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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter LXII.—The words “Let Us...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter LXII.—The words “Let Us make man” agree with the testimony of Proverbs.

“And the same sentiment was expressed, my friends, by the word of God [written] by Moses, when it indicated to us, with regard to Him whom it has pointed out, 2173 that God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: ‘Let Us make man after our image and likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creeping things that creep on the earth. And God created man: after the image of God did He create him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and said, Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and have power over it.’ 2174 And that you may not change the [force of the] words just quoted, and repeat what your teachers assert,—either that God said to Himself, ‘Let Us make,’ just as we, when about to do something, oftentimes say to ourselves, ‘Let us make;’ or that God spoke to the elements, to wit, the earth and other similar substances of which we believe man was formed, ‘Let Us make,’—I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with some one who was numerically distinct from Himself, and also a rational Being. These are the words: ‘And God said, Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and evil.’ 2175 In saying, therefore, ‘as one of us,’ [Moses] has declared that [there is a certain] number of persons associated with one another, and that they are at least two. For I would not say that the dogma of that heresy 2176 which is said to be among you 2177 is true, or that the teachers of it can prove that [God] spoke to angels, or that the human frame was the workmanship of angels. But this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with Him; even as the Scripture by Solomon has made clear, that He whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all His creatures and as Offspring by God, who has also declared this same thing in the revelation made by Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). Listen, therefore, to the following from the book of Joshua, that what I say may become manifest to you; it is this: ‘And it came to pass, when Joshua was near Jericho, he lifted up his eyes, and sees a man standing over against him. And Joshua approached to Him, and said, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said to him, I am Captain of the Lord’s host: now have I come. And Joshua fell on his face on the ground, and said to Him, Lord, what commandest Thou Thy servant? And the Lord’s Captain says to Joshua, Loose the shoes off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. And Jericho was shut up and fortified, and no one went out of it. And the Lord said to Joshua, Behold, I give into thine hand Jericho, and its king, [and] its mighty men.’ ” 2178


Footnotes

228:2173

Justin, since he is of opinion that the Word is the beginning of the universe, thinks that by these words, “in the beginning,” Moses indicated the Word, like many other writers. Hence also he says in Ap. i. 23, that Moses declares the Word “to be begotten first by God.” If this explanation does not satisfy, read, “with regard to Him whom I have pointed out” (Maranus).

228:2174

Gen. 1:26, 28.

228:2175

Gen. iii. 22.

228:2176

Heresy or sect.

228:2177

Or, “among us.” Maranus pronounces against this latter reading for the following reasons: (1.) The Jews had their own heresies which supplied many things to the Christian heresies, especially to Menander and Saturninus. (2.) The sect which Justin here refutes was of opinion that God spoke to angels. But those angels, as Menander and Saturninus invented, “exhorted themselves, saying, Let us make,” etc. (3.) The expression διδάσκαλοι suits the rabbins well. So Justin frequently calls them. (4.) Those teachers seem for no other cause to have put the words in the angels’ mouths than to eradicate the testimony by which they proved divine persons.

228:2178

Josh. v. 13 ad fin., and Josh. 6:1, 2.


Next: Chapter LXIII.—It is proved that...

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