June 15th, 1983, Serial No. 00405

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Monastic Theology Series Set 1 of 3

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I'd like to go on with the beginning of Book Four of Against the Heresies. That starts on page 462. Let's take a look first at... and we're dealing with the preface first. Let's take a look first at that number two, and then we'll go on to number four, which is very rich and which will send us kind of far afield, because it introduces a couple of important notions. First in number two, he's talking about the sort of the strategy of the battle against the Gnostics, the pseudo-Gnostics, and he says, well, if you want to fight them, you have to understand them. He says, the people who tried to do it up to now, even though they were better men than me, he says, they weren't able to refute them because they didn't understand their system. And that's the reason why Herodotus has done all that wearisome exposition of the doctrine


of Valentinus and his followers, is because he feels you have to be able to expose it in order to refute it. You can't just do it by stating your own principles. So, first he exposes the Gnostic system, just as if he were teaching it almost, and then he goes on and presents in contrast to it the Christian system. But he does say that the Gnostic system only needs to be put into the light to be refuted. That is, he believes that it falls apart of its own weight, its own absurdity, once it's brought into the light. But the light that he brings it into is the simple light of Christ, is the simple light of the Logos, and how that is reflected in the simplicity and the coherence and the beauty of the Christian mystery. He says, in the first book I showed that their doctrine, the doctrine of the Valentinians, is a recapitulation of all the heretics. He loves that word recapitulate, and here it's used simply in another sense. So if you refute the Valentinians, you refute them all, he says.


They who oppose these men, the Valentinians, by the right method, do thereby oppose all who are of an evil mind. Well, let's be more general. If they overthrow them, they overthrow every kind of heresy. Well, we can see how that's true of Irenaeus. Why? Because he doesn't just refute them specifically on their own ground, which he does, but in contrasting them, he makes a rather full statement of the Christ mystery itself, which is the refutation of all heresies. So it's certainly true the way he does it, but there might be some things that would escape from the mere refutation of the points of the Gnostics, but each point that he contests, he contests it by presenting the positive, corresponding truth in Christianity, normally. And so he can say that. And then the key, the heart of their error, he says, the utter blasphemy by representing that the maker who is one God was produced for a defect or apostasy.


In other words, they project their own problems on God. They project their own problems on God. That's still popular in different ways, you know. Projecting our darkness into God in some way. People who talk darkly about the darkness in God. And they utter blasphemy also against our Lord by cutting off and dividing Jesus from Christ. See, they're not satisfied with the way things they are, so they have to divide the creation or divide God or divide Christ. They take this knife of theirs and they have to cut everything in two, and keep the nice part and throw away the other part. But that's thwarting the way that God made things and did things for our own education by moving through them, by moving, as it were, through the bitter and the sweet, by moving through the knowledge of good and evil, as it were, that we've taken upon ourselves. So they frustrate his plan. Okay, now I want to go down to number four, which turns out to be very rich for us.


And we'll probably be spending the rest of this hour on that, and on kindred texts. I regret that these things spread out the way they do, because we could spend our whole lives on this thing on Irenaeus, but I think it will be found to be valuable as we go on, because Irenaeus is the Christian mystery still unreduced by the mind, more or less. In other words, philosophy hasn't got it yet, you see. The Greek philosophical tradition has not yet grabbed the mystery and sort of filtered it and strained it, and forced it into its own categories, which even happens in the Alexandrians. So we're getting it almost raw in Irenaeus, as we have it almost in the New Testament. It passed through his mind, but it hasn't passed through a lot of rational purposes. Okay, let's read number four, then, on page 462. For as the serpent beguiled Eve by promising her what he had not himself, so, remember, you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


Well, Irenaeus says he wasn't that himself. So also to these men, by pretending to possess superior knowledge, promising a wisdom just like the serpent promised wisdom in the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember, it was attractive, looked good to eat, but it also looked like it promised wisdom. And the beauty, the appetite, the goodness to eat, and the beauty, the food and the wisdom are all in one line. There's a kind of an axis that runs through from the outside, from the most material to the innermost, in those things. And by promising that admittance which they speak is taking place within the plural, so they don't, maybe they're going to initiate you into the plural, providing if you're one of the, if you have the guard, you've got to be one of the spiritual ones, hope you're born that way. Plunge those that believe them into death, rending them apostates from him who made them. See, they don't allow man to accept the God who's really speaking to him, who's really


inviting him, and therefore they kill him, that's what he's saying, and murderers because of the untruth that they put in the place of truth. An untruth which actually separates man from the true knowledge of God, and therefore from the true God. People, nowadays, might look at that in a different way. They might say, well, they know God in their own way, but they're broken towards him. The apostate angel, the serpent, having effected the disobedience of mankind by means of the serpent, imagined that he escaped the notice of the Lord, wherefore God assigned him the name of the serpent. I never thought of that before, but what is characteristic of the serpent is kind of its fugitiveness, its elucidance, not only its mysterious quality, but the fact that it hides, also it's in the grass and it attacks from hiding, and that's why it has probably a special quality, an unnerving quality for us. So the hiding that man and woman did immediately after eating the fruit of the tree, immediately


they went into hiding. It was almost like they learned it from the serpent, okay? It's almost like as soon as they bit into his wisdom, they took on his quality. They lost the quality of light, and they had to take on the quality of darkness, they had to take on the quality of hiding, also they were ashamed, they knew they were naked. Somehow the darkness had come into them, in this knowledge that they had partaken of, the knowledge of the rhythm of evil. There's something else here. Now, Irenaeus, there's a lot implicit in Irenaeus, I think, that he doesn't bring right out. See, there are a lot of connections that are implicit in his mind that he doesn't reveal. Now, obviously the reference here is to the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. Now, strangely, it doesn't seem that the Gnostics were very fond of commenting Genesis because they rejected the Old Testament in general. If you look up the exegesis that the Gnostics do, they seem to be almost entirely to the New Testament, so I don't know how they got this in. That's my impression, I'd like to find a point expressed explicitly. That's my impression from looking around.


