Gregory Wolfe contends that we are all “thirty seconds away from salvation”:
Our humanity — the human heart — is constituted by certain elementary needs — for happiness, justice, beauty. The tired old Christian approach of moralistic condemnation of the wrong pathways to the satisfaction of these needs misses the point.
What we need to see is the inherent religious sense in human beings; we need to awaken the connection between desire and its home in God. Nor, except in the rarest of cases — and here I’m thinking of certain mystics — can that pathway to God be found except in and through “the things of this world.”
In order to refute the gnostics, Irenaeus had to prove that God himself chose to accept the limits and contingencies of a human life. The gnostics, rejecting embodiment, relegate God to a sphere beyond the created order, which only those with esoteric knowledge can discover. But for Irenaeus this is a fatal rejection of the world and our place in it. The words that follow his statement that the glory of God is man fully alive are: “and the life of man consists in beholding God.”