Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
IRENÆUS: Chapter VI—The Holy Ghost,...
Chapter VI—The Holy Ghost, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, made mention of no other God or Lord, save him who is the true God.
1. Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as this passage has it: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” 3329 Here the [Scripture] represents to us the Father addressing the Son; He who gave Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His enemies. Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord. And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture says, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.” 3330 For it here points out that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received power to judge the Sodomites p. 419 for their wickedness. And this [text following] does declare the same truth: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee.” 3331 For the Spirit designates both [of them] by the name, of God—both Him who is anointed as Son, and Him who does anoint, that is, the Father. And again: “God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.” 3332 He [here] refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church. For she is the synagogue of God, which God—that is, the Son Himself—has gathered by Himself. Of whom He again speaks: “The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken, and hath called the earth.” 3333 Who is meant by God? He of whom He has said, “God shall come openly, our God, and shall not keep silence;” 3334 that is, the Son, who came manifested to men who said, “I have openly appeared to those who seek Me not.” 3335 But of what gods [does he speak]? [Of those] to whom He says, “I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High.” 3336 To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the “adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father.” 3337
2. Wherefore, as I have already stated, no other is named as God, or is called Lord, except Him who is God and Lord of all, who also said to Moses, “I am that I am. And thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: He who is, hath sent me unto you;” 3338 and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who makes those that believe in His name the sons of God. And again, when the Son speaks to Moses, He says, “I am come down to deliver this people.” 3339 For it is He who descended and ascended for the salvation of men. Therefore God has been declared through the Son, who is in the Father, and has the Father in Himself —He who is, the Father bearing witness to the Son, and the Son announcing the Father.—As also Esaias says, “I too am witness,” he declares, “saith the Lord God, and the Son whom I have chosen, that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am.” 3340
3. When, however, the Scripture terms them [gods] which are no gods, it does not, as I have already remarked, declare them as gods in every sense, but with a certain addition and signification, by which they are shown to be no gods at all. As with David: “The gods of the heathen are idols of demons;” 3341 and, “Ye shall not follow other gods.” 3342 For in that he says “the gods of the heathen”—but the heathen are ignorant of the true God—and calls them “other gods,” he bars their claim [to be looked upon] as gods at all. But as to what they are in their own person, he speaks concerning them; “for they are,” he says, “the idols of demons.” And Esaias: “Let them be confounded, all who blaspheme God, and carve useless things; 3343 even I am witness, saith God.” 3344 He removes them from [the category of] gods, but he makes use of the word alone, for this [purpose], that we may know of whom he speaks. Jeremiah also says the same: “The gods that have not made the heavens and earth, let them perish from the earth which is under the heaven.” 3345 For, from the fact of his having subjoined their destruction, he shows them to be no gods at all. Elias, too, when all Israel was assembled at Mount Carmel, wishing to turn them from idolatry, says to them, “How long halt ye between two opinions? 3346 If the Lord be God, 3347 follow Him.” 3348 And again, at the burnt-offering, he thus addresses the idolatrous priests: “Ye shall call upon the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord my God; and the Lord that will hearken by fire, 3349 He is God.” Now, from the fact of the prophet having said these words, he proves that these gods which were reputed so among those men, are no gods at all. He directed them to that God upon whom he believed, and who was truly God; whom invoking, he exclaimed, “Lord God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, hear me to-day, and let all this people know that Thou art the God of Israel.” 3350
4. Wherefore I do also call upon thee, Lord God of Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob and Israel, who art the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of Thy mercy, hast had a favour towards us, that we should know Thee, who hast made heaven and earth, who rulest over all, who art the only and the true God, above whom there is none other God; grant, by our Lord Jesus Christ, the governing power of the Holy Spirit; give to every reader of this book to know Thee, that Thou art God alone, to be strengthened in Thee, and to avoid every heretical, and godless, and impious doctrine.
p. 420 5. And the Apostle Paul also, saying, “For though ye have served them which are no gods; ye now know God, or rather, are known of God,” 3351 has made a separation between those that were not [gods] and Him who is God. And again, speaking of Antichrist, he says, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” 3352 He points out here those who are called gods, by such as know not God, that is, idols. For the Father of all is called God, and is so; and Antichrist shall be lifted up, not above Him, but above those which are indeed called gods, but are not. And Paul himself says that this is true: “We know that an idol is nothing, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth; yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we through Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” 3353 For he has made a distinction, and separated those which are indeed called gods, but which are none, from the one God the Father, from whom are all things, and, he has confessed in the most decided manner in his own person, one Lord Jesus Christ. But in this [clause], “whether in heaven or in earth,” he does not speak of the formers of the world, as these [teachers] expound it; but his meaning is similar to that of Moses, when it is said, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any image for God, of whatsoever things are in heaven above, whatsoever in the earth beneath, and whatsoever in the waters under the earth.” 3354 And he does thus explain what are meant by the things in heaven: “Lest when,” he says, “looking towards heaven, and observing the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and all the ornament of heaven, falling into error, thou shouldest adore and serve them.” 3355 And Moses himself, being a man of God, was indeed given as a god before Pharaoh; 3356 but he is not properly termed Lord, nor is called God by the prophets, but is spoken of by the Spirit as “Moses, the faithful minister and servant of God,” 3357 which also he was.
Ps. cx. 1.418:3330
Gen. xix. 24.419:3331
Ps. xlv. 6.419:3332
Ps. lxxxii. 1.419:3333
Ps. l. 1.419:3334
Ps. l. 3.419:3335
Isa. lxv. 1.419:3336
Ps. lxxxii. 6.419:3337
Rom. viii. 15.419:3338
Ex. iii. 14.419:3339
Ex. iii. 8.419:3340
Isa. xliii. 10.419:3341
Ps. xcvi. 5.419:3342
Ps. lxxxi. 9.419:3343
These words are an interpolation: it is supposed they have been carelessly repeated from the preceding quotation of Isaiah.419:3344
Isa. xliv. 9.419:3345
Jer. x. 11.419:3346
Literally, “In both houghs,” in ambabus suffraginibus.419:3347
The old Latin translation has, “Si unus est Dominus Deus”—If the Lord God is one; which is supposed by the critics to have occurred through carelessness of the translator.419:3348
1 Kings xviii. 21, etc.419:3349
The Latin version has, “that answereth to-day” (hodie), —an evident error for igne.419:3350
1 Kings xviii. 36.420:3351
Gal. 4:8, 9.420:3352
2 Thess. ii. 4.420:3353
1 Cor. viii. 4, etc.420:3354
Deut. v. 8.420:3355
Deut. iv. 19.420:3356
Ex. vii. 1.420:3357
Heb. iii. 5; Num. xii. 7.
Next: Chapter VII.—Reply to an objection...
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