Tertullian:  Against Marcion (English)

  1. Book 1
  2. Book 2
  3. Book 3
  4. Book 4
  5. Book 5
Some Technical Terms
THE following words, as terms of logic, are of frequent occurrence throughout Tertullian's works.
means the thing itself (e.g. I. 28. 4), and can often be translated ‘objective reality’:  it may also mean property or possessions (e.g. I. 15. 1), or occasionally confidence.
is the substance out of which a thing is composed or constructed.  Conditio and natura indicate the totality of those essential attributes by virtue of which a person or object is what it is:  the former also bears some reference to the fact that it or he was created so (e.g. II. 16. 4).
representing the copulative verb, suggests the established fact that the properties of an object are what they are, often with some hint of status or quality, almost in the social sense of those terms.
refers to those attributes of an object or person which are caused or conditioned or limited by relation with things or persons outside of itself:  ‘circumstances’ will frequently meet the case.
means that an object or attribute is precisely what it is, and nothing else, or that it belongs specifically to such and such a person and to no one else.

1. Nothing I have previously written against Marcion is any longer my concern.  I am embarking upon a new work to replace an old one.  My first edition, too hurriedly produced, I afterwards withdrew, substituting a fuller treatment.  This also, before enough copies had been made, was stolen from me by a person, at that time a Christian but afterwards an apostate, who chanced to have copied out some extracts very incorrectly, and showed them to a group of people.  Hence the need for correction.  The opportunity provided by this revision has moved me to make some additions.  Thus this written work, a third succeeding a second, and instead of third from now on the first, needs to begin by reporting the demise of the work it supersedes, so that no one may be perplexed if in one place or another he comes across varying forms of it.

The sea called Euxine, or hospitable, is belied by its nature and put to ridicule by its name.  Even its situation would prevent you from reckoning Pontus hospitable:  as though ashamed of its own barbarism it has set itself at a distance from our more civilized waters.  Strange tribes inhabit it — if indeed living in a wagon can be called inhabiting.1  These have no certain dwelling-place:  their life is uncouth:  their sexual activity is promiscuous, and for the most part unhidden even when they hide it:  they advertise it by hanging a quiver on the yoke of the wagon, so that none may inadvertently break in.  So little respect have they for their weapons of war.  They carve up their fathers' corpses along with mutton, to gulp down at banquets.  If any die in a condition not good for eating, their death is a disgrace.  Women also have lost the gentleness, along with the modesty, of their sex.  They display their breasts, they do their house-work with battle-axes, they prefer fighting to matrimonial duty.  There is sternness also in the climate — never broad daylight, the sun always niggardly, the only air they have is fog, the whole year is winter, every wind that blows is the north wind.  Water becomes water only by heating:  rivers are no rivers, only ice:  mountains are piled high up

1.1  On the customs of the Massagetae, Herodotus i. 216.


with snow:  all is torpid, everything stark.  Savagery is there the only thing warm — such savagery as has provided the theatre with tales of Tauric sacrifices, Colchian love-affairs, and Caucasian crucifixions.

Even so, the most barbarous and melancholy thing about Pontus is that Marcion was born there, more uncouth than a Scythian, more unsettled than a Wagon-dweller, more uncivilized than a Massagete, with more effrontery than an Amazon, darker than fog, colder than winter, more brittle than ice, more treacherous than the Danube, more precipitous than Caucasus.  Evidently so, when by him the true Prometheus, God Almighty, is torn to bits with blasphemies.  More ill-conducted also is Marcion than the wild beasts of that barbarous land:  for is any beaver more self-castrating than this man who has abolished marriage?  What Pontic mouse is more corrosive than the man who has gnawed away the Gospels?  Truly the Euxine has given birth to a wild animal more acceptable to philosophers than to Christians:  that dog-worshipper Diogenes carried a lamp about at midday, looking to find a man, whereas Marcion by putting out the light of his own faith has lost the God whom once he had found.2  His followers cannot deny that his faith at first agreed with ours, for his own letter proves it:  so that without further ado that man can be marked down as a heretic, or 'chooser', who, forsaking what had once been, has chosen for himself that which previously was not.  For that which is of later importation must needs be reckoned heresy, precisely because that has to be considered truth which was delivered of old and from the beginning.  But a different work of mine will be found to maintain this thesis against heretics, that even without discussion of their doctrines they can be proved to be such by this standing rule concerning novelty.  At present however, seeing that a contest cannot be refused — for there is sometimes a danger that frequent recourse to the short-cut of that standing rule may be put down to lack of confidence — I shall begin by sketching out my opponent's doctrine, so that no one may be unaware of this which is to be our principal matter of contention.

1.2  Sinope, Marcion's birthplace, was a Greek city, founded 756 B.C., and therefore far from barbarous.  Tertullian may have remembered that certain Cimmerians from the north, pursued by Scythians, had settled at Sinope:  Hdt. iv. 12. Diogenes the Cynic was born there:  Diog.  Laert. vi. 41.


2. This man of Pontus presents us with two gods, as it were the two Clashing Rocks on which he suffers shipwreck:  the one the Creator, whom he cannot deny, which is our God:  the other, whom he cannot prove, a god of his own.1  The unhappy man became afflicted with the idea of this wild guess in consequence of that plain statement which our Lord made, which applies to men, not to gods, the example of the good tree and the bad, that neither does the good tree bring forth bad fruit nor the bad tree good fruita — that is, that a good mind or a good faith does not produce evil actions, nor an evil mind and faith good ones.  For, like many even in our day, heretics in particular, Marcion had an unhealthy interest in the problem of evil — the origin of it — and his perceptions were numbed by the very excess of his curiosity.  So when he found the Creator declaring, It is I who create evil things,b in that he had, from other arguments which make that impression on the perverse, already assumed him to be the author of evil, he interpreted with reference to the Creator the evil tree that creates evil fruit — namely, evil things in general — and assumed that there had to be another god to correspond with the good tree which brings forth good fruits.  Discovering then in Christ as it were a different dispensation of sole and unadulterated benevolence, an opposite character to the Creator's, he found it easy to argue for a new and hitherto unknown divinity revealed in its own Christ, and thus with a little leaven has embittered with heretical acidity the whole mass of the faith.c He was acquainted also with a certain Cerdo, who gave shape to this outrage.2  And so the blind were easily led to think they had a clear prospect of two gods, in that they had no accurate view of the one God.  To the blear-eyed a single lamp looks double.  So then the one God, whose existence he was forced to admit, Marcion has overthrown by slandering him as responsible for evil:  the other, whom he constrained himself to invent, he has set up on a scaffolding of goodness.  My own answers will make it clear in what specific terms he has portioned out these two sets of attributes.

2.1  In this translation 'God', 'Lord', 'Creator' (with capital letters) refer to the God of the Old and the New Testaments:  with small letters 'god' and 'lord' refer either to heathen gods or to Marcion's imagined superior or 'stranger' god.2  Cerdo, active in Rome about A.D. 130, was in some sense the informator of Marcion:  Irenaeus, A.H. I. xxiv (with Harvey's notes), quoted by Eusebius, H.E. iv. 10.


3. The principal, and consequently the entire, matter of discussion is one of number, whether it is permissible to suggest the existence of two gods.  Perhaps so, by poets' or painters' licence, and now by heretical licence for a third.  But Christian verity has decisively asserted that if God is not one only, he does not exist:  because it is more reasonable to admit the non-existence of that which does not exist in such manner as it ought.  If you would know that God must needs be one only, inquire what God is, and you will find no other answer.  In so far as human limitation1 can make any definition concerning God, I give that definition which all men's common sense will accept, that God is the supremely great, firmly established in eternity, unbegotten, uncreated, without beginning and without end.  For this status,1 I say, has to be assigned to that eternity by virtue of which God is supremely great, that in God it is itself supremely great, and so are the other attributes besides:  so that God is supreme greatness in both form and reason and power and authority.  Since there is universal agreement on this — for no one can deny that God is an entity supremely great, except perhaps one who can by contrariety pronounce God an entity moderately little, so as to deny his godhead by depriving him of all that is characteristic of God — what then must be the character of that entity itself supremely great?  Surely that it has nothing to equal it, that is, that there exists no other thing supremely great:  because if there is it will have an equal, and if it has an equal it can no longer be the supremely great, except by a reversal of that condition1 and, so to speak, that law which precludes anything being accounted equal to that which is supremely great.  Therefore that which is supremely great is of necessity singular, as having no fellow:  else it will not be supremely great.  And therefore it can only exist as being what it has to be, entirely singular.  Consequently, as God is the supremely great, rightly has our <Christian> verity pronounced that if God is not one God, he is no god.  Not as though we doubt God's existence when we say that if he is not one alone he is not at all, but because, convinced that he does exist, we define him as being that which if he is not he is not God, namely the supremely great.  But the supremely great must needs be singular.  And so also God has to be singular:  for he is God only by being the supremely great, as he is supremely great only by

3.1  On conditio, status, condicio and other technical terms see Appendix I.


having no fellow, and he can have no fellow only by being one and alone.  Truly, whatever other god you suppose exists, you can on no other plea defend his divinity, but only by ascribing to him that essential attribute of divinity, eternity, and with it supreme greatness.  How then can there co-exist two things supremely great, when it is of the essence of supreme greatness to have no fellow, while to have no fellow is contingent upon unity, and in duality is utterly impossible?

4. But someone will perhaps assert the possibility of the coexistence of two entities supremely great, distinct and separate each in its own sphere, adducing as an example the kingdoms of the world, many in number, yet each supremely great in its own territories, and will suppose that at every point things human can be compared with things divine.  Now if admission be granted to this supposition, what is to prevent the introduction, I say not of a third god and a fourth, but of as many gods as there are kings of the nations?  The subject of our discussion is God, whose primary characteristic it is to exclude comparison with any similitude whatsoever.  Nature itself will tell of this, not to mention such a one as Isaiah, or rather God, who asks by Isaiah, To whom will ye liken me?a Human attributes may perchance be comparable with divine, but not with God:  for God is one thing, his attributes another.  Again, when you make use of this example of the king as supremely great, you may perhaps be at fault:  for though a king is the supremely great on his own throne, next after God, yet is he inferior to God, and when brought into comparison with God must be deposed from his supreme greatness, as that is transferred back to God.  This being so, how can you use, for comparison with God, the example of a fact which, as soon as it comes into comparison, escapes away from you?  And what is more, not even among kings can supreme greatness be seen to be plural, but sole and singular, attached in fact to that one who, as king of kings, is because of the supremacy of his own greatness and the subjection of the others in rank, set up separate and alone, as a sort of pinnacle of domination.  For if kings of that other class, those who are in sole pre-eminence over a single empire, are compared at all points with petty kingdoms, so to express it, so as to decide which of them is superior in the faculties and powers of kingship, the supremacy of greatness must of necessity be


poured back into one alone, the others having turn by turn, as the comparison took its course, been crowded out and shut away from the summit of greatness.  Thus although in separate instances supreme greatness seems to exist in plurality, yet in its own powers and its own nature and estate it is one and alone.  Consequently when two gods are brought into comparison, as it might be two kings or two supreme greatnesses, the singularity of supreme greatness cannot avoid, as the comparison is brought to a decision, falling to the one or the other of them:  because its supremacy results from its own victory, the defeat of its rival, that other greatness which is not supreme:  and since by the failure of its rival it acquires a kind of solitude through the singleness of its pre-eminence, it is one and alone.  This incontrovertible sequence of thought enforces a decision in this sense, that we must either say that God is not the supremely great — which no man in his senses will permit — or else abstain from making him take shares with any other.

5. Besides, what sort of reasoning was it which set in opposition those two supreme greatnesses?  For I must first ask why, if there are two, there should not be more:  because if divinity were capable of number we should need to believe it the more richly endowed <the more there were of it>. More generous and more bountiful was Valentinus, who, as soon as he had the courage to conceive of two, Depth and Silence, poured out a whole swarm of divinity, a litter of aeons to the number of thirty, like Aeneas' sow.1  Any reasoning which precludes the admission of a large number of supreme greatnesses, also precludes two:  for two are many, in comparison with one:  for it is after one that number begins.  The reasoning which could admit two could admit also a great many:  for after two comes a multitude, once unity has been exceeded.  With us indeed the force of this reasoning, by our very definition, forbids belief in many gods, in that that rule <of faith> which sets forth one God does not admit of belief in two, since by it God has to be that to which, as the supremely great, nothing is

5.1  Valentinus, theorizing on the inner genesis of the godhead, postulated Depth and Silence as the original pair of aeons, whence proceeded successive pairs of aeons to the number of thirty, so as to complete the pleroma (the fullness) of the godhead:  Irenaeus, A.H. I. v-xiv, copied by Tertullian, adv.  Valentinianos. Aeneas' sow:  Virgil, Aen. viii. 43 sqq.


considered equal, and that to which nothing is considered equal must be one and alone.  And further, to what advantage, to what profit, could two supreme greatnesses, two equal entities, be accounted?  What difference does number make, when two equal things are no different from one thing?  For a thing which is identical in two entities is one single thing.  Even if there were more than two, if they were equal, all of them would amount to no more than one, in no respect differing among themselves, as being equal.  So then, if of two things neither is distinct from the other — in that both are supremely great, as both are gods — neither of them has any advantage over the other, and they indicate no reason for their plurality, since they have no advantage <one over the other>. But plurality of divinity ought to be based upon unexceptionable reasoning, if only because the worship of it could be brought into doubt.  For consider:  if I saw before me two gods, equal with each other because both supremely great, what should I do?  If I were to worship both, I should be concerned lest excess of duty should be accounted superstition and not religion, because as the two were equal and both were in either I should have been able to court their favor in one alone, offering as a testimony to their equality and unity the very fact that I was worshipping one in the other, because to me the two are in the one.  If <however> I were to worship one and not the other, I should no less reflect whether I might not seem to be putting to shame the vanity of a plurality superfluous through lack of difference.  Which means that I should account it safer to worship neither, than to worship one of them with doubtfulness or both without good cause.

6. So far, it appears, we have discussed this question as though it were two equal <gods> that Marcion were setting up.  For while we maintained that God, supremely great, must be considered to be one alone, shutting off from him any manner of equality, we treated of these two as though they were equals:  yet none the less, by explaining how according to the principle of supreme greatness they cannot be equals, we gave sufficient assurance that there cannot be two.  For all that, we were aware that Marcion sets up unequal gods, the one a judge, fierce and warlike, the other mild and peaceable, solely kind and supremely good.  Let us no less examine this submission, whether perhaps diversity


has room for two, seeing that equality had not.  But here also the same rule about the supremely great will come to our assistance, seeing it claims for itself the whole content of divinity.  So, in joining issue with an opponent who does not deny that the Creator is a god, I as it were lay hands upon him. and place his mind under arrest, as with complete legality I object that there is no room for such diversity between those whom, as he has admitted them equal in godhead, he cannot make diverse.  Not that it is impossible for men, under the same appellation of 'man', to be exceedingly diverse, but that none may be described as 'god', nor be believed to be God, except the supremely great.  Since then <Marcion> is compelled to acknowledge the supreme greatness of him whose godhead he does not deny, we cannot assent to his ascribing to the supremely great some sort of diminution, by which it should be put in subjection to another supremely great.  For if made subject, <supreme greatness> ceases to be.  But it is not possible for God to cease from being that which he is, that is, from being supremely great.  And besides, in that other, that superior god, supreme greatness can come into peril, if it is capable of being devalued in the Creator.  Consequently, when two gods are pronounced to be two supreme greatnesses, it follows that neither entity can be greater or less than the other, neither more sublime or more debased than the other.  You have to deny the godhead of the one you call inferior, as also the supreme greatness of the one you call less great:  yet when you called both of them gods you professed two supreme greatnesses.  You can neither subtract from the one nor add to the other:  when you acknowledged divinity you denied diversity.

7. You will next try to bring the discussion into disorder by reference to the word 'god', this being a common noun, applicable to others besides:  because it is written, The God of gods standeth in the congregation of the gods, even in the midst will he discern between the gods, and, I have said, ye are gods;a yet those can lay no claim to supreme greatness just because they are entitled gods:  nor, you say, can the Creator.  Even the fool shall have an answer:  he has not bethought himself that perhaps this may no less be turned back against Marcion's god, in that he too is designated 'god', yet is not thereby proved supremely great, any more than the Creator's angels were, or his men.  If sharing of names has

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any bearing upon rank, there are large numbers of worthless slaves who bring discredit on the names of kings, being called Alexander or Darius or Holophernes:  yet this will not degrade the kings from being what they are.  Also the idols of the heathen are gods to the vulgar, yet none of them is a god simply by having the name of 'god'. So I, in reference to the Creator, lay claim to supreme greatness not for the name of a god either spoken or written, but for that objective reality to which this name is applied.  That objective reality alone do I find unbegotten and uncreated, alone eternal, the creator of the universe:  and I ascribe and restrict supreme greatness not to its name but to its quality, not to its designation but to its attributes.  And so, because that reality to which I ascribe <supreme greatness> already has the name of 'God', you suppose I ascribe it to the name:  for I cannot avoid using the name so as to show to which reality I ascribe it, that reality of which he consists who has the designation 'God' and is accounted the supremely great because of that reality and not because of'the name.  Moreover Marcion also, in making this claim for his own god, makes it with reference to status, not with reference to a mere word.  So then we contend that that supreme greatness which we ascribe to God by the law of objective reality, not by the chance of a name, must be of an equality in both of two who consist of that objective reality because of which the name of 'god' is given:  because in as far as they are designated gods, that is, supreme greatnesses — and this by virtue of an objective reality unbegotten and eternal, and consequently great and supreme — in so far is it impossible for one supreme greatness to be accounted smaller or of less value than another supreme greatness.  If the felicity and sublimity and integrity of supreme greatness is to stand firm in Marcion's god, no less will it stand firm in ours:  if not in our God, neither will it stand firm in Marcion's.  It follows then that two supreme greatnesses can neither be equal nor unequal:  not equal, because this is disallowed by the rule already established that supreme greatness brooks of no equalization:  not unequal, because there comes into opposition that other rule concerning supreme greatness, which admits of no decrease.  You are stuck, Marcion, in the midst of the swell of your own Pontus:  the floods of the truth keep you in on one side and the other.  You can establish neither equal gods nor unequal:  for two there are not.  But this belongs specifically to the discussion of number.


Although on the whole subject our contention is about two gods, we have for the moment confined it between these limits, between which we have now to debate specific qualities one at a time.

8. First:  the Marcionites build up their stupidity upon conceit, <proud of> bringing to light a new god — as though we for our part were ashamed of our old God.  Schoolboys are puffed up about their new slippers, until by their old tutor they get slippered and beaten for vainglory.  So when I am told of a new god, unknown and unheard of in the old world, in old time, under the old God:  when I hear that in all those past ages he was not, was ancient only in men's ignorance of him, and that one Jesus Christ, himself new but under ancient names, has revealed him, as no one had until now:  I am grateful to this glorying of theirs because by its help in particular I shall without further ado prove a heresy this profession of a new deity.  This will be the sort of novelty which has brought gods to birth even for the gentiles, by a new and repeatedly new title of consecration for each one.  All new gods are false gods.  Not even Saturn will his ancientness, great as it today is, prove to be a god, because even he was at one time brought into being by newness, when it first gave him consecration.  But living and genuine deity is attested neither by newness nor by oldness, but by its own verity.  Eternity has no time, for itself is the whole of time:  it cannot be affected by that which it causes to be:  that which cannot have birth is exempt from age.  If a god is old, he will have to come to an end:  if he is new, he once was not.  Newness gives evidence of a beginning:  oldness holds the threat of an ending.  But God is as much a stranger to beginning and ending as he is to time, which is the judge and divider of the beginning and of the ending.

