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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Another Ground of Hermogenes that Matter Has Some Good in It. Its Absurdity.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIII.—Another Ground of Hermogenes that Matter Has Some Good in It.  Its Absurdity.

Here the question will arise How creatures were made good out of it, 6257 which were formed without any change at all? 6258 How occurs the seed of what is good, nay, very good, in that which is evil, nay, very evil? Surely a good tree does not produce evil fruit, 6259 since there is no God who is not good; nor does an evil tree yield good fruit, since there is not Matter except what is very evil. Or if we were to grant him that there is some germ of good in it, then there will be no longer a uniform nature (pervading it), that is to say, one which is evil throughout; but instead thereof (we now encounter) a double nature, partly good and partly evil; and again the question will arise, whether, in a subject which is good and evil, there could possibly have been found a harmony for light and darkness, for sweet and bitter? So again, if qualities so utterly diverse as good and evil have been able to unite together, 6260 and have imparted to Matter a double nature, productive of both kinds of fruit, then no longer will absolutely 6261 good things be imputable to God, just as evil things are not ascribed to Him, but both qualities will appertain to Matter, since they are derived from the property of Matter. At this rate, we shall owe to God neither gratitude for good things, nor grudge 6262 for evil ones, because He has produced no work of His own proper character. 6263 From which circumstance will arise the clear proof that He has been subservient to Matter.


Footnotes

484:6257

Matter.

484:6258

i.e. in their nature, Matter being evil, and they good, on the hypothesis.

484:6259

Matt. vii. 18.

484:6260

Concurrisse.

484:6261

Ipsa.

484:6262

Invidiam.

484:6263

Ingenio.


Next: Tertullian Pushes His Opponent into a Dilemma.

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