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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Marcion Assumes the Existence of Two Gods from the Antithesis Between Things Visible and Things Invisible. This Antithetical Principle in Fact Characteristic of the Works of the Creator, the One God--Maker of All Things Visible and Invisible.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVI.—Marcion Assumes the Existence of Two Gods from the Antithesis Between Things Visible and Things Invisible. This Antithetical Principle in Fact Characteristic of the Works of the Creator, the One God—Maker of All Things Visible and Invisible.

Since, then, that other world does not appear, nor its god either, the only resource left 2520 to them is to divide things into the two classes of visible and invisible, with two gods for their authors, and so to claim 2521 the invisible for their own, (the supreme) God.  But who, except an heretical spirit, could ever bring his mind to believe that the invisible part of creation belongs to him who had previously displayed no visible thing, rather than to Him who, by His operation on the visible world, produced a belief in the invisible also, since it is far more p. 283 reasonable to give one’s assent after some samples (of a work) than after none? We shall see to what author even (your favourite) apostle attributes 2522 the invisible creation, when we come to examine him. At present (we withhold his testimony), for 2523 we are for the most part engaged in preparing the way, by means of common sense and fair arguments, for a belief in the future support of the Scriptures also. We affirm, then, that this diversity of things visible and invisible must on this ground be attributed to the Creator, even because the whole of His work consists of diversities—of things corporeal and incorporeal; of animate and inanimate; of vocal and mute of moveable and stationary; of productive and sterile; of arid and moist; of hot and cold. Man, too, is himself similarly tempered with diversity, both in his body and in his sensation. Some of his members are strong, others weak; some comely, others uncomely; some twofold, others unique; some like, others unlike. In like manner there is diversity also in his sensation: now joy, then anxiety; now love, then hatred; now anger, then calmness. Since this is the case, inasmuch as the whole of this creation of ours has been fashioned 2524 with a reciprocal rivalry amongst its several parts, the invisible ones are due to the visible, and not to be ascribed to any other author than Him to whom their counterparts are imputed, marking as they do diversity in the Creator Himself, who orders what He forbade, and forbids what He ordered; who also strikes and heals. Why do they take Him to be uniform in one class of things alone, as the Creator of visible things, and only them; whereas He ought to be believed to have created both the visible and the invisible, in just the same way as life and death, or as evil things and peace? 2525 And verily, if the invisible creatures are greater than the visible, which are in their own sphere great, so also is it fitting that the greater should be His to whom the great belong; because neither the great, nor indeed the greater, can be suitable property for one who seems to possess not even the smallest things.


Footnotes

282:2520

Consequens est ut.

282:2521

Defendant.

283:2522

Col. i. 16.

283:2523

Nunc enim. The elliptical νῦν γάρ of Greek argumentation.

283:2524

Modulata.

283:2525

“I make peace, and create evil,” Isa. xlv. 7.


Next: Not Enough, as the Marcionites Pretend, that the Supreme God Should Rescue Man; He Must Also Have Created Him. The Existence of God Proved by His Creation, a Prior Consideration to His Character.

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