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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
IRENÆUS: Chapter III.—Answer to the cavils of...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter III.—Answer to the cavils of the Gnostics. We are not to suppose that the true God can be changed, or come to an end because the heavens, which are His throne and the earth, His footstool, shall pass away.

1. Again, as to their malignantly asserting that if heaven is indeed the throne of God, and earth His footstool, and if it is declared that the heaven and earth shall pass away, then when these pass away the God who sitteth above must also pass away, and therefore He cannot be the God who is over all; in the first place, they are ignorant what the expression means, that heaven is [His] throne and earth [His] footstool. For they do not know what God is, but they imagine that He sits after the fashion of a man, and is contained within bounds, but does not contain. And they are also unacquainted with [the meaning of] the passing away of the heaven and earth; but Paul was not ignorant of it when he declared, “For the figure of this world passeth away.” 3830 In the next place, David explains their question, for he says that when the fashion of this world passes away, not only shall God remain, but His servants also, expressing himself thus in the 101st Psalm: “In the beginning, Thou, O Lord, hast founded the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure, and all shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail. The children of Thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established for ever;” 3831 pointing out plainly what things they are that pass away, and who it is that doth endure for ever—God, together with His servants. And in like manner Esaias says: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heaven has been set together as smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they who dwell therein shall die in like manner. But my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not pass away.” 3832


Footnotes

465:3830

1 Cor. vii. 31.

465:3831

Ps. cii. 25-28. The cause of the difference in the numbering of the Psalms is that the Septuagint embraces in one psalm—the ninth—the two which form the ninth and tenth in the Hebrew text.

465:3832

Isa. li. 6.


Next: Chapter IV.—Answer to another...

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