So Irenaeus deliberately goes back to Genesis in the account of the creation in order to confuse them, and nevertheless they have their whole doctrine of development, of evolution, and no doubt it refers immediately to Genesis through the New Testament, because the New Testament of course rests upon the creation account, and so they would be able to do it in that way, but apparently they don't comment it directly, I'm not sure of that. Now, here we have another kind of drama which is only implicit, in fact two of them. One drama is the Eve and Serpent drama, okay, and that's explicit. Another one in the background is going to come up later on, and that's the Mary drama, the Annunciation, Mary and the Word of God, and her obedience to the Word of God contrasted with Eve's disobedience, okay, that comes out explicitly in other places. And remember that writer who had said that the Virgin Mary is a little bit present in


Irenaeus' thought everywhere, in other words, it's part of his mentality, just like the Logos is part of his mentality, so I think the Sophianic, the Sapiential, and what was it called, Archpipel, role of Mary is also present in Irenaeus' mentality everywhere. Now, there's another one there too, and that is the whole Sophia thing. Remember, Sophia got into trouble because she had to see God, because she wanted, as it were prematurely, rashly, to see the face of the Father, to see the ultimate, you know, Bithos, the ultimate God of Anastasia. So there's a whole set of parallels here which are all implicit. And when he says that they are like the serpent, remember, he's relating them directly to that Genesis account, and behind it you see their Sophia drama, the fall of Sophia, remember the fall of Sophia, it was Acoma, and then from her comes the Demiurge, and then comes


the creation, and the whole thing spins up from there. And Irenaeus says that creation comes directly from God. Now, passing over to the top of the next page, 462. Although they issue forth from diverse regions and promulgate different opinions, they concur in the same blasphemous design, wounding men unto death by teaching blasphemy against God or making them supportive. Now, notice that the Gnostics are the people who promise the knowledge of God, right? This Gnos is supposed to be the knowledge of God, but since it's the false knowledge of God, it's the knowledge of a false God. And it's implicit here that knowledge of God gives life. Knowledge of God gives life. So if you take away somebody's knowledge of God, you kill him. That's what Irenaeus is saying. Remember how he's going to say later on that the vision of God is the life of man. So if you deprive somebody of the vision of God and substitute another vision, like this kind of mythology that the Gnostics put in its place, you kill him.


And derogating from the salvation of man. Now, man is a mixed organization of soul and flesh who was formed after the likeness of God and molded by his hands, that is, by the Son and the Holy Spirit, to whom also he said, let us make man. We could glide over that. There are immense depths in that statement. And it's very compact. There's a lot in there. Notice that he's bringing together two ideas. First of all, man is made after the likeness of God. And he doesn't say anything about image and likeness here. In the account, it's in Genesis 2, isn't it? Let us make man after image and likeness. In other places, he will distinguish the image and the likeness are similitude. In fact, Irenaeus is said to be the first theologian who makes that distinction. The first Christian theologian to distinguish the image from the likeness. Now, when you do that, something opens up. You see, when you distinguish the image from the likeness, you have somewhere to go. You have somewhere to go. You have a path of development, possibly. And it's as if for Irenaeus, I'm not sure of this, we'd have to check it in an explicit


text, but it's as if for Irenaeus the likeness isn't full yet in Adam. He has to grow into it. Because he doesn't have the Holy Spirit yet. He only has that breath, that soul that was breathed into him. He makes that contrast to Liberty somewhere. That into Adam was breathed a soul. God breathed into him. But he didn't breathe his spirit into him yet, Irenaeus says. That only comes through Jesus. It only comes through when the Word is made flesh. So there's a space in between. Rather than this notion that man was created absolutely perfect in the beginning and all we can do is get back to where we were. So this is the optimism of Irenaeus, which leaves place for development, for evolution even. And it's why we find him rather close, surprisingly close to Teilhard. In fact, before I forget it, let me just read again those few words from... This is from Mass on the World. About the hands of God in Teilhard, I should add.


Here he's talking to the Word. And he's speaking of the Word as being fire. Now there the image of Genesis 2 is obviously present. But notice he's talking to the Word. He's not talking to God the Father, as Irenaeus would want him to. He doesn't distinguish the hands of God. But which plunge into the depths and the totality, present and past, of things, so as to reach us simultaneously through all that is most immense and most inward within us and around us. Within us and around us. And there again we think of the two hands of God, because the spirit, the one hand of God, according to Irenaeus, works within. And the other one, as it were, molds us. The Word. May the might of those invincible hands direct and transfigure for the great world you have in mind that earthly travail which I have gathered into my heart, the work of Irenaeus,


and now offer you in its entirety. Remold it, rectify it, recast it down to the depths from which it springs. You know how your creatures can come into being only like shoot from stem, as part of an endlessly renewed process of evolution. You know the image in his mind here is the image of consecration, where Christ, as it were, said, this is my body over the bread. But he's thinking of Christ uttering those words over the whole world, over the whole planet. And you'll find Irenaeus thinking of God as holding man, holding man who is earth, within his two hands. Now, let me put that... Figure out how I'm going to answer that question. The two hands of God. And down here is earth, is the creation, is matter, is the human person, man.


