Friday, January 09, 2009

Irenaeus on the Incarnation

Over the Christmas holiday I spent a lot of time studying in preparation for a Bible study I'm leading in the spring. Much of that time has been devoted to the Church Fathers, and I have to say, I'm quickly falling in love with St. Irenaeus and St. John Chrysostom. These men remind me precisely why the Tradition has been such an enduring and authoritative power in the Church.

St. John, I believe, will make a good showing on through the wardrobe in the coming months, but for now, here's a taste of the writings of Irenaeus that I've encountered in the last few weeks. This is actually quoted from Scot McKnight's A Community Called Atonement. (The whole of his brief chapter on 'Atonement as Story' in Irenaeus and Athanasius is phenomenal, and the different descriptions, both from McKnight and the Fathers, of God's atoning work in Christ are simply beautiful.)

For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man. . . For it behooved Him who was to destroy sin, and redeem man under the power of death, that He should Himself be made that very same thing which he was, that is, man; who had been drawn by sin into bondage, but was held by death, so that sin should be destroyed by man, and man should go forth from death.

Against the Heresies 3.18.7

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