>   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   008  >   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   008

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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—God’s Figure:  Simon’s Objection Therefrom Refuted.

“But someone will say, If He has shape, then He has figure also, and is in space; but if He is in space, and is, as being less, enclosed by it, how is He great above everything?  How can He be everywhere if He has figure?  The first remark I have to make to him who urges these objections is this:  The Scriptures persuade us to have such sentiments and to believe such statements in regard to Him; and we know that their declarations are true, for witness is borne to them by our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose orders we are bound to afford proofs to you that such is the case.  But first I shall speak of space.  The space of God is the non-existent, but God is that which exists.  But that which is non-existent cannot be compared with that which is existent.  For how can space be existent? unless it be a second space, such as heaven, earth, water, air, and if there is any other body that fills up the vacuity, which is called vacuity on this account, that it is nothing.  For ‘nothing’ is its more appropriate name.  For what is that which is called vacuity but as it were a vessel which contains nothing, except the vessel itself?  But being vacuity, it is not itself space; but space is that in which vacuity itself is, if indeed it is the vessel.  For it must be the case that that which exists is in that which does not exist.  But by this which is non-existent I mean that which is called by some, space, which is nothing.  But being nothing, how can it be compared with that which is, except by expressing the contrary, and saying that it is that which does not exist, and that that which does not exist is called space?  But even if it were something, there are many examples which I have at hand, but I shall content myself with one only, to show that that which encloses is not unquestionably superior to that which is enclosed.  The sun is a circular figure, and is entirely enclosed by air, yet it lightens up the air, it warms it, it divides it; and if the sun be away from it, it is enveloped in darkness; and from whatsoever part of it the sun is removed, it becomes cold as if it were dead; but again it is illuminated by its rising, and when it has been warmed up by it, it is adorned with still greater beauty.  And it does this by giving a share of itself, though it has its substance limited.  What, then, is there to prevent God, as being the Framer and Lord of this and everything else, from possessing figure and shape and beauty, and having the communication of these qualities proceeding from Himself extended infinitely?

Next: Chapter IX