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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Other Discrepancies Exposed and Refuted Respecting the Evil in Matter Being Changed to Good.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLIII.—Other Discrepancies Exposed and Refuted Respecting the Evil in Matter Being Changed to Good.

On the subject of motion I would make this further remark.  Following the simile of the boiling caldron, you say that motion in Matter, before it was regulated, was confused, 6582 restless, incomprehensible by reason of excess in the commotion. 6583 Then again you go on to say, “But it waited for the regulation 6584 of God, and kept its irregular motion incomprehensible, owing to the tardiness of its irregular motion.” Just before you ascribe commotion, here tardiness, to motion. Now observe how many slips you make respecting the nature of Matter. In a former passage 6585 you say, “If Matter were naturally evil, it would not have admitted of a change for the better; nor would God have ever applied to it any attempt at arrangement, for His labour would have been in vain.” You therefore concluded your two opinions, that Matter was not by nature evil, and that its nature was incapable of being changed by God; and then, forgetting them, you afterwards drew this inference: “But when it received adjustment from God, and was reduced to order, 6586 it relinquished its nature.” Now, inasmuch as it was transformed to good, it was of course transformed from evil; and if by God’s setting it in order it relinquished 6587 the nature of evil, it follows that its nature came to an end; 6588 now its nature was evil before the adjustment, but after the transformation it might have relinquished that nature.


Footnotes

501:6582

Concretus.

501:6583

Certaminis.

501:6584

Compositionem: “arrangement.”

501:6585

See above, ch. xxxvii. p. 498.

501:6586

Ornata.

501:6587

Cessavit a.

501:6588

Cessavit.


Next: Curious Views Respecting God's Method of Working with Matter Exposed. Discrepancies in the Heretic's Opinion About God's Local Relation to Matter.

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