The Invisible Cod And The Visible [mace

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supertelestial places, invisible to all men, holding personal intercourse with none, whom we believe to be Maker and Father ot" all things."10 Here Justin recounts the story in Genesis that begins "the Lord appeared to Abraham as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day" (Gen 1$:1) and continues through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:1-28), and asks Trypho and his colleagues if they fully understood the passages. They assert that they do understand, but according to their understanding, God first appears to Abraham, and then subsequently three angels appear—two of whom go tin to destroy Sodom while the third brings the joyful news to Sarah that she will become pregnant with a son. lustin, promising to persuade his listeners that these passages could only reter to another God who is subject to the Maker of all things (who is also called an Angel), begins to attend to the various titles and modes of address in the texts as they appear in the Greek text of the Old Testament [Septuagint)"

Leading Trypho through a cross-examination he points out that the one who spoke to Sarah is called "the Lord" (Gen 18:10 lkx) and that this one appears again at the birth of Isaac. Trypho, conceding that that this title "Lord" might indicate that God and two angels appeared to Abraham (rather than God, followed by three angels), still does not see the necessity tor a second divine being.12 Like other jews, Trypho apparently can accept the bibl ical statement at face value. I f the text says that God appeared, then God appeared. Justin, however, having gotten Trypho to acknowledge that the title "Lord" refers to the Divine Iking, draws Trypho's attention to the section of the story that names two distinct beings as "Lord" After the two angels safely whisked Lot and his family out of Sodom/the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Gen 19:24). To strengthen his arguments Justin then points out other places in the Scriptures where more than one being is called "God11 or "l.ord^ (Kwrwi)* For example, he points to Ps 45:6-7, where God appears to be anointed by another God ("your God"), and Psalm 110 where the psalmist writes: "The Lord says to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until 1 make your enemies your footstool" (Ps 110:1).'"

Toward the end of his debate, Justin summarizes his position—that all passages of Scripture in which God is said to act, to move, to speak, or even to he seen, refer to the Word raLher than Lhe Unbegotten God. In other words, every scriptural allusion to God as being seen or heard (for example, Moses and the bush or Jacob wrestling with the man at Peniel) should be understood as a manifestation of God the Son or Logos.11 In addition to asserting the superior Christian understanding of the Scriptures (including a claim that Christian believers were the heirs that God promised Abraham), this clear distinction between the First and the Second God is absolutely necessary in Justin1* mind, in order to protect the utter transcendence and incomprehensibility of the hirst: "For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither has come to any place, nor walks,

Tin sleeps, nor rises up, but remains in jus own place, wherever that is, i]i:ii k to bchiild an J quick Iti hear, having 11 l-H L11 l-- eyes nor cars, hut being of indescribable might____I herefbre, neither Abrahamh nor Isaac, im- r lacob, nor any other person, sav. Lhc Father luv.I ineffable L ord of ¿11 (and also oi ( hrist)-, but him who was atcordi ig to his v> ¡11 ItiSon, being God"'" ,\L1 Arilinjj m Jusiin, as a divine agfnl ■ I the Unbegutten l mhI. the Word can approach and intersi w'tih ik material and mortal realm. Such agency protects the Supreme God's Transcendence, while allowing interaction with the creation through ( ods Word After all, whilf ini111u. will] Creation Was lOu^h and diriy work, surtiennc li.nl U] do .1.

lrenaeus:The Unity of God against the Gnostics

Arou nd the samt I inn-, but (or 11 i1 tcre111 rcasons, irenaeus sim ilarly tried lo reconcile the eontradiclion between Cods essential invisibility and ineffahility with biblical accounts of divide thiophanies. In his Refutu-

iiot: ;M Hcnüics-, Irertaem, like III-Lin. slreüstrs the the First Person^but since he also wants to protect the unity uf the (5od head, he :---iiKI no' simply resort to distinguishing between the I ogps and God hy iht Logoss lIitlvl interaction with lIil' created world. The differences between Justin's and Irenaeus's arguments reflect their different aims. Whereas JuStirt explains :theophanies o\ \ln- I I 'li-J.i-mcnt as appearances oi the Word in order to estab ish the duality of the divine aOUjra (against a |ew)h Irenaeus is mutivaled by a di(Tercut theu-

l.^k.il purpose and circumstance, lie needs to defend the unity of God, L he e te rnal consisten cy of the d i^ 11 le pi a n for so I v-i tion, and the esse 111 ial goodness of creation against Gnostics In addition, although Irenaeus draws upon Scripture, when he refutes the teachings the Gnostics, In." cannot use it as authoritative prooi text in the way that Justin did in his dialogue wit 11 lew.

