Laudato Si’ Research Institute The Gratitude of the Suffering Earth Professor John Behr 1] The Letter of Barnabas 6:9: The human being is earth that suffers (ἄνθρωπος γὰρ γῆ ἐστιν πάσχουσα). 6.12: It is concerning us that the Scripture says that he says to the Son, “Let us make the human being in our image and likeness. 2] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 5.1.3 ... just as, from the beginning [ab initio] of our formation [plasmationis] in Adam, the breath of life from God, having been united [unita] to the handiwork [plasmati], animated [animavit] the human being and showed him to be a rational being, so also, at the end [in fine], the Word of the Father and the Spirit of God, having become united [adunitus] with the ancient substance of the formation [plasmationis] of Adam, rendered [effecit] the human being living [viventem] and perfect, bearing the perfect Father, in order that just as in the animated we all die, so also in the spiritual we may all be vivified [vivificemur]. For never at any time did Adam escape the Hands of God, to whom the Father speaking, said, ‘Let us make the human being in our image, after our likeness’ [Gen. 1:26]. And for this reason at the end [fine], ‘not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man’ [John 1:13], but by the good pleasure of the Father, his Hands perfected a living human being [vivum perfecerunt hominem], in order that Adam might become in the image and likeness of God. 3] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 4.5.1 God, therefore, is one and the same, who rolls up the heaven like a book and renews the face of the earth; who made the temporal things for the human, so that, maturing in them, they may bear as fruit immortality, and who, through his kindness, also confers eternal things, ‘so that in the ages to come he may show the exceeding riches of his grace’. (Eph. 2:7) 4] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 4.38.3 By this order and such rhythms and such a movement the created and fashioned human becomes in the image and likeness of the uncreated God: the Father planning everything well and commanding, the Son executing and performing, and the Spirit nourishing and increasing, and the human being making progress day by day and ascending towards perfection, that is, approaching the Uncreated One. For the Uncreated is perfect, and this is God. Now, it was first necessary for the human being to be created; and having been created, to increase; and having increased, to become an adult; and having become an adult, to multiply; and having multiplied, to become strong; and having been strengthened, to be glorified; and being glorified, to see his Master; for God is He who is yet to be seen, and the vision of God produces incorruptibility, and ‘incorruptibility renders one close to God.’ (Wis. 6:19) 5] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 4.11.2 And in this respect God differs from the human, that God indeed makes, but the human is made [Deus quidem facit, homo autem fit]; and truly, he who makes is always the same; but that which is made must receive both beginning, and middle, and addition, and increase [et initium et medietatem et adjectionem et augmentum]. And God does indeed makes well, while the human is well-made [Deus quidem bene facit, bene autem fit homo]. ... For as God is always the same, so also the human, when found in God, shall always go on towards God. For neither does God at any time cease to confer benefits upon or to enrich [benefaciendo et locupletando] the human; nor does the human ever cease from receiving the benefits and being enriched [beneficium accipere et ditari] by God. For the receptacle of his goodness, and the instrument of his glorification, is the human who is grateful [homo gratus] to him that made him; and again, the receptacle of his just judgment is the ungrateful human [homo ingratus], who both despises his Fashioner and is not subject to his Word .... 6] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 4.38.4 Irrational, therefore, in every respect, are they who await not the time of increase, but ascribe to God the infirmity of their nature. Such persons know neither God nor themselves, being insatiable and ungrateful, unwilling to be at the outset what they have also been created — humans subject to passions; but go beyond the law of the human race, and before that they become human, they wish to be even now like God their Creator, ... 7] Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, 5.33.3 The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give twenty-five metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, ‘I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me’. In like manner [the Lord declared] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear should have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass, would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals feeding [only] on the productions of the earth, should [in those days] become peaceful and harmonious among each other, and be in perfect subjection to man.