9. I am aware that in boasting of their god as 'new', they mean new in men's knowledge of him.  But it is precisely this conception of novelty, in its impact upon simple souls, it is precisely this natural attractiveness of novelty, that I am determined to resist, with an immediate challenge in the matter of this god unknown.  Now when they set him against us as new in men's knowledge of him, they give proof that he was unknown until men knew him.  Come then, straight to the point, dead on the mark:  prove


to me that a god can ever have been unknown.  I know, of course, of altars prostituted to unknown gods,a though that is Athenian idolatry:  also to gods undefined, though that is Roman superstition.1  In fact gods undefined are less than known, because less than certain, and are unknown precisely because they are less than certain.  Which of these two titles shall we engrave upon Marcion's god?  Both, I think:  at present undefined, formerly unknown.  By contrast with the known God, the Creator, he is unknown:  by contrast with the assured God he is undefined.  But it will be no digression when I remark that if a god has been unknown and in hiding, a realm of darkness has overshadowed him, a realm itself also new and unknown, and likewise even now undefined, though assuredly unlimited in extent, and indubitably greater than he whom it has kept hidden:  but I shall briefly state and fully expound my proposition that by reason of his greatness <their> god cannot have been unknown, and by reason of his kindness it was improper that he should be, particularly if in both these respects he has the advantage of our Creator.  But as I observe that in certain respects one's approbation of any god now new, though formerly unknown, has to be referred back to the pattern set by the Creator, I shall first need to explain how I have valid reason for this procedure:  for only so may I with confidence claim the support of the reason given.  First of all, how does it come about that you, who acknowledge that the Creator is God, and admit that he is prior in men's knowledge, do not see that your other god also has to be subject to those same tests by which you have already learned to recognize divinity?2  Every previous fact prescribes a norm for that which comes later.  We now have the offer made us of two gods, an unknown one and a known.  Concerning the known, there is no dispute:  it is obvious that he exists, since he could not be known unless he did exist.  Concerning the unknown, there is a pressing question:  for it is possible that he does not even exist, seeing that if he had existed

9.1  Attic idolatry:  Acts 17: 23, Pausanias i.  I. 4. Varro classified Roman gods as certi, incerti, et electi:  Tert. adv.  Nat. ii. 9. Aulus Gellius, N.A. ii. 28, says that del incerti were those to whom sacrifices were offered after natural catastrophes, when the pontifices were uncertain which particular gods had taken offence and needed to be pacified.

2 Irenaeus, AH. n. viii. i, 'Creation itself brings into evidence him who created it.'


he would have been known.  Now as long as that which is under discussion remains unknown, it continues uncertain so long as it is under discussion:  and so far as there is uncertainty it remains possible that it does not exist.  You have before you one God who is certain, because known, and another uncertain, because unknown.  That being so, must you not admit that I have sound reason for my claim that things uncertain need to be tested according to that norm and pattern and rule which applies to things certain?  If not, if to your plea, itself still uncertain, there are added further arguments from uncertainties, we shall have a tangled sequence of questions dependent on the discussion of arguments themselves equally uncertain, questions hazardous of belief through uncertainty:  and we shall run into those interminable discussions of which the apostle disapproves.b But if the rules concerning themes certain and indubitable and unquestioned are to set the precedent for those uncertain and doubtful and unexplained — I admit that where there is found to be diversity of status, <or character>, perhaps things uncertain will not be referred back to the pattern of things certain, because by reason of the diversity of their primary status they will be exempt from any further challenge to comparison. — But when the proposition is of two gods, that primary status <or character> is common to both:  for both of them are what a god is, unbegotten, uncreated, eternal.  This must be their primary status.  The other attributes Marcion may arrange in diversity if he likes:  for these come later in the discussion, or in fact will not be allowed into the discussion if there is agreement concerning that primary status.  And in effect, there is agreement, for both are gods:  and as there is agreement concerning that status that they have it in common, when under it <other attributes> are cited for testing, if they are uncertain they will have to be referred back to the pattern of those which are certain, those with which they are assessed as sharing that primary status, that they may accordingly be partners in the testing.  After this then I shall firmly insist that that is no god who today is uncertain because he was formerly unknown:  because as soon as it is agreed that he exists, it ipso facto follows that he never has been unknown, and therefore was never uncertain.

10. For the fact is that ever since things have existed their Creator


has become known along with them:  for they were brought into being with the intent that God might be made known.  Admittedly it is somewhat later that Moses before others is seen to have established the God of the world in the temple of his writings:1  but we need not on that account reckon that the knowledge of him was born along with the Pentateuch, for Moses' writings as a whole do not initiate knowledge of the Creator, but rather describe it from the beginning, so that its age must be counted from Paradise and from Adam, not from Egypt and Moses.  And again, the great majority of the human race, though ignorant even of Moses' name, not to mention his written works, do for all that know Moses' God.  In spite of the darkness of idolatry, and its wide dominion, men do distinguish him by the name of God, as though this were a proper noun — 'God of gods', and 'If God grant it', and 'What God will', and 'I commit to God'. Evidently they know him, for they testify that he can do all things:  and this they owe not to any books of Moses, for <man's> soul was there before prophecy.2  The knowledge inherent in the soul since the beginning is God's endowment, the same and no other whether in Egyptians or Syrians or men of Pontus.  It is the God of the Jews whom men's souls call God.  Abstain, barbarian and heretic, from setting up Abraham as older than the world.  Even if God had been the creator of one family and no more, he was not of later origin than your god:  even the men of Pontus knew him before they knew of yours.  Accept then the pattern set by him who existed before you:  if uncertain, accept from the certain:  if unknown, accept from the well-known.  God can never keep himself hidden, can never be unattainable:  he must at all times be understood, be heard, even be seen, in such manner as he will.  God has his evidences, all this that we are, and in which we are.  Such is the proof that he is God, is the one God, this fact that he is not unknown, while that other one is even yet struggling after recognition.

11. 'And so he ought to be', they reply:  'any man is better known

10.1  On the pagan suggestion advanced by Celsus, that Moses was the first to introduce monotheism into a naturally polytheistic world, cf.  Origen, c.  Celsum i. 31 — 4.

2  It is a standing principle with Tertullian that the human soul is naturally Christian and never ceases to be capable of apprehending divine truth:  Apol. 17. 6, 'o testimonium animae naturaliter Christianae', the treatises de Testimonio Animae, de Came Christi 12, de Res.  Carn. 3.


to his own than to aliens.' I admit that:  I insist on it.  For how can there be anything alien to God, when any god there were could have nothing alien to him?  For it is characteristic of God that all things are his, and all things his concern.  If they were not, we should at once object, 'What then has he to do with things alien to him?' But we shall deal with this more fully in its own context.  For the moment it is enough that one is proved to be nobody if nothing is proved to belong to him.  For just as the Creator is God, and God beyond all doubt, for the reason that all things are his and that nothing is alien to him, so also any other is not a god, precisely because all things are not his, and therefore are alien to him.  In fact, if the whole universe belongs to the Creator, I see no room at all for a second god:  all things are fully occupied by their own begetter.  If there is among created things any empty space for some divinity, evidently it must be empty for a false divinity.  The truth is made manifest by the lie.  All that great multitude of false gods ought somewhere to have found room for Marcion's god.  This too I postulate after the pattern set by the Creator, that <this other one> ought to have been recognizable as a god by reason of his creation of some world and man and time of his own:  for even this world's wrongheadedness has made into gods those who it acknowledges were once men, precisely because it appears that by each of them some provision has been made for life's utilities and pleasures.1  Thus then it was from the precedent God set, that there arose the belief that it is a divine function to invent or discover something suitable and essential for human life.  In this way even false divinity has borrowed proof of its existence from that which was already the proof of true divinity.  One solitary little chick-pea of his own ought Marcion's god to have brought to light, and he might then have been proclaimed a sort of new Triptolemus.2  Else you have to propound some reason, a reason worthy of a god, why, if he exists, he has done no creating:  because he would have created something, if he had existed, by our previous ruling,

11.1  This was the rationalist theory of paganism advanced by Euhemerus (about 300 B.C.), that the gods were men promoted to divinity in recognition of their benefits to mankind:  Diodorus Siculus, fragments of Bk.  VI; Cicero, de Nat. Deor. i. 42. 119.

2  A hero, worshipped at Eleusis, who had been sent by Demeter to teach men agriculture (Ovid, Metam. v. 645 sqq.).


of course, that it is only because he has created all this that our own God's existence is clearly seen.  For the established rule must be upheld, that these people are not allowed, while admitting that the Creator is God, to omit to prove the godhead of that other — whom they no less wish to have regarded as a god — conformably to the pattern set by that one whom they and all men recognize as God.  And so it follows that just as no one doubts that the Creator is God — for he has created all this — so no one has the right to believe the godhead of that other, who has created nothing:  unless perchance some reason is alleged.  And that reason has to have a double bearing — either that he had no wish to create anything, or that he had no power:  there is no third possibility.  But to have no power is unworthy of a god.  To have had no wish — whether this was worthy, I proceed to discuss.  Tell me, Marcion, was it, or was it not, your god's wish ever to become known at any time?  Was it with any other intent that he came down, and taught, and suffered, and rose again, except that he might become known?3  Certainly, if he did become known, he was willing:  for nothing could have been done with respect to him unless he had been willing.  Why was he so intent upon providing evidence of himself by being put on display in the dishonor of flesh — a dishonor even greater if that flesh was no true flesh?  For it adds to the disgrace if he made the substance of his body into a lie — and he even took upon himself the Creator's curse by being hung from a tree.  How much more reputably could he have contrived beforehand for men to have knowledge of him by some evidences of his own craftsmanship, especially as he needed to become known in opposition to that one to whom since the beginning he had remained unknown because he had done nothing!  For it is quite incredible that the Creator, ignorant, as the Marcionites allege, that there was another god above him, and affirming even with an oath that he himself was the only God, should have equipped the knowledge of himself with all these great works — knowledge which, on the assumption of his singularity he had no need to make this kind of provision for — yet that that more sublime god, knowing that the inferior God was so endowed, should have provided no handiwork to ensure his own recognition.  Really it would have been his duty to create even more significant, even more impressive, works, so that

11.3  See above, p. xiii.


through works he might be recognized as a god, like the Creator, and through more honorable works be seen to be more eminent and more noble than the Creator.

12. Otherwise, even though we were able to acknowledge his existence, we should still have to argue that he existed to no purpose.  For to no purpose would one exist who had no possessions:  for any possession is an argument for the existence of someone whose possession it is.  Yet inasmuch as nothing has the right to exist without a purpose — because its existing without a purpose would be tantamount to its not existing, seeing it would not have any possession as the purpose of its existence — I shall with greater propriety believe that a god does not exist than that he exists without a purpose:  for one exists without purpose who by having no possessions has no purpose:  and a god without a purpose, that is, without any possession, has no right to exist.  So then, as often as, assuming his existence, I show that he exists without purpose, I thereby establish that he does not exist, because if he had existed he would assuredly not have existed without a purpose.  So also I add that it is without purpose that such a one solicits even faith from mankind — for these have the different practice of believing that God's character is made known to them on the authority of his works — since he has made no provision of the sort by which man has in the past learned of God.  For although a number of people believe in that one, they have no obvious reason for their belief, for they have no token or assurance of a god, no works of his worthy of a god.  Consequently, on this reckoning of the deferment or absence of any works of his, he is very close to effrontery or malignity — the effrontery by which he solicits a faith he has no claim to and in preparation for which he has made no provision, and the malignity by which he has made large numbers guilty of unbelief by affording no reason for their faith.

13. When we depose from this rank a god of whom no previous evidence has been given by any creation of his own as worthy of a god as the Creator's is, the Marcionites shamelessly turn up their nose and set about the demolition of the Creator's works. 'A great work, indeed,' they say, 'and worthy of a god, is this world.' Is then the Creator in no sense a god?  Clearly he is a god.

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Consequently the world is not unworthy of a god.  For God has made nothing which is unworthy of himself, even though he has made the world not for himself but for man, and even though every work is inferior to the artificer who made it.  And besides, if it is unworthy of God to have made such and such a thing, much more unworthy is it of your god, to have made nothing at all, not even an unworthy thing — for then there could even have been hope of his becoming the originator of things more worthy.  So let me make some observations even on the alleged unworthiness of this world, the name of which among the Greeks also means adornment and culture, not uncleanness.  Its unworthy constituents have been declared to be gods by those very professors of philosophy from whose clever theories every heresy takes its life — as water by Thales, fire by Heraclitus, air by Anaximenes, by Anaximander all the heavenly bodies combined, by Strato heaven and earth, by Zeno the air and the aether, and by Plato the constellations, which he describes as the fiery race of the gods1 — this in his treatise Concerning the World, where he has under consideration its greatness and power, its majesty and dignity and beauty, its riches, its security, and the law of its several elements, which conspire together to effect the birth, nurture, confection, and refection of the whole:  so that a number of the natural philosophers have been reluctant to think that the world has a beginning and an end, for fear lest its constituents, which are so great, should have doubt cast upon their deity:  for these constituents are worshipped both by Persian mages and by Egyptian hierophants and Indian gymnosophists.  Moreover the vulgar superstition of popular idolatry, when ashamed of itself among the images which record the names and stories of men long dead, takes refuge in a physical interpretation, veils its dishonor in ingenuity, and represents Jupiter as the boiling substance and his Juno as the air — following the sound of the Greek words — also Vesta as fire, the Muses as the waters, and the Great Mother as the earth with its genitals cropped, its members ploughed, itself irrigated by lustrations.  So also Osiris:  that he is for ever being buried, and sought for in the waters, and recovered with rejoicing, they argue is a promise of the return of the seed sown, of the lively elements, and of the reviving year:  as also they have a theory that the lions of Mithras are figurative indications of the dry and

13.1  Cf.  Plato, Timaeus 39 e-40 d.


fiery nature.  It suits me well that substances higher in position and rank have more easily been taken for gods than thought unworthy of God.  Shall I be at a loss with lowly things?  Can one little flower of the hedgerow — I say not the meadows — , one little shell from any sea you like — I say not the Red Sea — , one little moorcock's feather — I say nothing of the peacock — , permit you to judge the Creator a low-grade artificer?

14. Since you put to scorn those tiny animals which the great Artificer has designedly made great in competence and ability, so teaching us that greatness approves itself in littleness, even as, the apostle says, strength does in weakness:a imitate, if you can, the bee's house-building, the ant's stablings, the spider's network, the silkworm's spinning:  tolerate, if you can, even those creatures in your bed and on your bed-cover, the poison of the cantharis, the midge's sting, the mosquito's trumpet and spear.  How great must the greater things be, when by things so little you are so gratified or distressed that not even in those little things can you despise their Creator.  Finally, display yourself to yourself:  look at man, within and without.  At least this work of our God will obtain your approval, a work upon which your lord, your superior god, has set his affection, man for whose benefit he took the trouble himself to come down from the third heaven into these beggarly elements, man for whose sake in this the Creator's prison-house he was even crucified.  He certainly has not even yet rejected the Creator's water, for in it he washes his own:  nor the oil with which he anoints them, nor the compound of milk and honey on which he weans them, nor the Creator's bread by which he makes manifest his own body.  Even in his own rites and ceremonies he cannot do without things begged and borrowed from the Creator.  Yet you, a disciple above your master, a servant above your lord, have higher thoughts than he, casting aside things which he feels the need of.  I am disposed to inquire whether you are perhaps sincere in this, or if you do not yourself hanker after the things you reject.  You are hostile to the sky:  yet in your houses you plan for a free view of the sky.  You despise the earth, from which was born that flesh of yours which you hate:  yet you forcibly extract all its richness for you to feed on.  You disapprove of the sea, yet stop short of its contents, which you account a holier kind of food.  If I offer you a rose, you cannot


despise its Creator.  Hypocrite:  even though by starving yourself to death you should approve yourself a Marcionite, which means, a repudiator of the Creator — for you ought to have made some pretence of this, as a substitute for martyrdom, if you had really disapproved of the world — into whatsoever material you are to be dissolved, you will be making use of the Creator's possessions.  How perverse is this austerity.  You despise as worthless those very things on which your life and death depend.

15. After this, or even before this, since you have said that your god no less has his own creation, his own world and his own heaven, I shall consider that third heaven when, or if, I come to discuss the apostle you claim as your own.  Meanwhile, whatever possessions your god has, ought to have come into view at the same time as the god whose they are.  Yet how is it that their owner has been in evidence since the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, but of his possessions right down to this fifteenth year of the emperor Sever us there is no indication whatsoever?1  Yet as these are far and away superior to the Creator's trivialities, their concealment ought to have come to an end as soon as ever their maker and owner ceased to remain hidden.  So if there was no possibility of their being brought to light in this world, how has their owner managed to be visible in this world?  If this world had room for the owner, why could it not have room for his possessions, unless perhaps these were greater than their owner?  So next there arises the question of space, which touches both that superior world, and him the god of it.  For if he too has a world of his own, beneath himself, but above the Creator, he must surely have made it in that region where there was a vacant space between his own feet and the Creator's head.  So then the god himself was in space, and was making a world in space, and that space will need to have been more extensive than the god and his world.2  For on no consideration can that which contains fail to be more extensive than that which is contained.  And so we have to look if there are not still left there some odd bits into which a third god can pack himself, along with a world also his own.  Now begin counting up the gods.  For space also has to be a god, not only as being larger than the god, but as being

15.1  The fifteenth year of Tiberius, A.D. 29; of Severus, A.D. 208. 2  The argument here is condensed from Irenaeus, AH. II. i. 2.


unbegotten and uncreated, and on that account eternal, and coeval with the god, seeing that the god has always been within it.  And next, if he too has constructed his world of some subjacent material, unbegotten and uncreated, and co-temporal with the god — which is Marcion's view of the Creator3 — you must add this also to the majesty of that space, that it encloses two gods, the god and the material:  for the material too is a god, being, as is characteristic of divinity, unbegotten, uncreated, and eternal.  Else, if <this god> has created his world out of nothing, <Marcion> will be forced to take the same view of the Creator, though for him he provides material at the establishment of the world.  But that one too will need to have made his world out of material:  for the same reasoning as was set up against the Creator applies to that god as well, if he is a god no less.  Meanwhile you can count me three gods of Marcion's, the maker, the space, and the material.  Likewise the Creator too he sets in space — and this of course has to be given the same characteristics — and provides him, its Owner, with material obviously unbegotten and uncreated and on that reckoning eternal.  And further, since he imputes evil to the material, evil unbegotten, uncreated, and eternal, to material unbegotten, uncreated, and eternal, he has now set up a fourth god.  And so you have in the higher regions three divine existences, and in the lower regions four.  When to these are added their own Christs, one who has appeared under Tiberius, another promised by the Creator, Marcion is evidently being robbed of something by those who suppose him to postulate two gods, for, although unaware of it, he makes them out to be nine.

16. Since there is no visible evidence of another world, as there is none of any god of it, their next procedure is to share out two species of objects, things visible and things invisible, between two gods as authors, and then claim the invisible things for their god.  But can anyone, unless it be a spirit of heresy, persuade himself that the invisible things belong to one who has made no provision of anything visible, rather than to him who by fabricating visible things has given evidence of invisible things besides?  For it is much more reasonable to assent to evidences of some sort than to none at all.  I shall find out also to which author the apostle ascribes the invisible things,a when I come to investigate

15.3  See above, p. xi.


him.  At present I am by means of general impressions for the most part, and logical inductions, preparing credit for the advocacy of the scriptures which is to follow.  So I affirm that this diversity of things visible and invisible is to be attributed to the Creator, precisely as every operation of his consists of diversities, of corporal and incorporal, of animate and inanimate, of vocal and silent, of mobile and static, of reproductive and sterile, of dry and wet, of hot and cold.  So also man himself is compounded of diversity, in body no less than disposition.  Some of his members are strong, some weak:  some are honorable, others dishonorable:  some double, others single:  some equal, others unequal.  Likewise in his disposition, sometimes there is gladness, sometimes anxiety:  sometimes love, sometimes hate:  sometimes passion, sometimes calm.  If this is the case, that this universe is in balance between opposing attributes,1 it at once follows that things visible stand in need of things invisible, and that these must be ascribed to the very same author as their opposites, while they indicate that even the Creator differs <from himself>, commanding what he has forbidden and forbidding what he has commanded, smiting and healing.  Why is it that in this single sphere these people would have him consistent, the creator of visible things only, though we have good cause to believe that he has made both visible things and things invisible, precisely as he has made both life and death, both evil things and peace?  And truly, if those invisible things are greater than the visible created things, these themselves great in their own sphere, on this reckoning too it is right and proper that the greater things belong to him whose are the great things — because not even the great things, not to mention the greater, can be the property of one who gives no evidence of possessing even things that are small.