And God molds the human person, molds the creation into his image through his two hands. And that's what we're... Now, he's talking in one breath about two different parts of the book of Genesis, you see. The first account of the creation is in chapter two, and that's where God says, let's make man in our image and likeness. Then God said, let us make man in our image after our likeness. And it's not said there to whom he's speaking. He says, let us. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and the cattle of the air. So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them.


Now, there's another dualism in there that Irenaeus doesn't talk about. Now, lots of other people have in tradition, and often they've found the male and female somehow in the image of the word and of the spirit, of the word and the spirit. The other account is in chapter two, and that's where God molds the earth. It doesn't speak of his hands, though. It's not in the account. But you can't help but think of him molding the earth with his hands. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground. Usually that passes us by, and we think of his breathing his spirit into man. But Irenaeus stops there and focuses on the molding. Formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Just before that, a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And you'll find Irenaeus insisting at a certain point that we have to be wet. We have to be moist so that God can mold us. And the moisture is the Holy Spirit. And if we're not wet with that, then we harden, and he can't work with us.


He can't imprint his image on us, or his likeness. Okay, man is a mixed organization of soul and flesh. And man obviously is man and woman, but I'm not going to... I did the fourth Eucharistic prayer this morning. That's enough for one day. Who is formed after the likeness of God and molded by his hand. That is, by the Son and the Holy Spirit, to whom also he said, let us make man. That's really something unique in the tradition. Uniquely powerful and intimate, that notion that Irenaeus has about the hands of God. And in allowing us to be earth, in allowing us to accept, in fighting the Gnostics, you see, he's preaching us our earthiness, the fact that we are matter, the fact that we are body.


And in doing that, he's able to come so close to the biblical notion of tenderness, of God bending over his creature, bending over his child, which really gets lost very quickly in the tradition, it seems to me. Or very largely. This then is the aim of him who envies our life, that is the devil, to rendrament disbelievers in their own salvation and blasphemous against God the Creator. So whatever they said, it comes to this at last that they blaspheme the Creator and disallow the salvation of God's workmanship, which the flesh truly is. It's as if he's to say, we are the flesh, we are earth. And if anybody tells you differently, he's taking away your life by taking away your knowledge of yourself and taking away your knowledge of God. He's taking away your knowledge of God because he's removing God from you by saying that he's not the one that we know as creator of the things of God. He's taking away your life by taking away your knowledge of yourself


and therefore not allowing you to get into the position where you need to be to be picked up by God. You can't put yourself in such a position as to be picked up by his hands unless you know what you are. And the White Vest is saying, what are we? On behalf of which I've proven in a variety of ways that the Son of Man accomplished the whole dispensation. And the Son of Man becomes earth. And I've shown that there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all. One, who is the Creator of all. Two, the Son. And three, those who possess the adoption. It doesn't talk about the Holy Spirit here. It's a person. It talks about those who possess the adoption in whom the Holy Spirit somehow makes God dwell. Actually, I guess the theology of the Holy Spirit at this point was still very incorrect, still very unformed. Those dogmatic battles hadn't really been fought. Okay, now let me take this text as an occasion for going off a little bit on the notion of the image of God.


First of all, finding the image of God and the hands of God together. Irenaeus is not the first one to do that. It's in the letter of Clement to the Corinthians in chapter 33. And Clement is preaching here and he's saying, well, we have to work because God works. And then he's going on to show how God has worked. And he worked with his two hands. Above all, with his holy and immaculate hands, he has fashioned that excellent and sovereign being, which is the human person, as an imprint of his own image. So he fuses the two in that characteristically condensed way of the Fathers, without even remarking where he's getting to. With his hands, he makes us to the image. Now, perhaps Irenaeus is coming from that text and then expanding on it to his own meditation. It's Clement to the Corinthians, the first, his authentic letter to the Corinthians, chapter 33. It's in 1 Corinthians, page 153.


For behold, God said, let us make man to our own image and our own resemblance. And so God made man, male and female he made them. He says, look, all of the just men have made themselves a garment, a festive garment, of their own good works. And the Lord himself has made himself a garment with his good works, and he's rejoiced in that. So he says, let's work. He's talking about the work of justice, of course. It must be. I don't remember who he is. References on the image and likeness of God, there are a lot of them, because a lot of work has been done on them. There's George Maloney's little book, Man, the Icon of God, which has a long chapter on Irenaeus.


It's got about 20 pages on Irenaeus. There's a marvelous section in the Dictionary of Spirituality article on Irenaeus by Father Regnault, who's a Benedictine. That's about the best general thing I've found on Irenaeus, not being too... It's in French, unfortunately. Not being too long, but very deep. And he talks at some length about the image and likeness, and I'm going to use his exposition. In Thunberg's book on Maximus the Confessor, there's a good account of the earlier tradition, earlier than Maximus, including Irenaeus, and then what Maximus does with it. I want to read a little bit from that, because it gives a kind of setting, a background for the whole thing. The notion of the image and likeness of God, of man as being an image and likeness of God, is extremely important. If you want to get a grip on, say, monastic theology, or monastic anthropology, that's the place to start. It's a key, not only for the early fathers, but also for the medieval Western writers,


the Cistercians in particular. Saint Bernard, for instance, or William of St. Therese. Fundamentally, they thought, it was a kind of key. So it was worth spending a little time on. Now, this is Thunberg. That book of his, Microcosm and Mediator on Maximus the Confessor, is kind of almost an encyclopedia of patristic anthropology. This problem had been widely treated and very differently answered in the Christian tradition before Maximus, that is, the problem of the image of God. And in the great number of monographs devoted to the theology of the image of God in recent years, new evidence has been given to it. They and other works have clearly shown how different and differentiated are the attempts to localize the image character of man, and how far these attempts are representative of the general theological position of each writer. In other words, if you say, man is intellect, man is mind, your whole attitude is characterized by that position. And that's what happens very often in the Greeks.


