Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: The Three Several Natures--The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and Their Several Destinations. The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the Structure of Soter's Nature.
Chapter XXVI.—The Three Several Natures—The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and Their Several Destinations. The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the Structure of Soters Nature.
In like manner they assign to each of them a separate end. 6852 To the material, that is to say the carnal (nature), which they also call “the left-handed,” they assign undoubted p. 516 destruction; to the animal (nature), which they also call “the right-handed,” a doubtful issue, inasmuch as it oscillates between the material and the spiritual, and is sure to fall at last on the side to which it has mainly gravitated. As regards the spiritual, however, (they say) that it enters into the formation of the animal, in order that it may be educated in company with it and be disciplined by repeated intercourse with it. For the animal (nature) was in want of training even by the senses: for this purpose, accordingly, was the whole structure of the world provided; for this purpose also did Soter (the Saviour) present Himself in the world—even for the salvation of the animal (nature). By yet another arrangement they will have it that He, in some prodigious way, 6853 clothed Himself with the primary portions 6854 of those substances, the whole of which He was going to restore to salvation; in such wise that He assumed the spiritual nature from Achamoth, whilst He derived the animal (being), Christ, afterwards from the Demiurge; His corporal substance, however, which was constructed of an animal nature (only with wonderful and indescribable skill), He wore for a dispensational purpose, in order that He might, in spite of His own unwillingness, 6855 be capable of meeting persons, and of being seen and touched by them, and even of dying. But there was nothing material assumed by Him, inasmuch as that was incapable of salvation. As if He could possibly have been more required by any others than by those who were in want of salvation! And all this, in order that by severing the condition of our flesh from Christ they may also deprive it of the hope of salvation!
Prosicias induisse. Irenæus says, “Assumed the first-fruits,” τὰς ἀπαρχάς.516:6855
Next: The Christ of the Demiurge, Sent into the World by the Virgin. Not of Her. He Found in Her, Not a Mother, But Only a Passage or Channel. Jesus Descended Upon Christ, at His Baptism, Like a Dove; But, Being Incapable of Suffering, He Left Christ to Die on the Cross Alone.
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