17. Hemmed in by these arguments, they break out and say, 'Sufficient to our god is this one single work, that he has by his great and particular kindness set man free, a kindness of more value than any number of destructive insects.' Note the superior greatness of this god, whose great work could only come into evidence in that man who belonged to a lesser God.  However, it is your previous duty to prove that he exists, and to do so by

16.1  Cf.  II. 12 below;  Irenaeus A.H. II. xxv. 2; Seneca, Nat. qu. vii. 27; Philo, Qu.  Gen. ii. 55.


the proofs requisite to prove a god's existence, by works first, and afterwards by benefits conferred.  For the first question is whether he is, and only then of what his character is.  The first question will be settled by works, the other by benefits.  Now his existence is not established by the allegation that he has set man free.  When his existence has been established, then the statement may be made that he has set free, so that then decision may be taken whether he has set free:  because it was indeed possible for him to have existed, yet not to have set free.  How then, on the ground that he is stated to have set free, can one also believe his existence, when he could have existed and not have set free?  Now on this subsidiary point arising from the question concerning the god unknown, it became evident not only that he had not instituted anything, but also that he ought to have instituted something, that so he might have become known from his works:  because if he had existed it would have been his duty to become known, even from the very beginning of things, since it was not seemly that a god should remain in hiding.  So I must turn back again to the fountain-head of this question concerning the god unknown, for so I shall be able also to shake out the rest of its branches.  For in the case of one who has lately brought himself into notice, our first question will need to be, why lately, and why not since the beginning of things ?  For of necessity, being a god, and of greater necessity, being a better god, he had no right to remain hidden from these things.  You cannot allege that there was neither occasion nor reason for them to know <this> god, when man, to whose rescue he has now come, was in the world from the beginning, as also was the malice of the Creator,1 against which in his kindness he has now come to the rescue.  So then either he was ignorant that there was cause and occasion which made revelation of himself necessary, or else he was hesitant, or incapable, or unwilling.  All these are unworthy of a god, especially of a supremely good one.  But this topic I shall pursue further in another place, with a criticism of this belated revelation:  here I merely draw attention to it.

18. Well then, suppose him to have emerged into notice when

17. 1  Here and elsewhere Tertullian takes up an expression used by his opponents, not because he accepts it, but because the mere statement of it is its best condemnation and provides also a starting-point for argument.


he decided to, when he became able to, when the destined hour arrived.  For perhaps the Ascendant1 was against him, or possibly some witchery, or Saturn in quadrature, or Mars at sixty degrees.  Marcionites are very generally astrologers, and have no shame even of this, that they direct their lives by the Creator's stars.  At this point we have to discuss the propriety or otherwise of that revelation, asking whether he became known in a manner creditable to himself.  Only so shall we decide whether he has really become known, when we are assured he was revealed in a creditable manner.  Only acts creditable to a god can prove him a god.  For my part I postulate that a god ought first to be known by nature, and afterwards further known by doctrine — by nature through his works, by doctrine through official teaching.  He however who has no natural possessions has at his disposal no natural credentials.  For that reason he ought at least to have contrived a revelation of himself by official teaching, especially as he was to be revealed in opposition to a God who in spite of his works of creation and of official teaching, many and great as these were, had with difficulty satisfied man's faith.  In what manner then has he been revealed?  If <you suggest> by human surmisings, I answer that a god cannot become known except on his own showing, and I appeal not only to the method employed by the Creator, but also to the conditions imposed as well by divine greatness as by human insignificance.  Otherwise the man might appear greater than the god, for he would, without the god previously consenting to be known, have as it were by his own power dragged him out into the publicity of being known — though human insignificance has, by the trial and error of all the ages, found it easier to invent gods for itself than to attend upon the true God, of whom they are already aware by nature.  For the rest, if a man is to fabricate a god, as Romulus did Consus, or Tatius Cloacina, or Hostilius Terror, or Metellus Mount Alburnus, or a certain person2 not long ago Antinous, are others to have licence for this?  Marcion we know for a ship-master, not a king or an emperor.

18.1  The point at which the moon, passing northwards, crosses the ecliptic:  a person born at that juncture was, it was alleged, destined to be advanced to high office or dignity.

2  The emperor Hadrian, who acquiesced in the Egyptian Greeks' deification of the boy Antinous, drowned in the Nile.


19. 'Yes, but our god,' the Marcionites rejoin, 'though not revealed from the beginning, or by virtue of any creation, yet has by his own self been revealed in Christ Jesus.' One of my books1 will have reference to Christ and all that he stands for:  for the divisions of our subject have to be kept distinct, so as to receive more complete and orderly treatment.  For the time it must suffice to follow up bur present argument so far as to prove, and that in few words, that Christ Jesus is the representative of no other god than the Creator. 'In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar Christ Jesus vouchsafed to glide down from heaven, a salutary spirit.' In what year of the elder Antoninus the pestilential breeze2 of Marcion's salvation, whose opinion this was, breathed out from his own Pontus, I have forborne to inquire.  But of this I am sure, that he is an Antoninian heretic, impious under Pius.  Now from Tiberius to Antoninus there are a matter of a hundred and fifteen and a half years and half a month.  This length of time do they posit between Christ and Marcion.  Since therefore it was under Antoninus that, as I have proved, Marcion first brought this god on the scene, at once, if you are in your senses, the fact is clear.  The dates themselves put it beyond argument that that which first came to light under Antoninus did not come to light under Tiberius:  that is, that the god of Antoninus' reign was not the God of the reign of Tiberius, and therefore he who it is admitted was first reported to exist by Marcion, had not been revealed by Christ.  To prove next that this is a fact, I shall take up the rest <of my argument> from my opponents themselves.  The separation of Law and Gospel is the primary and principal exploit of Marcion.  His disciples cannot deny this, which stands at the head of their document, that document by which they are inducted, into and confirmed in this heresy.  For such are Marcion's Antitheses, or Contrary Oppositions, which are designed to show the conflict and disagreement of the Gospel and the Law, so that from the diversity of principles between those two documents they may argue further for a diversity of gods.  Therefore, as it is precisely this separation of Law and Gospel which has suggested a god of the Gospel, other than and in opposition to the God of the Law, it is evident that before that separation was made,

19.1  Book III, below.

2 Aura canicularis, of the pest-laden weather at the rising of the Dog-star, but with reference also to Sinope, and to Diogenes the Cynic.

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<that> god was still unknown who has just come into notice in consequence of the argument for separation:  and so he was not revealed by Christ, who came before the separation, but was invented by Marcion, who set up the separation in opposition to that peace between Gospel and Law which previously, from the appearance of Christ until the impudence of Marcion, had been kept unimpaired and unshaken by virtue of that <sound> reasoning which refused to contemplate any other god of the Law and the Gospel than that Creator against whom after so long a time, by a man of Pontus, separation has been let loose.

20. This short and sharp argument calls for justification on our part against the clatter and clamour of the opposite party.  They allege that in separating the Law and the Gospel Marcion did not so much invent a new rule <of faith> as refurbish a rule previously debased.  So then Christ, our most patient Lord, has through all these years borne with a perversion of the preaching about himself, until, if you please, Marcion should come to his rescue.  They object that Peter and those others, pillars of the apostleship, were reproved by Paul for not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospela — by that Paul, you understand, who, yet inexperienced in grace, and anxious lest he had run or was running in vain, was then for the first time conferring with those who were apostles before him.  So then if, as still a neophyte, in his zeal against Judaism he thought something in their conduct called for reproof, their indiscriminate associations in fact,1 though he himself was afterwards to become in practice all things to all men — to the Jews as a Jew, to those under the law as himself under the lawb — do you allege that that reproof, concerning conduct and nothing more, conduct which its critic was afterwards to approve of, must be supposed to refer to some deviation in their preaching concerning God?  On the contrary, in respect of the unity of their preaching, as we have read earlier in this epistle, they had joined their right hands,c and by the very act of having divided their spheres of work had signified their agreement in the fellowship of the gospel:  as he says in another place, Whether it were I or they, so we preach.2,d Also, although he

20.1  There is an oversight here.  The apostle's complaint against his Galatian opponents was that they discountenanced indiscriminate associations.

2  On I Cor. 15:11 Irenaeus, A.H. III. xiii. i, affirms the agreement of all those who saw the Lord after his resurrection:  so also A.H. III. v. 1 — 3 and xiii. 6 sqq.


writes of how certain false brethren had crept in unawares, desiring to remove the Galatians to another gospel,e he himself shows clearly that that adulteration of the gospel was not concerned with diversion of the faith towards another god and another Christ, but with adherence to the regulations of the law.  In fact he found them insisting on circumcision, and observing the seasons and days and months and years of those Jewish solemnities which they ought to have known were now revoked in accordance with the reforming ordinance of that Creator who had of old taught of this very thing by his prophets:  as for example by Isaiah, The old things are passed away, and behold they are new things which I now make:f and in another place, And I will ordain a covenant, not such as I ordained for your fathers when I had brought them out from the land of Egypt:g so also by Jeremiah, Renew for yourselves a new fallow, and be circumcised for your God, and be circumcised in the foreskins of your heart.h So then, in commending this sort of circumcision and this sort of fallow, the apostle was expressing disapproval of those antiquated solemnities:  for that these would sometime cease, God himself who had established them was on record as declaring, through Hosea, And I will turn aside all her mirth, her feast days, and her new moons and sabbaths, and all her solemnities.i So also by Isaiah, Tour new moons and sabbaths, and the great day, I cannot abide:  your appointed days and your fasting, and your feast days, my soul hateth.j Now if even their Creator had long ago rejected all these, and the apostle's pronouncement was that they must now be rejected, evidently the fact that the apostle's judgement is in agreement with the Creator's decrees, proves that no other god was the subject of the apostle's preaching, but only he whose decrees the apostle was anxious should now be acknowledged, while in this behalf he stigmatized as false apostles and false brethren such as should divert the Gospel of the Creator's Christ from the newness which the Creator had foretold, to the oldness which the Creator had rejected.

21. Now if it was as the preacher of a new god that he desired to revoke the law of the old God, why does he give no instructions regarding that new god, but only about the old law?  It must have been that while faith in the Creator stood firm, his law, and that alone, had to give way.  To this effect that psalm also had already spoken:  Let us break their bonds asunder from us, and cast


away from us their yoke, ever since, in fact, The heathen raged and the peoples imagined vain things, the kings of the earth stood by and the rulers came together into one, against the Lord and against his Christ.a And indeed if it had been another god that Paul was preaching, there could have been no controversy about keeping the law or not keeping it, for the law would have been of no concern to a new lord, one hostile to the law:  the god's very newness and diversity would have excluded not merely the discussion of that old law, which was not his but another's, but even the slightest reference to it.  Rather the whole essence of the discussion was that while the same God, the God of the law, was being preached in Christ, his law was under criticism:  and consequently, while faith in the Creator and his Christ stood for ever firm, conduct and discipline were in doubt.  For there were some who disputed about eating things offered to idols, others about the veiling of women, others about marriage and divorce, and a few even about the hope of the resurrection:  about God, not a one.  For if that question also had been in dispute, it too would be in evidence in the apostle's writings, the more so as that on which the other things depend.  But if it was after the apostolic age that the truth suffered adulteration as regards the rule of <faith in> God,1 it follows that in its own time the apostolic tradition suffered no adulteration as regards God's rule of faith, and we shall be called upon to recognize as apostolic no other tradition than that which is today set forth in the apostolic churches.  But you will find no church of apostolic origin whose Christianity repudiates the Creator.  Or else, if these churches are taken to have been corrupt from the beginning, can any churches be sound?  Shall they be those hostile to the Creator?  Put in evidence a single one of your churches which is of apostolic origin, and you will have me convinced.  Since then it is on all accounts certain that from Christ right down to Marcion no other god than the Creator was included in the statement of this mystery, this gives all necessary protection to my statement of case, by which I prove that the very idea of that heretical god originated with this separation between the

21.1  On the Rule of the Faith, Tertullian, de Praesc.  Haeret. 13, de Virg.  Vel. 1, ado.  Prax. 2; Irenaeus, A.H. I.  ii:  Origen de Princ. I, praef. 4 sqq.  The argument from prescription, as here advanced, was based on the legal principle that prior possession, unchallenged over a period of time, amounted to proof of legal right.


gospel and the law; while there is support for my previous postulate that we may not accept as a god one whom a man has constructed out of his own mind — unless of course he is a prophet,2 and then it would not be of his own mind.  Whether Marcion can be so called — well, proof of this will be required.  There was no call for discussion:  the truth, like a wedge, thrusts out every heresy, while Christ is set forth as the representative of no other god than the Creator.

22. But antichrist cannot be utterly overthrown unless we make room for the refutation of the rest of his submissions, by relaxing our argument from prescription.1  Let us then at this point consider, in terms of his Christ, the actual person, or rather the shadow and phantom, of that god,2 and let us make an evaluation of him in terms of that for which he is thought an improvement on the Creator.  Now there have to be definite rules for evaluating the goodness of a god:  though I shall first need to find and lay hold upon that goodness, for then only can I adjust it to the rules.  Now when I take a historical view, ever since the beginning of material existences, ever since the first emergence of those causes along with which it ought to have been in evidence, <this goodness> nowhere appears in continuous action from thence forward, as there was need for it to function.  For there was already death, and sin which is the sting of death, and that malice of the Creator against which the goodness of that other god had the duty of coming to the rescue, so as to conform to this primary rule of divine goodness — if it was to prove itself a natural goodness — by at once hastening to help as soon as need arose.  For in a god all attributes are of necessity natural and ingenerate,3 or else they will not be eternal as his own estate requires:  or they will have to be accounted adventitious and external, and therefore temporal and alien to eternity.  So then in a god we shall expect goodness to be perennial and ever-flowing, such as, being stored up in readiness within the treasuries of his natural attributes, should anticipate

21. 2  See above, p. xviii.

22.1  See Ch. 21, n. 1.           2 See above, p. xiii. 3  Attributes natural and ingenerate, specified in this and the following chapters, are those which it is inconceivable that God should not possess.  Strictly speaking 'natural' and 'ingenerate' are human terms:  they are applied to that which is divine, only with the safeguard that since we must use some terms we are careful to employ the best that are available.


the causes and circumstances of its own action, and, because of that anticipation, should neither overlook nor neglect them, but take each one in hand as it arose.  In fact my question here again will be, why his goodness has not been in operation from the beginning, just as my question concerning himself was, why from the beginning he has not been revealed.  For evidently, if such a one had existed, he could not have escaped being revealed by his goodness.  It is not permissible for a god to be incompetent of anything — especially of putting his natural attributes into operation:  for if these are under restraint, so as to have no free course, they cannot be natural.  Nature can take no vacation from itself.  Its existence is contemporaneous with its activity:  and so he cannot be supposed, with nature for his excuse, to have been unwilling for a time to exercise his goodness.  Nature cannot repudiate itself:  its conduct of itself is such that if it refrains from action it ceases to be.  Now in Marcion's god goodness did at one time refrain from working.  Consequently that was no natural goodness, which was able for a time to be under restraint:  for with natural attributes this is impossible.  And if it cannot be natural, it cannot of course be supposed eternal, nor coeval with the god, because not eternal:  and it is not natural, since in fact it gives no indication of any perpetuity of itself in the past, or promise of it in the future.  It has not existed from the beginning, and certainly will not exist until the end:  for as at one time it was not, so it can at some time cease to be.  As then it is admitted that at the beginning the goodness of that god was under restraint — for not at the beginning did he set man free — and that the restraint was due to his will and not to his incapacity, well then, this determination to place goodness under restraint must be found to be the extremity of malice.  For is there anything so malicious as to refuse to do good when you have the power, to put usefulness on the rack, to allow wrong to continue?  Thus the whole indictment they bring against the Creator4 has to be transferred to the account of that one who, by this check on his own goodness, has become a party to the other's savageries.  One in whose power it is to prevent a thing happening is held to blame for it when it does happen.  Man is condemned to death for picking

22.4  Tertullian here turns back against Marcion's god the criticisms which Marcion makes of the Creator:  similarly Irenaeus, A.H. II. iv. 1 sqq., makes the Valentinian attack upon creation recoil on iniquities within the pleroma.


from one paltry tree, and out of that proceed sins with their penalties, and now people who have not known so much as one single sod of Paradise are all of them perishing:  and a better god, if you please, is either unaware of this or puts up with it.  If his intention was that out of this he himself might obtain a better repute the worse the Creator was supposed to be, even in this device he has displayed no little malice, in having tolerated the Creator's activities and kept the world in distress because he desired the Creator to be held to blame.  What would your opinion be of a physician who by delaying treatment should strengthen the disease, and by deferring remedy should prolong the danger, so that his services might command a larger fee and enhance his own repute ?  The same judgement will have to be pronounced upon Marcion's god, for permitting evil, favoring wrong, currying favor, offending against that kindness which he did not immediately exercise when cause arose.  Evidently he would have exercised it if kind by nature and not by afterthought, if good by character and not by rule and regulation, if god since eternity and not since Tiberius, or rather — to speak more truly — since Cerdo and Marcion.  As things are, your god will have given Tiberius this to his credit, that in his reign divine goodness was first established upon earth.

23. Another rule I bring into action against him, that in a god all <attributes and activities> ought to be no less rational than natural.  I demand reason in his goodness, because nothing ought to be accounted good which is not rationally good:  far less should goodness itself be found irrational.  It will be easier for evil, vouched for by some manner of reason, to be mistaken for good, than for good abandoned by reason to escape condemnation as evil.  I submit that the goodness of Marcion's god is not rational, on this account first, that it has brought itself into action for the salvation of man, who belonged to someone else.1  I know they will object that primary and perfect goodness is precisely this, when without any obligation of kinship it is willingly and liberally expended upon strangers;1 just as we are ordered to love even our enemies, in which reckoning strangers are included.  When then he did not from the beginning have regard for man, who from the beginning

23.1  Hominis alieni:  in extraneos. These are Marcion's words, almost technical terms of the Marcionite theology, expressing his adherents' sense of alienation from the world.


was a stranger, by this delay he established the principle that with the stranger he has no concern.  Now the rule about loving the stranger or the enemy comes after that command to love your neighbour as yourself, which, though taken from the Creator's law, you also will have to adopt, since by Christ it has not been overthrown but more firmly established.a To cause you to love your neighbour the more, you are told to love the enemy and the stranger.  The exaction of a kindness not due, is an emphasizing of that which is due.  Now the kindness which is due comes before that which is not due, as primary, as of more dignity, as prior to its attendant and companion, that which is not due.  Therefore, since the primary rationality of goodness is for it to be put in evidence in respect of its own possessions, as a matter of justice, while its secondary <rationality> is in respect of the possessions of others, as of the overflowing of such a righteousness as exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees, how can that secondary rationality be credited to a goodness which lacks the primary, having no man of its own, and on this account again is even defective?  And being defective through having no man of its own, how can it have overflowed into a man not its own?  Put in evidence that primary rationality, and then you may lay claim to the secondary.  No object, outside its due order, can be claimed as rational:  far less can rationality itself in any person be deprived of its due order.  Even suppose there could be a rationality of goodness, which began at the second degree, that in respect of the stranger, not even this second degree could be firmly based upon rationality:  there is another means of casting it down.  Not even secondary goodness, towards the stranger, can be considered rational unless it functions without injustice to him to whom the property belongs.  Any goodness whatsoever is in first instance made rational by its justice.  Even as in the primary degree the goodness, if it is just, will be rational when it is exercised in respect of its own belongings, so also towards the stranger it will be seen to be rational if it is not unjust.  Otherwise, what sort of goodness is this, which comes to exist by means of an injustice, and even that on behalf of a stranger?  Perhaps on behalf of one of the household an unjust goodness may be conceived of as to some extent rational:  but on behalf of a stranger, to whom not even honest goodness was lawfully due, by what reasoning can goodness so unjust be defended as rational?  For what is more unjust,


more iniquitous, more dishonest, than to confer such benefits on another man's slave that he is stolen from his master, is claimed as belonging to another, is bribed to act against his master's life and honor, and, to make matters worse, all this while still under his master's roof, still living on his provisions, still in fear of his chastisement?  Even in the secular sphere there would be disapproval of that sort of pretendant, of a kidnapper still more.  No better is Marcion's god, breaking his way into a world not his own, stealing man from God, son from father, foster-son from nursing-father, servant from master, so as to make him undutiful to God, disrespectful to his Father, ungrateful to his foster- Father, worthless to his Master.  I ask you:  if rational goodness has this effect on him, what effect would irrational goodness have?  I should reckon no man more presumptuous than the one who in one God's water is baptized for another god, who towards one God's sky spreads out his hands to a different god, bows down upon one God's soil to a god whose soil it is not, over one God's bread celebrates thanksgivings to another, of one God's possessions does for another god's credit works which claim the name of almsgiving and charily.  Who is this god, so good that by him a man is made bad, so kindly disposed to that man that he causes another God, the man's own Master, to be incensed against him?

