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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 13

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 13.—Concerning Those Who Assert that Only Rational Animals are Parts of the One God.

But if they contend that only rational animals, such as men, are parts of God, I do not really see how, if the whole world is God, they can separate beasts from being parts of Him.  But what need is there of striving about that?  Concerning the rational animal himself,—that is, man,—what more unhappy belief can be entertained than that a part of God is whipped when a boy is whipped?  And who, unless he is quite mad, could bear the thought that parts of God can become lascivi p. 72 ous, iniquitous, impious, and altogether damnable?  In brief, why is God angry at those who do not worship Him, since these offenders are parts of Himself?  It remains, therefore, that they must say that all the gods have their own lives; that each one lives for himself, and none of them is a part of any one; but that all are to be worshipped,—at least as many as can be known and worshipped; for they are so many it is impossible that all can be so.  And of all these, I believe that Jupiter, because he presides as king, is thought by them to have both established and extended the Roman empire.  For if he has not done it, what other god do they believe could have attempted so great a work, when they must all be occupied with their own offices and works, nor can one intrude on that of another?  Could the kingdom of men then be propagated and increased by the king of the gods?

Next: Chapter 14

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