he chooses these terms, and lines them up in an obvious sequence. But I'm not sure which level to interpret it on. And I haven't been able to get any help with it. The first level would just be to mature, to grow up and to multiply as God tells us to multiply. What's the sense of that?


Well, one level, of course, is the level of the whole race, the level of history. That is Adam. Yeah, that's right. Who is the next face? And somehow the next is recovery. Now, recovery is not that in the original. It's convalescere, I think, in the Latin, or something like that. Well, I think the French has strengthened anyway. So I'm not sure that that kind of convalescent recovery... I think it's the maturity. It is the question of maturity. Oh, it is definitely. And this maturity is particularly... This is the final strengthening to bear the glory of God, I think. I have the impression


that that's what it is. As I've seen the sequence here goes from strengthening to abounding and that abounding should recover from the disease. It's as if the pivot there is that abounding requires a recovery as if the greatest expansion at a certain point, perhaps a secular expansion, requires that kind of spiritual convalescence. I think so. I think the maturity part of it also... The Latin I have here is primo fiore fatum augere altum corroborare corroboratum multiplicare multiplicatum convalescere convalescentum glorificare


convalescentum. There's some kind of progression there that you created and then you grow and you mature and strengthen and you rise and strengthen and you should abound and that does the rest of the world and that abounding should recover from sin and be forgiven and then should be glorified on our journey to heaven and then the identification should be the Lord. That's certainly there. It's a question of which is on which level to catch the most precise core of the meaning and then the others derive from it. Where's the fall in that sequence? It's interesting. Unless you consider convalescere to be recover from the fall. The fact that the others have gone before really cancels that out. The fact that the abounding is before the convalescere doesn't seem to convince. Well,


the way... But it's not far back enough in the scheme. It says recover from the fall. Well, that's the translator. That's his guess, you see. And that's coming from the Latin. In the Greek they speculated that they got anescusanto, which simply means to become strong, as far as I know. Not to recover from illness. I think we have to leave it. But isn't he going back to the initial thought of the master in the initial situation as the innocent? He's not strong enough to receive it himself. And I think there is a polarity between man and female which doesn't do sign. I think both of these are going together. I don't know why India is so extreme in my own respect. It's very concentrated. You mustn't let any bit


of it go, because if you do then you don't get the force that you need. How does the male and female interaction work? It's a good way of saying it. It's a kind of secularization of the feminine and the sacral. I was basing that on the interpolation of the editor from the Disease of Sin because the fall is never mentioned in the whole. It's not quite even implied anywhere. All I can think of is the way I see our own human evolution and the way it grows up in everyday life is that there is just a constant maturation but somehow the fall is implicit in the maturation. I can guess at it this way, to paraphrase it that a person reaches a certain maturity he reaches a fullness of his nature and then he tends to spread out also in the secular way. The person tends to spread out on his own level as it were, but it's a very thin


spreading and therefore it requires somehow a whole confirmation of that expansion before it can really bear God. Something like that. And then, for God finally he's glorified, he should see his Lord. For God is he who is yet to be seen and the beholding of God is productive in immortality. Immortality renders one nigh unto God. Now that's a weak expression. In the Latin I've got proximum facet deo and in the Greek egus egus. I think it means similar to God. It's not a proximity physically so much as a similarity, I think. The similitude is made by the immortality, as it were. That's right. We shall be like him because we shall see him as he is. The vision and the similarity the oneness of nature. Now this comes out again


lower down in number four. First of all it's another orientation. And before that they even become men, they want to be even now like God their creator. He says, For we cast blame upon him because we have not yet been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods. Okay? And he says it. And that's what that close means. Nigh unto God. So it's much stronger when you translate God's own wisdom. Using that as a reference point, going back to the beginning, now the necessary branch is to be created. Not even created. Creation itself is the statement of his new creation, new creation. Similar to the tree and the seed. Man is the seed which needs to grow


and nourish and come to me in the light of God and happen to be the seed of the new tree. And then the bondage of a classic tree is created. And in that new creation the world is iconic. And the cycle continues. There's a mysterious point there. There's a lot of text there. There's a mysterious point in between the multiplication and the between the being mature and the multiplication. You can interpret it in another way. At a certain point, the word becomes flesh. Jesus, the image of God in human flesh comes. Now he is the man with a capital M. At a certain point, the whole race becomes adult because he is here. But then he has to multiply.


