June 29th, 1983, Serial No. 00394

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Monastic Theology Series Set 1 of 3




I'm going to skip rapidly through and only touch a couple of central texts, which is kind of a shame because it's so rich.
Reading Irenaeus is really like rediscovering something that's been lost for a long while, because he was in eclipse for most of the period of formation of our Western theology, the Western Church.
Since the 4th century, he sort of disappeared.
And somebody like Erasmus in the 16th century could talk about his resurrection.
But he really didn't get brought much until I even met him.
And this is not just something about Irenaeus which is kind of a general thing, because there are certain dimensions in his thought.
which have never fully been integrated into our Christian theology, and which are almost always broadening or deepening dimensions.
And things narrow down from him, and they've never caught his universality, they've never captured his kind of simplicity and breadth again.
So there's really something that was found, and when you read it, it's like you're reading it for the first time.
They wanted all schematized.
Questioner 2 Which is the way to put this?
Questioner 1 Exactly.
Questioner 2 I'm questioning that and also Mersch, because he quotes her in Harrison's book on the body of Harrison.
Questioner 1 Harrison always goes on Harrison.
Questioner 2 Then they complain that he's either thinking in a fuzzy way, because he hasn't got the clarity, he hasn't got scholasticism, or he's using this as an imagination of what he should be using.
I forget for a moment whether he's thinking it is imagination or not.
It's kind of an inferiority complex.
I think so.
Let me read you a little bit of something from Olivier Clément.
This is from his book, Sources, which is an anthology of the fathers.
In fact, it's an anthology of their mysticism.
Now, I'll do this clumsily, but it's worth getting.
Irenaeus, above all, has developed a vigorous theology which puts the accent on the reality of the Incarnation, and hence on the reality of the flesh.
On the unity of the two Testaments, Old Testament and New Testament, and the positivity of history, Clement is very good at sympathizing with himself.
In fact, I think he's the person who's best been able to present this thought in our time.
He's got a book called Christ, the Earth of the Living, which is marvellous.
And I have to look at it again to see, does he quote Irenaeus much?
I think a lot of his thought comes from there, even if he doesn't say so.
See, this business about the earth goes underground not long after Irenaeus, and it doesn't surface again into general view until the Russians, about 100 years ago or so.
And then people like Teilhard and so on that we've been talking about.
And then the Vatican, too, it begins to come.
We're going to find that the earth is a central thing in Irenaeus.
And when we get into Book 5 on the resurrection, it turns out that what he's doing, he's writing a theology of the earth, and man as earth.
You remember that in the Bible, Adam means earth and it means man.
And the two are one, still further enhanced, even though he's not a Hebrew.
Okay, the positivity of the history.
The Word and the Spirit are the two hands of the Father.
with which he creates, guides, attracts and completes or perfects humanity.
History thus appears as an immense process of incarnation.
When we talk about the earth and we talk about the word, and those are the two cardinal points for Irenaeus,
And we talk about the positivity of history, we're talking about history as an incarnation of the word in the earth, which is man.
So there's a cosmology right there, because it's an incarnation of Christ in the universe, in the world, in creation, by coming into the centre of it, which is the human person, which is man.
Time is an experiment, an apprenticeship of communion, for God wishes to deify man, but without destroying his liberty.
Time permits man to habituate himself to receive God.
It permits God to habituate himself to dwell in man.
And now he's practically quoting Irenaeus here, but he doesn't give a reference.
Irenaeus does not dramatize the fall.
You notice, Irenaeus doesn't make a big, tragic deal out of the fall, out of sin.
And here, if you compare Irenaeus, for instance, with Saint Augustine in the later Western theology, there's an immense difference between the two.
to compare Irenaeus with Augustine on a couple of accounts.
First of all, the relative importance that they attach to the fall, to sin, versus this notion of growth, the positivity of training of man by God in Irenaeus.
Secondly, the conception that they have of history, and there's a very positive conception for Irenaeus, without that kind of dramatic dualism that I think you find in Augustine and Stelios.
And thirdly, what is the image of God, and what does that make of a human person?
Because for the image of God, for Hironashima, it's the body.
And that really amazes us.
We're not ready for that.
That the body of a human person should be the image of God.
And then the likeness is sort of all of the more spiritual development, right up to the being filled with the Spirit of God, being transfigured with God.
For Augustine, the image is
A psychological one.
It's a psychological trinity.
I think the images of which he's most content in the end are the psychological trinity of memory, intellect, and will.
And Erneas, or Augustine, begins us on an introspective path, which we're still on, whereas Erneas is the opposite.
Now, the two, no doubt, complement one another.
I shouldn't be unfair, but note to what it would do if you lost that first perspective of Erneas.
That simple physicality and the fact that you don't find God by analysis, you don't find him just by going inside, but actually God picks you up, body and soul, into his spirit, into himself.
So it's a theology of assumption and a theology of information.
It's never an isolated Christ.
That, for him, is inconceivable.
In fact, he would be the last theologian to consider Christ as isolated.
Whenever he talks about the body, whenever he talks about Christ, he's talking about all men and so on.
In fact, he was the first one, after St.