24. As a god is both eternal and rational, no less, I suppose, is he perfect in all things:  for, Ye shall be perfect, as is your Father who is in heaven.a Produce the evidence of <your god's> goodness being perfect.  Although it is surely enough imperfect, as it is seen to be neither natural nor rational, I shall next expose it by a different approach.  It is now not even imperfect, but altogether less than that, defective and impoverished, less than the total of the calls upon it, seeing it is not in evidence among all.  For not all men are being saved, fewer indeed than all the Creator's Jews and Christians.  So that as the majority are perishing, how can you maintain the perfection of a goodness which is for the greater part inactive, to a few men some small thing, to the majority nothing at all, surrendering to perdition, part cause of destruction?1  But if the majority are not to be saved, malice and not goodness will be the more perfect:  for as it is the effectual working of goodness

24.1  Irenaeus, A.H. iv. li.  I, asks Marcion why the goodness of his good god falls short of saving all men.

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which brings about salvation, so it is the working of malice which omits to save.  As then for the most part it omits to save, since it saves only a few, it will be more perfect in neglecting to help than in helping.  You cannot retort to the Creator's discredit any deficiency in goodness towards all:  for since you hold him to be a judge, you prove, if anything, that he must be understood as a dispenser of goodness, not a lavish expender of it.  The latter you claim for your god.  By such goodness alone you make him superior to the Creator:  and as he claims this as his only attribute, and claims it in its totality, it was his duty not to be in default in respect of any man.  But I have no further mind to argue that Marcion's god is imperfect in goodness on the ground that the greater number are perishing.  It is enough that those whom he does save are seen to have their salvation incomplete, and that this proves his goodness is incomplete:  for they are saved as far as the soul, <and no more,> having perished in the flesh, since according to him the flesh does not rise again.2  Whence this halving of salvation, if not from defect of goodness?  What could have been the function of perfect goodness, if not to bring back to salvation the whole man, wholly condemned by the Creator, wholly elected for himself by the god supremely good?  As far as I know, among his adherents the flesh is baptized, the flesh is debarred from matrimony, the flesh suffers torture at the confession of the Name.3  Also even if the flesh has sins accounted to it, the soul's guilt precedes, and the initiative in blame ought for preference to be imputed to the soul to which the flesh ministers in the capacity of a servant.4  In fact, when flesh is deprived of soul it ceases to sin.  So that even in this is goodness unjust, in this also imperfect, that it surrenders to destruction the more innocent constituent, that which does wrong from obedience and not from choice.  Now although, in the view of your heresy, Christ did not clothe himself with the verity of flesh, yet he did vouchsafe to take upon him the appearance of it.  The very fact that he made a false pretence of it has given it some claim upon him.  Yet what else is man if not flesh?  It was corporeal matter, not animate matter, which first obtained from its Author the name of 'man'. And God made into a man, it says, mud from the earthb —

24.2  Cf. above p. x.3  On the refusal of matrimony see I. 29; on martyrdom, above, p. xiv.4  On the joint responsibility of soul and body, cf.  Tert. de Paenitentia 3.


not 'soul', for soul came by breathing. And the man was made into a living soul. Which man?  Evidently he who was <made out of> mud.  And God placed the man in paradise — that which he had formed, not that which he had breathed — one who at this point is flesh, not one who is soul.  And as that is so, with what effrontery shall you assert <for your god> the perfect claim to goodness, when this is defective as excluding from deliverance not merely a great part of mankind, but also an element in the constitution of every individual?  If that is plenary grace and fullness of mercy which is salutary to the soul alone, this present life has more to give us, for we enjoy it in our wholeness and completeness:  whereas to rise again only in part will be to be penalized, not set free.  Also it was to be expected of perfect goodness that the man, when set at liberty into the faith of the god supremely good, should at once be removed from the household and domination of the God who is cruel.  Yet the Marcionite still gets malaria, and the aches and pains of his flesh still bring forth for him those other thorns and briers:  he is exposed not only to the Creator's lightnings, with his wars and pestilences and other chastisements, but even to his scorpions.  In what respect do you suppose yourself set free from his kingdom, when his flies still tread upon you?  If your release was for the future, why not also for the present, so that it might be perfect?  Quite different is our relationship with our Author, our Judge, the offended Ruler of our race.  You make profession of a god who is good and nothing more:  yet you cannot prove the perfect goodness of one who does not perfectly set you free.

25. As concerns this question of his goodness, on this front we have reached the conclusion that goodness <of this kind> is by no means adequate for a god, as it is neither ingenerate nor rational nor perfect, but is even dishonest and unjust, and unworthy even of the name of goodness:  because, in fact, in so far as <goodness> is an attribute of deity it is not seemly that one should be a god, whose claims rest on that sort of goodness, and not merely that sort, but no other besides.  So our next subject of discussion rightly is whether a god is to be accounted such by virtue of goodness alone, to the exclusion of those other adjuncts, those feelings and affections, which the Marcionites deny to their god and attach to the Creator, but which we recognize in the Creator as no dishonor to God.  For this reason again we shall deny the godhead


of one in whom are not found all those <attributes and functions> which are worthy of a god.  Since he has presumed to dignify by the name of Christ some god out of the school of Epicurus,1 to the end that 'that which is blessed and incorruptible should give no trouble either to itself or to anything else' — for by brooding over this sentence Marcion has abstracted from him all functions involving severity or criticism — he ought either to have conceived of a god totally immobile and insensitive — and what could that one have had in common with Christ, who was a trouble to the Jews by his doctrine, and to himself by his passion? — or else he ought to have admitted his possession of the other emotions — and what could such a one have in common with Epicurus, with whom neither he nor Christians have any affinity?  For here is one who has in the past been at rest, and has not in the meantime given notice of himself by any work he has done.  And does not the fact that he has after so long a time felt <affection> with a view to man's salvation — evidently by an act of will — prove that he became at that point subject to the impulse of a new act of will, and is thus shown to be exposed to the other passions and affections besides?  For every act of will is at the instigation of desire:  no man can wish for something without desiring it.  Also the will is accompanied by interestedness:  for no man can will and desire anything without being interested in it.  Consequently, when he began to will and to desire with a view to man's salvation, he at once caused concern to himself and to others, though Epicurus disapproves, while Marcion recommends.  For he brought into opposition to himself that, whatever it was, either sin or death, against which his will, his desire, his interest, came into action — - and in particular their Judge and Lord, the Creator of man.  But no activity which is not unopposed can avoid meeting with hostility.  In fact by his will and desire and interest in delivering man he at once sets himself in hostility both to him from whom he obtains deliverance — for in opposition to hurt he is going to deliver the man to himself — and to those <conditions> from which he delivers him — for he is going to deliver him over to others.  And further, in its opposition to things to which it is hostile,

25.1  The Marcionite god, of an Epicurean type, if consistent with himself does not and cannot care.  On the Epicurean gods:  Cicero, de Nat.  Deor. i. 19. 50 sqq.; Lucretius v. 146 sqq.: Irenaeus, A.H. III. xxxviii. a. 'That which is blessed, etc." is Epicurus' own saying:  Diog.  Laert. x. 139.


hostility cannot help being accompanied by its subordinates, which are anger, discord, hatred, contempt, indignation, displeasure, disapproval, offence.  If all these are in attendance upon hostility, and hostility is making it its care to deliver man, and man's deliverance is an effective working of goodness, such a goodness cannot accomplish this apart from its own endowments, those feelings, I mean, and affections by which it is made to function against the Creator:  otherwise it must be ruled out as irrational on this ground too, that it is lacking in those feelings and affections which it ought to possess.  I shall discuss these matters more fully in my case for the Creator:  for they are counts in their indictment against him.

26. At present it is enough to have shown their god to be thoroughly inconsistent, even in their laudation of goodness as his one and only attribute:  for because of this they refuse to impute to him those emotions of mind which they object to in the Creator.  For if he displays neither hostility nor wrath, if he neither condemns nor distrains, if, that is, he never makes himself a judge, I cannot see how his moral law, that more extensive moral law, can have stability.  To what purpose does he lay down commands if he will not require performance, or prohibit transgressions if he is not to exact penalties, if he is incapable of judgement, a stranger to all emotions of severity and reproof?  Why does he forbid the commission of an act he does not penalize when committed?  It would have been much more honest of him not to forbid an act he was not going to penalize, than to refrain from penalizing what he had forbidden.  In fact he ought openly to have allowed it:  for if he was not going to penalize it he had no reason to forbid it.  In real life an act forbidden without sanctions is tacitly permitted:  and in any case one only forbids the commission of acts one dislikes to see being done.  So this <god> is exceptionally dull-witted if he is not offended by the doing of that which he dislikes to see being done:  for offence is attendant upon wishes set at naught.  Or else, if he does take offence, he ought to be displeased, and if displeased he ought to punish.  For punishment is the outcome of displeasure, as displeasure is the due reward of offence, and offence, as I have said, is attendant upon wishes set at naught.  But as he does not punish, it is plain that he is not offended:  and as he is not offended


it is plain that his wishes suffer no hurt when that is done which he has desired should not be done:  and in that case the wrongdoing takes place in accordance with his will, seeing that anything which does no injury to his will is in no opposition to his will.  Or if you say it is characteristic of divine virtue, or goodness if you like, to wish a thing not to be done and forbid it to be done, and yet not be concerned when it is done, I answer that the one who wished it not to be was already in a state of concern, and that there is no sense in his not being concerned at a thing done, when by wishing it not to be done he has already been concerned that it should not be done.  For by not wishing it he forbade it.  And has he not also become a judge, by wishing it not to be, and therefore forbidding it?  For that it must not be done was a judgement, and that it must be forbidden was a sentence.  So then he too is now a judge.  If it is unseemly for a god to judge, or if it is seemly for a god to judge to the extent that he is merely unwilling, merely forbids, yet does not penalize the act when done — and yet there is nothing so unseemly for a god as to abstain from prosecuting an act he has disapproved of, an act he has forbidden:  first, because to every one of his decisions and laws he owes a sanction, to establish its authority and the necessity of obedience:  and secondly, because that must needs be offensive to him which he has wished should not be done, and by so wishing has forbidden:  while for a god to be merciful to evil is more unseemly than for him to punish it, especially if he is a god supremely good:  for he can only be completely good if he is the enemy of the bad, so as to put his love of the good into action by hatred of the bad, and discharge his wardship of the good by the overthrowing of the bad.

27. But evidently he does judge evil by refusing consent, and condemns it by forbidding it:  yet he forgives it by not avenging, and excuses it by not punishing.  There you have as a god a defaulter against the truth, one who annuls his own decision.  He is afraid to condemn what he does condemn, afraid to hate what he does not love, allows when done that which he does not allow to be done, and would rather point out what he disapproves of than give proof of it.  Here you will find the ghost of goodness, discipline itself a phantasm, casual precepts, offences free from fear.  Listen, you sinners, and any of you not yet so, that you


may be able to become so:  a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth:  he is merely kind.  Of course he forbids you to sin — but only in writing.  It lies with you whether you consent to accord him obedience, so as to appear to have given honor to your god:  for he will not accept your fear.  And in fact the Marcionites make it their boast that they do not at all fear their god:  for, they say, a bad god needs to be feared, but a good one loved.  Fool:  you call him lord, but deny he is to be feared, though this is a term suggesting authority, and with it fear.  Yet how shall you love, unless you fear not to love?  Evidently he is not even your father, to whom would be due both love for affection's sake, and fear for the sake of authority:  nor is he your lawful lord, for you to love for human kindness' sake and fear for the sake of discipline.  This is the way kidnappers are loved without being feared.  The only domination which can be an object of fear is the lawful and regular one:  though even an illicit one can be an object of affection, since it rests not upon respect but upon affectation, on seduction and not on force:  and what greater seduction is there than to abstain from punishing wrongdoing?  So then, you who decline to fear your god because he is good, what keeps you from bubbling over into all manner of vice — the superlative enjoyment of life, I suppose, for all who do not fear God?  Why absent yourself from those popular pleasures, the excitement of the race-course, the savagery of the wild beast show, the lechery of the stage?  Why also during persecution do you not at once offer your incense, and so gain your life by denial?  Oh no, you answer, far from it.  In that case you are already in fear — of doing wrong:  and by your fear you have admitted your fear of him who forbids the wrong.  It is another matter if, in imitation of your god's perversity, you pay respect to him whom you do not fear, as he in turn forbids what he does not punish.  With much greater inconsequence, to the question, What will happen on that day to every sinner? they answer that he will be cast away, as it were out of sight.  Is not this an act of judgement?  He is judged worthy to be cast away — evidently by a judgement of condemnation:  unless perhaps the sinner is cast away into salvation, so that this too may stand to the credit of a god supremely good.  And yet what can being cast away amount


to, if not the loss of that which he was on the way to obtain if he were not cast away — salvation, no less?  So then he will be cast away to the damage of his salvation:  and a sentence like this can only be passed by one offended and indignant, a punisher of wrongdoing — in short, a judge.

28. And what will be the end of him when cast out?  He will be overtaken, they answer, by the Creator's fire.  Has then your god no element in readiness even for this purpose, to which without cruelty he may consign sinners against himself, and so avoid handing them over to the Creator?  What is the Creator to do next?  He will, I suppose, make ready for them, as blasphemers against himself, a hell more fully stocked with brimstone — unless perhaps, being a jealous God, he shows favor to deserters from his opponent.  Look at this god in every sense perverse, in every direction irrational, in all respects ineffective — and so nonexistent.  Neither his character nor his condition nor his nature nor any activity of his do I find consistent — not even the sacrament of his faith.1  For to what purpose, in his sight, is even baptism required?  If there is remission of sins, how shall one be supposed to remit sins who is supposed not to retain them?  He could only retain them by judging them.  If there is loosing of the bonds of death, how could one let them loose from death who had never kept them in bondage to death?  He could only have had them in bondage by having condemned them from the beginning.  If there is man's second birth, how can one give a second birth who has never given a first birth?  The repetition of an act is outside the competence of one who has done no act to begin with.  If there is receiving of the Holy Ghost, how can one grant the Spirit who has not first supplied a soul?  For soul is in some sort that on which Spirit constructs its abode.  Thus he sets his seal upon a man who has never to his mind been unsealed:  he washes a man never to his mind defiled:  and into this whole sacrament of salvation he plunges flesh which has no part or lot in salvation.  Not even a rustic will go and water land which is to return no fruit — unless he is as stupid as Marcion's god.  And again, why does he impose upon the flesh, so utterly weak and unworthy, the great burden, or if you like the glory, of chastity?  Or what

28.1  See Appendix i.


shall I say of the folly of a moral requirement by which he sanctifies an object already holy?2  If it is weak, why lay a burden on it? or if unworthy, why embellish it?  Whether he burdens it or embellishes it, why not grant it the recompense of salvation?  Why does he defraud the flesh of payment for its services by withholding the wages of salvation?  And why does he permit the glory of chastity to die in and with the flesh?

29. Among that god's adherents no flesh is baptized except it be virgin or widowed or unmarried, or has purchased baptism by divorce:  as though even eunuch's flesh was born of anything but marital intercourse.1  Of course this regulation can justify itself if matrimony stands condemned.  We have to inquire whether it is justly condemned:  not that we intend to demolish the blessedness of chastity, as do certain Nicolaitans,2 advocates of vice and wantonness; but as those who, without condemning marital intercourse, recognize and seek after chastity, giving it preference, not as a good thing over a bad one, but as a better thing over a good one.  For we do not repudiate marital intercourse, but give it lower rank:  nor do we demand chastity, but advise it, retaining both the good thing and the better, to be followed according to each man's powers.  But we vigorously defend matrimony when, under the charge of indecency, it suffers hostile attack to the discredit of the Creator:  for he, in consideration of the honor of that estate, blessed matrimony for the increase of mankind, even as he blessed the whole of creation for wholesome and advantageous uses.  So then food need not be condemned because when too curiously sought after it conduces to gluttony:  neither is clothing

28.2  It is not clear what this refers to:  certainly not to the flesh, for that is in Marcion's view inherently unholy:  nor to the soul, for that needs to be rescued from its Creator.  Kroymann transfers this sentence to the beginning of ch. 29, where the meaning might conceivably be that by baptizing only his unmarried and unmarriageable adherents Marcion performs the otiose act of sanctifying flesh already holy by virtue of its virginity — a view which Tertullian might perhaps have entertained, though he did not, but which Marcion was incapable of entertaining.

29. 'In this translation 'marital intercourse' stands for nubere and nuptiae, 'matrimony' for coniugium and conubium, and 'marriage' for matrimonium. The four terms are not quite synonymous, though they could easily be interchanged.2  Probably those at Ephesus and Pergamum who taught that profligacy was to be commended:  Rev. 2:6, 15. There was a gnostic sect of this name during the second century:  Irenaeus, A.H. I. xxiii.


to be called to account simply because, when bought at too high a price, it becomes proud and pretentious.  So neither need marriage and its obligations be held in contempt just because, when unrestrained and uninhibited, it blazes out into wantonness.  There is a wide difference between purpose and misuse, between moderation and excess.  And so here, it is not God's ordinance which calls for disapproval, but man's deviation from it.  For so the rule was laid down by him who established the ordinance, who said not only, Increase and multiply,a but also, Thou shall not commit adultery, and, Thou shah not desire thy neighbour's wife,b while he punishes with death both sacrilegious incest and the portentous madness of lust against male persons and cattle.c And if now there is a limitation imposed upon intercourse — a limitation which, on the authority of the Paraclete, is justified among us by that spiritual reckoning which permits only one marriage while in the faith3 — the setting of a limit will be within the competence of the same God who had of old time dispensed with limits.  The same will gather who has scattered abroad, the same will cut down the undergrowth who has planted it, the same will reap the harvest who has sown it:  the same can say, It remaineth that those also who have wives should be as though they had not,d who formerly said, Increase and multiply:a his the end, whose also was the beginning.  Yet the undergrowth is not cleared because of any complaint against it, nor is the harvest reaped for condemnation, but because it serves its time.  So also the obligations of matrimony submit to the axe and sickle of chastity, not because they are evil but because they are ripe for fulfilment:  they had been kept in reserve expressly for chastity, so as to provide it with a harvest by being cut down.  Consequently I shall now affirm that when Marcion's god expresses disapproval of marriage, as an evil thing and as a traffic in unchastity, he acts against that very chastity which he thinks he favors.  He obliterates the material it works on, because if there is to be no marital intercourse there is no chastity.  Commendation given to abstinence is of no account when prohibition is imposed, since there are some things which obtain approval by contrast.  Just as strength is made perfect in weakness, so does abstinence from intercourse become remarkable while intercourse is allowed.  Can anyone indeed be called abstinent when deprived of that which he is

29.3  See above, p. xviii.


to abstain from?  Is there any temperance in eating and drinking during famine?  Or any putting away of ambition in poverty?  Or any bridling of passion in castration?  Moreover, I wonder if this suppression of the whole increase of the human race is in keeping with the character of a god supremely good.  How can he desire the salvation of the man whom he forbids to be born, as he does by abolishing the act from which birth arises?  How can he have one on whom to set the seal of his goodness, when he does not suffer such to exist?  How can he show affection to one of whose origin he does not approve?  Possibly he is afraid of excess of population, afraid of the labour of liberating too many, afraid of making large numbers of heretics, of having too prolific Marcionites begotten of Marcionites.  Less barbarous than this was Pharaoh's hardness, which slew them as they were born.  Pharaoh takes away their souls, but this one does not give them souls:  Pharaoh removes them out of life, but this one does not admit them into life.  In the matter of homicide there is no difference between the two:  under both of them a man is slain, under the one after he is born, under the other when he ought to be born.  You would have pleased us better, heretical god,4 if you really had acted counter to that Creator's ordinance by which he joined together male and female:  for in fact even your Marcion was born of marital intercourse.

So much concerning Marcion's god.  Our postulate that deity necessarily implies unity, as well as the limitations of Marcion's god's character, prove him entirely non-existent.  The continuation of my treatise as a whole follows closely upon this fact.  So then if anyone thinks I have accomplished too little, let him wait for what is kept in reserve until its proper time, as well as for my discussion of those scriptures which Marcion makes uses.

29.4  The impossible vocative dee is a hint that Marcion's god is no god, and has no right to be addressed by the proper vocative thus.


