of his opponents forced him to consider which Christian writings ought also to be regarded as having authoritative and binding force. Against Marcion, he is obliged to argue for a richer evangelical record; against the Gnostics, for a more restricted one. It is not possible, he argues, that there could be more or fewer gospels than the four the church actually possesses.13
The unity between the gospels and the Old Testament is not something that can be gauged only externally, by the application of the rule of truth. There is a dynamic unity between the Old Testament and the gospel which derives partly from the fact that it is the one Spirit which utters them and guides their interpretation when they are read conformably to the rule, and partly from the fact that the same Word of God reveals himself in both (Haer. 2.28.2; 3.24.1; 4.33.7). Christ is the treasure hidden in the field (Matt 13.44), that is, in the scriptures of the Old Testament (Haer. 4.26.1). All the appearances and utterances ascribed to God in the Old Testament have as their subject the Word who became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, and there is no discontinuity between what he said then and what he says in the flesh. The difference is in the manner of his communication. In the Old Testament, his utterances and appearances are prophetic of and preparatory to the permanent revelation of the Word of God in the incarnation.14 Irenaeus is even prepared to say that in the Old Testament theophanies God was accustoming himself to humankind and accustoming humankind to himself (Haer. 3.17.1; 3.20.2; 4.21.3). When Jesus quotes from the Old Testament in the gospels, he is really quoting himself. It is not because he is a subordinate or second-order God that the Son is made the subject of the theophanies of the Old Testament. The incarnate Word is God made visible, and it was that God made visible that was glimpsed in the theophanies of the Old Testament. Irenaeus took quite literally the statement of Jesus in John's gospel that 'he who has seen me has seen the Father' (John 14:9). The incarnate Son is what is visible of the Father (Haer. 4.6.6), because he is 'the measure of the immeasurable Father' (Haer. 4.4.2). In the incarnation, the infinite, immeasurable and therefore incomprehensible God is measured, and therefore made comprehensible - visible, audible, touchable. But the Son 'measures' the Father only so that he can be comprehended by human beings -the incarnation does not render divinity wholly comprehensible, and so Irenaeus adds that the Father is what remains invisible of the Son. Just because he is infinite, God will never be fully comprehended by human beings, and human beings will always be able to advance in the knowledge and love of
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