Paul, to hit on this notion of the first and second Adam, and the first and second Eve, and the first earth, and the creation of the second earth, and so on.
That whole thing.
So it's never isolated.
Okay, man, an infant, still unconscious, has allowed himself easily to be deceived, that is, the scent in the garden.
That's kind of an infantile experience.
It is necessary for him to make the experience of death in order to become conscious of his finitude, his finiteness, and to open himself voluntarily to God, the only one who gives life.
All is a dimension of incarnation.
Everything is a dimension of incarnation as Buddha said.
The word never ceases to descend towards humanity, into humanity, into history, to model his own body.
So he's making his own body out of earth, out of man, out of the cosmos.
The alliances become defined, those of Adam and of Noah, cosmic alliances.
That of Abraham and of Moses, historical alliances.
So many aspects of the word.
And all recapitulates itself in Christ, the definitive Adam, pan-human, as married as the new Eve, as he said.
There's never an isolated person in Christ.
And sometimes we consider Christ so much in this person, it's important to have that one-to-one relationship with him, to see where that goes if you lose the cosmic platform, if you lose that generality.
And it becomes very weak in the last century.
It becomes very kind of puny.
It's isolated from this other thing.
Both dimensions are essential.
The one-to-one personal relationship with Christ.
But if you lose that cosmic dimension, we get ourselves into a ghetto, a palestine.
Well, there is, but the direct thing there is between
nature in the first creation and Christ in the second creation, or the incarnation in the second creation.
That's the direct comparison.
I think you make the other comparison in other ways.
Not true, because Eve is not connected with the old church.
From now on the Christic head communicates to all its members the power of the vivifying spirit at work in the church which witnesses and intercedes for the salvation of the whole of humanity.
through trials and persecutions, their matures, their ripens, under the Christic sun, the sun which is the word, the logos, the harvest of history.
And this will be, in the first place, the reign of a thousand years, I think.
He's a millenarist, you know, there's always a knocking for this, too.
People just regret it.
I ask people, that thousand-year reign of John's apocalypse on earth is in his teaching.
It's kind of an accidental
It shouldn't prejudice the value of this stuff.
That rain of a thousand years, we'll get into that later, there's a reason why he puts that in there, of which the Apocalypse speaks, concrete transfiguration of the earth, of which the miracle of Cana constitutes the sign and the abbreviation.
So Claremont, as I say, is synthetic too, and he's confessed a whole lot in that.
I should have typed this out for you.
Okay, last time we were treating Book 4, Chapter 20.
And let's go on with it.
I'll review it very quickly and then we'll go on.
There are three things I'd like to do.
First is this theology of vision, theology of light, which is focused in this Chapter 20.
In fact, that's the major text that Vlasky uses, remember?
In The Vision of God, when he gives a very nice... I think you have those, there are pages of Vlasky's.
Vision of God, page 30, 37, something like that.
Secondly, this notion of the education of man, which also comes up in book four towards the end, it's the last couple of chapters.
Then, as we move into book five, the last book of his work, I'd like to switch over to this focus, The Theology of Earth, because that's where it really is.
Theology of Earth.
In other words, man is earth, and the resurrection of the flesh is man.
You see, at one end you've got this creation, which is the moulding of the clay of earth to make man.
That's poet, that image is always in the mind of everyone.
At the other end you've got the resurrection of the body.
in which everything is just filled with this light, which is the glory of the Father, and transfigured in that light.
And somehow, through and in the flesh of Christ, the risen, transfigured flesh of Christ, we participate in that light of the Father, and we're given life by it, and we're rendered incorrupt, immortal by it.
So, it runs between those two things, and they're both earth, on the axis of the earth.
And the reason why I want to insist on this is because it's been lost, and it's been an important force to the present.
Starting out quite a minute, the Gnostics who had a kind of balloon or spiritualized theology, he grounds it.
But he doesn't have to really stretch it out of shape in order to ground it, because that's the way it is in the scriptures.
Okay, we're on page 480-something.
Let me just review what's already up in chapter 10.
First of all, the notion of the creation of man by the two hands of God, the Word and the Spirit.
And implicit in this, and very present, is the fact that man is earth, but he's clay.
And that the image and likeness of God may give more than that, but he's still one.
Then the Word made flesh.
In the Incarnation, Christ attains a sovereignty over the kind of filling of everything that's in the earth.
Then there's a very strong expression here, which we're going to come back to later.
It's on the bottom of 488 in the left-hand column.
He's talking about the incarnation, but also the transfiguration and the resurrection, which are really one thing.
He himself being made the first begotten of the dead, and that all things, as I have already said, might behold their king.
It's wonderful when he doesn't just say all people, all men, he says all things.
Plasmic sense to this gathering.
And that the paternal light, see, he sees the Father somehow, being experienced somehow as light, and the final experience of God, the one which gives you immortality, is that knowledge of the Father, which he refers to as the paternal light,
that the paternal light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and come to us from His resplendent flesh.
So somehow our flesh is vivified by the light of the Father in His flesh, which erected through His incarnation.
And you get the idea here that the vision of God to Irenaeus is not simply a subject-object vision of some kind.
That's much too crude.
It's not just some kind of dualistic vision.