1. The fortunes of this work have been described in the preface to Book I. The opportunity of revision gives me this further advantage, that in the discussion of two gods, in opposition to Marcion, I am now able to assign to each of them a separate book with its distinctive heading:  for so does the subject-matter naturally divide.  That man from Pontus has seen fit to invent a second god, while denying the first:  I however totally deny the existence of the second, while maintaining that the first is God in fall right.  Marcion could only build up his falsehood by first breaking down the truth.  He had to pull the other thing down before he could build up as he desired.  In such a way do people build who have no tackle of their own.  It ought to have been possible to confine my argument to this single theme, that the god brought in to supersede the Creator is no god at all.  In that case, when the false god had been overthrown by those clear definitions which require deity to be both singular and complete, no further discussion of the true God would have been called for.  As  his existence would have been proved by the disproval of the other, so it would have been right that, whatever sort of God he was, he should be accepted without argument, to be worshipped and not judged, to be obeyed rather than discussed, and even feared for his severity.  For what could be more to a man's interest than regard for the true God, under whose control he had come, so to speak, because no other god was there?

2. But now God the Almighty, the Lord and Maker of all things, is made subject to criticism, chiefly, I think, because he has been known of since the beginning, has never kept himself hidden, has always been a shining light, even before Romulus, and long before Tiberius:  except that only to those heretics who subject him to criticism he has not been known, for these think they must assume the existence of a second god because the God whose existence is unquestioned they find it easier to reprove than to deny — for they form their estimate of God according to the choice of their own mind — as if a blind man, or one whose eyes are dim,


should decide to assume the existence of a second sun, of a milder or more health-giving sort, because he fails to see the one he does see.  There is but one sun, my friend, the one which warms this world.  Even when you think otherwise, it is supremely good and useful:  and when you find it too fierce or injurious, or even too squalid or unhealthy, it still serves the law of its being.  If you are not competent to perceive that law, neither could you tolerate the beams of a second sun if there were a second, especially if it were larger.  As you are purblind towards the God (you suppose) inferior, how do you stand towards the god more sublime?  Why not rather have consideration for your own weakness, why not spare yourself dangerous exertion, when you have a God well attested and undeniable, and by that very fact as visible as he has need to be?  For your first view of the matter must have been this, that he is one whom you do not know except to the extent to which he has himself consented to be known.  And yet, as though you knew God, you admit his existence:  as though you did not know him, you make him a subject of discussion:  and what is more, you lay complaint against him as though you did know him, though if you really knew him you would neither complain nor even discuss.  You grant him the name, while denying the reality behind the name, the reality of that greatness which is described as 'God': and you fail to appreciate that this greatness is such that if a man had been able to know it in all its fullness it would not have been greatness.  Anticipating the apostle, and having foresight of heretical hearts, Isaiah asks, Who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been his counsellor?  Or of whom did he take counsel, or who hath shewn him the way of understanding and knowledge?a And the apostle was to agree with him:  O the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God, how unsearchable his judgements — evidently God is a judge — and unsearchable his waysb — evidently those ways of understanding and knowledge which no one has shown to him, except perhaps these critics of divinity, who say, 'God ought not to have done that', or 'He ought to have done this instead' — as though anyone knew what things there are in God except the Spirit of God.c But these, because they have the spirit of the world, and by the wisdom of God through wisdom know not God,d think themselves better advised than God:  because just as the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God, so also the wisdom of God is foolishness with the world.  We


however know that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God stronger than men." Consequently God is then most supremely great when man thinks him small, is then most supremely good when man thinks him not good, is then most especially one when man thinks there are two gods or more.  But if since the beginning the natural man,1 not receiving the things of the Spirit, has accounted the law of God foolishness f — and this because he has neglected to keep it — , and therefore, because he had not faith, even that which he seemed to have has been taken from him5 — I mean the grace of paradise, and that familiar converse with God by which if he had obeyed he would have known all the things of God — what wonder is it that, turned again into that which he was made of, and sent down to slave-labour in tilling of the ground, he should by this work, bent downwards and turned towards the ground, have taken up from the ground the spirit of the world, and passed it on to all his offspring, who likewise became natural and heretical, because they received not the things that are God's?  For can anyone hesitate to describe as heresy, or choosing, that transgression of Adam which he committed by choosing his own judgement in preference to God's?  Even so, Adam never said to his Maker, 'Thou hast not moulded me skilfully.' He admitted the beguilement, and did not conceal her who had done the beguiling.  A very inexperienced heretic was he.  He was disobedient:  yet he did not blaspheme his Creator, nor accuse his Maker:  for since his own first beginning he had found him kind, and supremely good; and if he was a judge, it was Adam who had made him so.

3. As then we take in hand to weigh the evidence respecting the God we know, since the question arises under what circumstances he has become known, we shall need to begin with those works of his which were there before man was.  In this way his goodness will be discovered immediately, as he himself is, and being from thenceforth established as a leading principle, will convey to us some sense by which to understand how well the subsequent ordering of events has been carried out.  Marcion's disciples can now take cognizance of our God's goodness, while acknowledging also that it is such a goodness as is worthy of God, under those same headings by which we have proved goodness to be unworthy

2.1  See above, pp. xviii, xix.


in the case of their god.  And this now in particular, which is the raw material of man's knowledge of him, he did not discover in another's possession, but made it for himself, of his own.  So then, the Creator's primary goodness is that by which it was God's will not to be eternally in hiding, that is, that there had to be something to which as God he might become known.  For what good is so great as the knowledge and enjoyment of God?  For although it was not yet apparent that this is good — because there did not yet exist that to which it could be apparent — yet God had foreknowledge of the good that was to become apparent, and therefore put it in trust with that supreme goodness of his, that administrator of the good that was to appear:  so that this is of no sudden growth, of no adventitious goodness or requisitioned activation, as though it originated at the point at which it began to function.  For if it set up its own beginning only as it began to function, itself had no beginning when it made the beginning.  But when the beginning had been made, from that goodness also the reckoning of times was born:  for it was for the distinguishing and recording of times that the constellations and celestial luminaries were ordained:  They shall be, God said, for times and months and years.a Therefore until time began, that goodness which created time existed without time, even as before the beginning the goodness which established the beginning existed without beginning.  Exempt then both from order of beginning and from measure of time, (God's goodness) must be accounted of age unmeasurable and without end.  Nor can it be reckoned makeshift or adventitious or occasional, since it has no point from which it can be reckoned, no time of any sort:  but it must be taken to be eternal, ingenerate in God, and everlasting, and on that account worthy of God.  From the first then it puts to shame the goodness of Marcion's god, which is subsequent not only to the Creator's beginnings and times, but even to his malice — if indeed it is possible that malice has ever been a function of goodness.

4. Since then, with the intention that God himself might become known, God's goodness had made provision of man's existence,1 it added this too to its good repute, that it first contrived for the man a dwelling-place, from the first a very great structure, and

4.1  On paradise, the divine command, and man's freedom of action (Chapters 4-6) cf.  Theophilus, ad Autol. ii. 24-7.


afterwards even a greater, so that in the great structure, as being the lesser, he might practise and make progress, and thus obtain promotion out of God's good thing, the great thing, into his supremely good thing, the greater habitation, besides.  To this good work he appoints also a supremely good agent and administrator, his own Word:  My heart, he says, hath disgorged a supremely good Word.a Let Marcion here take note of the first excellent fruit of a no less excellent tree.  Like an utterly unskilful rustic he has no doubt grafted a good tree on to a bad one:  yet the sprout of blasphemy cannot prevail:  it must dry up, along with its inventor, and in that way the nature of the good tree will bear witness to itself.  Look at the top of the page, and see what sort of fruit the Word brought forth:  And God said, Let there be, and there was:  and God saw that it was good:b not as though he did not know the good thing unless he saw it, but he saw it because it was good, and dignified and attested and consummated the goodness of his works by deigning to look at them.  So also he continued to bless the good things he continued to make, so that God in his wholeness might be commended to you as good both in speech and in act.  As yet the Word had not learned to speak evil, any more than to do evil:  we shall afterwards take note of the causes which have made even this demand of God.  Meanwhile the world consisted of none but good things, and gave indication enough of how great a good was in preparation for him for whom all this was being prepared.  Who indeed was worthy to have his home among the works of God?  Only God's own image and likeness.  That (image and likeness) too did goodness, an even more effective goodness, create, not by imperious word but by kindly hand, though first was uttered that persuasive word, Let us make man unto our image and likeness.c It was goodness who spoke, it was goodness who formed the man out of clay into that noble substance of flesh, a substance built up out of one material to possess all those many attributes.  It was goodness that breathed soul into him — not dead soul but living.  Goodness gave him dominion over all things, to enjoy and to govern, and even to give them names.  Still more, it was goodness that gave man additional delights, so that although in possession of the whole world he had his dwelling in the more salubrious parts of it:  so he was translated to paradise — so early as that translated out of the world into the Church.  That same goodness also sought out a help for him, so that no


good thing might be lacking:  It is not good, he said, that the man should be alone.d He foreknew that the femininity of Mary, and subsequently of the Church, would be to the man's advantage.2  Even that law which you complain of, which you torment into controversies, was laid down by goodness in the service of man's interest, so that through close attachment to God his liberty might not be mistaken for dereliction.  Else he would have been put on a level with his own menials, the other animals, which God has left unfettered and free precisely because he cares less for them.  Rather was it intended that man alone might have something to glory of, in that he alone had been worthy to receive from God a law:  and that, as a rational animal, capable of understanding and knowledge, he might be held in restraint by that rational liberty besides, being subject to God who had to him made all things subject.e Goodness it was, no less, that attached the sanction for keeping this law:  But in the day ye eat ye shall surely die.f It was in supreme kindness that it indicated the consequence of transgression:  otherwise ignorance of the danger might have fostered neglect to obey.  Indeed as there was previous reason for imposing the law, there was subsequent reason for its being kept, and for penalty to be appended to transgression, a penalty however which God, who told of it beforehand, would have preferred should not come into effect.  Acknowledge then the goodness of our God, meanwhile and thus far:  see it in his good works and his good words of blessing, in benefits conferred and provision made, in laws also and admonitions no less gracious than kind.

5. Now for all the questions raised by you dogs1 as you growl against the God of truth:  and dogs, says the apostle, are cast outa (of the city of God). Here are the bones of wranglings you gnaw at.  If God is good, you ask, and has knowledge of the future, and also has power to avert evil, why did he suffer the man, deceived by the devil, to fall away from obedience to the law, and so to die?  For the man was the image and likeness of God, or even God's substance, since from it the man's soul took its origin.2  So if, being good, he had wished a thing not to happen, and if, having

4.2  On Eve and Mary, Justin, dial. 100; Irenaeus, A.H. v. xix. 1; Tertullian, de carne Christi 17.

5.1  Another reference to Sinope and the Cynic Diogenes.  Cf.  I. 1. 4, 19. 2.2  On the human soul cf.  Chapters 8 and 9, and the treatise de anima.

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foreknowledge, he had been aware that it would happen, and if he had had power and strength to prevent it from happening, that thing never would have happened which under these three conditions of divine majesty it was impossible should happen.  But, you conclude, as that did happen, the very opposite is proved, that God must be assumed to be neither good nor prescient nor omnipotent:  because inasmuch as nothing of that sort could have happened if God had possessed these attributes of goodness and prescience and omnipotence, it follows that it did happen because God is devoid of these qualities.

In answer to this our first task is to prove that the Creator does possess these characteristics on which doubt is cast, goodness, that is, and prescience and omnipotence.  I shall not take long over this point, since Christ's own pronouncement gives us the lead:  proofs, he says, are to be drawn from works.b The Creator's works are evidence of both things:  of his goodness in that they are good, as I have shown:  and of his power in that they are so great, and moreover were made out of nothing.  Yet even if derived from some raw material, as some people will have it,3 even so they would have been made out of nothing, seeing that once they were not what they now are.  And again, they are great just because they are good:  and God is powerful just because all things are his, and for that reason he is omnipotent.  I have no need to speak of his foreknowledge:  it has for evidence all those whom he has appointed prophets.  And besides, the Author of all things has this in proof of his foreknowledge, that by ordaining the universe he foreknew it, and by foreknowing ordained it.  I admit he foreknew even that transgression:  for if he had not he would not have issued warning against it, under fear of death.  Consequently, if there were in God those faculties in virtue of which no evil either could have happened to the man or ought to have happened, and yet none the less it did happen, we have to look at the man's constitution, asking whether perhaps it was through it that that happened which from God's side could not have happened.  I observe that the man was created by God as a free man, with power to choose, and power to act, for himself.4  I can think of

5.3  See above, p. xi.

4  Legal terms to which Tertullian gives a moral sense:  liber, a free man, not a slave:  sui arbitrii, his own master, not a minor under tutelage:  suae potestatis, under his own control, not like a wife in manu et potestate viri.


no clearer indication in him of God's image and similitude than this, the outward expression of God's own dignity.  Countenance and physical shape vary so widely among mankind that the man cannot in respect of these have been moulded into the shape of God, for this is one and unchanging.  Rather was it in that substance which he derived from God himself, the substance of the soul which corresponds to the form of God, that he received the distinguishing marks of freedom of choice, and power to act.  That he possessed this dignity was confirmed even by the law which God then laid down.  No law could have been imposed upon one who had not in his own power the submission due to the law:  nor again, could a threat of death be attached to transgression, unless contempt of the law could have been blamed upon the man's freedom of choice.  So too could you find it in the Creator's later laws:  he sets before man good and evil, life and death:  for that whole course of discipline laid down in precepts, in which God warns and threatens and exhorts, assumes throughout that man is possessed of both liberty and initiative, either to submit or to despise.

6. From now on it is understood that when I maintain that the man had free power over his own choice, my intention is that the blame for what happened to him should be imputed to himself and not to God.  Your answer to this may conceivably be that if the freedom and the control of his will was likely to have ruinous effect, he ought to have been differently constituted.  To forestall this objection I shall first prove that it was right that he should be so constituted.  Thus I shall strengthen my claim both that he was so constituted and that such a constitution was to God's credit, for I shall have put in evidence that superior reason which called for him to be so constituted.  This constitution, like the rest of creation, will be under the patronage of God's goodness and his rationality, for in our God these without exception act in concert.  Reason without goodness is not reason, and goodness without reason is not goodness — unless perhaps in Marcion's god, who, as I have shown, is irrationally good.  It was necessary that God should be known.  This at least is both good and rational.  It was necessary that there should exist something worthy of knowing God.  And could anything be thought of so worthy, as God's own image and likeness?  This too is beyond doubt both


good and rational.  So it was necessary that God's image and likeness should be endowed with free choice and personal initiative, so that in it this very fact of freedom and initiative might be accounted the image and likeness of God:  and with this in view there was given to the man that substance which should be of this dignity, namely, the breath of God who himself is free and possesses personal initiative.  Besides which, how can it have been the case that the man, the possessor of the whole world, should not in first instance have exercised rule over it by possession of his own mind, should be the master of other things but the slave of himself?  So then in God's condescension you have proof of his goodness, and in his ordering of things the proof of his rationality.  For the moment let us suppose it to be goodness alone which bestowed upon the man this great gift of freedom of the will:  let reason make other claim to have been involved in that manner of endowment.  God alone is good by nature, since one who without beginning has the attributes which he has, has them by nature and not by grant from another.  Man however, who is all that he is by (God's) granting, since he had a beginning, did with the beginning come into possession of the form in which he was to exist.  Thus he was not ordained to goodness by nature, but (has it) by endowment — not possessing goodness of his own, seeing he was not by nature ordained to goodness, but by endowment — since God, the Creator of good things, is also good to endow them.  Therefore, so that the man might have a goodness of his own, bestowed upon him by God, and that there might thenceforth be in the man a proprietorship and as it were a natural attribute of goodness, there was granted and assigned to him freedom, and the power of choice, as a kind of conveyancer of the good bestowed on him by God.1  The intention was that this should enable the man to exhibit goodness as his own, by voluntary act — for reason further required that goodness should be willingly exercised — that is, by the freedom of choice which favored the endowment without being subservient to it.  So, in short, would the man be established in goodness if, according to endowment yet of his own will, he was now found to be good as it were by a nature which had become his own.  A further intention was that the man, being free, and with personal initiative, should be bolder

6.1  On the Roman practice of conveyancing and the function of the libripens see Ramsay, Rom.  Ant., p. 302, or the article on mancipium in Dict.  Gk. and Rom.  Ant.


in the fight against evil — for God was making provision for this too — because if he were devoid of this franchise, if he were to meet his good obligations not of free will but of necessity, he would lie at the disposal of evil besides, enfeebled by servitude, a bondservant to evil no less than to good.  Consequently there was granted to him complete freedom of choice in either direction, that as his own master he might boldly confront goodness by choosing to maintain it, and evil by choosing to avoid it.  And moreover, since the man was subject to the judgement of God, it was essential that he should cause that to be a just judgement by the merits of his own choice, which had to be free.  Or else neither the wages of good nor (the penalty) of evil would with justice be awarded to one found to be good or evil of necessity and not of his own will.  For this purpose also the law was appointed, not to forestall liberty but to approve it, by obedience willingly granted or trespass wilfully committed:  thus would freedom of choice lie open to either event.  It follows that if both the goodness and the rationality of God are displayed in the freedom of choice granted to the man, it would not be right to surrender that primary postulate of goodness and reason which has to be at the basis of all discussion, and to presume, in view of subsequent happenings, that God ought not to have given the man that endowment, on the allegation that its consequence has been other than creditable to God.  Rather one ought to have discerned that there was good reason for God to have given him this endowment, and then one ought to examine the remaining questions without violence to what one had discerned.  Otherwise it would be easy, on coming suddenly face to face with the man's ruin without having taken note of how he was constituted, to blame his Creator for what occurred, through failure to take into account the Creator's reason.  To conclude, God's goodness, brought into full view since the beginning of his works, will give assurance that from God no evil can have proceeded:  while the man's freedom, if taken full account of, will prove that itself, and not God, was guilty of that which itself committed.

7. On this principle God keeps all his (attributes and potentialities) unimpaired — his distinguishing attribute of goodness, and the rationality of his creative act, as well as his unlimited foreknowledge and power.  Also you must expect to find in God


complete consistency and unimpeachable faithfulness in all that he has ordained:  you must cease to inquire whether anything could take place contrary to God's will.  For as you insist that in God, since he is good, there must be both consistency and fidelity, yet that these must commend themselves in ordinances approved by reason, you will not think it amiss that God has abstained from interfering so as to forestall the things he wished should not take place, and by so doing preserve those he approved of.  For having once granted the man freedom of will, and power to act, and having, as I have proved, had good reason for granting them, he had evidently granted them so that they might be put to use, and that with no further authorization than the fact that he had made things so:  yet they were to be used, as far as concerned himself, in accordance with himself, that is, with God, and for a good end — for surely no one is going to give permission for any act in opposition to himself — but as regards the man they were to be used according to the impulses of his own freedom:  for anyone who grants another something to use, invariably grants permission to use it according to that other's mind and choice.  Therefore it followed that once God had granted the man freedom he must withdraw from his own freedom, restraining within himself that foreknowledge and superior power by which he might have been able to intervene to prevent the man from presuming to use his freedom badly, and so falling into peril.  For if he had intervened he would have cancelled that freedom of choice which in reason and goodness he had granted.  In fact, suppose him to have intervened, suppose him to have cancelled that freedom of choice, by calling the man away from the tree, by keeping that deceiver the serpent away from converse with the woman, would not Marcion call out, 'Look at that Lord and Master, so unstable, so inconsistent and untrustworthy, cancelling appointments he himself has made.  Why did he grant free choice, if he had to interfere?  Why interfere, if he has made the grant?  Let him choose on which side he will admit himself mistaken, whether in the appointment or in the cancelling of it' ?  Yet would he not rather, if he had intervened, at once have given the impression of being misled by defective foreknowledge of what was to be?  And would not everyone have said that he had made the concession in some sort of ignorance of what the consequence would be?  Yet even though he foreknew that the man would make a bad use of his


concession, is there anything so becoming to God as consistency and fidelity in all the appointments he makes?  It had to be the man's responsibility if he failed to make good use of the good gift he had received.  The man himself would be guilty before the law to which he had refused obedience.  There could be no question of the Lawgiver infringing his own law by preventing its conditions from being carried out.  You would with good right make a full-voiced attack on the Creator if, by virtue of the foreknowledge and power which you postulate, he had set up a check against the man's free choice:  and so now, you ought to make a quiet murmuring against yourself, in the Creator's favor, for his steadfastness and patience and faith, in that he has acted by his own ordinances, which are both reasonable and good.

