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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Shifts to Which Hermogenes is Reduced, Who Deifies Matter, and Yet is Unwilling to Hold Him Equal with the Divine Creator.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—The Shifts to Which Hermogenes is Reduced, Who Deifies Matter, and Yet is Unwilling to Hold Him Equal with the Divine Creator.

He declares that God’s attribute is still safe to Him, of being the only God, and the First, and the Author of all things, and the Lord of all things, and being incomparable to any—qualities which he straightway ascribes to Matter also. He is God, to be sure. God shall also attest the same; but He has also sworn sometimes by Himself, that there is no other God like Him. 6188 Hermogenes, however, will make Him a liar. For Matter will be such a God as He—being unmade, unborn, without beginning, and without end. God will say, “I am the first!” 6189 Yet how is He the first, when Matter is co-eternal with Him? Between co-eternals and contemporaries there is no sequence of rank. 6190 Is then, Matter also the first? “I,” says the Lord, “have stretched out the heavens alone.” 6191 But indeed He was not alone, when that likewise stretched them out, of which He made the expanse. When he asserts the position that Matter was eternal, without any encroachment on the condition of God, let him see to it that we do not in ridicule turn the tables on him, that God similarly was eternal without any encroachment on the condition of Matter—the condition of Both being still common to Them. The position, therefore, remains unimpugned 6192 both in the case of Matter, that it did itself exist, only along with God; and that God existed alone, but with Matter.  It also was first with God, as God, too, was first with it; it, however, is not comparable with God, as God, too, is not to be compared with it; with God also it was the Author (of all things), and with God their Sovereign. In this way he proposes that God has something, and yet not the whole, of Matter. For Him, accordingly, Hermogenes has reserved nothing which he had not equally conferred on Matter, so that it is not Matter which is compared with God, but rather God who is compared with Matter. Now, inasmuch as those qualities which we claim as peculiar to God—to have always existed, without a beginning, without an end, and to have been the First, and Alone, and the Author of all things—are also compatible to Matter, I want to know what property Matter possesses p. 481 different and alien from God, and hereby special to itself, by reason of which it is incapable of being compared with God? That Being, in which occur 6193 all the properties of God, is sufficiently predetermined without any further comparison.


Footnotes

480:6188

Isa. xlv. 23.

480:6189

Isa. 41:4, Isa. 44:6, Isa. 48:12.

480:6190

Ordo.

480:6191

Isa. xliv. 24.

480:6192

Salvum ergo erit.

481:6193

Recensentur.


Next: Hermogenes Held to His Theory in Order that Its Absurdity May Be Exposed on His Own Principles.

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