That's what Hausser says. For the Greeks, for the Greek philosophical tradition, man is intellect, nous. And so you see the image of God in man as being nous, intellect. And then the unfortunate tendency can be to throw everything else away. Or you can see the image of God as being body, soul and spirit, something like that, but you can make it preferential. You can say, well, it's primarily the freedom, or it's primarily the understanding. Or, and perhaps the most audacious one of all in this respect is Irenaeus, because Irenaeus contends that Irenaeus, the image of God, is the body. The image of God in man is the human body. And that gets lost very quickly afterwards. I'll find a quote or two afterwards to try to back that up, because it's a surprising statement. This is what Thunberg says about the whole tradition. The answers differ from the whole of man, including the body, to a superior part or quality of man, his soul or mind, or his rational capacity.


Remember that definition of man as a rational animal. So that was Aristotelian. You can see it there. And then for Maximus, he refers the image character of the whole of man, soul and body alike. But let's see. For though Irenaeus, for instance, still claims that the whole of man, body and soul, is related to his image character. And that's certainly true. But when he talks about image, his emphasis, as we'll see, is on the body. And though both Cyprian and Lactantius give a similar impression, not only the Alexandrian theologians, who took a lead in developing the theology of the image and likeness of God in man, they really expanded it in the psychological or intellectual direction. But also writers of the most different schools seem later to have agreed that man's image character is principally linked with his soul, not with his body. Thus, both Eusebius of Caesarea and John of Chrysostom profess that the image of God is not in the body, while Cyril of Jerusalem and the entire Western tradition, in complete agreement, localize the image in the soul.


Now, I haven't verified that from my own study. That's pretty smart. Some of them distinguish and some of them don't. See, some of them will say the likeness is the same as the image. And if you ask a biblical scholar, that's what he'll tell you about that, because that's Jewish parallelism. Let us make man in the image and likeness just means, let us make man, I think, in the Bible itself. Although, you don't want to be too exclusive about that, because there are dimensions in the Bible that the exegetes are not very aware of. That develops in the tradition, I think, of the Alexandrians. It's already in Irenaeus. We'll see what he makes of it, but then the others will make something different. And it goes as far as St. Bernard, for instance. For St. Bernard, the likeness, for almost all of the monastic life, the image is what's in you ontologically. You're made in the image and you can't lose that, because you lose the likeness. And then you have to regain the likeness by asceticism


and by the knowledge of God and by prayer. So the monastic life is designed in order to bring you from merely having the likeness, but kind of overshadowed and obscured, I mean, from having merely the image, to the restoration of the likeness, in which the image also can radiate. The image also can radiate. Because the image without the likeness is obscured. So that's pretty strong. The entire Western tradition, in complete agreement, localized the image in the soul. So we see here a point of departure, of a track, a line in our Western theology, in our Western ascetical and mystical and monastic theology, on which we still are, and which has never gone back to rediscover its root, as it were. See, it's never really turned back totally to the biblical tradition. And Irenaeus is still in the biblical tradition. So this is a critical point, a critical turning in the road. It's one of the reasons we're studying Irenaeus. The Greeks hadn't doubted it. No, he's before the critical turning in the road.


He's in the line of... He's the first synthetic expression after the scripture itself. And he's before that intellectualist or spiritualist twist has been taken, which is put the body out of the picture. Now, notice that the last book of his work here is on the resurrection of the flesh. Now, that's not just accidental. He wants to end up with this kind of... He wants to terminate in the body. He's insistent on the body as being the core of this salvation, that's happening. So he's not fooling around with that. So he gives it... I didn't realize that. After that it certainly seems to disappear. And it's really something where we get to when we let go of it. It seems like a small thing. The body, oh yeah, the body too.


It's not the body too. It's a large aspect. But it's also very important. Which doesn't really have much to do with the Testament. Question from the audience. In the traditions, in the various traditions. Because whenever we start working on it with our mind, the mind tends to sort of, what would you say, favour itself in a way.


Because that's where we can control. And the body is where we can't control. And the body, if you read Becker, for instance, in The Hour of Death, the body is one with our mortality, it's one with our helplessness, our vulnerability, and the fact that we're going to die. And those are the things we're afraid of. We're not afraid of them explicitly. You can think about death all day. But we know how with our mind to cope with that. But the actualities, the realities concretely in which it is expressed, those are the things we're afraid of, those are the things we hate. So somehow the whole key of our journey and of our salvation is in the body. We are matter, which has been graced by God with his image. It's very hard to hold on to that. The monastic life, in its bodiliness, is a living out of that. Should be. Okay. By the way, he's got another statement here about Irenaeus for later on. Now, he doesn't really say it as strongly as Renial does.


