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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Irenaeus and the Harmony of Creation

I read this earlier this morning and thought I'd share it. Great thoughts by the early church father St. Irenaeus of Lyons from his book Against Heresies (book II, chapter XXV). Instead of offering any of my own thoughts right now, I'd love to hear your responses to what he has to say.

For all things originate from one and the same God. But since created things are various and numerous, they are indeed well fitted and adapted to the whole creation; yet, when viewed individually, are mutually opposite and inharmonious, just as the sound of the lyre, which consists of many and opposite notes, gives rise to one unbroken melody, through means of the interval which separates each one from the others. The lover of truth therefore ought not to be deceived by the interval between each note, nor should he imagine that one was due to one artist and author, and another to another, nor that one person fitted the treble, another the bass, and yet another the tenor strings; but he should hold that one and the same person [formed the whole], so as to prove the judgment, goodness, and skill exhibited in the whole work and [specimen of] wisdom. Those, too, who listen to the melody, ought to praise and extol the artist, to admire the tension of some notes, to attend to the softness of others, to catch the sound of others between both these extremes, and to consider the special character of others, so as to inquire at what each one aims, and what is the cause of their variety, never failing to apply our rule, neither giving up the one artist, nor casting off faith in the one God who formed all things, nor blaspheming our Creator.


  1. This is so cool! I love it when we are pictured as instruments! For some reason it is easy for me to read this and picture it. God is the great conductor! Thanks for sharing it, my smart music friend!

  2. This is a fantastic image of unity and diversity. Rather, how the purpose of diversity is for a single, unified goal of displaying the artwork of the Creator. Also, I like that he expresses different ways of interacting with the different "notes": "admire," "attend," "catch," and "consider," but ultimately aimed to "praise" and "extol" the Artist! Beautiful!