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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
TATIAN: Chapter V. The Doctrine of the Christians as to the Creation of the World.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter V.—The Doctrine of the Christians as to the Creation of the World.

God was in the beginning; but the beginning, we have been taught, is the power of the Logos. For the Lord of the universe, who is Himself the necessary ground (ὑπόστασις) of all being, inasmuch as no creature was yet in existence, was alone; but inasmuch as He was all power, Himself the necessary ground of things visible and invisible, with Him were all things; with Him, by Logos-power (διὰ λογικῆς δυνάμεως), the Logos Himself also, who was in Him, subsists. 433 And by His simple will the Logos springs forth; and the Logos, not coming forth in vain, becomes the first-begotten work of the Father. Him (the Logos) we know to be the beginning of the world. But He came into being by participation, 434 not by abscission; for what is cut off is separated from the original substance, but that which comes by participation, making its choice of function, 435 does not render him deficient from whom it is taken. For just as from one torch many fires are lighted, but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of many torches, so the Logos, coming forth from the Logos-power of the Father, has not divested of the Logos-power Him who begat Him. I myself, for instance, talk, and you hear; yet, certainly, I who converse do not become destitute of speech (λόγος) by the transmission of speech, but by the utterance of my voice I endeavour to reduce to order the unarranged matter in your minds. And as the Logos, 436 begotten in the beginning, begat in turn our world, having first created for Himself the necessary matter, so also I, in imitation of the Logos, being begotten again, 437 and having become possessed of the truth, am trying to reduce to order the confused matter which is kindred with myself. For matter is not, like God, without beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God; it is begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought into existence by the Framer of all things alone.


Footnotes

67:433

[See Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 161, note; and observe his stricture on Bull and Waterland.]

67:434

κατὰ μερισμόν. Some translate, “by division,” but the above is preferable. The sense, according to Otto, is that the Logos, having received a peculiar nature, shares in the rational power of the Father as a lighted torch partakes of the light of the torch from which it is kindled. Comp. Just. Mar., Dial. c. T., chap. lxi.

67:435

οἰκονομίας τὴν αἲρεσιν προσλαβόν. The above seems the simplest rendering of this difficult passage, but several others have been proposed. [See note 4, cap. ix., infra, p. 69.]

67:436

[Matter not eternal. He seems to have understood Gen. i. 1, of the creation of matter; and verse 2, as beginning the history of our planet and the visible universe.]

67:437

[Supposed to be a personal reference to his conversion and baptism. As to “confused matter,” it should be kindred matter, and must be set over “kindred spirit.” See p. 71, cap. xiii., infra.]


Next: Chapter VI. Christians’ Belief in the Resurrection.

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