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The Thoughts of Irenaeus

Essay by   •  November 21, 2010  •  Essay  •  713 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,250 Views

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The Thoughts of Irenaeus

The thoughts of Irenaeus are similarly reflected centuries later in the excerpt from Florovsky. Florovsky writes, "The Church... has, as it were a double life, both in heaven and on earth." This is similar to Irenaeus' view that God created humankind to love and lead them into an ever-growing communion with him. Heaven and earth are bound by God's relationship with humankind. God is a shepherd that leads his flock by the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Florovsky writes, "The Church is a visible historical society, and the same is the Body of Christ. It is both the Church of the redeemed, and the Church of the miserable sinners - both at once." Irenaeus believed that "Jesus is the second Adam because in his life, death, and resurrection a new humanity has been created, and in all his actions Jesus has corrected what was twisted because of sin." The Church has come directly from Christ (his body - communion). History was created as a result of sin. Without sin, humankind would never have been expelled from paradise. Since Christ is the Church and he came to correct what was "twisted because of sin," the Church is both the Church of the redeemed, and the Church of miserable sinners.

Florovsky writes, "On the historical level no final goal has yet been attained. But the ultimate reality has been disclosed and revealed." Irenaeus believed that the human creature was not made perfect from the beginning. The Word and the Holy Spirit instruct humankind. This instruction helps lead humans to "an increasingly close communion with God," which is the ultimate reality. "This ultimate reality is still at hand, is truly available, in spite of the historical imperfection, though but in provisional forms. For the Church is a sacramental society. Sacramental means no less than "eschatological." To eschaton does not mean primarily final, in a temporal series of events; it means rather ultimate (decisive); and the ultimate is being realized with the stress of historical happenings and events," writes Florovsky. Irenaeus would agree that the ultimate reality is still at hand and is truly available, in spite of historical imperfection, but I do not think that he would agree with Florovsky when he says, "though but in provisional forms." Irenaeus believed that God instructs humankind to be ever closer to him. The ultimate reality is "divinization." In order to get closer to the ultimate reality, humankind must worship and be instructed by the

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