14 September 2012

Tertullian: All Creation is Instinct with Renewal

sunriseSometimes the writing of the early fathers becomes poetic, almost psalm-like.
Day dies into night, and is buried everywhere in darkness.
The glory of the world is obscured in the shadow of death; its entire substance is tarnished with blackness; all things become sordid, silent, stupid; everywhere business ceases, and occupations rest.
And so over the loss of the light there is mourning.
But yet it again revives, with its own beauty, its own dowry, is own sun, the same as ever, whole and entire, over all the world, slaying its own death, night—opening its own sepulchre, the darkness—coming forth the heir to itself, until the night also revives—it, too, accompanied with a retinue of its own.
For the stellar rays are rekindled, which had been quenched in the morning glow; the distant groups of the constellations are again brought back to view, which the day’s temporary interval had removed out of sight. Re-adorned also are the mirrors of the moon, which her monthly course had worn away.
Winters and summers return, as do the spring-tide and autumn, with their resources, their routines, their fruits. Forasmuch as earth receives its instruction from heaven to clothe the trees which had been stripped, to colour the flowers afresh, to spread the grass again, to reproduce the seed which had been consumed, and not to reproduce them until consumed. …In a word, I would say, all creation is instinct with renewal. Resurrection of the Flesh, Chapter XII

7 September 2012

Irenaeus: The Creation is not Annihilated

matterhorn2Here are a couple of quotes from Irenaeus, the late second century Church Father, about the future of the creation:

For it is just that in that very creation in which they toiled or were afflicted, being proved in every way by suffering, they should receive the reward of their suffering; and that in the creation in which they were slain because of their love to God, in that they should be revived again; and that in the creation in which they endured servitude, in that they should reign. For God is rich in all things, and all things are His. It is fitting, therefore, that the creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous. Against Heresies, Book V, XXXII

For since there are real men, so must there also be a real establishment (plantationem), that they vanish not away among non-existent things, but progress among those which have an actual existence. For neither is the substance nor the essence of the creation annihilated (for faithful and true is He who has established it), but “the fashion of the world passeth away;” that is, those things among which transgression has occurred, since man has grown old in them. Against Heresies, Book V, XXXVI

6 September 2012

Justin Martyr: Going to Heaven?

justin martyrIf our preaching declares the hope of heaven when we die, but does not declare the resurrection, is it a Christian proclamation?

For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians…  Dialogue with Trypho, LXXX

5 September 2012

Justin Martyr: Early Christian Worship

WritingsJustinMartyrHere’s what Justin writes about Christian worship in the second century…gathering together, the reading of scripture, exhortation, prayer, the weekly sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the Amen, a collection for the poor. These things we still do, more or less!

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.  First Apology, Chapter LXVII