He multiplies himself by begetting all of the Christians. But then they have to be strengthened. They have to be strengthened by this nursing in order that they may bear the very glory of God. That's another way. See how many different levels there is. Should we recover? We recover when Jesus comes into the world. And then having recovered, he brings forgiveness, he brings love. Then we glorify or Christ is glorified in the world and we glorify Christ in the world with our lives. In this life and on in heaven. I suspect the reincarnation may be in the middle of it. Maranathus leaves it there. What does all of that mean in terms of purification? Like you said, bringing up the God of the world then once we're purified then we can be to our class. That's important but the Gnostics use the notion of purification


and he uses the notion of strengthening. The process for him looks like a strengthening process. Partly because he's fighting these other guys who are talking about purifying the way of the flesh and he doesn't want to say that. He has to be very careful not to leave it up for the reincarnation. Okay, and number four, down here we run into that word bear again. Since we could not he declares, I have said you are gods and you are sons of Elias, but since we could not sustain the power of divinity. Okay, that's the same word again. Now notice, could not sustain the power of divinity. We've been thinking of that power as coming outside ourselves. Not to be able to bear seeing God or bear the presence of God. But consider, this power is something that we are supposed to bear inside ourselves. Now this thing is pretty deep. In other words, we couldn't bear having that power of life in ourselves yet. Now this obviously involves a purification. Because he said that we are to be gods and therefore


we couldn't bear being gods. So we couldn't bear having that much power in ourselves. It's the power of life. That's right. He makes almost nothing of the fall of Adam actually. It becomes more important in Book 5 that we touch on that. We make that contrast today. But ordinarily, he passes it by very quickly as if we were created in an infantile state, which is equal to the state of sin. That's right. Creation to the individual, or in terms of an individual divine. That's right. OK. Now at the bottom of that left hand column, he repeats himself, he goes over and over


the sequence, where it was necessary at first that nature should be exhibited. See, nature has to know its own frailty, has to know what it is. There's a whole education process which consists in finding out what you are and finding out what God is. Nature should be exhibited and after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality. That's St. Paul's phrase. And the corruptible by incorruptibility, and it means a creation by God. And that man should be made after the image and likeness of God, having received the knowledge of good and evil, which is that business of nature being exhibited. OK. So knowing ourselves, we're able to know God. We don't mix ourselves up with God. Even though we're to be likened to man. Now notice what a strong sense he takes that image and likeness of God. God intends them to get it.


Uh It's very difficult to establish this on the face of God. That's a great paradox that he's running into with all our dreams that he seems to because he was set up from the beginning in antagonism to the Gnostics he dwells across this he necessarily feels that he should assert the probability of the Old Testament and the theology of the earth against the Gnostics and yet to do that he affirms the earth in this kind of maturation process but pretty much bypasses that very big Old Testament sense of all so it's like in order to oppose the Gnostics on both fields he more excites the affirmative and positive side of earth


and flesh without so much emphasis on the fallback of the Old Testament, even though generally the Old Testament seems like something less to affirm. The writings toward the 8000 it's the west with St. Augustine that seems to have taken another track taking a particular part of St. Paul Aaron Nance's preference for St. Paul is, I think, Ephesians and Colossians and particularly recapitulation comes out of Ephesians whereas the west has very often taken that part of Romans chapter 5 of Romans without going on to chapter 8 leaving us really in the red Oh yes, the body and flesh are two different things There's a question of a kind of in the west, I think a kind of interpretation of St. Paul


a line which runs through St. Augustine and then a kind of interpretation of St. Augustine and so it's a whole tendency in one direction and it's very difficult to pin it down as to where it comes from Yeah until you end up in Jansenism Adam is very rarely mentioned in the Old Testament And yet we as a culture really picked up that That was part of our teaching Ok, now chapter 39 this is I think the last chapter we'll take


in book 4 and it's Aaron Nance's thundering conclusion and his lesson about education Knowledge and experience of both sides The same question is still being responded to that is why couldn't man be made perfect from the beginning and the further part of Aaron Nance's explanation is this, well he had to learn what good and evil are from his own experience Now notice that this presupposes the fall and almost that the fall was an intended thing that man was part of the plan he doesn't say what could have been if man had not eaten from the tree even though he speaks definitely of the sin there's not a word on that book of disobeying Ok Man has received the knowledge of good and evil that's from eating that tree so as if he was supposed to and had to eat that tree he's not considering other hypothetical cases


