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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Demiurge Works Away at Creation, as the Drudge of His Mother Achamoth, in Ignorance All the While of the Nature of His Occupation.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XX—The Demiurge Works Away at Creation, as the Drudge of His Mother Achamoth, in Ignorance All the While of the Nature of His Occupation.

The Demiurge therefore, placed as he was without the limits of the Pleroma in the ignominious solitude of his eternal exile, founded a new empire—this world (of ours)—by clearp. 514 ing away the confusion and distinguishing the difference between the two substances which severally constituted it, 6816 the animal and the material. Out of incorporeal (elements) he constructs bodies, heavy, light, erect 6817 and stooping, celestial and terrene. He then completes the sevenfold stages of heaven itself, with his own throne above all. Whence he had the additional name of Sabbatum from the hebdomadal nature of his abode; his mother Achamoth, too, had the title Ogdoada, after the precedent of the primeval Ogdoad. 6818 These heavens, however, they consider to be intelligent, 6819 and sometimes they make angels of them, as indeed they do of the Demiurge himself; as also (they call) Paradise the fourth archangel, because they fix it above the third heaven, of the power of which Adam partook, when he sojourned there amidst its fleecy clouds 6820 and shrubs. 6821 Ptolemy remembered perfectly well the prattle of his boyhood, 6822 that apples grew in the sea, and fishes on the tree; after the same fashion, he assumed that nut-trees flourished in the skies.  The Demiurge does his work in ignorance, and therefore perhaps he is unaware that trees ought to be planted only on the ground. His mother, of course, knew all about it: how is it, then, that she did not suggest the fact, since she was actually executing her own operation? But whilst building up so vast an edifice for her son by means of those works, which proclaim him at once to be father, god and, king before the conceits of the Valentinians, why she refused to let them be known to even him, 6823 is a question which I shall ask afterwards.



Duplicis substantiæ illius disclusæ.




Ogdoadis primogenitalis: what Irenæus calls “the first-begotten and primary Ogdoad of the Pleroma” (See our Irenæus, Vol. I.; also above, chap. vii. p. 506.)








Puerilium dicibulorum.


Sibi here must refer to the secondary agent of the sentence.

Next: The Vanity as Well as Ignorance of the Demiurge. Absurd Results from So Imperfect a Condition.

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