It's somehow being penetrated by the light which is God.
and participate in us in this consummate incarnation.
It's both of them and it's not the light outside of you, it's inside of you, by virtue of the incarnation.
That the paternal light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of our Lord and come to us from His resplendent flesh.
Now immediately it comes to mind, the image of the Transfiguration.
And he does comment on that in his record 20.
And that thus man might attain to immortality having been invested with the paternal life.
Invested with the life, penetrated, not only clothed but soaked with the life.
It's that and it's more interior, more intense too.
I haven't got the Greek word yet.
You know what they did in the last two books of Irenaeus?
They turned the whole thing back into Greek.
Because there isn't any Greek manuscript of it.
So they took the Latin and the Armenian.
This is one of these marvelous labors of scholarship.
And they translated the whole thing back into Greek.
From two pretty faithful translations.
They could tell because they agreed with one another for the Latin and the Armenian.
It's very useful.
Because then you can get a pretty good guess at the word that he actually used.
I don't know, we can find out.
Let's see.
This is number two, right?
Okay, the French and the Latin, I've got circumdatis paterno luminae.
I'll read you the thing.
Now this is, see this is the directing, is the Latin, when you work it into the Greek, with the help of your mind.
Surrounded by the light of God.
Surrounded by the light of God.
Virjiva could be radiation or ray as it can be, or one.
It doesn't necessarily mean one ray or one beam.
Yeah, radiation.
At Sikhamadivinat in incorruptella, in incorruptibility, circumdatis paterna ruminant.
So it means surrounded or enclosed, okay, in the Latin.
Yeah, but filled, however, with that word circumdatis, filled is only to infer that, but it's not in the word.
It means surrounded there.
And they've got a curly left face, in Greek, and enveloped.
Enveloped is good in French.
How come the French didn't select a good word?
Did they take care of it?
What's the root of that word?
But usually, Irenaeus' language needs to be taken in a full sense.
He doesn't use things in a narrow sense, he uses them in a generous sense, and so we're entitled to kind of feel those depths in.
It's deliberate, because it is a kind of philosophy.
Okay, next thing we want to touch here.
those three stages of revelation.
Now, he talks about God, remember, being unknowable in his greatness and known in his love.
Now, what does that mean?
That's a peculiar phrase, and it can mislead us.
I think what it means is that you can't grasp God from your side.
He reveals himself in his love, and he reveals himself
through a loving, that is, gratuitous revelation of himself, rather than being grabbed by our might, our power, our desire.
It comes from him.
Then it means the second thing, which is that the love itself is the very vehicle or channel or medium of his communication to us in the deepest way.
That is, the love enables him to communicate with his interior beings.
Remember how St.
Paul says, the love of God is poured out in our hearts?
I think he means that too.
It's not that we only know his love, we don't know his greatness.
That's not it.
Because we don't know his love any more than we know his greatness in a sense.
We don't know either of them fully, comprehensively.
Okay, there's this, in number five, there's this very rich section which we have to give a little attention to.
Yeah, it's on page 489 in the left-hand column.
You have to use colours on Araneas, but the black and white doesn't do, so I've got lots of pink there and a little gold around there.
For man does not see God by his own powers, but when he pleases he is seen by men, by whom he wills, and when he wills, and as he wills.
And then these phases, prophetically through the Spirit, adoptively through the Son, which means in our time, as we are, as we are adopted, and somehow experiencing the Word, and by that experience knowing the Father.
And we're seeing God, aren't we?
So notice how he uses the word seeing, he carries it back over things that we wouldn't even call seeing.
When he says, see, you can equate it with know.
But then it takes on a very concrete meaning, finally, at the end, because he's concrete.
He doesn't give an abstract term.
So knowledge for him is another vision.
It's a light that one sees.
The biblical language doesn't... it abhors abstraction, whereas Greek thought tends to love abstraction.
And so, we continue to return to the earth and the things of the earth.
The things that are conveyed by God in order to, in some way, become vehicles of our knowing Him.
This theology is still a part of the Scripture.
Oh, yes.
It's pure Scripture.
He hardly ever introduces another term that doesn't come out of Scripture.
So they have a lot of trouble seeing whether there's anything original at all in our lives.
He's transparent in that.
He shall also be seen paternally in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Spirit truly preparing man in the Son of God, notice, in the Son.
They've got that.
I didn't look up the original, but that could be important.
Because the idea is that our preparation is the incarnation of the Word, isn't it?
It's our being born in the Son.
It's not just being educated.
The son leading him to the father, while the father too confers upon him incorruption for eternal life, which comes to everyone from the fact that he's seeing God.
So this is the richest number, I think, on this theological vision.
Those who see the light are within the light and partake of its brilliancy.
Now notice here, it's not just a subject-object vision, it's something outside yourself.
To see the light is to participate in the light.
And we saw that already when he was talking about seeing adaptively to the sun.
It's a participation in the sun, making shape and feeling.
Partake of its brilliancy, so somehow the light radiates even from them.
This is going to come up again later on.
Even so, those who see God are in God, and they see with his splendor.
And the immediacy of the metaphor, the image of life to God is very close to it.
He could say one as well as the other.
But his splendor vivifies them.
