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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Chapter 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 16 [VI.]—It is Not of Us, But Our Sins, that the Devil is the Author.

He puts to us, then, another question, saying, “Whom, then, do you confess to be the author of infants? The true God?” I answer: 2232 “Yes; the true God.” He then remarks, “But He did not make evil;” and again asks, “Whether we confess the devil to be the creator of infants?” Then again he answers, “But he did not create human nature.” He then closes the subject, as it were, with this inference: “Since union is evil, and the condition of our bodies is degraded, therefore you ascribe our bodies to an evil creator.” My answer to this is, I do not ascribe to an evil creator our bodies, but our sins; by reason of which it came to pass that, whereas in our bodies, that is to say, in what God has made, all was honourable and well-pleasing, there yet accrued in the intercourse of male and female what caused shame, so that their union was not such as might have been in the body of that unimpaired life, but such as we see with a blush in the body of this death. “But God,” says he, “has divided in sex what He would unite in operation. So that from Him comes the union of bodies, from whom first came the creation of bodies.” We have already furnished an answer to this statement, when we said that these bodies are of God. But as regards the disobedience of the members of these bodies, this comes through the lust of the flesh which “is not of the Father.” 2233 He goes on to say, that “it is impossible for evil fruits to spring from so many good things, such as bodies, sexes, and their unions; or that human beings should be made by God for the purpose of their being, by lawful right, as you maintain, held in possession by the devil.” Now it has been already affirmed, that they are not thus held because they are men, which designation belongs to their nature, of which the devil is not the author; but because they are sinners, which designation is the result of that fault of nature of which the devil is the author.



This is the Benedictine reading; but another reading has “he answers,” which seems to suit the context. See the following: “again he answers.”


1 John ii. 16.

Next: Chapter 17

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