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The situation changed under the decisive influence of 2nd-c. gnosticism which, taking up the myth of the primordial man dispersed in matter and illustrating it by, among other things, the parable of the lost sheep see H¼bner, Einheit, 290-311, was not per se interested in a divinization in the sense of a transformation to divine life, but taught rather a return to the divine sphere of those who were akin to God per naturam. Against this religious movement, esp. in its Valentinian form, Irenaeus worked out the first authentically Christian synthesis on human divinization Tremblay. Integrating elements of gnosticism into his history of the saving incarnation of the Word, he shows how God, manifesting himself in his goodness through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit, leads back the whole person created in the image and likeness, i.e., destined to resemble the immortal God, but fallen through sin into corruption, by knowledge of the Son in the Spirit, to the eternal vision of and thus union with him in immortality Iren., Adv. haer. III, 19,1; IV, 20; V, 36. Irenaeus’s line, at once gnostic and historical, would be followed by later Greek, esp. Alexandrian, authors, though they put the accent elsewhere, insisting more on assimilative knowledge, or perhaps preferring impassibility apatheia to incorruptibility aphtharsia, according to the stronger or weaker influence of Greek philosophy. Thus Clement of Alexandria, the first to make full use of the technical and religious language of the philosophy of his time, further defined the divine pedagogy spoken of by Irenaeus as a process of divinization that made human beings rise from incredulity, through faith and gnosis, to charity, source of impassibility, though not forgetting the illuminative role of baptism Strom. 2, 22; 7, 10; Paed. 1,6,26.

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