Sources of Atonement Theology: Early Church

Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130 - 202 AD)

An old clay oil lamp from Nazareth, Israel.  Photo credit: Olivia Armstrong.


sources of atonement theology: early church: Irenaeus of lyons

Messages and Essays on Irenaeus of Lyons

Penal Substitution vs. Medical Substitution: A Historical Comparison An analysis of the atonement theology ("medical substitution") of early church theologians, including Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, the Odes of Solomon, Justin Martyr of Rome, Melito of Sardis, Tertullian of Carthage, Methodius of Olympus, Athanasius of Alexandria (paper in progress to include later theologians, bishops, and councils)

Medical Substitutionary Atonement in Irenaeus of Lyons an introduction to Irenaeus of Lyons and his theology of atonement

Irenaeus on “Image and Likeness” and “In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh”: An Argument for Jesus’ Incarnation into Fallen Human Nature This essay makes the case that Irenaeus uses these terms in a specific, technical, and biblical way derived from Genesis 1:26. I argue ‘in the likeness’ means a mature participation in the substance/object to which one bears that likeness. It is part of my larger argument for the ‘fallenness’ camp, that Jesus assumed a fallen human nature in his incarnation, and that the atonement was a medical substitution, because he cleansed that human nature at his death and resurrection.

Neuroscience and the Theological Anthropologies of Irenaeus and Origen A paper submitted to Dr. George Dragas at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, May 2019. I believe Origen made a mistake when he said that the soul is in the image of God and the body is not. This makes Origen hard to reconcile with Genesis 1 - 2 and also modern neuroscience, which affirms a body-brain-mind connection.

Why God is Not Evil, Not One Bit, According to Irenaeus of Lyons A ppt presentation reconstructing a lost work of Irenaeus, based on his own writings

Irenaeus, Theodicy, and the Problem of Evil: His Lost Work "That God is Not the Author of Evil" and Evangelism Today A paper submitted to the Pappas Patristics Institute in March 2019.


The Writings of Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 17, paragraph 3 

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 18, paragraphs 1, 3, 7

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 19, paragraphs 1, 3

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 20, paragraph 2

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 5, chapter 14, paragraphs 1 - 4

Irenaeus of Lyons, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 31, 32, 34, 37 - 38

Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment 28


Books and Articles on Irenaeus of Lyons 

John Behr, trans Irenaeus of Lyons, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (Amazon book, Nov 1997)

Matthew Baker, "The Place of St. Irenaeus of Lyon in Historical and Dogmatic Theology According to Thomas F. Torrance", in Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship (T.F. Torrance Theological Fellowship website, Volume 2, 2010) 

Robert Arakaki, Excerpts from Irenaeus of Lyons (Ancient Faith blog, Sep 8, 2012)

Anthony Briggman, Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit (Amazon book, 2012)

Bryan Cross, St. Irenaeus on Justification (Called to Communion, Jul 31, 2012)

Anthony Zimmerman, Irenaeus, Evolution, and the Sin in Eden (Lifeissues)

John Behr, Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity (Amazon book, 2013)

Matthew Bryan, The Atonement of Irenaeus (Conciliar Post, Oct 8, 2015) is a great, short article 

Bobby Grow, The Father-Son Relation: Rowan Williams on the Irenaean Theology of Participation, and TF Torrance's Homoousion (Evangelical Calvinist, Jul 14, 2016)

John Behr, Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement (Amazon book, May 2017)

Anthony Briggman, God and Christ in Irenaeus (Amazon book, Feb 2019)

sources of atonement theology

These resources explore the foundation of “Medical Substitution” as the best understanding of the Bible, and the original understanding of the church. There are also links to books, web articles, etc. from representatives of the three broad Christian traditions.