Trinity – Did St. Irenaeous of Lyons believe in the Trinity?
Yes, to quote:
Irenaeous believed in the Trinity:
“… to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, …” (St. Irenaeous of Lyons, ‘Against Heresies’, Book 1, Chapter X.-Unity of the Faith of the Church Throughout the Whole World, Point 1)
The phrase “Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King” means
Christ Jesus = our Lord, = and GOD, = and Savior, = and King
The “and GOD” part proves Trinity.
The ‘temporary’ not equal part of Christ to the Father is willingly Done as the Lord “let go of His God-Ship Equality with God the Father” as Philippians 2:6 – 8 Reveals.
Yes, Christ Submits Himself to the Father now calling Him “my God” to Fulfill All Law and Prophets in the aspect of obedience too (Matthew 5:17 – 18) though Christ Himself does “not” have Father or Mother, or beginning of days nor end of life… In the “Absolute Sense” as Hebrews 7:3 reveals Majestically.
Irenaeous and the rest must be Speaking from this Same Biblical Understanding as it is Written.
P/S: “One God – Meaning”
Irenaeus (AD 115-200): ‘… “…the Father himself is ALONE called God…the Scriptures acknowledge him ALONE as God; and yet again…the Lord confesses him alone as his own Father, and knows no other.” | ” . . this is sure and steadfast, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except him who, as God, rules over all, together with his Word, and those who receive the spirit of ADOPTION, that is, those who believe in the one and true God, and in Jesus Christ the Son of God; and likewise that the apostles did of themselves term no one else God, or name no other as Lord; and, what is much more important, since it is true that our Lord acted likewise, who did also command us to confess no one as Father, except he who is in the heavens, who is the one God and the one Father.” (St. Irenaeous of Lyons, ‘Against Heresies’, Book 2, Chapter XXVIII, Point 4)
I’m not lying dear brother in Christ. When Irenaeous mentions Lord Jesus Christ as God (in Against Heresies X.l as quoted prior at the Start) the only God he refers to is “God the Father“, hence the Claimed EQUALITY between Father and Son is Established (John 10:30) where the Father is GREATER than the Son (in John 10:29, John 14:28 also) is ‘relatively‘ due to the “Son letting go of His EQUALITY with the Father and making Himself LOWER in All Humility to Fulfill His Will” (Philippians 2:6 – 8, Hebrews 2:9, 1 Corinthians 15:28)
Irenaeous only recognizes “God the Father” as God even in the Context of “2 Corinthians 4:4” —–> meaning irrefutably that his calling of “Lord Jesus Christ as GOD” —-> is NOT a figure of speech but only refers to EQUALITY with “God the Father” in the absolute sense (Hebrews 7:3, Philippians 2:6 – 8, John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16).
The proof ‘in Irenaeous own words’ that ‘he doesn’t recognize the God of this Age as Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4 as commonly erred in Popular Theology’ may be seen in Page 45 – 46 (in the Book ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ earlier) establishing “his claim being implied and explained in his own words”.
The “relative sense” Subjection of the Son to the Father as it is found throughout New Testament Scripture too is done Willingly by Lord Jesus Christ to Fulfill all Law & Prophets (Matthew 5:17 – 19) in all Humility (Philippians 2:6 – 8).
P/S 2: Trinity in the Old Testament – a Pronoun Argument – Zechariah 3:2
“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2, KJV)
Please note that the phrase “the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee” —-> implies that there are TWO YHWH’s (which we may infer as referring to ‘God the Son’ & ‘God the Father’ respectively). The word “LORD” = “YHWH” in translation above.
But, is such an exegesis for this Verse valid? Who says so?
Is there an early authority of Doctrine who implies this ‘same exegesis’ based on this ‘same Verse’?
Did Ireaneous ‘understand’ the Old Testament Verse above to imply that ‘Jesus Christ’ is BOTH ‘Lord and God’ (thus implying Trinity as per John 10:30)?