The light of God gives life.
Now, he doesn't quote it right here, but you know where the proverb goes.
If you had to get that from the scriptural passage, where would you take it?
Yes, he has the passage of the proverb.
And also in John's proverbs, that in him was light and the light was the life of man.
So the light and the life are somehow one and the same.
Those therefore who see God do receive light.
These things are very simple, but you can stay there for a long while.
So, now this is the explanation of the Incarnation.
He rendered himself visible that he might vivify those who receive and behold him through faith, even though they don't see him glorified.
It is not possible to live apart from life.
The means of life is found in fellowship with God.
The fellowship with God is to know God and to enjoy his goodness.
Men, therefore, shall see God that they may live being made immortal by that sight and attaining even unto God.
And then he goes on at length later on about the prophets and how they saw God and how they didn't see God.
This quaternity tends to come back again and again.
He's got these patterns and sequences of three, and sometimes of four.
My father, the ones of four, like this one here, over in the right-hand column.
Thus, therefore, was God revealed, for God the Father is shown through all these operations, the Spirit indeed working, and the Son ministering, while the Father was approving, and man's salvation being accomplished.
Man is the fourth turn in this history.
All things, learn through his word that there is one God, the Father, who contains all things and grants existence to all.
The first time you see that, you think it's an accident.
All things, we must mean all men, not all men, there's no question, we mean all things.
It comes up again in the next page.
For this reason did the Word become the dispenser of the paternal grace, for the benefit of men, for whom he made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but presenting man to God.
Now that was a problem for me.
Why should the Word have to present man to God?
Because you know what I think it is.
He presents man to God himself.
God knows us in that special way, he knows us paternally, insofar as we are in the world, insofar as we are in the sun.
It's not like the sun has to go and tell him about us.
Q. The Lord is presenting redeemed man to God.
K. In himself.
In himself.
He recapitulates us.
which surprises us because we don't know what to make of that further process.
We're so used to it.
We're putting pressure right there and having everything here already.
If they feel that Christ somehow is an opaque Christ who doesn't admit man to the mystery, look at the universality and the freedom of that mystery, it's been the case of Christ.
And very often Christ is evident for Christians.
Okay, now up at the top of 490, the left-hand column.
I'm just touching some points because you can't hear me.
This famous phrase, which in fact is the best-known saying of Irenaeus, the best-known text of Irenaeus, for the glory of God is a living man and the life of man consists in beholding God.
There's a whole lot in that which will come out as we go on.
What's the Greek aspect, actually?
I don't get a real sense that English got a hold of it very well.
Well, it's pretty good, actually.
The Latin is... This is on page number 7 at the end.
I thought I saw a different translation, but consistently holding that, I thought I saw something like that.
Enjoy the goodness of God.
Oh, no, it's quite simple.
It's one of those compressed expressions.
Here's the Latin.
Gloria in em Dei, vibens homo.
No, the glory of God is a living man.
So man's life is the glory of God.
That's marvellous that you're so positive.
Vita autem ominus, visio Dei.
See, it's reciprocal.
The glory of God is the life of man, or a living man, to put it even more intimately.
And the life of man is the vision of God, or is to be enveloped in that paternal light, as we read before, enveloped in that light of the Father.
See, that's where it ends.
Now, he's not talking about the flesh there, he's not talking about earth.
But for him, that living man is living earth, living flesh.
It's very important that it's in front of him.
It's not just the spirit.
Yeah, yeah.
That's what Heschel says too.
But the reason, at least the corollary of the prohibition of those images is that you are the image of God and nothing is... What does that mean about our life?
It means that our life, as we live it, is supposed to express God, rather than our finding God in some distant thing.
So it leaves you with the freedom and the...
as it were, to reproduce God in your own life.
Like Jesus said, be perfect as you're having your Father perfect, okay?
Because that's the only image you're going to find.
So the image turns out to be not some circumscribed thing that you look at and grab and put in your pocket, but it turns out to be your life as you live it in freedom and creativity, insofar as you know God through the Spirit and know therefore what God wants you to be.
That's in the line of Irenaeus's book, it's in the same line.
Okay, now here is the recurrence of that thing that was surprising a few minutes ago.
For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation affords life to all living in the earth... What is the... what in heaven's name did he mean by that?
What lives in the world lives by the manifestation of God.
Much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word give life to those who see God.
Much more does the Word.
So he's saying that there are these different phases in the manifestation of God, and even life on earth before it knows Christ, or even before perhaps it's rational or human, exists by some kind of manifestation of God.
Now, Lasky talks about that.
Let me read something from Lasky.
is page 34.
We see here the rough draft of an ontology which Saint Irenaeus does not develop.
There is a kind of theory of being and how being exists and how life exists.
The existence of created being depends on a participation in God.
We don't think of him as being a philosopher.
We don't think of him as being a metaphysician, but he is.
It's a kind of concrete metaphysics.
He doesn't bring in a scaffolding of conceptual machinery.
He just stays very close to the things themselves.
A participation which is affected by a certain kind of vision.
Irenaeus continues, for the glory of God is a living man while the life of man is the vision of God.
Therefore, if the manifestation of... Well, he's just repeating what he said.
