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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Marcion, Aided by Cerdon, Teaches a Duality of Gods; How He Constructed This Heresy of an Evil and a Good God.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter II.—Marcion, Aided by Cerdon, Teaches a Duality of Gods; How He Constructed This Heresy of an Evil and a Good God.

The heretic of Pontus introduces two Gods, like the twin Symplegades of his own shipwreck: One whom it was impossible to deny, i.e. our Creator; and one whom he will never be able to prove, i.e. his own god.  The unhappy man gained 2348 the first idea 2349 of his conceit from the simple passage of our Lord’s saying, which has reference to human beings and not divine ones, wherein He disposes of those examples of a good tree and a corrupt one; 2350 how that “the good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit, neither the corrupt tree good fruit.” Which means, that an honest mind and good faith cannot produce evil deeds, any more than an evil disposition can produce good deeds. Now (like many other persons now-a-days, especially those who have an heretical proclivity), while morbidly brooding 2351 over the question of the origin of evil, his perception became blunted by the very irregularity of his researches; and when he found the Creator declaring, “I am He that createth evil,” 2352 inasmuch as he had already concluded from other arguments, which are satisfactory to every perverted mind, that God is the author of evil, so he now applied to the Creator the figure of the corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruit, that is, moral evil, 2353 and then presumed that there ought to be another god, after the analogy of the good tree producing its good fruit.  Accordingly, finding in Christ a different disposition, as it were—one of a simple and pure benevolence 2354 —differing from the Creator, he readily argued that in his Christ had been revealed a new and strange 2355 divinity; and then with a little leaven he leavened the whole lump of the faith, flavouring it with the acidity of his own heresy.

He had, moreover, in one 2356 Cerdon an abettor of this blasphemy,—a circumstance which made them the more readily think that they saw most clearly their two gods, blind though they were; for, in truth, they had not seen the one God with soundness of faith. 2357 To men of diseased vision even one lamp looks like many. One of his gods, therefore, whom he was obliged to acknowledge, he destroyed by defaming his attributes in the p. 273 matter of evil; the other, whom he laboured so hard to devise, he constructed, laying his foundation 2358 in the principle of good. In what articles 2359 he arranged these natures, we show by our own refutations of them.







St. Luke vi. 43 sq.




Isa. xlv. 7.




[This purely good or goodish divinity is an idea of the Stoics. De Præscript. chap. 7.]




Quendam. [See Irenæus, Vol. I. p. 352, this Series.]






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Next: The Unity of God.  He is the Supreme Being, and There Cannot Be a Second Supreme.

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