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20

Part One

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine peda-

gogy using the image of God and man becoming accus-

tomed to one another: The Word of God dwelt in man and

became the Son of man in order to accustomman to perceive

God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the

Father’s pleasure.

5

II. T

he

S

tages of

R

evelation

In the beginning God makes himself known

54

“God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word,

provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities.

And furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salva-

tion, he manifested himself to our first parents from the very be-

ginning.”

6

He invited them to intimate communion with himself

and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.

55

This revelation was not broken off by our first parents’ sin.

“After the fall, [God] buoyed them up with the hope of salvation,

by promising redemption; and he has never ceased to show his

solicitude for the human race. For he wishes to give eternal life to

all those who seek salvation by patience in well-doing.”

7

And when through disobedience he had lost your friend-

ship, you did not abandon him to the domain of death. . . .​

Time and again you offered them covenants.

8

The Covenant with Noah

56

After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God

at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with

Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine

economy toward the “nations,” in other words, toward men

grouped “in their lands, each with [its] own language, by their

families, in their nations.”

9

57

This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic,

social, and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen

humanity,

10

united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own

5 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

3, 20, 2: PG 7/1, 944; cf. 3, 17, 1; 4, 12, 4; 4, 21, 3.

6

DV

3; cf.

Jn

1:3;

Rom

1:19-20.

7

DV

3; cf.

Gen

3:15;

Rom

2:6-7.

8

Roman Missal,

Eucharistic Prayer IV, 117.

9

Gen

10:5; cf. 9:9-10, 16; 10:20-31.

10 Cf.

Acts

17:26-27.

32

374

397, 410

761

401

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