Problem relacji pomiędzy Szatanem a apostazją u Ireneusza z Lyonu

Tomasz Dekert


The Problem of the Relation Between Satan and Apostasy in the Writings of St. Irenaeus of Lyon

In the present article I am trying to analyze the relation between the figure of Satan and the cate-gory of apostasy which occurs in the writings of St. Irenaeus of Lyon. Apart from the fact that the author of Adversus haereses refers to Satan as an „apostate” or „angel apostate”, he also refers to Satan as a „leader of apostasy” (¢ρcηγÕςτÁς¢ποστασίας) or the „cause of apostasy” (causa ab-scessionis). At the same time, Irenaeus treats apostasy as something similar to an autonomous strength which has dominion over man. Such a use of the term ¢ποστασίαbecame the basis of an interpretation which treated apostasy in Irenaeus’ writings as a specific type of synonym of Satan in the sense of a personification of evil. However, such interpretations do not seem to be correct for a number of reasons, to mention just the fact that expressions of the type „the leader of apostasy” sug-gest in a direct way that Satan and apostasy are two different things. A preliminary distinction be-tween the two is provided by the Greek language itself (which was used by the bishop of Lyon), where the term ¢ποστασίαdenoting the state of apostasy and assuming the idea of apostasy (¢ποστάτης) is distinguished from the term ¢πόστασιςsignifying the very act of apostasy. Satan committed an act of apostasy which turned him into an apostate, thereby initiating the existence of the state of ¢ποσταία. Thus, in order to understand the very nature of the relation between Satan and the state of ¢ποστασίαin Irenaeus’ writings, one should take a closer look at how he describes the very act of the diabolic ¢πόστασις. Most likely, Irenaeus’ conception of Satan as an apostate had in its background the Jewish myth concerning the rebellion of the angels, in which Satan is presented, on the one hand, as a rebel who wishes to take God’s place, and on the other, as an offender who opposes God’s laws relating to the natural order in the universe. On the basis of the apocryphal corps of the Books of Adam and Eve, the Bishop of Lyon develops the concept of Satan’s envy in relation to man (caused by the fact that man was created in the image and likeness of God) as the nucleus of Satan’s ¢πόστασις. By envying man (and in this way, also God), he became an apostate of the Divine law which determined his permanent position as man’s subject in the hierarchy of creation. By contradict-ing this Divine law, he introduced profound chaos into the structure of the creation and by infecting man out of revenge with his own envy in relation to God, he had led to the situation in which man and the world became cut off from the Creator. This state of being cut off, shared by Satan and the people who through their own apostasy became Satan’s slaves, is what Irenaeus defines by the term ¢ποστασία.

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