I don't think he's looked into Irenaeus as thoroughly as Renial. And so, he says, well, it's sort of in the soul and the body too. Irenaeus, who was, as far as we know, the first Christian writer to make the distinction between image and likeness, or image and similitude. For him, as we have pointed out already, the image is related to human nature as such, and to both body and soul, and cannot be lost. While likeness is something added to man, given to Adam but lost through his fall and restored by Christ. And this likeness consists of the presence of the spirit in the soul. So, I think he's right about the likeness, but I don't think he's quite right about the image, as we'll see after a moment. And then, it's the presence of the spirit in the soul, but it's also the molding by the spirit. It's not simply a presence. The work of the spirit too. The likeness is showing forth


the manifestation, but also the presence. That is, the likeness is the indwelling presence of the spirit with the transformation that it makes in you, and with the manifestation of that transformation by being like your father visibly. Because when the New Testament talks about those things in the Sermon on the Mount, it's not talking in an abstract or interiorized fashion. You have to have a change of heart, or a new heart, but that's so you can manifest it in your life. So, the similitude would go all the way, the likeness would go all the way from the inner presence to the inner change to the outer behavior, the whole thing. But the image seems to be more... According to Irenaeus, the image is more limited. Now, that's Irenaeus. We don't have to agree with that. But for him, according to Raniel, it's the body that's the same. Now, let me take some points from this. I apologize for having some halting to pick these out as we go along, but I think they're important. This is his article on Irenaeus in the Dictionary of Spirituality. First, he talks about those two things


being brought together by Irenaeus, the hands and the image and likeness. He's got a short passage on the hands here, which I'll read to you. He also has a rich collection of references. The two hands of God being for Irenaeus his word and his wisdom, his son and his spirit. The word is the son and the spirit is wisdom. Because some people will apply wisdom, of course, to the son, to the word, not Irenaeus. And the reason why he talks about the hands of God, first of all, is to exclude all the intermediaries, okay? To exclude all of those aeons and all of that machinery that the Gnostics, the Valentinians, put in between the highest God and his creature, who comes out at the end. It expresses the intimacy of the rapports of the relationship between God and his creature. And really, it gives you that image. The image is irresistible, huh? Of God sort of picking up the dust and breathing into it and forming a creature. And not only forming the creature, but carrying the creature along, carrying man along.


That's also in there. Because you'll find out for Irenaeus that it doesn't stop with the creation, nor even with the continual sustaining and being of creation, but the education is part of it. It's all one thing. This notion of recapitulation in the word means that God is embracing you all the time, teaching you all the time, informing you all the time. Remember how he says, Be soft, have the humidity of the spirit in you so that you can form it. You still have to be formed. He likes those forming words, those molding words, like plasmare and plasmatio in the Latin. There's also plasma in the Greek. Suggests that the motherly solicitude of God for his creature, for his own work, for his plasma, his formation, creation. Then he quotes those phrases. Proprium epsios plasmam, suam hominem, his, that possessive pronoun which expresses the intimacy of God. God's possessing us, he's having us. For the hands of God were accustomed in Adam


to direct, to hold and to carry the work made by them. See, the hands never let go. The hands never let go of what they've made. And to transport it and to place it here or there where they wanted to. So, it's not only creation, or continuous creation, but presence. Absolute, immediate, and praevanium, which means that its presence is there before you reflect on it. Just like if you were a child in your mother's arms, that's there before you wake up. Now, about the image and likeness. Now, he does this, he says, Irenaeus exposes this kind of infunction of what he considers to be the errors of the Gnostics. In other words, similarly there's a polemic reason here, that it leads him to bring out the richness that's there. And it's their division into the spiritual, the psychic, and the material. And the material gets chucked out in the end. It ends up in the bin. And so Irenaeus is showing that God


holds on to what he has made. And then from the start, he has embraced with his hands this material. So, he doesn't let go. Stays with it. Irenaeus does not make clear distinction between image and resemblance, except in three passages of the last book, that's book five, which, Raniel says, no doubt represents his most mature thought. So, it's as if the clear distinction between the two gradually develops with Irenaeus, and then emerges clearly in the fifth book. We might have a couple of passages from that later. And so much the more so, that the subject of the fifth book, the whole of the fifth book, is on the resurrection of the flesh. And if we consider that in our customary way of positive theology, we say he proves the resurrection of the flesh. So, we say that, and then we throw it away. But you see the difference between that and really hearing what he's saying. The meaning of the resurrection of the flesh. And all that's promised. But it seems that the distinction is at least implicit in some other passages.


And in no place are image and likeness perfectly synonymous for him. They're never exactly the same for Irenaeus. Image, or icon in the Greek, seems always to keep the predominant note of exteriority and visibility. So, Irenaeus is very concrete. And even, he says, Plato held that too. Unlike the later Platonists, who would see the image in the soul. The Christian Platonists would say the image of God and man is in the soul of man. Plato wouldn't be able to say that. Because an image has to be visible. How can you talk about an invisible image? Of course you can, if you want. We talk about the images in our mind. But to be fully an image, it's got to be visible. Otherwise, you have to have an image of that. How does a full-on image symbolize? Okay, an image and a symbol are very closely related. Like, an image is a symbol, but in a way it's more,


and in a way it can be less. Now, it's more because it has a fuller relationship with the archetype. If I say, this is the image of Jack, it's got to look like him. If I say, this is a symbol of Jack, that could be your name. Better not your name, but some kind of symbol that would represent what you are, but not really communicate you. Whereas the image, according to the Fathers, especially communicates the being of that which it represents. I think the notion of symbol is a lot broader, and sometimes weaker than that of image. And the other notion that comes in is that of sign. Because a sign can be a great deal with... See, a name, or a letter, or a number can be a sign for something, but not really have anything in here to do with it. Then those terms become very complex. Yes. The sign becomes very complex. Oh yes, it becomes very complex. Yes. Because the Eucharist is the maximum in carrying this thing of symbol and image and sign in a certain direction. See, sacrament is the other term.


