(During the next two weeks I’ll be spending all my spare time preparing for a week-long class being taught by Fr John Behr. I have pages upon pages to read of St Irenaeus, St Gregory of Nyssa, and St Maximus the Confessor. I mean pages! I thought that I might share with the brethren some passages as I work myself through the material, along with observations and questions–mainly questions. I welcome any insights you might have.)
The bolded sentence in this passage still startles:
Wherefore Luke points out that the pedigree which traces the generation of our Lord back to Adam contains seventy-two generations, connecting the end with the beginning, and implying that it is He who has summed up in Himself all nations dispersed from Adam downwards, and all languages and generations of men, together with Adam himself. Hence also was Adam himself termed by Paul the figure of Him that was to come, because the Word, the Maker of all things, had formed beforehand for Himself the future dispensation of the human race, connected with the Son of God; God having predestined that the first man should be of an animal nature, with this view, that he might be saved by the spiritual One. For inasmuch as He had a pre-existence as a saving Being, it was necessary that what might be saved should also be called into existence, in order that the Being who saves should not exist in vain. (AH 3.22.3)
I discussed this text a couple of months ago: “God Creates the World From the Cross.” I don’t have anything more to add at this point, but I sure hope it comes up for discussion in our class. Question: how much does this eschatological view (specifically, the creation exists for the Incarnation) inform St Irenaeus’ theology? I’ll be looking for other passages along these lines.
I note the employment of predestination language here. Because Christ is the Savior, Adam was predestined to be of an animal nature that he might be saved by the One who is fully realized in the Spirit. At least that’s what I’m guessing that “spiritual One” means. We’ll have to see.