Irenaeus on Theology and Christology 1

Thus then there is shown forth One God, the Father, not made, invisible, creator of all things; above whom there is no other God, and after whom there is no other God. And, since God  is rational, therefore by (the) Word He created the things that were made; and God is Spirit, and by (the) Spirit He adorned all things: as also the prophet says: By the word of the Lord were the heavens established, and by his spirit all their power. Since then the Word establishes, that is to say, gives body and grants the reality of being, and the Spirit gives order and form to the diversity of the powers; rightly and fittingly is the Word called the Son, and the Spirit the Wisdom of God. Well also does Paul His apostle say: One God, the Father, who is over all and through all and in its all. For over all is the Father; and through all is the Son, for through Him all things were made by the Father; and in us all is the Spirit, who cries Abba Father, and fashions man into the likeness of God. (Irenaeus, Demonstration, 5)

There is, for Irenaues, one God: The Father, defined as the highest God, not made, invisible, and the creator of all things. This God creates by his “word,” because of his rationality (continuing the trend found in Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Tatian, of thinking of the word as a kind of attribute of God). The way this is done seems to be, in a sense, similar to the way the Logos works in Platonism in the Timeaus: The Logos gives “body”, or reality, to being. Yet over all is the Father. So far we could fit this with a fully subordinationist Christology, but it could argueably also fit with a monarchian trinitarian Christology. Either way, there is most definately a heirarchy, and the Son functions as a kind of demiurge.

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