Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: No Early Controversy Respecting the Divine Creator; No Second God Introduced at First. Heresies Condemned Alike by the Sentence and the Silence of Holy Scripture.
Chapter XXXIV.—No Early Controversy Respecting the Divine Creator; No Second God Introduced at First. Heresies Condemned Alike by the Sentence and the Silence of Holy Scripture.
These are, as I suppose, the different kinds of spurious doctrines, which (as we are informed by the apostles themselves) existed in their own day. And yet we find amongst so many various perversions of truth, not one school 2213 which raised any controversy concerning God as the Creator of all things. No man was bold enough to surmise a second god. More readily was doubt felt about the Son than about the Father, until Marcion introduced, in addition to the Creator, another god of goodness only. Apelles made the Creator of some nondescript 2214 glorious angel, who belonged to the superior God, the god (according to him,) of the law and of Israel, affirming that he was fire. 2215 Valentinus disseminated his Æons, and traced the sin of one Æon 2216 to the production of God the Creator. To none, forsooth, except these, nor prior to these, was revealed the truth of the Divine Nature; and they obtained this especial honour and fuller favour from the devil, we cannot doubt, 2217 because he wished even in this respect to rival God, that he might succeed, by the poison of his doctrines, in doing himself what the Lord said could not be done—making “the disciples above their Master.” 2218 Let the entire mass 2219 of heresies choose, therefore, for themselves the times when they should appear, provided that the when be an unimportant point; allowing, too, that they be not of the truth, and (as a matter of course 2220 ) that such as had no existp. 260 ence in the time of the apostles could not possibly have had any connection with the apostles. If indeed they had then existed, their names would be extant, 2221 with a view to their own repression likewise. Those (heresies) indeed which did exist in the days of the apostles, are condemned in their very mention. 2222 If it be true, then, that those heresies, which in the apostolic times were in a rude form, are now found to be the same, only in a much more polished shape, they derive their condemnation from this very circumstance. Or if they were not the same, but arose afterwards in a different form, and merely assumed from them certain tenets, then, by sharing with them an agreement in their teaching, 2223 they must needs partake in their condemnation, by reason of the above-mentioned definition, 2224 of lateness of date, which meets us on the very threshold. 2225 Even if they were free from any participation in condemned doctrine, they would stand already judged 2226 on the mere ground of time, being all the more spurious because they were not even named by the apostles. Whence we have the firmer assurance, that these were (the heresies) which even then, 2227 were announced as about to arise.
Igneum, “consisted of fire.”259:2216
“The ectroma, or fall of Sophia from the Pleroma, from whom the Creator was fabled to be descended” (Dodgson).259:2217
Luke vi. 40.259:2219
Nominarentur et ipsæ.260:2222
Nominatione, i.e. by the apostles.260:2223
Præjudicarentur. [i.e. by Præscription.]260:2227
i.e., in the days of the apostles, and by their mouth.
Next: Let Heretics Maintain Their Claims by a Definite and Intelligible Evidence. This the Only Method of Solving Their Questions. Catholics Appeal Always to Evidence Traceable to Apostolic Sources.
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