Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Saint Irenaeus: The Harmonious Melody of Creation

Today is the feast of the great Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church from the late second century. His response to the gnostic heresies of the time resulted in more than a polemic. It articulated a profound early theology of the Trinity, the creation of the world by God, and the reality of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Here is a text of Saint Irenaeus that I would like to share for today’s feast:

“Created things, in their great number and diversity, fit beautifully and harmoniously into the creation as a whole. And yet, when viewed individually, they appear discordant and opposed to each other, just as the sound of the lute makes a single harmonious melody out of many and opposite notes by means of the intervals between them. The lover of truth must not be deceived, therefore, by the interval between the different notes, nor imagine that this note was the work of one artist and author, and that note due to another… He must not forget that one and the same Artist was responsible for the wisdom, justice, goodness, and munificence of the whole work. And those who listen to the melody ought to praise and glorify the Artist, and admire the tension of some notes, appreciate the relaxation in others, enjoy the moderation of those between the two extremes… Recalling that some things are symbols, they will consider what it is that each thing points to and what causes it. But they will never alter the rule, nor stray from the Artist, nor abandon faith in the one God who made all things, nor blaspheme our Creator. When someone fails to find the cause of all that he is investigating, he should recall that man is infinitely inferior to God. Man, you are not uncreated, and you have not existed from eternity with God, as His own Word has done. No, by His overflowing goodness you received the beginning of your existence, and have gradually learned from the Word the dispositions of the God who made you.”

~Saint Irenaeus, Against the Heresies II:25 (2-4)