Irenaob realised that a teacher like Valeniimis could simply allege that the biblical accounts of divine theophanles proved the existence of .1 different i jclJ—-.i! this l .1 sc rriüvr Mil- [ ivinl- Word mir the Invisible i ni--d, but an inferior twho was sullied association with :l-material realm. Justins solution (that the Second Person was the subject of these tbeophanies seemed also to j>osc ilii-. danger- For this reason, Irenaeus resists making ,i clear distinction between the two Divine Beings prior to the incarnation. He emphasizes the profound significance l Mil' incarnation as I he unique w.iv in which God appears to hn ma nkind mo re than .i dem onsl rating (he ejciste nee i )f a S ec< >nd I 'or son in the Godhead Ah a resnil, Ircnacu-H repealedly insists lhat iFu-IuIllil' is pil'^-liul'lI mi these biblical -.iti:les of God's manifestation humanily. And this was his prooi of God'i iniiiil and well-ordered plan fot human salvation, which includes both the Adam's fall and the

Set'tind redempl ive C^mi nj; In 13ie person of k.hUh. In additinn 10

[lis bclief in C11 hTs iljü.i 1.oiisiileiu y,aind providence, however, Irenaeus muy h ave becncoiiscimis of rhe pinteniwl Tmythtilf>eííaI paralicé. Assipn-ing ihf divine thcophíinies lo thc prv-in. amate Wi.ird cunles periUmsly do^ m 1 lie íiiíjrieü of divine man i in pagan oj (¡jh^lk myths in whiirh adivine being (delty, ángel, or dtinori) temporarily look on mcri' human appearance, bul such llleopllanies did ii"i and could unt ¡Tivolve toking on actual human I k--.li. Morcnver. ibe faul thal < íchI cmitil:

ijl difierent appearing difíerejitly to different indiv dnali was n h i^n o: í 1 nd\ in lI usi ve ^erierojii Ly, s< t [ [ ..11 .lII pe rsOil S 111 i i^hl t>e incl Llded 111 trod's idencí irrespectlvc of the r ndividual intclligcnee orabil-it\ to perceivc or understand an esoterk tnith.'*

l'h erefore J renaen s p roeI ai m s, w[ 1.1: th e pat ríarebs saw wa h ,1 l-j'írttfi t >í thc Divine Word who, as God, h invisible and boundlcss, bul whti, a* Word, has (he capacity lo brcomc visible and would do soal sonie pu:ir in thf fuliire, t'Ul oí' 1 ¡íslTs Infinite gnndntíüü and ln^ for crtiilitm, La llujse wlio liave faith.' The Word, who makes God known to humuns ihrongh thc gift of prophccy and vjjbrs, granls certain individual* .1 glimpse ofa tiew ihing that would come lo pass in the "'last tinies.-" Jn other words, ihe prophets and pjtria rchs/chtw^1 ihc írrujjjjj/ m^nilVH-taiiun ot 1 iod ni i hrist. t'hose "'ignoran! ones" who insisl thal the propbets sau .1 different God iban the "invisible Father of all," under-Mjnd ncither thr r.ni:ir fJud mor ük funttiem í>f prí>phecy. Amird iiijikj Irenaeai. thecomijigüfí Inist . 1 the singular way ir which ( m.: appears to mortali, ard the niode by wh ch God is fully pnrscnl withiu tr^iion. " And tltih iinii|u(; ejfthJy dppearüiiCÉ lalways par 1 of t n.J's original iintentioji for the ultijinate perfection of the world ■ is whaí thc prophets iaiv and foretold, Furthcrmorvt whtn i.inii.iK niiimMU'ly ^"u1 <Jod s IijII ^lory, i( will no[ Ix; uui of thelr natural c^pjcity, but due lo 1 ]í)d s uwii ücJf-mielatiijn, 10 xvhoiii God cliooses jnd in the vvay thai y ,:hI .;1u)£>.hís—^HÍihriüt -^.ivs in Matt E¡:tí,uBleísed are the puré in heart, ft>] tJiey u r^see < iod.h"