It is good to obey God and to believe in him This is the life of man Not to obey God is evil and this is his death He's full of his lapidary That's right But this kind of knowledge could only happen through disobedience it seems The knowledge of evil could only happen through disobedience Since God therefore gave to man that is a mistake in the translation God gave to man such mental power That's not so God in his magnanimity in God's patience nothing there about man's mental power Man was to know both the good of obedience and the evil of disobedience God in his patience permitted him to taste both He gave him time to experience both So that the eye of the mind is in the experience of both and make choice for the better things And then the rest of that is explanation Wherefore he has had a twofold experience


possessing knowledge of both kinds If with discipline he may make choice of the better things But how, if he had no knowledge of the contrary, could he have had instruction in that which is good So that's his argument for the necessity or the usefulness of the sin Notice that this knowledge of good and evil is a knowledge of obedience and disobedience but also it turns out to be the knowledge of our humanity and its weakness, its fallibility its mortality and the knowledge of God's glory It's not exactly the same We have to be careful we don't put the moral judgment on the other mind Can I ask you a question? Could we share in the divine if God had never fallen? Well, Irenaeus doesn't contemplate that possibility It seems like he's already criticizing the question he made Adam received the knowledge


of good and evil and so if Adam had fallen we are able to know if Adam would have never done what he did That's what he seems to be saying He may somewhere in his work come around from the other side and say God might have done it this way but he doesn't do it here When he suggests it has to be this way it's always a relative thing Just as we found when he said that man couldn't bear the vision of God God could have made it so that he didn't It's always relative to this plan of God to what has happened He's very dedicated to reality He doesn't make many hypotheses What a possibility That's what deserves an explanation because that person in John's book makes this very strong We can't talk about something which is natural Yes Maybe I'll just put it in the background and say we can't know


We have been told Yes Yes And therefore we are so dedicated to history because history is what we have That's what it is Okay An educational version of your famous book That's right The idea is you taste disobedience and you throw it away because it tastes bad and you taste goodness you taste obedience and the truth of God and you hang on to it because it's good It's very very elementary Number two How then shall he be a God who has not yet been a man and made a man? How can he be perfect who is lately created? rhetorical questions


You have to be a man first and then you've got this marvelous passage where the basic image is talked about most clearly and fully the molding of the clay For you don't make God but God makes you Notice this making The creation of man is something that continues through the whole of time The creation did not stop We know that because it's implicit It's good to recall it We're still being created The creation is a process from the beginning to the end If then your God's workmanship await the hand of your maker which creates everything in due time Remember the hand of the maker is the two hands of the word and the spirit He's usually thinking of the word when he talks about the hand In due time, as far as you're concerned whose creation is being carried out Now I wanted to think a little bit at the end about Irenaeus' exegesis Because before you get very long, you find four senses of Holy Scripture, starting with Origen and I was wondering


where are they in Irenaeus? Is he just interested in the external? I think the answer is that in Irenaeus, those four senses of Scripture how many ever you want to postulate are all still together In other words, they're levels of one statement He's got a marvelous way of following the multi-level expression of the Word of God itself without analyzing and going off on the different facts Occasionally he will, he'll go off on the moral line or something But they're all packed together in one statement as right here. He gives you a truth which has these immediate moral applications, OK? He doesn't have to draw them out He puts the thing in front of you and he says, well look, it's like that And it includes all the moral and the mystical and the eschatological and the christological The whole thing is right there in one image We can see if we verify that as we go on Offer to him your heart in a soft and practical state He doesn't talk a whole lot about the heart He doesn't talk a lot about interior realities He does once in a while in critical passages And preserve the form


in which the Creator has fashioned you Having moisture in your soul And the moisture turns out to be the Holy Spirit Blessed by becoming hardened, you lose the impression of his fingers. Remember the hardening of the heart in the Old Testament He's very faithful to the medium of Scripture But by preserving Now, it's not framework, it's harmony Preserving the harmony You shall ascend to that which is perfect Now, what would that I think that's the imprint The harmony would be the imprint would be somehow the beauty that God puts into you with the pressure of his fingers You may not feel that You shall ascend to that which is perfect for the moist clay which is in you Actually, which is The translation is messed up here


For the moist clay which is you I'll just read it In keeping this form you will ascend to perfection For by the art of God the clay which is in you is going to be concealed It's not that it is concealed now You are the clay But by the art of God the clay in you is going to be covered over His hand has created your substance and it will clothe you with pure gold and with silver within and without Remind you of Saint John the Apostle He's got a lot of imagery And it will clothe you it will adorn you so well that the king himself will desire your beauty OK, you got the idea? So there's a kind of transformation He talks about it as clothing within and without He doesn't talk actually about changing the substance of the clay to gold