So, we could go on about that, but I'll just leave it as a kind of puzzle, because I think it's important.
I have to leave it as a kind of thing that I can deduct in the art which comes in the field.
And I say, I think that should be the balance of the art.
Yes, I mean, it's important to let it flow.
It's a kind of metaphor for a new signal in a mystic way.
You get what you're thinking about.
It's something you thought in psychology, but it wasn't by any means.
I'd say when you actually look in the eyes of a person,
Question from the audience.
It seems like true love, it's never ending, it's never leaving, and I think this is what we might talk about in our relationship with God.
True love, it's never ending, it's never leaving.
That's what I was trying to say.
Sacramento followed very aggressively from that participation.
And at last, that's when America saw the classical world fall apart.
Because there's nothing you can do.
I think that's one sense of what we have here.
I mean, the distinction between the two,
manifestations of God in the world, one being Adam and the other being Christ, it seems like.
What sense does that make?
More of the manifestation of God, which is made by the music of creation, where it's like the end of seven.
The end of seven, right.
It seemed like he was making a distinction there, sort of two levels of God's manifestation around the world.
That's right.
And I was wondering whether
He uses the word logos in the second, but not in the first part of God's manifestation.
And I'm wondering whether that's something that's peculiar to your answer.
Because I think of St.
John as having the logos.
Well, so does he.
He means a new revelation, a new manifestation of the Logos here on the second level.
Because if you look back at the very first number in that chapter of Irenaeus, you'll see that the hand of God is the Logos in which all things are created, not only man but all things.
So it's very definitely there at the outset.
But this is a new level of manifestation of the Logos.
to the rational being, as it were, to the human being who is capable of knowing him through the mind.
The Logos is always there, and whenever there's any manifestation of God, in fact, he insists that it's the Logos that manifests God, that the Father is invisible and he's always known through the Word.
How that relates to that paternal life, I don't know exactly.
I think it relates insofar as when we know the paternal life directly, we're in the Word, and that's why it's immortality for us, because we're in the Son.
I don't know really how to get this together, except here's one hint.
Everything lives by the representation and the manifestation of God, insofar as it lives from some reflection of God.
about a moment ago, is it intensifies our life, it makes us feel more ourselves, it brings us sort of onto another level of life.
Because we have beheld the image of God in the eyes of another person, somehow, and because we have beheld that image of God, that manifestation of God reflected in the other person, we have experienced it in ourselves.
Now, it's true even on a more simple level.
Consider the sun, which is, in some way, the archetypal symbol of God, the cosmological symbol of God, which gives life to everything on earth.
Now, I'm not saying that that's the only way in which this is true, but I think it's another kind of analogy which points us in the right direction for understanding what's going on in our society.
And somehow those things which give us life are the reflections of God.
Man is able to obtain that life actually through his mind, called intelligently or intelligently, by reading those, by knowing those in another way, but somehow even on lower and lower and simpler and simpler levels.
that the gift of life itself is a manifestation of life.
If you go down and down, you'll have simple life, like a beautiful meditation.
And life itself.
What's life?
Life is an imitation of God, isn't it?
Life is a manifestation of God.
Not only a gift of God, it's something that's trying to be like God.
The very movement of life.
Now, he talks about three degrees of vision, but we could make them four degrees of vision.
He talks about the prophetic vision, the vision of adoption, and the vision of the Father in the age to come, but we've already got this first, call it cosmic, level of vision in all living things.
All created things in some way.
their existence in some way itself.
See, we're not able with our mind really to get down to those levels, but their existence is some kind of an imitation of God.
You know, the scholastics would have a way of saying that too, that their being is a participation in God, and so very simply, that that simplicity doesn't carry the concrete force always.
In fact, it kind of... Well, Saint Thomas Aquinas would say that the existence of all beings is a participation in the existence, the essay of God.
And that's an enormously rich and powerful statement, but when we study it abstractly like that, it doesn't touch unless we work with it.
Where are we?
Number eight, how the prophets saw God and how they didn't see God.
Just to sum this up, he keeps using the expression, the prophets saw God, but they didn't see God clearly and directly, the paternal light, as you would say.
What they saw was God in figures and in similarities, likenesses.
And he goes on and on, showing how that happened.
Now, you have to watch Ernest, because you'll think he's just proving a point, and meanwhile, with his very illustrations, he's teaching you something else.
The selection of the examples that he gives, and the images that he gives, is very important, and of the text that he uses.
And so it is here.
He starts talking about how the prophets saw God, and they saw God even by what they did.
You see, here again we get this thought beginning to permeate things.
So they see God in the way that they live their lives, they see God in what they say, they see God in what they do.
You see how deep that national vision has been.
Insofar as they're permeated with that light.
Now he uses the example, it's always the word, the word that's revealing God to them and in them.
The word spoke to Moses.
Appearing before him, just as anyone might speak this time, this is number nine, Moses wanted to see him openly.
But God said, stand in the deep place of the rock, and with my hand I'll cover you.
This is at Sinai, remember?
And my splendor will pass before you, and you'll see my back parts, but my face you shall not see.
Two facts are signified.
First, man cannot see God and live.
