“The famous saying of Irenaeus: ‘Christ became what we are, in order that we might become what he is.’ The clearest examples in Paul’s own writings are found in 2 Corinthians, the first in 5:21, ‘he became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him’, the second in 8:9, ‘though he was rich he became poor, in order that many might be made rich’.
Here we see the basic pattern of the interchange between Christ and the believer: Christ is identified with the human condition in order that we might be identified with his.[…]
Paul speaks of Christ dying in order that we might live, but he adds the significant words with him: Christ ‘died for us so that…we might live with him’. If Christ shares our death, it is in order that we might share his resurrection life. Paul’s understanding of the process is therefore one of participation, not of substitution; it is a sharing of experience, not an exchange. Christ is identified with us in order that – in him – we might share what he is.[…] It is because Christ himself shared in the condition of being ‘Adam’, man, that man is now offered the possibility of entering a new kind of existence.” (Morna D. Hooker, From Adam to Christ:Essays on Paul, pgs. 26-27)
5 thoughts on “God Became Human”
I came across your blog when browsing recent WP posts on Patristic. I read that famous quote in St. Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation of the Word”, and am interested in reading Irenaeus on this subject as well. Could you tell me which book of his contains that quote?
You can find Irenaeus’ comment in AGAINST HERESIES, Vol V, Preface at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103500.htm
Thank you so much. I’m not familiar with New Advent, but it seems to be a good resource on Church Fathers.. Is it a Catholic website?
I believe it to be Catholic, but I’m not that familiar with it. It just happened to have the source for the quote you were looking for.
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