Irenaeus of Lyons
The primary thing Tom Nash did not do in his response to my article, was to explain anything. He completely relied on the mindset of Catholics to interpret excerpts from Irenaeus as they have been conditioned to do. In contrast I have provided context and explanations which I think are preferred by reasonable people.
Let’s start with a quote from Irenaeus that Mr. Nash considered to stand on its own in support of Catholic real presence:
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?”
To properly expound on this quote we need to take in context. However, not a lot of context is required in order to understand the point Irenaeus is trying to make. Just going back to the beginning of the paragraph (5.2.2) where the quote was taken helps a great deal. It starts with this sentence:
“But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption.”
The heretics to whom he was referring were those who believed that the material world was evil including the flesh and blood of man. They saw the world as imperfect, flawed, and evil, not because of the fall of Adam and Eve, but because they believed it was created that way. They could not reconcile a perfect God creating an imperfect world. Their view of Jesus was that He was a mere man who became divine as a result of His spiritual virtue. They believed He became the manifestation of Christ at the moment of His baptism.