Yes, please consider ‘his own words’ below:
“…Whose angel Gabriel, also, who stands prominently in the presence of the Lord [Jesus Christ], simply, absolutely, and decidedly confessed in his [GABRIEL’s] own person as God and Lord, Him [Lord Jesus Christ] who had chosen Jerusalem, and had instituted the sacerdotal office. For he [GABRIEL] knew of none other above Him [Lord Jesus Christ]; since, if he [GABRIEL] had been in possession of the knowledge of any other more perfect God and Lord besides Him [Lord Jesus Christ], he [GABRIEL] surely would never-as I have already shown-have confessed Him [Lord Jesus Christ], whom he [GABRIEL] knew to be the fruit of a defect, as absolutely and altogether God and Lord…” (St. Irenaeous of Lyons, ‘Against Heresies’, Book 3, Chapter X, Point 1)
(i) Irenaeous quotes Zechariah 3:2 above
Irenaeous’ phrase: ‘Whose angel Gabriel, also, who stands prominently in the presence of the Lord [Jesus Christ], … Him [Lord Jesus Christ] who had chosen Jerusalem.’
Zechariah 3:2’s matching Phrase: ‘even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee’
(ii) Irenaeous identifies Gabriel as the ‘angel of the LORD’ in Zechariah 3:1
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” (Zechariah 3:1, KJV)
Irenaeous’ phrase: ‘Whose angel Gabriel, also, who stands prominently in the presence of the Lord [Jesus Christ]’
Zechariah 3:1’s matching Phrase: ‘standing before the angel of the LORD’
(iii) Irenaeous implies that even archangel Gabriel Confesses Jesus Christ as both Lord and God
‘Whose angel Gabriel, also, … Lord [Jesus Christ], … confessed in his [GABRIEL’s] own person as God and Lord, Him [Lord Jesus Christ] who had chosen Jerusalem,
… For he [GABRIEL] knew of none other above Him [Lord Jesus Christ];
since, if he [GABRIEL] had been in possession of the knowledge of any other more perfect God and Lord besides Him [Lord Jesus Christ], he [GABRIEL] surely would never-as I have already shown-have confessed Him [Lord Jesus Christ], whom he [GABRIEL] knew to be the fruit of a defect, as absolutely and altogether God and Lord’
(St. Irenaeous of Lyons, ‘Against Heresies’, Book 3, Chapter X, Point 1)
Please note that the God Gabriel refers ‘Lord Jesus Christ to’ is being YHWH (hence it is NOT a ‘figure of speech’ since Zechariah 3:2 is quoted). Can you really see it?
Yes, Irenaeous clearly mentions that even archangel Gabriel refers to Jesus Christ as both Lord and God in ‘his own words’ above. We accept it and believe in the Trinity likewise.
How can two YHWH’s be ONE GOD (Zechariah 3:2)? John 10:30. With God, it’s Possible.
Note: The phrase “angel of the LORD” in the verse prior Zechariah 3:1 is distinct and not found in this verse [Zechariah 3:2] though some commentators relate it & I disagree since only YHWH is mentioned in this verse [Zechariah 3:2].
Best is, the existence of the phrase “angel of the LORD” or “angel of YHWH” just one verse before (in Zechariah 3:1) as compared to “only YHWH” (in Zechariah 3:2) clearly shows that the author is making a distinction & is accurate to the choice of words used.
It is thus clear that Irenaeous believed in the Trinity without mentioning that Word in his writings. Indeed, though the Word Trinity is NOT found in the Bible, Its CONCEPT is Mysteriously Revealed in Holy Scripture (as we have seen here too).
Thus, other early Church leaders use the term “Trinity” to refer to this “Biblical Concept” to help us ‘understand’ this Mystery of the God-Head better.
“The first recorded use of this Greek word [‘tριάς,’ whose Latin Equivalent is: Trinity] in Christian theology was by Theophilus of Antioch in about the year 170. He wrote:
‘In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [Τριάδος], of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man’.”
More Details along this Biblical Line of Scriptural Exegesis in Support of the Trinity Doctrine may be seen in Posts below: