Friday, November 30, 2012

Even More Examples of Irenaeus's Methodology Against the Heresies

If, then, any one allege that in this respect the flesh of the Lord was different from ours, because it indeed did not commit sin, neither was deceit found in His soul, while we, on the other hand, are sinners, he says what is the fact. But if he pretends that the, Lord possessed another substance of flesh, the sayings respecting reconciliation will not agree with that man. For that thing is reconciled which had formerly been in enmity. Now, if the Lord had taken flesh from another substance, He would not, by so doing, have reconciled that one to God which had become inimical through transgression. But now, by means of communion with Himself, the Lord has reconciled man to God the Father, in reconciling us to Himself by the body of His own flesh, and redeeming us by His own blood, as the apostle says to the Ephesians, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins;" and again to the same he says, "Ye who formerly were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ;" and again, "Abolishing in His flesh the enmities, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances." And in every Epistle the apostle plainly testifies, that through the flesh of our Lord, and through His blood, we have been saved. [AH 5.14.3]

It assumes a mental incapacity on the part of heretics beyond anything that is believable to believe that their collection of writings supported Irenaeus's contentions.  After all, it was a pillar of Marcionite belief that Jesus was an angel.  The idea that shared our collection of the Pauline epistles and then made arguments for the 'spiritual flesh' of Jesus from a common canon - when Irenaeus and other makes clear that there were massive textual differences between our and their Apostolikon - is simply absurd.  Yet the fact that Irenaeus can make it seem as if 'the collection of Pauline letters' convicts the heretics of falseness demonstrates how easily a careless reader might take Irenaeus to mean just that.  Just look at how the argument concludes in the next paragraph:

If, therefore, flesh and blood are the things which procure for us life, it has not been declared of flesh and blood, in the literal meaning (proprie) of the terms, that they cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but [these words apply] to those carnal deeds already mentioned, which, perverting man to sin, deprive him of life. And for this reason he says, in the Epistle to the Romans: "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, to be under its control: neither yield ye your members instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves to God, as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."  In these same members, therefore, in which we used to serve sin, and bring forth fruit unto death, does He wish us to [be obedient] unto righteousness, that we may bring forth fruit unto life. Remember, therefore, my beloved friend, that thou hast been redeemed by the flesh of our Lord, re-established by His blood; and "holding the Head, from which the whole body of the Church, having been fitted together, takes increase"--that is, acknowledging the advent in the flesh of the Son of God, and [His] divinity (deum), and looking forward with constancy to His human nature (hominem), availing thyself also of these proofs drawn from Scripture--thou dost easily overthrow, as I have pointed out, all those notions of the heretics which were concocted afterwards. [ibid 5.14.4]
Again, Irenaeus says he is disproving the heretics from Pauline 'scripture' - but it is clearly not from the Marcionite scriptures as he references 'to the Ephesians' in our last citation, when the Marcionite text was actually given a different name.  Many of the scriptural proofs which Irenaeus uses are also demonstrably absent from the Marcionite canon.

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