8. God had brought the man into being not merely that he might live, but that he might live in uprightness, in deference, that is, to God and his law.  He had himself given him life, when he made him a living soul:  uprightness of life he imposed upon him as a duty, when he admonished him to obey the law.  That man was not made for death is proved by this, that God even now desires his restoration to life, preferring a man's conversion rather than his death.  So then as it was God who clothed the man with the dignity of life, so it was the man who brought upon himself the indignity of death:  and this he did, not because of feebleness or ignorance:  and so his Creator could not be held to blame.  For even though it was an angel that beguiled him, yet he who was beguiled was a free man, not under constraint, and the image and likeness of God is stronger than an angel, even as God's breathing is of nobler quality than that material spirit of which the angels are composed — -He maketh spirits angels, it says, and his apparitors a flame of fire.a Also he would not have given the man dominion over the universe if he had been too weak to rule, and had been no better than those angels to whom he gave no such dominion.  And again, he would not have laid upon him the weight of the law, if the law had been burdensome and he too feeble to bear it.  Nor would he have made him accountable to sentence of death if he had known him to be excusable on the ground of infirmity.  Moreover it was not by freedom and the power of choice that he could have made the man weak, but on the contrary, by the absence of them.  Consequently it is the same


man, the same identity of soul, the same Adam's estate, which that same power, that same freedom of choice, today makes victorious over that same devil when it is made to function in obedience to God's laws.

9. In any case, you object, the Creator's very essence1 is seen to be capable of sin, since it was the soul, which is the breath of God, that sinned when man sinned, and the corruption of the derivative cannot escape being referred back to the original whole.  To answer this I must explain the nature of soul.  First and foremost we have to insist on the significance of the Greek scripture, which says not 'spirit' but 'breath'. For some, when translating from the Greek, fail to reflect upon the difference:  disregarding the precise meaning of the words, they substitute 'spirit' for 'breath', and so give heretics the opportunity of sullying with sin the Spirit of God, which means God himself.  The question is by no means a new one.  Observe then that breath, though a function of spirit, is something less than spirit — as it might be an exhalation of spirit, not spirit itself.  So a breeze is less compact than a wind; and even if breeze derives from wind, a breeze is not a wind.  One may even say that breath is an image or reflection of spirit:  for it is in this sense that man is the image of God, that is, of spirit, since God is spirit.  And so breath is an image or reflection of spirit.  Yet the image cannot in every respect be equated with the reality (behind it): for it is one thing to be 'according to truth' but quite another to be truth itself.  So too, though breath is the image of spirit, it cannot in such wise be in equality with the image of God, as to suggest that because the Truth, namely the Spirit, which is God, is without sin, therefore the breath, which is the image, ought not to have been capable of sin.  The image has to be inferior to the Truth, and the breath of lower rank than the Spirit.  It admittedly possesses those lineaments of God, in that soul is immortal, is free, in control of its own choice, is rational, and on that account frequently exercises forethought, is capable also of understanding and knowledge, though even in these it is an image:  yet just as it does not attain to the actual power of godhead, neither does it attain to integrity from sin.  This it admits is

9. 1 Cf.  III. 6. 8. From John 4: 24, 'God is a Spirit', Tertullian substantified the term 'spirit' as indicating the kind of substance God is:  de anima 11, and elsewhere, and Irenaeus, A.H. v. xii. 2.


the prerogative of God alone, who is the Truth, and to this alone the image cannot attain.  As the image or reflection expresses all the lineaments of the truth, yet is devoid of its power because it lacks motion, so it is with soul, the reflection of spirit:  the only thing it could not express was its power, that blessed state of never sinning.  Else it would not have been soul but spirit, and he who was endowed with soul would not have been a man but a god.  Also, speaking generally, not everything which is 'of God' can be held to be God:  so you cannot claim that because the breath is God's breath it is therefore God, and immune from sin.  You yourself do not by blowing into a flute make the flute into a man, even though you blow something of your own soul, as God did of his spirit.  In fact when scripture says in set terms that God blew into the man's face and the man was made into a living soul — not a quickening spirit — , it implies that soul is of quite different character from its Maker, just as any piece of work is of necessity different from its producer, and of lower degree than its producer.  A jar made by a potter cannot itself be the potter:  and likewise the breathing made by the Spirit cannot on that account be spirit.  This very fact, that the breath is designated 'soul' — it seems as if it had changed over from the rank or condition of breath, into some lower quality or degree. 'In that case,' you object, 'you admit the soul's infirmity, which you just now denied.' Certainly, when you argue its equality with God, its immunity from sin, I claim it is weak:  but when it is brought into conflict with an angel I am bound to maintain that (man) the lord of the universe is the stronger, for already angels do him service,a and he is sometime to judge angels,b provided he stands firm in God's law, which in the beginning he refused to do.  So then the breath of God was capable of this disobedience — was capable of it, though it ought not to have done it.  It had the capability because of the rarefied quality of its substance, in that it was breath and not spirit:  it ought not (to have done it), because it had power of choice, because it was free and not a slave, and moreover was assisted by that injunction against transgression under threat of dying, by which it was intended that the rarefied quality of the substance should receive support, and its freedom of decision obtain direction.  Thus it becomes evident that the soul did not sin because of that which it has of kinship with God, namely his breathing, but because of that which has


become an attribute of that substance, namely free choice:  and because this, though granted by God for good reasons, was driven by the man in the direction he himself decided.  If this is the case, God's whole ordering of things is now freed from censure.  Freedom of choice cannot discharge its own blame upon him by whom it was bestowed, but on him by whom it was not made to function as it ought.  Of what wrong then can you accuse the Creator?  If of man's sin, (I answer that) what is man's cannot be God's, nor can he be judged the author of sin who is seen to have forbidden it, even to have condemned it.  If death is an evil, not even death can bring odium upon him who threatened it, but upon him who disregarded it.  This one is its author:  he created it by disregarding it, for it would not have come into existence except for his disregard.

10. But if you transfer the charge of wrongdoing from the man's account to the devil's, because it was he who incited the man to sin, and if you hope by this means to direct the blame against the Creator, as having created the devil — for, He maketh angels spiritsa — (I answer that) that which he was made by God, namely an angel, will be the responsibility of God who made him, while that which he was not made by God, namely the devil or accuser — it follows that he must have made himself that by bringing an accusation about God, a false one at that, first that God had forbidden them to eat of every tree, and next that if they did eat they would not die, and thirdly that God had selfishly denied them divinity.  What then was the origin of this malice of lying and deceit directed against the man and woman, and of the false accusation against God?  Certainly it was not from God, for in common with all his works he had made that angel good.  In fact until he became the devil he is declared the wisest of all:  and I suppose wisdom is no evil.  Also if you turn up Ezekiel's prophecy you will easily perceive that that angel was by creation good, and by his own act became corrupt.b In the person of the prince of Tyre this pronouncement is made against the devil:  And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the prince of Tyre and say, Thus saith the Lord, Thou art the unsealing of the likeness — that is, thou hast unsealed (or annulled) the integrity of the image and likeness — as a crown of beauty — thus he speaks as to the most exalted of the angels, an


archangel, the wisest of them all — in the delights of the paradise of thy God thou wast born — there, he means, where in the second creation, under the figure of animals,c God made the angels.1 Thou wast clothed with the precious stone, the sardius, topaz, smaragdus, carbuncle, sapphire, jasper, lyncurium, agate, amethyst, chrysolite, beryl, onyx, and didst fill with gold thy storehouses and thy treasuries.  Since the day thou wast created I did set thee with the cherub in the holy mountain of God, thou wast in the midst of the stones of fire, thou wast irreproachable in thy days since the day thou wast created, until thine injuries were discovered.  Of the multitude of thy merchandise thou hast filled thy garners, and hast sinned, and the rest, which it is evident properly apply to the castigation not of that particular prince but of an angel, because no one of mankind has ever been born in the paradise of God, not even Adam himself, for he was translated thither:  nor has any man been set with the cherub in God's holy mountain, that is, in the height of heaven, from which our Lord testifies that Satan also fell:d nor has any man dwelt amid the stones of fire, among the gleaming rays of the burning constellations, from whence also Satan like lightning was cast down.  Rather was he, the author of sin, being stigmatized in the person of a sinful man:  aforetime irreproachable since the day of his creation, created by God for goodness, as by a good Creator of creatures without reproach:  adorned with all angelic glory:  set in God's presence, as good in the presence of the good, yet afterwards by himself transposed into evil. Since the time, he says, that thy injuries were discovered, thus imputing to him those injuries by which he injured the man thrust out from God's obedience.  He began to sin when he sowed the seed of sin, and so from then onwards was engaged in the multitude of his merchandise, his wickedness, the full measure of his transgressions:  for he also, being a spirit, was no less (than the man) created with freedom of choice.  Anything so near to himself God cannot but have established in freedom of that sort.  Yet by condemning him before (the final judgement) God testified that through his own delight in wickedness voluntarily conceived he had turned aside from that pattern in which he was created:  and by measuring out a

10.1  The first creation, Gen. 1: 1 — 2: 3, is here understood to be that of the ideal world formulated in the mind of God;  Gen. 2: 4 — 25 in that case describes a second creation, of the actual man in the actual world.  That the animals of Gen. 2: 18-20 were angels is apparently a fancy of Tertullian's own.


set term to his activities God has put into effect the reason behind his own goodness, delaying the devil's extinction with the same intent and purpose with which he has deferred the restoration of man.  He has allowed time for a contest, that the man might cast down his enemy by virtue of that same freedom of choice by which he had fallen before him, thus proving that the blame was not God's but his own, and by gaining the victory might honorably regain salvation.  Thus the devil would suffer more bitter punishment, being overcome by him whom he had previously overthrown:  and God would the more evidently be seen to be good, as he waited for the man to return back from (this present) life into paradise, now more glorious (than when driven out), with permission also to take and eat of the tree of life.

11. Therefore it is that God, who until the man had sinned had from the beginning been solely good, from thenceforth became a judge, stern and, since the Marcionites will have it so, cruel.  The woman is straightway condemned to bring forth in sorrow, and to be in service to her husband.  Previously she had been taught of the increase of mankind without any cause for grief, in the words of the blessing, Increase and multiply,a no more than that:  she had also been intended for a help to the man, not for servitude to him.  Straightway also the earth is cursed, which had previously been blessed:  straightway there are thorns and thistles where before there had been grass, when it was fruitful of the green herb and of trees.  Straightway there is sweat and toil for bread, though before from every tree there was livelihood without stint, and food in sure supply.  From now on the man is bent down towards the earth, who before was taken out of the earth:  from now on turned towards death, though previously towards life:  from now on in coats of skins, who before had been naked and unashamed.  Thus the goodness of God came first, as his nature is:  his sternness came afterwards, as there was reason for it.  The former was ingenerate, was God's own, was freely exercised:  the latter was accidental, adapted to need, an expedient.  For as it was not right that nature should hold its goodness in restraint and inoperative, neither was it seemly that reason should dissemble and escape its sternness.  The former was God's duty paid to himself, the latter his duty to circumstances.  Begin next to accuse the office of judge of being in kinship with evil.  That is why you have


dreamed up another god whose sole attribute is goodness:  a judge, you cannot away with.  Yet I have proved that this god also is a judge — or, if not a judge, unquestionably perverse and ineffective, establishing a rule of conduct he has no intention of enforcing, no intention, that is, of bringing under judgement.  When you express approval of a god who is no judge, it is not the God who is a judge whom you express disapproval of:  you will be forced, no question of it, to lay accusation against justice itself — for this it is that causes any man to be a judge — classing it as one of the varieties of evil:  which means that you will have to include injustice among the subheadings of goodness.  Justice is an evil thing only if injustice is a good one.  But since you are compelled to pronounce injustice one of the worst of things, by the same method of reckoning you are forced to rank justice among the best things:  for everything hostile to evil is good, even as nothing that is hostile to the good can help being evil.  Consequently, in so far as injustice is an evil thing, to the same extent justice is a good thing.  Nor is it to be reckoned as merely a variety of goodness, but as the safeguard of it, because unless goodness is governed by justice so as itself to be just, it cannot be goodness:  for it will be unjust.  Nothing that is unjust can be good, and everything that is just is bound to be good.

12. So then since, goodness and justice are in such close association and agreement that the separation of one from the other is inconceivable, how can you dare to postulate an opposition between two gods, counting out separately on the one side a good god and on the other side a just one?  Goodness is firmly established where justice also is.  Since the beginning then the Creator is both good and just, both just and good.  Both qualities came into evidence at the same time.  His goodness constructed the world, his justice regulated it, since it even then judged that the world must be fashioned of good <materials>: thus did judgement take counsel with goodness.  It was by an act of justice that separation was decreed between light and darkness, between day and night, between heaven and earth, between the water above and the water below, between the gathering together of the sea and the building up of the dry land, between the greater lights and the lesser, between those of the day and those of the night, between male and female, between the tree of knowledge of death


and of life, between the world and paradise, between animals born in the water and animals born on land.1  As soon as goodness had conceived them all, justice distinguished between them.  By an act of justice this whole was established and set in order.  Every position and every situation of the heavenly bodies, the activities, motions, and conjunctions, the risings and settings, of each one of them, are the Creator's judgements.  So that you have no need to suppose that he could only be described as a judge after evil had appeared, and thus bring justice into disrepute as the outcome of evil.  By these considerations I have shown that it came into existence simultaneously with that goodness which is the origin of everything, and that it must be set down as ingenerate in God, natural and in no sense adventitious, since it is found to have been present in the Lord when it was the judge and divider of his works.

13. Yet when afterwards evil had broken loose, and the goodness of God had from thenceforth to deal with an opponent, that same justice acquired for itself another function, that of guiding goodness along the path of censure and correction, in such sort that, God having set aside that liberality which offered no check to his goodness, his goodness should be measured out according to each man's deserts, granted to the worthy, denied to the unworthy, taken away from the ungrateful, and in this way vindicated against all opponents.  Thus the whole of this work of justice is a service done to goodness:  the fact that by judgement God condemns, that by condemnation he punishes — that, as you put it, he exercises severity — tends to good and not to evil.  In short the fear of judgement contributes to good, not to evil.  The good, now burdened down beneath an adversary, was not strong enough of itself to provide its own commendation.  Even if it had been capable of commending itself, it was in danger of overthrow by the adversary, and only capable of conserving itself if it were under the protection of such fear as might force even the reluctant to seek after the good and protect it.  But while all those enticements of evil were in process of overpowering the good, was anyone likely to seek after that which he could with impunity disregard?  Was anyone likely to protect that which he could lose without

12.1  Cf. 1.16.


further risk?  It is written that the way of evil is broad, and well supplied with travellers:a would not all men take its easy course if there were nothing to fear?  Though we stand in terror of the Creator's fearsome threatenings, even so we are not easily wrenched away from evil.  What if there were no threatening?  Justice of this sort, which shows no favor to evil, can you call it an evil?  Justice which has the good in view, can you deny it is a form of goodness?  What sort of god ought you to seek after?  What sort of god would it be profitable for you to prefer?  One under whom sins might disport themselves, one whom the devil could play tricks with?  Would you judge that a good god who found it easier to make a man bad by letting him sin and not suffer?  Is there ever any author of good who is not also an exactor of it?  Is there any stranger to evil who is not also its opponent?  Is there any opponent who does not also attack?  Does anyone attack, and not also punish?  Thus is God wholly good, in that he is all and everything in favor of the good.  Thus in effect is he almighty, in that he is mighty both to help and to hurt.  It is a lesser thing to show nothing but favor, because of inability to show anything but favor.  With what confidence should I hope for goodness from such a one, if goodness is all he is capable of?  How could I strive after the wages of innocence, if I had not also regard to the wages of guilt?  I should have to be doubtful of his granting a reward in either direction if he were not competent to do so in both.  To such a degree as this is justice even the plenitude of divinity itself, that it reveals God in his perfection both as Father and as Lord:  as Father in clemency, as Lord in discipline:  as Father in kindly authority, as Lord in that which is stern:  as Father to be loved from affection, as Lord to be necessarily feared:  to be loved because he would rather have mercy than sacrifice, to be feared because he forbids to sin:  to be loved because he would rather have a sinner's repentance than his death, to be feared because he refuses such as do not now repent.  For that reason the law lays down both these commandments, Thou shalt love God,b and, Thou shall fear God:c the one it sets before the obedient, the other before the transgressor.

14. God meets, you will find, all situations.  The same God smites, and also heals:  he kills, and also makes alive:  he brings down, and also raises up:  he creates evils, but also makes peace.


So that on this question too I have to answer the heretics.  See, they say, he himself claims to be the creator of evil things when he says, It is I who create evil things.a They gladly welcome the equivocation which mixes up in ambiguity two sorts of evils.  Because not only sins but also punishments are described as evil, they will have God understood to be in every sense the creator of evils, that so they may pass sentence upon him as the author of wickedness.  We however take note of the difference between the two kinds, making a distinction between evils of sin and evils of punishment, between evils of guilt and evils of penalty, and insist that each part has its own originator — the devil the author of evils of sin and guilt, but God the Creator the author of evils of punishment and penalty — and in this way the one sort is assigned to wickedness, the other to the justice of him who sets up the evils of judgement against the evils of sin.  So the Creator's statement refers to those evils which appertain to a judge, which indeed are evil to those on whom they are inflicted, though on their own account they are good things because they are just things, defensive of good deeds and hostile to sins, and in this respect worthy of God.  Else you must prove them unjust:  only so can you prove they are to be classed as wickedness — that is, that they are evils of injustice:  because if they belong to justice they will no longer be evil, but good, being evil only to evil men, by whom even unconditionally good things are condemned as evil.  In such a case you will have to decide that it is unjust that the man, having wilfully despised the law of God, should have received that retribution which he would have preferred to escape:  that the wickedness of the old world was unjustly smitten by a flood and afterwards by fire:  that it was unjust that Egypt, diseased and superstitious, and, what is more, the oppressor of Israel its guest, should be stricken with tenfold chastisement.  God hardens Pharaoh's heart:  but Pharaoh already deserved to be given over to destruction, as having already denied God, as having in his pride so often cast out God's messengers, as having already added to the burden of Israel's labours:  and lastly, as an Egyptian, he had from of old been guilty before God of gentile idolatry, worshipping the ibis and the crocodile more readily than the living God.  He afflicts even Israel, but because they are ungrateful:  he sent bears against certain children, but they had been showing disrespect to a prophet.


15. First then you have to inquire into the justice of a judge's act:  if it has reasons which stand up to examination, then his severity also, and the acts in which severity pursues its course, must be accounted both reasonable and just.  So, to save lingering over too many matters, I challenge you to set out any other reasons you may have for pronouncing his sentences wrong:  find excuses for the sins, so that you may show disapproval of the judgements.  Forbear to censure him for being a judge:  convict him (if you can) of being a bad judge.  Even if he visited the fathers' sins upon the children, it was Israel's hardness which demanded remedies of that sort, to cause them to obey the divine law at least through consideration for their posterity:  for surely any man will be more concerned for his children's safety than for his own.  Moreover, if the fathers' blessing was also to be passed on to their seed, without any previous merit of theirs, why should not the fathers' guilt also overflow upon their sons?  As with God's favor, so with his displeasure:  to the end that both the favor and the displeasure should have course through their whole posterity, yet without prejudice to that decree which was afterwards to be made, that men should cease to say that the fathers had eaten the sour grapes and the children's teeth been set on edgea — which means that the father would not take upon him the son's sin, nor the son his father's sin, but that everyone would bear the guilt of his own sin:  and thus, after Israel's hardness, the hardness of the law might also be subdued, and justice no longer judge the nation but individuals.  And yet, if you were to accept the gospel in its true form, you would learn to whom applies this judgement of God who turns the fathers' sins back upon their children, namely to those who were, at a tune then future, going of their own will to call down this judgement upon themselves, His blood be on our heads and on our children's.b So then God's foresight in its fullness passed censure upon this which he heard long before it was spoken.

