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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: On His Own Principles, Hermogenes Makes Matter, on the Whole, Superior to God.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—On His Own Principles, Hermogenes Makes Matter, on the Whole, Superior to God.

Nay more, 6199 he even prefers Matter to God, and rather subjects God to it, when he will have it that God made all things out of Matter.  For if He drew His resources from it 6200 for the creation of the world, Matter is already found to be the superior, inasmuch as it furnished Him with the means of effecting His works; and God is thereby clearly subjected to Matter, of which the substance was indispensable to Him. For there is no one but requires that which he makes use of; 6201 no one but is subject to the thing which he requires, for the very purpose of being able to make use of it. So, again, there is no one who, from using what belongs to another, is not inferior to him of whose property he makes use; and there is no one who imparts 6202 of his own for another’s use, who is not in this respect superior to him to whose use he lends his property. On this principle, 6203 Matter itself, no doubt, 6204 was not in want of God, but rather lent itself to God, who was in want of it—rich and abundant and liberal as it was—to one who was, I suppose, too small, and too weak, and too unskilful, to form what He willed out of nothing. A grand service, verily, 6205 did it confer on God in giving Him means at the present time whereby He might be known to be God, and be called Almighty—only that He is no longer Almighty, since He is not powerful enough for this, to produce all things out of nothing. To be sure, 6206 Matter bestowed somewhat on itself also—even to get its own self acknowledged with God as God’s co-equal, nay more, as His p. 482 helper; only there is this drawback, that Hermogenes is the only man that has found out this fact, besides the philosophers—those patriarchs of all heresy. 6207 For the prophets knew nothing about it, nor the apostles thus far, nor, I suppose, even Christ.



Atquin etiam.


Ex illa usus est.


De cujus utitur.












They are so deemed in the de Præscript. Hæret. c. vii.

Next: Sundry Inevitable But Intolerable Conclusions from the Principles of Hermogenes.

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