On Friday and the Fall of Man

St. Irenaeus of Lyons died ca. 202

Thus, then, in the day that they ate, in the same did they die, and became death’s debtors, since it was one day of the creation. For it is said, There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning, one day. Now in this same day that they ate, in that also did they die. But according to the cycle and progress of the days, after which one is termed first, another second, and another third, if anybody seeks diligently to learn upon what day out of the seven it was that Adam died, he will find it by examining the dispensation of the Lord. For by summing up in Himself the whole human race from the beginning to the end, He has also summed up its death. From this it is clear that the Lord suffered death, in obedience to His Father, upon that day on which Adam died while he disobeyed God. Now he died on the same day in which he ate. For God said, In that day on which you shall eat of it, you shall die by death. The Lord, therefore, recapitulating in Himself this day, underwent His sufferings upon the day preceding the Sabbath, that is, the sixth day of the creation, on which day man was created; thus granting him a second creation by means of His passion, which is that [creation] out of death. (Against Heresies Book V. 23.2)


  1. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you gotta be kidding me! What man is to receive such a revelation!

  2. I love the recapitulationary language and hermeneutic of St. Irenaeus, but I’ve often wondered about this:

    Matthew 12:40
    For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    If it just said 3 days, it could mean parts of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but it says 3 days/3 nights.

  3. I’ve read that 1st cent. Jews reckoned a portion of the day as the whole day. The only complete day that He rested on was the Sabbath. He rested on our behalf and fulfilled the Sabbath for us.

  4. Canadian,

    Here’s a link to a decent article on this subject. I had this same “difficulty” when I came from agnosticism to Christianity.


  5. Some people don’t know how profound are the insights of the fathers into the Bible. What species was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Do we know? The fathers say yes.

    It was a fig tree. This makes absolute sense in many ways, since after their transgression the first couple sews together fig leaves to cover their nakedness. This makes even more sense when in the divine Gospels the Lord curses and withers a fig tree after finding no fruit on it (for what good has the fall produced?) before going into Jerusalem to conquer sin, death, and the devil.

  6. Nice! Please keep ’em comin!

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem: At the time of the sin, they clothed themselves with fig-leaves; for this cause Jesus also made the fig-tree the last of His signs. For when about to go to His passion, He curses the fig-tree, not every fig-tree, but that one alone, for the sake of the figure; saying, No more let any man eat fruit of you Mark 11:1; let the doom be cancelled. And because they aforetime clothed themselves with fig-leaves, He came at a season when food was not wont to be found on the fig-tree. Who knows not that in winter-time the fig-tree bears no fruit, but is clothed with leaves only? Was Jesus ignorant of this, which all knew? No, but though He knew, yet He came as if seeking; not ignorant that He should not find, but showing that the emblematical curse extended to the leaves only. (Cat. Lectures 13.18)

  7. @ Isaac and Michael:

    The author of that book has a podcast where he just discussed that book. He has a great knowledge of Orthodox history and he explains spiritual motives behind recent history:


    It’s a real eye-opener.

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