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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter XXIII.—Plato’s...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXIII.—Plato’s self-contradiction.

But, perhaps, some who are unwilling to abandon the doctrines of polytheism, will say that to these fashioned gods the maker said, “Since ye have been produced, ye are not immortal, nor at all, imperishable; yet shall ye not perish nor succumb to the fatality of death, because you have obtained my will, 2555 which is a still greater and mightier bond.” Here Plato, through fear of the adherents of polytheism, introduces his “maker” uttering words which contradict himself. For having formerly stated that he said that everything which is produced is perishable, he now introduces him saying the very opposite; and he does not see that it is thus absolutely impossible for him to escape the charge of falsehood. For he either at first uttered what is false when he said that everything which is produced is perishable, or now, when he propounds the very opposite to what he had formerly said. For if, according to his former definition, it is absolutely necessary that every created thing be perishable, how can he consistently make that possible which is absolutely impossible? So that Plato seems to grant an empty and impossible prerogative to his “maker,” when he propounds that those who were once perishable because made from matter should again, by his intervention, become imperishable and enduring. For it is quite natural that the power of matter, which, according to Plato’s opinion, is uncreated, and contemporary and coæval with the maker, should resist his will. For he who has not created has no power, in respect of that which is uncreated, so that it is not possible that it (matter), being free, can be controlled by any external necessity. Wherefore Plato himself, in consideration of this, has written thus: “It is necessary to affirm that God cannot suffer violence.”


Footnotes

282:2555

That is, “my will to the contrary.” See Plato, Tim., p. 41 [cap 13].


Next: Chapter XXIV.—Agreement of Plato and...

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