\i il-í end tiniCj according to [ren^fus, ilie Loííos ^^ i 11 le,id i liase blessed '.ities ^■.l-.o love (.-vi ílum the l]rese]ice and lhe>' ^^ II partakc if its brillijuey. E^y thi^sipht,ihL-y r'tcive ¡mmorLaliiv{"inc^rruplioii Im lIli n:t¡ .iI■-■" and knmv [nilh frtid and Lhemselvefi in rrUtll. ^h». ^^ 1 :.ter of 1 lohn puts it: ''Beloved, '.ve are Gods children n■.l^^■. what we will be has ntit vl'I heen reviialiid. \\1iat wi1 ^Im kntsw i^ lilis;: ^'Siíri] he i- reveaJed, we wi\] be like him, forwe will set; him .k he Íh"1 i I ln':in 3:2). In íbe Inter im, thc ÍTie£.>mprehen5Íblc, infinite, and invisible í.lu.,1 will be niadc perceptible añil krciwaljl^, 'propheiiealU llirougli the Spirit» and adoptively through the I n til L^ wayn the invisible Cod i^ parliall) and i>rt]vi-

jionallv visible in thc preüenl?flnd humans are ínlivened hy recagnition ít((ittd's prcividence inituilly in creatioji and &ubseqnentlj ibrongh thc r i.lilí l^utii in 11: ('lirlst. that <,\<«.\ c¿ n be pe roe i ved bolh in the beauty oí the natural world as well as ir actual human flesh was dearly anti-Gnostic, In the interim, certain pcrwns .ire granted a foresight of the future incarnation, when the1 incomprehensible will be known by nwní o I 1 he comprehensible, and the invisible by il.^ visible" All these glimpses of the Divine come to humans through theagenc y of the Word, so that mortals might know God and continue to exisl. "For the glory of c íod isa homan madealive»and (he life of the hum m consists in beholding < ¡od."-1

I renaeus illustrates these points by citing the examples o I Isaiah asid Mnses. food's IlTil^.i! to granî Mosen .1 façç-To-façc interview nfTset by lI prophétie consolaiion priae- ,1 i^.^k at Ciftds back- -that Irenaeus interpretes as the divine assurance of special consideration in the future, God s putting Moses in the deft of I he rock symbolized the incarna-lion—(he i inn; when clod would be wrapped in matter, Evernually* God granLs Moses' request when he Moses) and Elijah are allowed to confer with the transfigured Christ "face In lace* (Matt 17:1 S and parallels),11 In I lie meantime, the prophets could have an intimation or tantalizing hbackside" glimpse oí 111.11 gJorj and spleitdûr, which would temporär Sly satisfy and prepare them to receive lh,tl which id 11 be revealed later on, This is why, when Ezckicl recounted his visions of God (with the 1 > > ll i- beasts and the wheds), he took ^jtl' to clarif} that "iji^ was the appearance n| the likeness of the glory nt the I oni>' ( Ezek I If, he says, whal Moses, Elijah, and E^ekiel saw (he might h ¿ve added Isaiah and ! >aniel ■ were celestial "similitudes" of div ine splendor and "prophecies of things to come," then ¡r manifest that God 1-indeed invisible. Even Johns vision "I the Apocalypse is a preview of the future, but as such it almost kills him : lít-^ 1: 17), since "no one shall see me and live" ■j rod .^.vJO), Irenaeus continues with an assertion that 11 is not by means of visions or words alone, however, rh.ir God is shown forth or Ihi1 incarnation prefigured* but through actual works, known to the prophets and later fulfilled in the church.

In his ! JePFrpHífrflfTífFi oj Apostolic Preaching- Irenaeus asserts that it is the Divine Word who appears to Abraham ¿i\ Maniré, jacob it Peniel, Moses at Horeb,and the Israelites m the wilderness (as a pillar of cloud t]T fine). Bul, 11L1 Llaritle^H all these appearances were revelations td the Begotten One who would one day come ■ 11L*.■ the midst ut human company. Hence, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses can be called prophets, because :Iil"\ "see things to comet which were 1 ■ take place m human form."'' However, as if aware that the ability to appear might imply the inferiority (mutabilily) ol the Word (o God, Irenaeus straises that l-nth are God, and "in the substance and power of his seing there is shown forth i111 k' God; ":hjI according to the economy of our redemption both S i ■■ i l and Father.11'' Thus, sometimes appearing is iki ¡¡ijjn of inconsistency, but it is rather the evidence of God1« benevolent and gracioui intention for creation,

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