Christian sacramentality has a special density to it in that the symbol also becomes a reality. The symbol also is the archetype in the sacrament. The word which is symbolized by the bread comes into the bread, and so the bread is the word. It's not just the symbol of the word. But it also is the symbol of the word. But it's not only the symbol of the word. We don't want to get too far into that. But you could say that Irenaeus is very sacramental, and when he talks about the Eucharist, then it will come out explicitly. You could say that what's in him, generally, in his insistence on matter and the visible and the flesh, the body, and even the image of God in being that, is a sacramentality. Does he use it in a general way? If he did, it wouldn't be in a general way, because that's a general theological category that comes up later. But he would in terms of the Eucharist. We'll just have to catch the text, because I don't have any more on that. There are a couple of very rich and deep texts


on the Eucharist, where he talks about that drink of recapitulation, for instance, where the sacramentality is very full. I don't have them in this connection. And, you see, they might avoid the notion of image for the sacraments, because if they want to talk about the human person as being the image, you don't want to mix it up with the symbolic or sacramental presence, which is the Eucharist. You have to retain your distinction of terms in order for clarity. And then you can bring them together afterwards. So you won't find them talking probably about the Eucharist as being the image in the same way that the human person is. Now, here we get to the distinction of it. Image, econ, exteriority and visibility. Only the sensible can be an image. Wait a minute. Similitude, homoiosis, implies a resemblance which is deeper and with a dynamic element,


necessarily required by a spiritual assimilation and a true participation of divinity. So similitude is deeper, more interior, and it's also dynamic. And it's also that, of course, which you can lose, which involves your freedom. In fact, when Irenaeus employs the formula in the image of God, it's more often for the flesh, inasmuch as visible, and sometimes for the whole man. But in this case, he says ordinarily in the image and in the likeness, when he's talking about the whole man. So what he's getting to is that he really means the body, he means the flesh. When he speaks only of the resemblance, it never means the flesh, except one time. But then it's the flesh of Christ, and not only as visible, but also as substantially similar to that of Adam. So that's it. It's meant to be a straight text. Then he quotes this Book 5-6-1, which is the text that you have there in those two sheets that you were given today.


Let's take a look at that, which is the strongest evidence for this thesis of his. Page 531. Here's another text, another strong text from the demonstration, the proof of the apostolic preaching. Chapter 11, on page 54. Now that's very clear, that the image of God is the visible figure of man, that the image of God is the body of man. The demonstration chapter 11. This was written late in the life of Varanais,


and so it represents his advanced thought, too. The only trouble is that they got this from the Armenians, so by the time it gets carried through a couple of languages, they're not sure what to do with it. It takes scholarship to get that. But I think that's pretty clear. Okay, page 531. Book 5, chapter 6, number 1. Number 1, mostly. Now God shall be glorified in his handiwork, fitting it so as to be conformable to and modeled after his own Son. The other point about the real meaning of the image for Varanais is, in the image of the Incarnate Word, he's always thinking about Christ when he's thinking about man as the image of God. So it's as if Jesus is the archetype after which man is formed, instead of Jesus just coming and putting himself into our flesh, which already had its own form. So he thinks in terms of the Incarnation.


It all rotates around the Incarnation. This is a very important point, which is a kind of pivot for the way that we think about the human person. See, does the Word just come to recapitulate what's already here? Or, being that in which we were already made, are we somehow made in the image of that which is to appear? You see how it pivots? Does he come and install himself in what's here so that what's here controls what he is to be? Or does he come and bring what's here back and forward at the same time to what it's meant to be, which is Christ, which is the Logos made man? For by the hands of the Father, that is, by the Son and the Holy Spirit, man, and not merely a part of man, was made in the likeness of God. Now it gets rather tricky. Now, the soul and the spirit are certainly a part of a man, but certainly not thus. Now, he keeps the soul and the spirit together. That would be pneuma and psuche. Psuche for soul, or anima,


and pneuma for spirit. He keeps those two together and he keeps the flesh on the other side. For the perfect man consists in the commingling and the union of the soul receiving the spirit of the Father. Soul and spirit, notice, on one side. The soul seems to be capable of the spirit. And the admixture of that fleshly nature which was molded after the image of God. So the body is made after the image of God. Now, how the soul fits in there in the dialectic between image and resemblance is not clear. I don't know. But it's somehow associated with the spirit in such a way that it almost becomes a vessel for the resemblance without being identical with the image. For this reason does the Apostle declare that we speak wisdom among men that are perfect. Those who are perfect who have received the spirit of God rather resemble him. Is he talking about the lighting of the image? The wood was made human. No, the insistence is that the wood was made flesh. Already in John's prologue and more than I know of.


And of course he said that John in the prologue already made the image of God. Rene says him throughout, doesn't he? In the Garden of Eden at the creation? At what point? Yes. I'm trying to make the connection. We will pick that up I think when we see him going back and finding the word being the manifestation of God throughout the orchestra


and working the story. It's an unbroken word. And it was the word who spoke to Abraham or appeared to Abraham. It must be men that came and so on. It was the word who appeared to Moses Yes. See, Uranus doesn't put the stress on the fall. He puts, it's as if even if there had been no sin, man would have had to learn and progress rather than... It's as if you can have two shapes for your curve of salvation. One is like this. It started out perfect and then there's this fall and then there's a long slow recovery of where you were at first. But Uranus doesn't really seem to be that shape, does he? Here you are, and yes there's a fall.