16. Severity therefore is good because it is just, if indeed the judge is good — that is, is just.  So also are the rest of those (activities) good by which the good work of good severity takes its course — whether it be anger or hostility or ferocity.  All these are debts owed to severity, as severity is a debt to justice.  There was need to reprimand the insolence of youth which had the duty

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of respect.  So the judge must not be held to reproach for the consequences of his judgeship, so long as these in their turn are void of blame, as the judge is.  A case in point:  suppose you allow that the surgeon has the right to exist, yet lodge a complaint against his instruments because they dissect and cauterize and amputate and constrict — although he can be no surgeon without the tools of his trade.  Complain, if you like, when he dissects badly, amputates at the wrong time, cauterizes without need:  in that case you may also reprimand his instruments as bad servants.  It is much the same when you admit that God is a judge, yet refuse those emotions and feelings by which he exercises judgement.  Our knowledge of God comes to us from the prophets and from Christ, not from the philosophers or from Epicurus.  We believe that God has sojourned even on earth, and that for the purpose of man's salvation he has taken upon him the lowliness of human form:  we are far removed from the sentiments of those who allege that a god takes no interest in anything.  It is from these that the heretics in turn have derived an assertion of this sort — that if a god becomes angry or hostile or proud or embittered, he will be liable to corruption, and so must die.  But well it is that Christians are allowed to believe that God has even died, and yet is alive for ever and ever.  O these fools, who from things human form conjectures about things divine, and because in mankind passions of this sort are taken to be of a corruptive character, suppose that in God also they are of the same quality.  Distinguish the substances, and assign to each its own sensations, as diverse as the substances demand, even though they are seen to make use of the same terminology.1  We read of God's right hand, his eyes, his feet:  yet these are not to be supposed exactly the same as a man's, just because they partake of the same designation.  Great is the unlikeness of divine body and human, though their members are identical in name:  equally great must be the difference of divine mind and human, though their sensations are referred to in the same terms.  And as in man it is the corruptibility of the human substance which makes these a cause of corruption, so it is in God the incorruptibility of the divine substance which makes them no cause of corruption.  You admit, I suppose, that the Creator is a god.  Certainly, you agree.  Then

16.1  See Appendix 1.


how is it you reckon there is in God something human, instead of everything divine?  You do not deny his godhead:  you admit he is not human.  As soon as you have admitted his godhead you have at once decided that he is the opposite of everything characteristic of human circumstances.  Also, since you no less acknowledge that man by God's breathing was made into a living soul, and not that God was so made by man, it is highly inconsistent of you to put human characteristics in God rather than divine characteristics in man, and to clothe God with man's image rather than man with God's.  So then the image of God in man is to be understood in this fashion, that the human mind has the same emotions and sensations as God has, yet not of the same quality as God has:  in accordance with their substance both their actuality and their consequences are far apart.  Also the opposite sensations to these, gentleness, patience, mercy, and that goodness which is the origin of them all — on what ground do you assume them divine?  In perfection, I admit, we do not possess them, for God alone is perfect.  So also those other emotions, of anger, I mean, and exasperation, we experience with no such felicity, for felicity appertains to God alone, because of the incorruptibility which belongs to him and to no one else.  He can be angry without (being shaken), can be annoyed without coming into peril, can be moved without being overthrown.  He must needs bring all things into operation for all things' sake, as many sensations as there are causes for them:  anger because of the wicked, indignation because of the ungrateful, hostility because of the proud, and for all evil men whatever is a hindrance to them.  So also mercy because of the erring, patience because of those not yet repentant, generosity because of those who deserve it, and whatever it is the good have need of.  All these he experiences in his own particular manner, that manner in which it is seemly for him to experience them:  and because of him man also experiences the same, himself no less in his own particular manner.

17. These facts thus expounded show how God's whole activity as judge is the artificer and, to put it more correctly, the protector of his all-embracing and supreme goodness.  The Marcionites refuse to admit in that same God the presence of this goodness, clear of judicial sentiments, and in its own state unadulterated.


Yet the facts show him sending rain upon good and evil, and making his sun to rise upon just and unjust:a of which that other god makes no sort of provision.  For although Marcion has presumed to erase from the gospel this testimony of Christ to the Creator, yet the whole world is inscribed with it, and every man's conscience reads it there.b This same patience of the Creator will serve for judgement against Marcion — that patience which looks for a sinner's repentance rather than his death, and would rather have mercy than sacrifice:  which turns away from the men of Nineveh the destruction already determined, which grants to Hezekiah's tears an extended term of life, and, after penance performed, restores to the tyrant of Babylon his royal state.  I speak of that mercy which granted to the people in arms Saul's son, due to die for an oath's sake:  which gave David free pardon when he confessed the wrong done to Uriah's house, and which to Israel itself as often gave restoration as judgement, as often gave comfort as reproof.  So then, look not only at the judge, but turn also to the evidences of one supremely good.  You take note of his vengeance:  think also of when he is indulgent.  Balance sternness with gentleness.  When you have met with both of these in the Creator, you will also discover in him that in search of which you believe there is another god.  Come near then, and carefully inquire into his doctrines, disciplines, precepts, and counsels.  You will suggest perhaps that these are regulated even by human laws.  But all your Lycurguses and Solons came long after Moses and God, and all things that come later borrow from things which were there first.  In any case, it was not from your god that my Creator learned to command, Thou shall not kill, shalt not commit adultery, shall not steal, shalt not speak false testimony, shalt not desire what is another's, honor father and mother, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.c To these cardinal advices of innocency, chastity, justice, and family affection, are added also the rules of humanity, that in every seventh year bond-servants are let go free:  and that at the same period the field is left untilled, to give a place to the needy:  as also the ox when treading out the corn has his muzzle unloosed, to give him satisfaction as he does his work:  and this so that human kindness, having had previous practice among the cattle, might be further developed for the comfort of mankind.


18. None of the good things of the law do I find it more natural to defend than those which heresy has sought to break down.  One of these is that law of equivalent retribution which demands an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a bruise for a bruise.  Its intention is not to give licence for the mutual exercise of injury:  rather has it in view the total restraint of violence.  To that stiffnecked people, devoid of faith in God, it seemed a tiresome thing, or even beyond credence, to expect from God that vengeance which was afterwards to be promised by the prophet — (Leave) vengeance to me, and I will avenge, saith the Lord.a So meanwhile the intention was that the infliction of injury should be kept in restraint through fear of retaliation immediately to follow, and that permission to return an injury might serve to prevent provocation.  In this way unrestrained insolence would be kept in check, since permission for a second injury makes people afraid to begin with the first, and when the first is scared away there is no commission of the second.  Besides this, the fear of equal retribution is more readily effective when the injury to be suffered is of the same flavor:  there is no more bitter experience than for yourself to suffer the very same thing that you have done to others.

Also when the law places restraint upon certain foods, and pronounces unclean certain animals which have at other tunes received a blessing, you must understand there an advice on the exercise of self-restraint, and observe how a bridle was put upon that gluttony which, while it was eating the bread of angels, hankered after the cucumbers and pumpkins of the Egyptians.  Observe too that there was also consideration of those concomitants of gluttony, lust and lechery, which for the most part cool down when the belly is under discipline:  for, The people had eaten and drunk, and risen up to play.b And further, so that greed of money should be kept in check, — at least in so far as the expense of living is alleged as an excuse for it — rivalry in the use of expensive varieties of food was put down.  And lastly, (the purpose was) that men might more easily be in form for fasting in the service of God, being accustomed to scanty victuals of no great repute, and having no desire to feed on delicacies.  No doubt the Creator is open to criticism for having deprived his own people of food, rather than the less thankful Marcionites.

Nor should anyone find fault with the burdensome expense of sacrifices and the troublesome scrupulosities of services and


oblations, as though God needed such things for his own sake:  for he clearly and loudly demands, What use to me the multitude of your sacrifices? and, Who hath required these things at your hands?1,c One should rather see there that careful interest by which, when the people were prone to idolatry and transgression, God was content to attach them to his own religion by the same sort of observances in which this world's superstition was engaged, hoping to detach them from this by commanding them to do these things for him, as though he were in need of them, and so keep that people from the sin of making images.

19. Also in the actual exchanges of human life and converse both domestic and public, the law has made all manner of regulations, up to and including the care of cups and platters, so that as men were faced at every point with these legal disciplines they might never for an instant be unoccupied with thoughts of God.  For what is more capable of making a man blessed than that his delight should be in the law of the Lord? And in the law of the Lord will he meditate day and night.a This law was not laid down because of its Author's hardness, but by reason of that supreme kindness which preferred to tame the people's hardness, and smooth down with exacting obligations their faith as yet unpractised in obedience.  I say nothing of the law's secret and sacred meanings, although it is both spiritual and prophetic, and in almost all its concepts has a figurative significance.  It is enough for the present that, without figurative meaning, it was putting man under obligation to God:  and therefore none have any right to complain, except such as take no pleasure in God's service.  So as to carry further this good gift, not burden, of the law, that same goodness of God has also appointed prophets who teach of godly conduct — to remove wickedness from the soul,b to learn to do well, to seek judgement, to judge for the fatherless and maintain the cause of the widow, to love requests (for God's guidance), to flee from association with the wicked, to let the afflicted go free, to break down the unjust accusation, to share one's bread with the hungry and take into one's house him that has no roof of his own — If thou seest the naked cover him, and despise not the kinsmen of thine own seedc — to keep one's tongue from evil, and one's lips that they speak no guile, to depart from evil and to do good, to seek peace

18.1  On Isaiah 1: 11, 12 cf. epist.  Barnab. 2. 4 sqq.: Justin, dial. 22.


and pursue it,d to be angry and not sine — that is, not persist in anger, nor be enraged — , not to go away into the council of the impious or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the pestilent.f But where? Behold how good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell in unity,g meditating day and night on the law of the Lord, because it is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in a man, and to hope in the Lord than to hope in a man.h For what is to be a man's reward with God? And he shall be like a tree planted by the channels of water, which shall render its fruit at its own season, and its leaf shall not fall:  and all things whatsoever he doeth shall be made prosperous for him.i The innocent also and the pure in heart, who has not taken the name of God in vain, and has not sworn to his neighbour in deceit, he shall receive blessing from the Lord and mercy from God his Saviour. For the eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, that hope in his mercy, to deliver their souls from death — eternal death — and to feed them in hungerj — hunger for life eternal.  For many are the troubles of the righteous, and the Lord will deliver them from them all.  Honorable in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints:  the Lord keepeth all their bones, and not one of them shall be broken.  The Lord shall redeem the souls of his servants.k  These few sentences have I adduced out of all the Creator's scriptures, and I suppose nothing is now lacking for testimony to a God exceeding good:  for this is well enough certified both by his precepts of goodness and by its rewards.

20. Now these cuttlefish — it was for a type of these people that the law excluded that sort of fish-meat, among others, from the (permitted) foods — as soon as they become aware of this exposure of themselves, proceed to belch out darkness mixed up with blasphemy, and thus distract the immediate attention of this man and that by the assertion and reiteration of statements which cast a cloud over the Creator's goodness, though this is bright and clear.  But I shall pursue their malice even through this blackness, dragging out into daylight those devices of darkness which cast up against the Creator, among much else, that damage, robbery of gold and silver, which he enjoined upon the Hebrews against the Egyptians.1  Come now, unhappy heretic, I challenge you in person to be arbitrator:  first take cognizance of the claims against the two nations, and then you may pass judgement

20.1  Cf.  Irenaeus, A.H. iv. xlvi. 1-3.


against the Author of that command.  The Egyptians demand of the Hebrews the return of their vessels of gold and silver:  the Hebrews put forward a contrary plea, alleging, in the name of those same ancestors, and with that same scripture for documentary evidence, that wages ought to be paid to them for that slave-labour, the drawing of the brick-kilns and the building of towns and country houses.  What award are you to make, you that have found for yourself a god supremely good?  That the Hebrews ought to admit the damage done, or the Egyptians the compensation due?  For they report that the case was so stated by agents from the two sides, the Egyptians claiming the return of their vessels, and the Jews demanding the wages of their work:  yet that there the Egyptians with justice renounced their claim to the vessels.  Today, in spite of the Marcionites, the Hebrews put forward a further claim.  They say that however large the amount of that gold and silver, it is not adequate for compensation, if the labour of six hundred thousand men through all those years is priced at a penny a day each.  Again, which are the larger number, those who demand the return of their vessels, or those who dwell in the countryhouses and cities?  In that case which is the greater, the loss the Egyptians complain of, or the favor the Hebrews enjoyed?  If the Hebrews were in return to bring against the Egyptians no more than an action for personal injuries, (they were) free men reduced to slavery.  If their legal representatives were to display in court no more than their shoulders scarred with the abusive outrage of whippings, (any judge) would have agreed that the Hebrews must receive in recompense not just a few dishes and flagons — for in any case the rich are always the fewer in number — but the whole of those rich men's property, along with the contributions of the populace besides.  So then, if the Hebrews have a good case, the case, which means the commandment, of the Creator is equally good:  he made the Egyptians favorable, though they were unaware of it, and at the time of their exodus he provisioned his own people with some slight indemnification, a payment of damages not described as such.  And clearly he told them to exact too little:  the Egyptians ought to have given back to the Hebrews their male children as well.

21. So also in the rest of his acts you accuse him of inconsequence and inconsistency, alleging that his instructions are in


contradiction with one another:  he forbids labour on sabbath days, and yet at the storming of the city of Jericho he commands the ark to be carried round during eight days which include the sabbath.  This is because you neglect to look closely at the law concerning the sabbath, which forbids not divine but human labours.  For it says, Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy works, but on the seventh day are sabbaths to the Lord thy God:  on it thou shall not do any work.a What work?  Evidently, 'of your own'. It follows then that he was withdrawing from the sabbath those works which he had just appointed for the six days, 'thy works', meaning human daily tasks.  But to carry the ark round cannot be considered a daily task, or a human one, but an infrequent one, a holy one, and, in view of God's actual command, a divine one.  I might myself have enlarged upon the significance of this, but that it would take too long to explain the figurative meanings of every one of the Creator's activities — meanings to which perhaps you demur.  It is quite enough if you people are refuted by plain facts, by straightforward truth, with nothing recondite:  as in the present instance there is a clear definition of the sabbath as forbidding not divine but human works.  Consequently the man who had gone out on the sabbath to gather sticks, was put to death:  he had been doing his own work, a thing the law forbade.  But those who had carried the ark about on the sabbath, were not punished:  it was not their own work, they had been engaged in, but God's, as his actual commandment enjoined.

22. In the same way, when he forbids the making of the likeness of any of the things in heaven and in earth and in the waters, he explains also the reasons for it — reasons which keep in check that upon which idolatry is based — for he adds, Tie shall not worship them nor serve them.a But the image of the brazen serpent which the Lord afterwards commanded Moses to make,b had no reference to the clause concerning idolatry, but to the healing of those who were plagued with serpents.1  I say nothing of the figurative sense of that healing.  So also the cherubim and seraphim of gold, for that figurative prototype the ark, were certainly a mere adornment, being designed to enhance its dignity.  They had a purpose entirely opposite to that idolatrous propensity on account of which the making of a likeness is prohibited, and evidently are no 22.1  The brazen serpent justified by the occasion, Justin, dial. 94.

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infringement of the law which prohibits likenesses, for they are not convicted of being in that class of likeness on account of which a likeness is prohibited.  I have already spoken of his institution of sacrifices, and of the reason for them:  he was recalling the people, I said, from idols to their duties towards God.  If he afterwards rejected these when he said, To what purpose the multitude of your sacrifices to me?,c he desired them to understand that his earlier demand for these had not been for his own particular benefit. I will not, he says, drink the blood of bulls:  for the reason that, as he says in another place, The eternal God shall neither hunger nor thirst.d For although he had respect to Abel's offerings, and smelled the sweet savor of Noah's whole burnt sacrifices, what pleasure is there either in sheep's entrails or the stench of burning victims?  But the guileless and god-fearing mind of such as offered to God things God had given to them, whether of food or of sweet incense, was accounted for grace in God's sight, even though he made no demand for the sacrifices offered but for that on account of which they were offered, the honor of God.  If the dependent of a wealthy man or a monarch, even though his patron is in need of nothing, offers him some trivial gift, will the smallness and cheapness of the gift darken the countenance of that wealthy man or king?  Will not rather the token of respect afford him pleasure?  But if that dependent when his turn comes round offers him gifts, whether voluntary or requisitioned, and performs the services due to a king, yet not out of true fidelity or of a pure heart, but a heart not fully intent upon the rest of his obligations, will not the consequence be that the king or the rich man will exclaim, To what purpose the multitude of your services to me?  I am weary; and, Those solemnities and festal days and sabbaths of yours?e When he says 'of yours', he means those which by celebrating them according to their own desires and not according to God's religion, they had made into their own, and not God's.  In this he clearly indicated that his rejection of the services he had himself enjoined was a rejection for special circumstances and particular reasons.

23. You suggest that the Creator is proved capricious concerning persons as well as institutions, when he expresses disapproval of men previously approved of:  or else that he is lacking in foresight when he approves of men who will afterwards meet with his


disapproval.  You allege that he is either reversing his previous judgements or is ignorant of those he will afterwards make.  And yet there is nothing more seemly in a good man or a good judge than to reject men or promote them in view of their current deserts.  Saul is promoted, when not yet a despiser of the prophet Samuel.  Solomon is rejected, when he is now in bondage to foreign wives and in subjection to the idols of the Moabites and Sidonians.  What could the Creator have done, to escape being reprimanded by Marcionites?  Ought he, in view of wrong-doing to come, to have condemned in advance men who were still acting aright?  But it would not have been the act of a good God to condemn in advance men who did not yet deserve it.  Or again, ought he to refrain from rejecting present sinners, on account of their previous good services?  But it would not have been the act of a just judge to condone crimes, when previous good services had been cancelled out.  Again, who among men is so without fault that God could always promote him, as one whom he could never reject?  Or who is so utterly devoid of any good work, that God should always reject him, as one whom he could never promote?  Show us a man always good, and he shall never be rejected:  show us a man always bad, and he shall never be promoted.  But here you have one and the same man:  he is both bad and good at one time or another, and so must be rewarded with both one and the other, and this by God who is a good god and a good judge, who does not reverse his judgements through caprice or lack of foresight, but does by a censorial act of supreme consistency and clearest foresight award exactly the recompense which each occasion requires.

24. So again, because God said, It repenteth me that I have made Saul king,a you set a base interpretation upon his repenting, as though it were owing to caprice, or lack of foresight, or even to a recollection of (his own) wrongdoing, that he repented:  for you have made it a standing rule that repentance implies confession of some evil act or some mistake.  But at times it does not.  There are instances of a profession of repentance even in reference to good deeds, so as to cast reproach or reproof upon one who has shown himself ungrateful for the benefit.  Thus it was on that occasion regarding the person of Saul.  He had been proclaimed as honorable by the Creator, who committed no sin when he


set Saul up in the kingdom and ennobled him with the Holy Spirit. There was not, it says, among the children of Israel one so goodly as he:b and most fittingly God had appointed him.  Also he was not ignorant that things would turn out as they did:  for no one can tolerate your attributing lack of foresight to that God who, even by tacitly acknowledging him to be a god, you admit also has foresight.  This indeed is an essential attribute of his divinity.  But it was, as I have said, Saul's evil act that God was accusing by this profession of his own repentance:  and as there was no sin in his appointment of Saul, it follows that his repentance must be understood as a reproach, not an admission of error. 'But look,' you reply, 'I observe that it is an admission of error in respect of the Ninevites, for the writing of Jonah says, And God repented of the wickedness which he had said he would do unto them, and he did it not:c as also Jonah himself says to God, Therefore I made haste to flee unto the Tarsians, because I knew that thou art gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repentest of the wickednesses.'d Now it is as well that he begins by describing God in terms supremely good, very slow to anger towards evil men, and most abundant in kindness and mercy towards such as acknowledge and lament their sins — which the Ninevites were then doing.  For as this is a characteristic of one supremely good, you ought to have begun by admitting in respect of him that in one of this character, one supremely good, the coexistence of wickedness is not possible.  And since even Marcion retains (the statement) that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, and yet (the scripture) has used the word 'wickedness' — which one supremely good is incapable of — surely there remains the possibility of some interpretation by which to understand the kind of wickednesses which can have come to exist in one supremely good.  And such there is.  In fact I affirm that by wickedness in this context is signified not such as can be referred back to the Creator's nature, as though he were evil, but to his authority, because he is a judge.  It was in view of this that he declared, It is I who create evils,e and, Behold I send evils against you;f not evils of ill-doing but evils of vengeance — and I have already cleared away the ill repute of these by showing them to be fit and proper for a judge.  As then, though described as evils, they are no matter of disrepute in a judge, nor by being so described do they stigmatize the judge as evil, so also 'wickedness' in this context must now be understood


as that which, deriving from those judiciary evils, is along with them proper to a judge.  Also among the Greeks occasionally 'wickednesses' is written for discomforts and injuries, not for acts of malice:  and so it is in this passage.  Consequently, if it was this kind of 'wickedness' the Creator repented of — I mean, that his creatures were to be put to reproof and condemned to destruction — even so, no illegal act can be ascribed to the Creator, who had rightly and deservedly decided that that exceedingly wicked city must be destroyed.  As then his purpose, being a just one, was not evil, he had decided upon it for justice's sake, not from wickedness:  yet (the scripture) has described the punishment itself as 'wickedness' because of the well-deserved evil of what they were to suffer. 'In that case,' you will object, 'if you are finding excuse for wickedness under the name of justice, because he had with justice decided upon the destruction of the Ninevites, he is still open to blame for having become repentant of an act of justice which ought not to have been repented of.' I answer, that God's repentance cannot have been of the act of justice:  so that we still need to discover what is meant by the repentance of God.  A man for the most part repents as a result of the remembrance of sin, and occasionally also in consequence of someone's ingratitude for a kindness done:  it does not follow that God does the same.  For inasmuch as God neither commits an evil act nor condemns a good one, there is in him no room for repentance of either good or evil.  This too you will find clearly stated in the same scripture when Samuel says to Saul, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel out of thy hand today, and will give it to thy neighbour who is better than thou, and Israel shall be split into two parts, and (the Lord) will not be converted nor repent, because he is not like a man, that he should repent.g So then this precise statement lays it down that in all cases divine repentance is of a special character, and cannot, as human repentance may, be ascribed to lack of foresight, or to capriciousness, or to the condemnation of any act of his, either good or bad.  What then must be the manner of God's repenting?  This is already perfectly clear, so long as you do not relate it to human conditions.  It is to be understood as neither more nor less than a simple reversal of a previous decision, such as can be brought about without any adverse judgement upon that other.  This is possible even in a man:  much more so in God, whose every decision is free from blame.  Also, in Greek speech the


word for repentance is not derived from confession of wrongdoing, but is a compound word signifying change of mind:  and in God, as I have shown, this change is directed by the impact of facts, themselves subject to variation.

