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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Further Exposure of Inconsistencies in the Opinions of Hermogenes Respecting the Divine Qualities of Matter.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLII.—Further Exposure of Inconsistencies in the Opinions of Hermogenes Respecting the Divine Qualities of Matter.

You have thrown out all your views loosely and at random, 6575 in order that it might not be apparent, by too close a proximity, how contrary they are to one another. I, however, mean to gather them together and compare them.  You allege that motion in Matter is p. 501 without regularity, 6576 and you go on to say that Matter aims at a shapeless condition, and then, in another passage, that it desires to be set in order by God. Does that, then, which affects to be without form, want to be put into shape? Or does that which wants to be put into shape, affect to be without form? You are unwilling that God should seem to be equal to Matter; and then again you say that it has a common condition 6577 with God. “For it is impossible,” you say, “if it has nothing in common with God, that it can be set in order by Him.” But if it had anything in common with God, it did not want to be set in order, 6578 being, forsooth, a part of the Deity through a community of condition; or else even God was susceptible of being set in order 6579 by Matter, by His having Himself something in common with it. And now you herein subject God to necessity, since there was in Matter something on account of which He gave it form. You make it, however, a common attribute of both of them, that they set themselves in motion by themselves, and that they are ever in motion. What less do you ascribe to Matter than to God? There will be found all through a fellowship of divinity in this freedom and perpetuity of motion.

Only in God motion is regular, 6580 in Matter irregular. 6581 In both, however, there is equally the attribute of Deity—both alike having free and eternal motion. At the same time, you assign more to Matter, to which belonged the privilege of thus moving itself in a way not allowed to God.


Footnotes

500:6575

Dispersisti omnia.

501:6576

Inconditum.

501:6577

“Communionem.”

501:6578

Ornari: “to be adorned.”

501:6579

Ornari: “to be adorned.”

501:6580

Composite.

501:6581

Incondite.


Next: Other Discrepancies Exposed and Refuted Respecting the Evil in Matter Being Changed to Good.

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