But it's clothed with gold And it becomes implicitly See, it becomes a bride here The clay itself becomes a bride for the king, the word But if you pardon yourself and reject his skill and show yourself ungrateful towards him, because you were created a mere man, you have at once lost both his workmanship his image, his likeness and life itself It's marvelous And as I say it determines really it's at the center of the whole process of human life And it's valid It's valid for today It doesn't have to become gold He wants to keep the image in a sense of keeping the element of humanity there I don't know if he uses the transformation image somewhere else


Some people do, of course The earth being transformed into gold He prefers to emphasize that persistence of human nature in the clay at this point That's right I think when he talks about the spiritual body later on Really the quality of it is changed So the image of being covered and still being clay inside is only to communicate one point I think It is a transformation For creation is an attribute of the goodness of God but to become not to be created, but to become belongs to human nature If you give him what's yours that is faith and subjection, you'll receive his handiwork You'll become a perfect work of God And that means also you become the image and likeness of God Faith and subjection, that's what we can offer And that leads directly into the next book


It leads directly into book 5 where he starts talking about the resurrection of the flesh and the living Any questions or comments on that before we go on? Question from audience Is the workmanship what God does to you and the likeness is the grace of the workmanship? Well, he doesn't make the distinction and you can see why he doesn't make the distinction if you consider what he means by the workmanship The workmanship is to mold you in his image and likeness But the image and likeness are the word and the spirit Now the word and the spirit are your life So we have to be careful not to try to be too strict with the image So the life and the workmanship I think are really the same thing In so far as the Holy Spirit particularly And your life


also is to be the son of God The workmanship is our life Question from audience He declines to claim Let's wait and see if any time is up Well, it came from him In some way there must be claim Okay, book five The axis on this book five is the resurrection A lot of it is almost like a continuous hymn enough to pulling all these scriptural passages in and interpreting them in the sense of the glorification of Christ and the flesh and ultimately the earth Now, I found that in 1st Christiania


the editor suggests a division of the book which I couldn't quite follow but it's something like this Okay, here's a rough version The first part is on the resurrection of the flesh All these arguments of Irenaeus for the resurrection of the flesh from the epistles of Saint Paul and that goes from chapter 1 to 14 The second part from chapter 15 to 22 according to the editor is a demonstration of the unity of the Father and the Creator using three events three facts from the life of Christ and it's a continual going back to Genesis 1 to 3 so I think there's a kind of a subtler way of interpreting that but I haven't found out haven't been able to grasp it yet I think it may be something that links actually the first part with the final part if we really get a hold of it and what it is, it's a


discussion of the passion of Jesus, the temptation in the desert and one particular miracle that he picks out to comment on it's in Saint John and it's the healing of the man born blind as a marvelous exegesis that he does we'll see when we get to it briefly the temptation of the desert especially the bread temptation the cross and the giving of eyes to the man born blind remember Jesus picks up clay and puts it on his eyes so he ties all of those to the first chapters of Genesis to the origin of creation and then a third part is the struggle actually between God and evil between the word Christ and the antichrist between Christ and the serpent and that goes from chapter 23 to about 30 and then finally


there's the section on the new earth which goes from 31 to 36 let me get my papers ok I guess we better quit for now next time we'll start out with those first chapters you have pages 526-529 then we'll jump to the man born blind I don't think you have that in your sheets I might pass out a couple of sheets for that then to 546-548 where you have those two chapters on the cross


and Genesis and Eve and Mary still part of the second part and the chapter 20 on the church and then we'll go to the end chapters 31-36 on the new earth which they always accuse Irenaeus of having a doctrine of the millennium a thousand years reign on earth I think it's a mistake to focus on that too much as to whether or not that's going to happen literally he sees it pretty literally but his point is that the new creation and the restoration of all things is really the restoration of all things of the earth not the creation of some other celestial universe that this is the one now notice how that turns around to the preciousness of everything on this earth the preciousness not only of human life but of the earth itself and of all the things that have been given to us to be part of our life this contrasts with some things in the master picture


at the end we ought to try to figure out what's really behind Irenaeus' attitude what's behind his insistence on recapitulation and on holding on to that which is holding on to that which has already been created not moving off to something completely new and not letting go of anything that is, that has been made how can we express that? what's it about? because it's not sufficient I think just to look at it in terms of words themselves okay that's this is glory to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit as it was in the beginning is now and shall be world without end