But you're going always, and then let's see, when you die you would be on a plateau. There's no more progress as you die. It's not a common place. But for Uranus, there's a fall, yes, but then you start an eternal progress because he says it's fitting that God's help and teaching match over time, even in this part. Remember how he says faith helps and values, so all of this goes on forever. So it's a lot more optimistic, it's a lot more cheerful than Edison. The other thing can get awfully gloomy because you're always sort of in the red. Yes. Especially, I think, Dionysius. Let's see, I'm trying to find the other key passage here.


He's talking about the use of the term spiritual. Those are spiritual because they partake of the spirit and not because their flesh has been stripped off and taken away and because they have become purely spiritual. See, that would be implicit in the Gnostic thing. So it's the whole man in the fullness of the spirit rather than the spiritual part. For if anyone take away the substance of flesh, that is of the handiwork of God. See, once again, the handiwork, the formation, the plasma, the molding of God is the flesh, the body. And understand that which is purely spiritual, such then would not be a spiritual man, but would be the spirit of a man or the spirit of a man. But when the spirit here blended with the soul is united to God's handiwork, so the handiwork once again is the body, the man is rendered spiritual and perfect because of the outpouring of the spirit. And this is he who is made in the image and likeness of God. So it's implicit there that the image, I think, is the handiwork which is the body and that the likeness is the soul receiving the spirit.


If the spirit be wanting to the soul, he who is such is indeed of an animal nature and being left carnal shall be an imperfect being, possessing indeed the image of God in his formation, in plasmate, which means for him in the body. So the image is there. Strangely, he can say that the image is there, but he remains animal, but not receiving a similitude to the spirit. Now note there, animal means, we think of animals running around, but animal for him means animated with the animal, I think with the supreme, in the original it would be psychic probably. Because for us an animal is carnal, but he's thinking of being psychic, the second level, and that's with the image. It seems that soul, psychic dimension, seems to sort of fluctuate back and forth between the side of the image and the side of the likeness, between the body and the spirit. If anyone take away the image, see, let's take away the body.


So it's unmistakable, there's an extremely strong text, that the image is the body, the body clearly means. For that flesh which has been molded is not a perfect man himself, but the body of a man probably is. So, even though it's the image, it's not the whole of man, it's a rather subtle doctrine. The commingling and union of all these constitutes the perfect man. And then he quotes the first letter to Thessalonians, remember that's a singular passage in the New Testament, as far as I know, where St. Paul says at the end, May your spirit, soul and body be preserved whole and without faults. To the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Spirit and soul and body. The Charismatics have picked that up in our time and made a lot out of it, because they've reintroduced that sort of trichotomy of three-level anthropology. After centuries and centuries, we've had two-level anthropology.


Soul and body. Okay. I can't spend much longer on this, but I'd like to see if anyone else has anything else essential. Because we don't want to have to go back to this text next time. For Irenaeus, plasma and flesh, or formation or molding, and flesh and body, are the same thing, okay? As we saw in that text just now. And then the formation or molding or handiwork and the flesh and the image are the same. That's his thesis, which I think he's proved sufficiently. For the flesh which has received the soul, Irenaeus prefers to speak of the resemblance. So he would use the resemblance in one way for the body which has received the soul.


He doesn't give a quote for that, so I don't know if it's in the last book. Okay, now he sums up a bit. For Irenaeus, man is therefore in the image of God because his body has been modeled in Adam to the image of the Son of God. Okay, so there it catches the whole thing. It's not just because he wants to recapitulate matter and man, but because his body has been modeled in Adam to the image of the Son of God. Adam, even physically somehow, was made to the image of the Son of God. Now what is in Irenaeus' mind? What does he mean by that? We have to keep reading on that. But remember those quaternities in Irenaeus. Remember his insistence on the four Gospels and the instinctive thinking of the cross that comes up there, and the sort of four-dimension body of the human being, things like that. Those are probably implicit there, but we'll see if we find something there. The incarnation of Christ is always present


in the thought of Irenaeus, and from the creation of man, even before sin, the economy of the Son of God, the economy of the incarnation of the Son of God began. So it doesn't just begin in the incarnation. It's always there. The same that the image, just as the image of the two hands of God signifies the collaboration of the Son and of the Spirit with the Father in the creative work, the expression in the image in the resemblance of God indicates the double mark of the Son and of the Spirit imprinted on man. The image in the body, in reference to the Word which should become flesh, the resemblance in the soul, thanks to the participation of the Spirit. So both of those are trinitarian connections. The idea of the two hands of God, the Word and the Spirit, and then the idea of the image and then the resemblance. However we want to portray it, maybe the image would be the outer one and the resemblance would be the inner one.