Secondly, through the wisdom of God, man shall see him in the last times, in the depth of a rock, that is, in his coming as a man.
on the depth of a rock in the earth.
We have to keep a hold of that metaphor, because it's going to come up again and again and again.
Here it's a rock, later it will be a stone, later it will be the earth.
It follows what it were.
The next one that he quotes is Eliza and Caleb.
Between the two he talks about the transfiguration.
And for this reason did he, the Lord, confer with him face to face on the top of a mountain, Elias being also present as the Gospel relates.
That's a transfiguration.
So this is not just a kind of casual instance that he picked up, it's central in his whole argument.
And here we see that very transfiguration and that very theology of vision reaches its people.
Now, Lossky takes off from that.
Because Lasky, in his book The Vision of God, is writing largely about that Byzantine theology of vision, which ends up, concludes with the hesychast, with Gregory of Alamos.
I want to use Lasky a little bit here, because I think it's important to show the importance of Alamos, to excuse the digression.
For Saint Irenaeus, the third stage, the vision of the Father, the vision possessed by the Blessed, this is page 35, is expressed in the appearance of Christ transfigured by that light which is the source of the incorruptible life of the age to come.
And somehow we're to live by participating in that transfiguration, by the vision.
The Word was made flesh so that all that exists could see its King, and also so that the Light of the Father might fill the body of our Lord, and through His body come to us, so that man might arrive in incorruptibility, being clothed in the Light of the Father."
That's a quote we had before.
He brings it in here.
The theme of Christ's transfiguration reappears constantly in the writings of the Byzantine theologians.
It will be the keystone of their doctrines of the vision of God, that is, the Light of Capernaum, and so on, and so on, related to the prayer of the heart.
And Saint Irenaeus, this theme appears for the first time, so far as I know, in a doctrinal context which connects it with a vision of the age to come.
So for him it's a historical thing.
Also it is for Palamas, that vision is a prophetic vision of the end, but that gets lost in between.
This is very important, because it's kind of a crossroads here, whether you go the way of history and scripture, or whether you go the Greek way, a kind of analytical, psychological, dualistic kind of dualism, which splits the intellect, which knows God, from the living house.
And most of the tradition that we're going to be looking at later on follows that track.
So it's important for us to make that kind of a landmark here for future reference.
The whole distinction between the essence and the energy.
He is trying to say that God is unknown and non-existent.
and is known in the light of the transfigured Christ, somehow, which is also experienced in our place.
Now, the beautiful thing about Kalamas is its sacramentality.
That is, it comes back to earth.
It comes back to earth, in spite of the fact that this is a very esoteric discipline, as it has been.
It comes back to earth because it's in our bodies, through baptism in the Eucharist, that we are one with the transfigured Christ.
And therefore, we perceive this light in our hearts.
That's what he said.
Last times are the whole time from the time of the incarnation of Christ.
That's the way that the prophets would speak.
So last times is everything from the coming of Christ on, no matter how long it may be.
That's right.
He hardly had time to look back upon that in his time.
Now, here it is.
He quotes the same passage, okay, about Elijah in the cave, but he doesn't mention the cave.
He skims through it and quotes the parts that are pertinent to his argument.
The thing about the earthquake and the fire and the still small house.
And he makes the contrast there between all that violence and then the still, quick, small voice which is a kind of the inclamation from the gentle coming of Jesus.
It's a beautiful thing.
The gentle action of the Spirit, rivifying us from inside, rather than smashing down on us from outside.
Yes, it's good to stay with the concrete language because then we can follow very nicely.
There are a lot of directions we can go in.
Now, Irenaeus's notion of the millennium is connected with this whole thing because he felt that it was appropriate for the just, after their death and resurrection, to live on this earth for a thousand years with Christ in order to become habituated to the light of God.
So that was to be a kind of further training course for them in learning how to carry that weight of the glory of God in the book, in the vision of Christ, who is the witness, and the Elizabethan freedom on this earth.
Now, we'll pick that up later when we get into book five, because it's all connected to this notion of the importance of this earth, you see, and not throwing anything away.
Everything is recyclable for a fair amount of time, so we need to participate.
So it's not like we'll leave the earth behind and destroy it at one time.
You have to read it to see.
The last five chapters of book five, where he talks about that.
And the thing is that he's insisting against an allegorical interpretation.
So it's pretty different.
He wants to interpret it literally.
But I don't think he insists on the thousand years perhaps, but what he does insist on is the earth.
And this very earth.
He says it's important, it's appropriate that the earth on which the martyrs suffered should be the earth on which they later live with the glory of God.
That kind of thing.
It's very definite.
And he says you must not allegorize this.
So obviously he's got somebody in mind that he's fighting for.
But you know, I think there's still a lot there.
There's a lot of truth.
Let me try to just make this connection from Losky.
Now, this is at the end of his book.
The last chapter is called The Palamite Synthesis, OK?
And there we see, coming out boldly, the importance of Irenaeus once again.
I said that Irenaeus was eclipsed in the West, okay, from the time of... Manuel talks about doing it again, looking for a manuscript of Irenaeus to send to somebody who couldn't find one, who couldn't find the text of Irenaeus.
And yet, Saint Augustine and others at that time knew him.
