Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: The Tables Turned Upon Marcion, by Contrasts, in Favour of the True God.
Chapter XXVIII.—The Tables Turned Upon Marcion, by Contrasts, in Favour of the True God.
Now, touching the weaknesses and malignities, and the other (alleged), notes (of the Creator), I too shall advance antitheses in rivalry to Marcions. If my God knew not of any other superior to Himself, your god also was utterly unaware that there was any beneath himself. It is just what Heraclitus “the obscure” 3069 said; whether it be up or down, 3070 it comes to the same thing. If, indeed, he was not ignorant (of his position), it must have occurred to Him from the beginning. Sin and death, and the author of sin too—the devil—and all the evil which my God permitted to be, this also, did your god permit; for he allowed Him to permit it. Our God changed His purposes; 3071 in like manner yours did also. For he who cast his look so late in the human race, changed that purpose, which for so long a period had refused to cast that look. Our God repented Him of the evil in a given case; so also did yours. For by the fact that he at last had regard to the salvation of man, he showed such a repentance of his previous disregard 3072 as was due for a wrong deed. But neglect of mans salvation will be accounted a wrong deed, simply because it has been remedied 3073 by his repentance in the conduct of your god. Our God you say commanded a fraudulent act, but in a matter of gold and silver. Now, inasmuch as man is more precious than gold and silver, in so far is your god more fraudulent still, because he robs man of his Lord and Creator. Eye for eye does our God require; but your god does even a greater injury, (in your ideas,) when he prevents an act of retaliation. For what man will not return a blow, without waiting to be struck a second time. 3074 Our p. 320 God (you say) knows not whom He ought to choose. Nor does your god, for if he had foreknown the issue, he would not have chosen the traitor Judas. If you allege that the Creator practised deception 3075 in any instance, there was a far greater mendacity in your Christ, whose very body was unreal. 3076 Many were consumed by the severity of my God. Those also who were not saved by your god are verily disposed by him to ruin. My God ordered a man to be slain. Your god willed himself to be put to death; not less a homicide against himself than in respect of him by whom he meant to be slain. I will moreover prove to Marcion that they were many who were slain by his god; for he made every one a homicide: in other words, he doomed him to perish, except when people failed in no duty towards Christ. 3077 But the straightforward virtue of truth is contented with few resources. 3078 Many things will be necessary for falsehood.
Tenebrosus. Cicero, De finibus, ii. says: “Heraclitus qui cognomento Σκοτεινὸς perhibetur, quia de natura nimis obscure memoravit.”319:3070
Sursam et deorsum. An allusion to Heraclitus doctrine of constant change, flux and reflux, out of which all things came. Καὶ τὴν μεταβολὴν ὁδὸν ἄνω κάτω, τόν τε κόσμον γίνεσθαι κατὰ ταύτην, κ.τ.λ. “Change is the way up and down; the world comes into being thus,” etc. (Diogenes Laertius, ix. 8).319:3071
Non nisi emendata.319:3074
Non verum. An allusion to the Docetism of Marcion.320:3077
Nihil deliquit in Christum, that is, Marcions Christ.320:3078
Next: Marcion's Own Antitheses, If Only the Title and Object of the Work Be Excepted, Afford Proofs of the Consistent Attributes of the True God.
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