Chapter XXI.—St. Paul Preached No New God, When He Announced the Repeal of Some of Gods Ancient Ordinances. Never Any Hesitation About Belief in the Creator, as the God Whom Christ Revealed, Until Marcions Heresy.
Now if it was with the view of preaching a new god that he was eager to abrogate the law of the old God, how is it that he prescribes no rule about 2564 the new god, but solely about the old law, if it be not because faith in the Creator 2565 was still to continue, and His law alone was to come to an end? 2566 —just as the Psalmist had declared: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed.” 2567 And, indeed, if another god were preached by Paul, there could be no doubt about the law, whether it were to be kept or not, because of course it would not belong to the new lord, the enemy 2568 of the law. The very newness and difference of the god would take away not only all question about the old and alien law, but even all mention of it. But the whole question, as it then stood, was this, that although the God of the law was the same as was preached in Christ, yet there was a disparagement 2569 of His law. Permanent still, therefore, stood faith in the Creator and in His Christ; manner of life and discipline alone fluctuated. 2570 Some disputed about eating idol sacrifices, others about the veiled dress of women, others again about marriage and divorce, and some even about the hope of the resurrection; but about God no one disputed. Now, if this question also had entered into dispute, surely it would be found in the apostle, and that too as a great and vital point. No doubt, after the time of the apostles, the truth respecting the belief of God suffered corruption, but it is equally certain that during the life of the apostles their teaching on this great article did not suffer at all; so that no other teaching will have the right of being received as apostolic than that which is at the present day proclaimed in the churches of apostolic foundation. You will, however, find no church of apostolic origin 2571 but such as reposes its Christian faith in the Creator. 2572 But if the churches shall prove to have been corrupt from the beginning, where shall the pure ones be found? Will it be amongst the adversaries of the Creator? Show us, then, one of your churches, tracing its descent from an apostle, and you will have gained the day. 2573 Forasmuch then as it is on all accounts evident that there was from Christ down to Marcions time no other God in the rule of sacred truth 2574 than the Creator, the proof of our argument is sufficiently established, in which we have shown that the god of our heretic first became known by his separation of the gospel and the law. Our previous position 2575 is accordingly made good, that no god is to be believed whom any man has devised out of his own conceits; except indeed the man be a prophet, 2576 and then his own conceits would not be concerned in the matter. If Marcion, however, shall be able to lay claim to this inspired character, it will be necessary for it to be shown. There must be no doubt or paltering. 2577 For all heresy is thrust out by this wedge of the truth, that Christ is proved to be the revealer of no God else but the Creator. 2578