But he disappeared from the general, the main line of tradition, and only came up against his concession.
And only really in our time.
He's the most quoted father, at least, in Vatican II, aside from Saint Augustine.
So he reemerges in the time of Vatican II, and that's not just an accident.
Now, in the East, what takes over?
The Greek or Platonic theology of contemplation takes over, and so Irenaeus' sort of holistic approach evolves, as well as the theology evolves.
And this is what Lasky is writing about.
It's surprising to find an Orthodox writer doing this.
Remember, he's from the Russian tradition, and the Russians find the earth once again.
and the Greeks come to the left door, they go up in an equestrian palace of contemplation.
The Russians come back down to the ground again.
He's talking about, of course, the theology of Palamas, and he builds a bridge.
He framed Irenaeus, and the bridge goes right over all the intervening theology, which is largely the Byzantine theology he was writing about.
The beautiful Byzantine theology of Origen, and the Byzantine Brahminism that grows out of it.
Origen of Agnus, and all of it by the privy of wisdom and the whole thing.
And he comes back down onto Palamas.
And much of that intervening tradition he says was intellectualist and Platonist, and split the human being.
He split the intellect, which is on the level of God somehow, into no-God and the rest of the human being.
That's his thesis, which I can testify to myself.
I'll read you a few of his words.
See, the contemplation of Palamas, of the Hesedites, is very concrete.
It's the light of Tabor in the flesh of the Hesedites.
This shows us the true nature of hesychast contemplation, also the place to the St.
Gregory Palamas theology, which crowns a long tradition of struggle to surpass the platonic dualism of the perceptible and intelligible sense and intellect, matter and spirit.
Precisely because God transcends created being, because he is in its essence absolutely inaccessible, not just relative.
It's not like you can only reach God with one of your faculties.
But this is very difficult, because when you say this, then you have to come around from another side and say, well, the intellect can now do it.
He reveals himself to the intellect.
He also reveals himself to the body.
He reveals himself to the senses and everything.
It's not that partition in man that's the difference.
And yet faith is a view.
Because there is no co-nature between the divine and the intelligible, you see.
made up of the angelic and human spirits.
God makes himself known to the whole man.
Were it not for this, we could speak of a purely sensible or purely intellectual vision.
And then he talks about two schools of mysticism in the East.
One is the intellectualist mysticism of art, and especially libraries, my whole life.
And the other is the sense mysticism, like of Macarius and the people I call the salient.
Who else is in that line?
I wonder if they have.
They may have, and they may not have articulated it.
This whole battle about originism in the desert, originism between the monks, had a lot to do with that, it seems.
Between the Greeks, who tended to have a more sophisticated and sort of, kind of abstract, intellectualized concept of God, and the Syntagoptic monks, who conceived of God.
Tawba ya Rabbi, tawba astaghfirullah.
Since the line of demarcation passes between the created and the uncreated, and not between the perceptible world and the world of intellects, conceived as related to those lines.
It does it between the created and the uncreated.
And so God's got to come from his side, and when he does, he can touch the whole of you, not just your intellect, not just one faculty.
So the analytical approach, where you spend all your energy trying to find out how man is put together, you know, and which faculty it is that God's got,
That's a typically Greek approach.
That's not it.
Now notice the kinship between that and the Gnostic approach.
The Gnostic idea is that you've got this spark in you, this spark within you.
And the Greek theologian might say, well that's fancy, but they're made for that type of thing.
So there's something in it, there's a truth there.
But the truth on the other side, the truth of the totality, knowing God, being touched by God, there's nothing wrong with that.
There's something about that point of his soul, about that spark in his soul.
I don't know how they extended that or how they elaborated on that.
I think we're making a mistake.
I think we do have a spark that actually becomes a flame.
The whole tradition, the whole mystical tradition, ecclesiastical tradition, does believe in something like that.
The line on this would be special.
The trouble is that the other is forgotten, so the body is missing.
It's neoplatonism, more likely, but then there's experience there, too.
I think a lot of that is in your experience, when they talk about the, if you read Eckhart Tolle, and the point within the person's tower, I think it comes from that experience.
Then they find a kind of neoplatonic tradition within Christianity to attach it to, and gives them the language to express it in.
But it's really there.
That's right.
Especially in St.
Paul, when St.
Paul picks it up and talks about the battle between the spirit and the flesh.
See, a crude understanding of that gets carried over into a dualism between body and spirit, and then you're in trouble.
The spark, the divine sparks.
But we can't tell whether or not there's a conflict between God and his spiritual side, which is really what it is, and we hate to ask the same of the religious people.
I'm sorry, I speak like a Catholic, but it's absolutely terrible.
So we can't tell.
We can't do anything.
We can't tell.
We've got a very strong tradition of that in the West.
A little more, I'm trying to get back and make this connection with Irenaeus before we quit.
Some of Lasky's lavish praise of Irenaeus.
So on one side you've got a sense mysticism, on the other side you've got an intellectualist mysticism.
A platonic escape, as he says, is maybe a little more harsh than it used to be.
The spiritualization of the human being as he is transformed into nous, into intellect, is with Origen and Evagrius.
Then he goes on.
