Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: Another Class of Heretics Refuted. They Alleged that Christ's Flesh Was of a Finer Texture, Animalis, Composed of Soul.
Chapter X.—Another Class of Heretics Refuted. They Alleged that Christs Flesh Was of a Finer Texture, Animalis, Composed of Soul.
I now turn to another class, who are equally wise in their own conceit. They affirm that the flesh of Christ is composed of soul, 7080 that His soul became flesh, so that His flesh is soul; and as His flesh is of soul, so is His soul of flesh. But here, again, I must have some reasons. If, in order to save the soul, Christ took a soul within Himself, because it could not be saved except by Him having it within Himself, I see no reason why, in clothing Himself with flesh, He should have made that flesh one of soul, 7081 as if He could not have saved the soul in any other way than by making flesh of it. For while He saves our souls, which are not only not of flesh, 7082 but are p. 531 even distinct from flesh, how much more able was He to secure salvation to that soul which He took Himself, when it was also not of flesh? Again, since they assume it as a main tenet, 7083 that Christ came forth not to deliver the flesh, but only our soul, how absurd it is, in the first place, that, meaning to save only the soul, He yet made it into just that sort of bodily substance which He had no intention of saving! And, secondly, if He had undertaken to deliver our souls by means of that which He carried, He ought, in that soul which He carried to have carried our soul, one (that is) of the same condition as ours; and whatever is the condition of our soul in its secret nature, it is certainly not one of flesh. However, it was not our soul which He saved, if His own was of flesh; for ours is not of flesh. Now, if He did not save our soul on the ground, that it was a soul of flesh which He saved, He is nothing to us, because He has not saved our soul. Nor indeed did it need salvation, for it was not our soul really, since it was, on the supposition, 7084 a soul of flesh. But yet it is evident that it has been saved. Of flesh, therefore, it was not composed, and it was ours; for it was our soul that was saved, since that was in peril of damnation. We therefore now conclude that as in Christ the soul was not of flesh, so neither could His flesh have possibly been composed of soul.
Animalem: “etherialized; of a finer form, differing from gross, earthy matter” (Neander).530:7081
Next: The Opposite Extravagance Exposed. That is Christ with a Soul Composed of Flesh--Corporeal, Though Invisible. Christ's Soul, Like Ours, Distinct from Flesh, Though Clothed in It.
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