Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: A Further Vindication of the Scripture Narrative of the Creation, Against a Futile View of Hermogenes.
Chapter XXXI.—A Further Vindication of the Scripture Narrative of the Creation, Against a Futile View of Hermogenes.
But this circumstance, too, will be caught at, that Scripture meant to indicate of the heaven only, and this earth of yours, 6443 that God made it in the beginning, while nothing of the kind is said of the above-mentioned specific parts; 6444 and therefore that these, which are not described as having been made, appertain to unformed Matter. To this point 6445 also we must give an answer. Holy Scripture would be sufficiently explicit, if it had declared that the heaven and the earth, as the very highest works of creation, were made by God, possessing of course their own special appurtenances, 6446 which might be understood to be implied in these highest works themselves. Now the appurtenances of the heaven and the earth, made then in the beginning, were the darkness and the deep, and the spirit, and the waters. For the depth and the darkness underlay the earth. Since p. 495 the deep was under the earth, and the darkness was over the deep, undoubtedly both the darkness and the deep were under the earth. Below the heaven, too, lay the spirit 6447 and the waters. For since the waters were over the earth, which they covered, whilst the spirit was over the waters, both the spirit and the waters were alike over the earth. Now that which is over the earth, is of course under the heaven. And even as the earth brooded over the deep and the darkness, so also did the heaven brood over the spirit and the waters, and embrace them. Nor, indeed, is there any novelty in mentioning only that which contains, as pertaining to the whole, 6448 and understanding that which is contained as included in it, in its character of a portion. 6449 Suppose now I should say the city built a theatre and a circus, but the stage 6450 was of such and such a kind, and the statues were on the canal, and the obelisk was reared above them all, would it follow that, because I did not distinctly state that these specific things 6451 were made by the city, they were therefore not made by it along with the circus and the theatre? Did I not, indeed, refrain from specially mentioning the formation of these particular things because they were implied in the things which I had already said were made, and might be understood to be inherent in the things in which they were contained? But this example may be an idle one as being derived from a human circumstance; I will take another, which has the authority of Scripture itself. It says that “God made man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” 6452 Now, although it here mentions the nostrils, 6453 it does not say that they were made by God; so again it speaks of skin 6454 and bones, and flesh and eyes, and sweat and blood, in subsequent passages, 6455 and yet it never intimated that they had been created by God. What will Hermogenes have to answer? That the human limbs must belong to Matter, because they are not specially mentioned as objects of creation? Or are they included in the formation of man? In like manner, the deep and the darkness, and the spirit and the waters, were as members of the heaven and the earth. For in the bodies the limbs were made, in the bodies the limbs too were mentioned. No element but what is a member of that element in which it is contained. But all elements are contained in the heaven and the earth.
Ista: the earth, which has been the subject of contention.494:6444
Scrupulo: doubt or difficulty.494:6446
Suggestus: “Hoc est, apparatus, ornatus” (Oehler).495:6447
It will be observed that Tertullian applies the spiritus to the wind as a creature.495:6448
Gen. ii. 7.495:6453
Both in the quotation and here, Tertullian read “faciem” where we read “nostrils.”495:6454
Cutem: another reading has “costam,” rib.495:6455
See Gen. 2:21, 23, Gen. 3:5, 19, Gen. 4:10.
Next: The Account of the Creation in Genesis a General One, Corroborated, However, by Many Other Passages of the Old Testament, Which Give Account of Specific Creations. Further Cavillings Confuted.
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