In Palamas, we are very far here from the Alexandrian spirituality, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and so on, and Evagrius, but are still very close to Saint Irenaeus.
The old anthropology gives way to a positive asceticism, not one of negating, of going beyond.
If the body must share with the soul the ineffable blessings of the age to come, it is certain that it must participate in them as far as possible from now on.
For the body itself also experiences divine things.
When the passionate forces of the soul find themselves not put to death, but transformed and sanctified."
That's from Palamas, but he's connecting that directly with the Aeneas and his positivity
He who participates in divine energy, Palomas again says, becomes in some way light in himself.
Remember that passage we just read in number 5 of chapter 21?
Becomes in some way light in himself.
He is united to the light and with the light he beholds with all his faculties all that remains hidden to those who do not have his grace.
Participation in the light, physically.
It's very simple to think of yourself as a human being, rather than searching for some way in yourself to make a man.
For the pure in heart see God, who as light dwells in them and reveals himself to those who love him, to his well beloved, the same uncreated light as Paloma's face, communicates itself therefore to the whole man, making him live in communion with the Holy Trinity.
It is this communion with God in which the righteous will finally be transfigured by light and will themselves become as resplendent as the sun.
We'll find that coming up a little later on in there.
Which constitutes the attitude of the age to come.
Thus under a new form we discover again the thought of Saint Irenaeus, the progressive vision revelation composed of three stages.
Before Christ, after the Incarnation, and after the Provision.
and right at the end.
After several centuries we find ourselves confronted again by the vision of Christ transfigured through whom the Father communicates in the Holy Spirit the light of his inaccessible nature.
A vision of God which we encountered at the outset of our study from the work of St.
Irenaeus, and then which disappeared rightfully, and all of that was revealed in time.
So we're returning to the beginning.
We capitulate.
In the work of St.
Irenaeus, father of the Christian tradition, disciple of Polycarp and also disciple of St.
The one who said, no one has ever seen God, the Son alone who is in the bosom of the Father, has manifested him to us.
That's at the end of Gorsky's book, chapter 9, The Vision of God.
Okay, let's see if we've gotten out of the woods here before we put in this.
Chapter 20 is one of the richest chapters in the whole of your analysis, one of the most concentrated, and in it is the core of this theology of vision of life.
The Father is invisible and then all of these manifestations of
the Father through the Word.
Now the choice of his, he goes through these various manifestations and revelations of the Word in the Old Testament, and his choice of examples is very important once again, because he could have chosen from a hundred, maybe a thousand, but the ones that he picks up are these.
That is,
Jesus as the Son of God in the furnace with the three boys, remember, in the fiery furnace in Babylon.
One of them, the fourth, is like the Son of God, like the Son of God.
Then the stone in Daniel, remember, that is broken off from the rock and comes down and knocks down the statue and fills the whole earth and marvels.
It fits right into this earth notion of Christ and man.
Thirdly, the Son of Man in the clouds, in Daniel.
Fourthly, the Son of Man glorified with his face as the sun, in the Book of Revelation.
We heard from the sun in this transfiguration.
Then the Lamb, and then the Lamb was also the rider of the white horse, and his name is the Word of God, once again in the Apocalypse.
See, those are carefully selected in my mind to present this Word in a certain way, the Word of Manifest and Father.
And also, later on, he talks about the prophets and how they, in their lives and in their actions, saw, as he says, God.
They saw God in what they did, they saw God in these figurative things that they did.
And he brings in three women here.
The wife of Hosea, the wife of Moses, who was an Ethiopian woman, and finally Rahab.
A very interesting way he uses it.
Obviously, he's very carefully selected.
Once again, he could have chosen a hundred, but he chose those three, who all represent the Church in some way.
The Church of Sinners, or the Church of the Gentiles, in two cases.
And he's the first one to use this expression, which he does almost impassively.
For this reason, by means of the marriage of Moses was shown forth the marriage of the Word.
The marriage of the Word.
Do you know anywhere else where you find that?
Remember, that's what you find in the interpretation of the Song of Songs, starting at origin, and going all the way up to John 1.
But the bridegroom in the Song of Songs is the word of God.
That's in number 12, right down at the bottom of the left hand column.
And then you've got this charming exegesis of the whole thing of Rahab, the three skies,
represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We're spying out the promised land.
And now there's a kind of truth behind it.
It's a game that's played, but there's a truth behind it.
And then the scarlet thread.
I really wondered about the scarlet thread.
The scarlet thread which meant the Passover.
You see, the blood of the Lamb.
The blood of the Lamb.
Scarlet thread.
Thread woven of wool.
Wool comes from the Lamb.
The blood of the Lamb, the Passover.
The Scarlet Thread which meant the Passover and the redemption and exodus of the people from Egypt.
So, somehow attached to that line of salvation which is God's economy.
How beautiful.
I don't know of another exegesis like that.
I haven't read much about it.
It's beautiful.
Next time, let's go to that next text on our list, which is chapter 26, number 1, on page 496 and 497.
to the last two chapters in book four, chapters 38 and 39, page 521 to 523, in which he talks about this whole education process.
Then after that, we'll go to book five and try to wind up with Irenaeus' Theology of the Earth.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.