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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter V

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter V.—Practical Refutation of Genesis.

“While we were thus talking, a great multitude gathered round us.  And then I looked to the multitude, and said:  ‘I and my tribe have had handed down to us from our ancestors the worship of God, and we have a commandment to give no heed to Genesis, I mean to the science of astrology; 1200 and therefore I gave no attention to it.  For this reason I have no skill in astrology, but I shall state that in which I have skill.  Since I am unable to refute Genesis by an appeal to the science which relates to Genesis, I wish to prove in another way that the affairs of this world are managed by a providence, and that each one will receive reward or punishment according to his actions.  Whether he shall do so now or hereafter, is a matter of no consequence to me; all I affirm is, that each one without doubt will reap the fruit of his deeds.  The proof that there is no Genesis is this.  If any one of you present has been deprived of eyes, or has his hand maimed, or his foot lame, or some other part of the body wrong, and if it is utterly incurable, and entirely beyond the range of the medical profession,—a case, indeed, which not even the astrologers profess to cure, for no such cure has taken place within the lapse of a vast period,—yet I praying to God will cure it, 1201 although 1202 it could never have been set right by Genesis. 1203   Since this is so, do not they sin who blaspheme the God that fashioned all things?’  And the old man answered:  ‘Is it then blasphemy to say that all things are subject to Genesis?’  And I replied:  ‘Most certainly it is.  For if all the sins of men, and all their acts of impiety and licentiousness, owe their origin to the stars, and if the stars have been appointed by God to do this work, so as to be the efficient causes of all evils, then the sins of all are traced up to Him who placed Genesis 1204 in the stars.’



[On the error of astrology compare the full discussion in Recognitions, ix. 12, x. 7–12.—R.]


We have adopted the reading given in the two Epitomes.


Lit., “when.”


[This method of proof, by appeal to the supernatural power of the Apostle, is peculiar to the Homilies.  In the Recognitions, ix. 30, an argument is made by Clement, who appeals to the power of the true Prophet.—R.]


That is, the power of origination.

Next: Chapter VI

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