That's the question of the resemblance. If it is a resemblance, then it's got to be visible. So there's a trinitarian theology which is pretty different from a lot of that which we've seen since then. Remember how bitterly the Orthodox resent the Filiochoid and so on, which makes the Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son and can obscure that fact of the kind of parallelness where the side-by-side working and being of the Word and the Spirit. But in the Incarnation, Jesus breathed the Spirit, obviously enough. So they say that in the Trinity, internally, the Spirit proceeds from the Father and sometimes I think we'll say from the Father and the Son, but only if you admit that, first of all, it proceeds from the Father alone,


independently of the Son. We don't want to say independently, not essentially from the Father and the Son. And then in the economy, on Earth, He's also given through the Son, or even by the Son. In the economy. Jesus says in one or two places, I will send him, but he says more often that the Father will send him in my name. So we get a kind of fraternity there. And it's almost as if the fraternity is already established in the Trinity, in the genetic theory, which then participates in learning, participates in learning, starting to control the communities,


which is our matter. If we don't start there, then we can't expand it to God. Amen. Amen. He says a little more about what precisely the image, the resemblance, the resemblance, this military means for us, but I won't take time to do that this time. I did want to point shortly to the lesson of this, however, which was put very well by Father Albert in Asking the Fathers, and that's what these other three pages are, that you'll see. That's from the second chapter of Asking the Fathers. First page, 22. Yes.


And that's the incarnation because it's a visible appearance of the Word. The other, in the flesh, that too, you see. So that puts it very strongly. That's from Book 5, Chapter 16. Is that the one you're looking at? That's... No, that's later. Book 5, Chapter 16, Number 1. The notes are in the back of the book. So the first point I wanted to stress from these few pages of Asking the Fathers is the fact of the centrality of the incarnation in this notion of the image and likeness. And I repeat, we can't overestimate the importance of that doctrine of image and likeness for understanding the monastic theology of the Middle Ages and the patristic theology, the patristic anthropology. And also notice how it ties the Old Testament right into the New Testament. Now,


in fact, we have, as it were, three levels. The first level of creation and the level of the manifestation of the Word. And finally, the level of the fullness of the likeness, which is the level of the Holy Spirit. . . That's right. It comes out about in two ways in these early fathers. One is the doctrine in the Logos, okay? Already in Justin and then in Irenaeus. The Logos is everywhere. It's clearer, I think, in Justin, perhaps, than it is in Irenaeus. But Irenaeus speaks of the Spirit. He says the Spirit is always working


in God's work. He's never absent. And that's gotten... See, when we get too ecclesial... I don't want to put it that way, because by theology it's got to be ecclesial. But when it's too circumscribed by the limits of the visible church, then the Spirit, then knowledge of God, the Logos, and the Spirit can only come through the church, only through the official channel. And then immediately that universality disappears. And that's what's happened to that theology. And we get scared. We have kind of a security problem when we begin to break through that. But we have to. And the Fathers already have. . Yeah. Because it shows you the full scope of the Christianity. And then you can see that Christianity can encounter anything. That's the confidence the Fathers have. Two more points here. And then I really suggest that you read these pages


to fill out some of the implications of this Doctrine of the Image and Likeness and the way Irenaeus presents it. Father Eldredge picked particularly Irenaeus here for the exposition of the Doctrine. Not for that reason. There's a point here that's going to emerge. That point about the earth, matter and the body. And what that means as far as our relation with God is concerned. Now this comes up in two ways. First of all, the way God works. But secondly, the way that we have to follow Him. The way that we have to learn. On the bottom of page 24. They are unwilling first to be what they were made, men liable to passions. They want to be God before they're man. That means that they want to be heaven before they're earth. They want to be God before they're earth. And as soon as we have an intellectual scheme of anthropology and of the spiritual life, we're going to fall into that trap. We think of ourselves as being essentially spirit. Well, let's get this other business over as soon as we can. In fact, let's not even work. Let's not even face it. It's inevitable.


Things like baptism bring us right back to the ground, don't they? When you reflect on your baptism, you realize we're earth. It's been washed with the spirit of God and it's been washed with the spirit of baptism. Overriding the law of the human condition, which is that we are flesh, we are earth. Before even being men, they want to be like the God who made them. And there are enormous implications in that on a couple of levels. First of all, of course, we're physical. All right. That's the... And we have to stay with that one. But then the fact of our having to arrive at a kind of human fullness, the fact that the human personality can't be sort of scooped out and thrown away in order to make room for God. It doesn't work. Our moving towards God has got to go through the way of human fullness and human... Even though there may be some tunnels along the way. How shall you be God who have not yet been a man? See, if you don't believe that the creation and the way you were made was made really by God, by the ultimate God, and by some second rate demiurge, well then, okay, you've got to skip a few steps.


But not if God made you, because if he made you, he made you for a purpose. And the fall did not sufficiently obscure that purpose or change the track, change the whole plan, so that you can take another direction and bypass the way you were made. That's the point. But the very way out of the fall, the very way back to God is through the way he has made us, which is physically. If, then, you are God's workmanship, await the hand of your maker, that beautiful text, offer him a supple and docile heart, and keep the form which the artist has given you. So he speaks accepting our physicality, our earthiness, but more than that, having in yourself the water which comes from him, that's the spirit, and for want of which in hardening yourself, you would resist the imprint of his fingers. So you've got to be earth and you've got to be moist. God is still at work on the making of man. There's an unusual sense of equilibrium


about the insistence of Irenaeus that it's necessary first to be a man if one is not to be swept off one's feet by the aspirations which lead one higher. Like every wise master, he brings us back to the earth on which we stand as a condition of our starting out on our spiritual journey. Now, we're always trying to avoid that, except during a good meal, when we very frankly and cheerfully acknowledge the goodness. Okay, I just suggest that kind of growth. Meditation. And we'll return to this point as we come back in order to ground ourselves because we'll find that theology is always trying to escape it. It's always sort of ballooning up, you know, into the intellect or in some spiritual realm and trying to let go of this. But this is where we're at. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.