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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 21

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 21 [XV.]—Recognition and Form Belong to Souls as Well as Bodies.

But you say: “If the soul is incorporeal, what was it that the rich man saw in hell? He certainly recognised Lazarus; he did [not 2485 ] know Abraham. Whence arose to him the knowledge of Abraham, who had died so long before?” By using these words, I suppose that you do not think a man can be recognised and known without his bodily form. To know yourself, therefore, I imagine that you often stand before your looking-glass, lest by forgetting your features you should be unable to recognise yourself. But let me ask you, what man does anybody know more than himself; and whose face can he see less than his own? But who could possibly know God, whom even you do not doubt to be incorporeal, if knowledge could not (as you suppose) accrue without bodily shape; that is, if bodies alone can be recognised? What Christian, however, when discussing subjects of such magnitude and difficulty, can give such little heed to the inspired word as to say, “If the soul be incorporeal, it must of necessity lack form”? Have you forgotten that in that word you have read of “a form of doctrine”?  2486 Have you forgotten, too, that it is written conp. 364 cerning Christ Jesus, previous to His clothing Himself with humanity, that He was “in the form of God”? 2487 How, then, can you say, “If the soul is incorporeal, it must of necessity lack form;” when you hear of “the form of God,” whom you acknowledge to be incorporeal; and so express yourself, as if form could not possibly exist except in bodies?



Luke xvi. 19-31. Non noverat Abraham. But some mss. omit non; rightly, one would think. The meaning then is: “He recognised Abraham.”


Rom. vi. 17.


Phil. ii. 6.

Next: Chapter 22

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