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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Formation of Man by the Demiurge. Human Flesh Not Made of the Ground, But of a Nondescript Philosophic Substance.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXIV.—The Formation of Man by the Demiurge. Human Flesh Not Made of the Ground, But of a Nondescript Philosophic Substance.

Such being their conceits respecting God, or, if you like, 6843 the gods, of what sort are their figments concerning man? For, after he had made the world, the Demiurge turns his hands to man, and chooses for him as his substance not any portion of “the dry land,” as they say, of which alone we have any knowledge (although it was, at that time, not yet dried by the waters becoming separated from the earthy residuum, and only afterwards became dry), but of the invisible substance of that matter, which philosophy indeed dreams of, from its fluid and fusible composition, the origin of which I am unable to imagine, because it exists nowhere. Now, since fluidity and fusibility are qualities of liquid matter, and since everything liquid flowed from Sophia’s tears, we must, as a necessary conclusion, believe that muddy earth is constituted of Sophia’s eye-rheums and viscid discharges, 6844 which are just as much the dregs of tears as mud is the sediment of waters. Thus does the Demiurge mould man as a potter does his clay, and animates him with his own breath. Made after his image and likeness, he will therefore be both material and animal. A fourfold being! For in respect of his “image,” he must be deemed clayey, 6845 that is to say, material, although the Demiurge is not composed of matter; but as to his “likeness,” he is animal, for such, too, is the Demiurge. You have two (of his constituent elements). Moreover, a coating of flesh was, as they allege, afterwards placed over the clayey substratum, and it is this tunic of skin which is susceptible of sensation.


Footnotes

515:6843

Vel.

515:6844

Ex pituitis et gramis.

515:6845

Choicus.


Next: An Extravagant Way of Accounting for the Communication of the Spiritual Nature to Man. It Was Furtively Managed by Achamoth, Through the Unconscious Agency of Her Son.

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