25. Next, so as to clear all matters of this sort out of the way, I shall proceed to interpret and cleanse the rest of what you take to be instances of pettiness and weakness and inconsequence.  God calls out, Adam, where art thou?,a as though he did not know where the man was:  and when Adam has given as his reason the shame of his nakedness God asks whether it was because he had eaten of the tree — as though he had any doubt about it.  In fact he was neither in doubt of the deed nor ignorant of the hiding-place.  It was, for all that, essential that one in hiding through consciousness of sin should be summoned to come out into God's presence not by the mere calling of his name but along with some rebuke, then and there, for his deed.  For we ought to read this in no simple manner, not with an interrogative intonation, 'Where art thou, Adam?', but in an insistent and incisive and accusative tone, Adam, where thou art! — which means, Thou art in perdition — which means, Thou art no longer here — so that the words spoken may end in reproof and in sorrow.1  Moreover, seeing he grasps the whole world in his hand like a nest, seeing the heaven is his throne and the earth his footstool, do you suppose that some small corner of paradise had escaped his notice, or that, wherever Adam was, even before God called him, he was not in full view while hiding, no less than while taking of the forbidden fruit?  Neither the wolf nor the petty pilferer escapes the notice of the keeper of your vineyard or garden:  and I suggest that God has sharper eyesight, and looks out from a higher platform, so that nothing beneath can pass him by.  Fool that you are, in treating with scorn so clear an indication of the divine majesty and of God's instruction of mankind.  God asks a question, as though in doubt, because here too it was his purpose to prove that man has freedom of choice, and in a case which admitted of either denial or admission to give him the opportunity of willingly confessing his sin, and on that account making it less grievous.  So also he demands of Cain where his brother is, as though he had not already heard the

25.1  Theophilus, ad Autol. ii. 26, says that God asked this question, not because he did not know, but to give Adam an opportunity for repentance.


voice of Abel's blood crying out from the ground:  but it was also that Cain, by that same power of choice, should have power by his own act to deny the sin and on that account aggravate it.  Thus his intention was that examples should be set before us that it is better to confess sins than to deny them, and that even at that early date a beginning should be made of that gospel teaching, Out of thine own mouth shall thou be justified, and out of thine own mouth shall thou be condemned.b For although Adam, by the law as it stood, was delivered to death, yet his hope was saved:  for the Lord said, Behold Adam is become as one of us,c referring no doubt to the future promotion of man to divinity.  In fact, what is it that follows? And now, lest perchance he stretch forth his hand and take of the tree of life and live for ever.c When he inserts 'and now', which is a word in the present tense, he indicates that he has given a temporal and temporary extension of life:  and that is why he put no curse upon Adam and Eve in themselves, for they were candidates for restoration, being raised to their feet by confession.  But Cain he did curse:  and though he was desirous of washing out his sin by dying, God for a time refused to let him die, because in addition to what he had done he was further burdened by his denial of it.  This must be what our God's ignorance is:  it will have been a feigned ignorance, designed to prevent a guilty man from remaining ignorant of what he ought to do about it.

Also when he comes down to Sodom and Gomorra the Lord says, / will see if they are altogether doing according to the cry that reaches up to me, and if not I will know.d Here again, do you suppose it is from ignorance that he is in doubt and desirous of knowing?  Or is there not here, when reading it aloud, the need for such an intonation as will give expression to a comminatory, not a deliberative, meaning under the pretence of seeking for information?  But if you scorn the idea of God coming down, as though he were unable to carry out his act of judgement unless he were to come down, — take care, or you will be attacking your own god, no less:  for he too came down, to accomplish what it was his will to do.

26. Also, God swears with an oath.  Is this oath perhaps by Marcion's god? 'No,' your answer is, 'much more pointlessly, he swears by himself.' What else could he have thought of doing, when he was unaware of the existence of any other god, and in


fact was then and there swearing that besides himself there is no other god at all?" Do you then charge him with false or perhaps pointless swearing?  But he cannot be supposed to have sworn falsely if, as you allege, he did not know there was another god:  for his swearing of what he knew of was not in a true sense false swearing.  Neither is his swearing that there is no other god a pointless swearing:  only so would it have been pointless swearing if there had not been people who believed there were other gods — in that age worshippers of idols, in our days also heretics.  So he swears by himself, so that you may believe God, at least on his own oath, that there is no other god at all.  And it is you, Marcion, who have forced God to do this:  for even so long ago God had foreknowledge of you.  Consequently if in his promises, and in his threatenings besides, God uses an oath in dragging forth that faith which in its beginnings is hard to attain to, there is nothing unworthy of God in that which causes men to believe in God.  On that other occasion also God made himself little even in the midst of his fierce anger, when in his wrath against the people because of the consecration of the (golden) calf he demanded of his servant Moses, Let me alone, and I will wax hot in wrath and destroy them, and I will make thee into a great nation.b On this you are in the habit of insisting that Moses was a better person than his own God — deprecating, yes and even forbidding, his wrath:  for he says, Thou shalt not do this:  or else destroy me along with them.c Greatly to be pitied are you, as well as the Israelites, for not realizing that in the person of Moses there is a prefiguring of Christ, who intercedes with the Father, and offers his own soul for the saving of the people.  But for the present it is enough that the people were granted even to Moses in his own person.  Also, so that the servant might be in a position to make this request of his Lord, the Lord made that request of himself.  That is why he said to his servant, Let me alone and I will destroy them, so that the servant might forestall this by his prayer and his offering of himself, and so that you by this might learn how much is permitted to one who has faith, and is a prophet, in the presence of God.

27. Now at length — that I may dispose of the rest of these questions in one single answer — for all those details which you class together as petty and weak and unworthy, with intent to drag


the Creator down, I shall set before you a straightforward and definite reason:  it is that God would not have been able to enter into converse with men except by taking to himself those human thoughts and feelings by which he might reduce the force of his majesty, which human mediocrity was utterly unable to bear, by virtue of a humility, unworthy indeed of himself but necessary for man, and consequently worthy even of God, since nothing is so worthy of God as the salvation of man.  Of this I might have discoursed at greater length if I had been treating with heathens — although even with heretics the method of attack is not very different.  But seeing that you yourselves have already stated your belief that a god has dwelt in human shape and in all the rest of what belongs to man's estate, you will assuredly not demand any further persuasion that God has in fact made himself conformable to human condition, but are confuted by virtue of your own creed.  For if a god — I mean that more lofty one — did with such great humility so lay low the high estate of his majesty as to make it subject to death, even the death of a cross, why should you not agree that to our God also some few pettinesses were not inappropriate, being in any case less intolerable than the revilings, the scaffolds, and the sepulchres of the Jews?  Or is it not these same pettinesses which ought, without further discussion, to make it clear to you that the Christ who was made the sport of men's passions belongs to that same God whose human appearances and activities are the object of your reproaches?  For we claim also that Christ has always acted in God the Father's name, has himself ever since the beginning associated with, and conversed with, patriarchs and prophets.1  He is the Son of the Creator, his Word whom by bringing him forth from himself he caused to be his Son.  From then onwards he put him in authority over his whole design and purpose, reducing him a little below the angels,a as it is written in David.  By this reduction he was brought by the Father to these (acts and experiences) which you disapprove of as human:  for he was learning even from the beginning,2 by so early assuming manhood, to be that which he was going to be at the end.  He it

27.1  It was almost universally held, until the end of the fourth century, that the subject of the theophanies, the speaker of divine words throughout the Old Testament, was God the Son acting as the agent or messenger of the Father:  Justin, dial. 56 sqq.; Tertullian, adv.  Prax. 14-16; Eusebius, H.E. i. 2; Prudentius, Apotheosis (passim).

2  On ediscens cf.  III. 9. 6; de carne Christi 6; adv.  Prax. 16.

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is who comes down (to inquire into Sodom), who asks questions (of Adam and of Gain), who makes request (of Moses), and swears with an oath.  That the Father has become visible to no man is the testimony of that gospel which you share with us, in which Christ says, No one knoweth the Father save the Son.b It was he also who in the Old Testament had already declared, No man shall see God and live,c thus pronouncing that the Father cannot be seen, while with the Father's authority and in his name he himself was the God who was seen, the Son of God.  So too among us God is accepted in the person of Christ, because in this way also he belongs to us.  Therefore all the (attributes and activities) you make requisition of as worthy of God are to be found in the Father, inaccessible to sight and contact, peaceable also, and, so to speak, a god philosophers can approve of:  but all the things you repudiate as unworthy, are to be accounted to the Son, who was both seen and heard, and held converse, the Father's agent and minister, who commingles in himself man and God, in the miracles God, in the pettinesses man, so as to add as much to man as he detracts from God.  In fact the whole of that which in my God is dishonorable in your sight, is a sign and token of man's salvation.  God entered into converse with man, so that man might be taught how to act like God.  God treated on equal terms with man, so that man might be able to treat on equal terms with God.  God was found to be small, so that man might become very great.  As you despise a God of that sort I wonder if you do honestly believe that God was crucified.  How great then is your unreasonableness in the face of both one and the other of the Creator's courses of action.  You mark him down as a judge, yet the sternness which is natural to a judge in accordance with the demands of the cases before him you stigmatize as cruelty.  You demand a God supremely good, yet that gentleness which is the natural outcome of his kindness, which has conversed at a lower level in such proportion as human insignificance could comprehend, you devalue as pettiness.  He meets with your approval neither as great nor as small, neither as judge nor as friend.  But what if these same characteristics are found to be in your god too?  I have already, in the book assigned to him,3 proved that he is a judge, and as a judge necessarily stern, and as stern also cruel — if cruelty is the proper word.

27.3  i.e.  I. 25 sqq.


28. Now in the matter of pettinesses and malignities, and the rest of those bad marks, I can myself put together a few rival antitheses in opposition to Marcion.  If my God was unaware that there was another god above him, yours likewise did not know that there was another beneath him:  as it was put by Heraclitus the obscure, It is the same road upwards as downwards.1  In fact, if he had not been ignorant of him, he would have opposed him from the start.  Sin and death, and the actual author of sin, the devil, and every evil thing which my God has allowed to exist, yours also has allowed, by allowing him to allow them.  Our God has altered his decisions — exactly as yours has:  for your god, who has at so late a date had regard for the human race, has altered that decision by which for all those long ages he abstained from regarding them.  Our God, in the case of a certain person, repented of the evil:  and so did yours.  For the fact that he did at length have respect for man's salvation was an act of repentance for his initial disregard — such repentance as is owed to an evil deed.  Moreover, neglect of man's salvation must be accounted an evil deed, and in the case of your god this was rectified only by repentance.  Our God recommended theft — but of gold and silver.  But by how much a man is of greater value than gold and silver, by so much is your god more of a thief, stealing man away from his Owner and Maker.  Our God demands an eye for an eye:  but your god, by prohibiting retaliation, makes it more likely the injury will be repeated — for surely any man who is not hit back will repeat his blow.  Our God is unaware of the character of the men he is promoting:  and so is yours:  he would not have promoted Judas the traitor if he had known beforehand (what he was to be). And as you affirm that in one place the Creator told a lie, there is a much greater lie in your Christ, for his body was not a true one.  My God's cruelty has put an end to many:  your god in his turn consigns to destruction those whom he omits to save.  My God ordered a certain person to be put to death:  yours desired himself to be killed, a murderer as well of himself as of the man by whom it was his will to be put to death.  I shall prove to Marcion that his god has put to death a great many:  for he made (Israel) a murderer, who consequently must perish, unless it is the case that that people committed no sin

28.1  Heraclitus, fragm. 60 (Diels) ap.  Diog.  Laert. ix. 9: of the mutations of the four elements from fire to air, to water, to earth, and back again.


against (Marcion's) Christ.  But the power of truth is quick in action, content with few words:  falsehood will stand in need of many.

29. Now if my plea that the Creator combines goodness with judgement had called for a more elaborate demolition of Marcion's Antitheses, I should have gone on to overthrow them one by one, on the principle that the instances cited of both aspects are, as I have already proved, jointly in keeping with (a sound idea of) God.  Both aspects, the goodness and the judgement, combine to produce a complete and worthy conception of a divinity to which nothing is impossible:  and so I am for the time being content to have rebutted in summary fashion those antitheses which, by criticism of the moral value of the Creator's works, his laws, and his miracles, indicate anxiety to establish a division, making Christ a stranger to the Creator — as it were the supremely good a stranger to the judge, the kind to the cruel, the bringer of salvation a stranger to the author of destruction.  Instead of dividing, those antitheses do rather combine into unity the two whom they place in such oppositions as, when combined together, give a complete conception of God.  Take away Marcion's title, take away the intention and purpose of his work, and this book will provide neither more nor less than a description of one and the same God, in his supreme goodness and in his judgement — for these two conceptions are conjoined in God and in him alone.  In fact Marcion's very anxiety, by means of the instances cited, to set Christ in opposition to the Creator, does rather envisage their unity.  For the one and only real and objective divinity showed itself, in these very instances and these very deductions from them, to be both kind and stern:  for his purpose was to give evidence of his kindness, particularly in those against whom he had previously shown severity.  The change which time brought about is nothing to be wondered at:  God subsequently became more gentle, in proportion as things had become subdued, having been at first more strict when they were unsubdued.  So Marcion's antitheses make it easier to explain how the Creator's mode of action was by Christ rather refashioned than repudiated, restored rather than rejected:  especially so when you make your good god exempt from every bitterness of feeling, and, in that case, from hostility to the Creator.  If that is the case how can the


antitheses prove he has been in opposition to one or another aspect of the Creator's character?  To sum up:  I shall by means of these antitheses recognize in Christ my own jealous God.  He did in the beginning by his own right, by a hostility which was rational and therefore good, provide beforehand for the maturity and fuller ripeness of the things which were his.  His antitheses are in conformity with his own world:  for it is composed and regulated by elements contrary to each other, yet in perfect proportion.  Therefore, most thoughtless Marcion, you ought rather to have shown that there is one god of light and another of darkness:  after that you would have found it easier to persuade us that there is one god of kindness and another of severity.  In any case, the antithesis, or opposition, will belong to that God in whose world it is to be found.

1. Continuing with my reconstruction of the work which was lost, and following its original lines, I have now to treat of the Christ, even though, by having completed my proof that divinity necessarily implies unity, I have rendered this superfluous.  That the Christ cannot be thought of as belonging to any god except the Creator is involved in the decision already arrived at, that there cannot be any god besides the Creator.  This is the Creator whom Christ preached:  and the apostles after him proclaimed Christ as belonging to no other god than that God, the Creator, whom Christ had preached:  so much so, that no mention was ever made of a second god or a second Christ until Marcion's offence came in.  This is quite easily proved by a review of the apostolic churches and those of the heretics — namely, that where we find late appearance, there we must decide that the rule of the faith has been overturned.  I have touched upon this already in my first book.  But now again this discussion, like bees swarming, breaks off to treat of the Christ separately, and will have the result that in proving that Christ is the Creator's we shut out Marcion's god from this side as well.  It is seemly that the truth should make use of all its resources:  not that it is in danger of being overwhelmed — in fact it wins its case by the short-cut of prescriptions — but because it is eager to meet at every point an adversary so beside himself that he would rather assume the arrival of a Christ of whom there had been no previous announcement, than of one who has been foretold of all down the ages.

2. Now for my first line of attack.  I suggest that he had no right to come so unexpectedly.  For two reasons.  First because he too was the son of his own god.1 Proper order required that father should tell of son's existence before son told of father's, and father bear witness to son before son bore witness to father.  Secondly, besides this matter of sonship, he was an emissary.  The sender's acknowledgement ought to have come first, in commendation

2. 1 Elsewhere, e.g. at I. 11. 8, it is implied that Marcion's superior god came down in person as Christ.


of the one who was sent.  No one who comes by another's authority lays claim to it for himself, on his own bare statement, but looks for his credentials to the authority itself, headed by the style and title of the person who grants the authority.  Moreover none can be recognized as a son unless a father has given him that name, nor can any be accepted as messenger unless he has been nominated by some person whose commission he holds.  The naming and the nomination would certainly have been on record if there had been a father, or one to grant a commission.  Anything that diverges from the rule is bound to be suspect:  and the primary rule of all is that which does not permit son to vouch for father, or agent for principal, or Christ for god.  As that from which a thing originates came first in the ordaining of it, so it comes first in men's knowledge of it.  Here you have a son unexpected, an agent unexpected, a Christ unexpected.  But I suggest that with God nothing is unexpected, because with God nothing exists unordained.  If then it was ordained beforehand, why was it not also announced beforehand, so that the announcement might prove it ordained, and the ordaining prove it divine?  And surely there is another reason why so great a work, one taken in hand for man's salvation, could not have been unexpected — that it was to become effective through faith.  It had to be believed, or remain ineffective.  And so it required preparatory work in order to be credible — preparatory work built upon foundations of previous intention and prior announcement.  Only by being built up in this order could faith with good cause be imposed upon man by God, and shown towards God by man — a faith which, since there was knowledge, might be required to believe because belief was a possibility, and in fact had learned to believe by virtue of that previous announcement.

3. There was no need, you say, for such an ordering of events, seeing that he would immediately by the evidence of miracles prove himself in actual fact both son and emissary, and the Christ of God.  My answer will be that this form of proof by itself could never have provided satisfactory testimony to him, and in fact he himself subsequently discounted it.  When he affirmed that many would come, and would work signs and perform great miracles, to the leading astray even of the elect,a but must not on that account be made welcome, he made it clear that the


credit of signs and miracles is precarious, as these are quite easy even for false Christs to perform.  How could he possibly have been content to accept for himself approval and understanding and recognition from sources — miracles, I mean — which he disallowed in the case of others who themselves were to come no less unexpectedly, vouched for by no previous announcement?  If you suggest that by coming before these others, by having, before they did, marked as his own the evidences of miracles, he had staked his claim to credit, as one marks one's turn at the baths, and had thus forestalled all later comers, take care that he himself is not caught in the position of those late-comers, when he is seen to have come later than the Creator who had been known long before, had in consequence worked miracles long before, and in similar terms had given warning that no credence was to be given to others — others after him, that is.  It follows that if the fact that one has come first, and has first made this pronouncement concerning those who should come later, is to discredit these in advance, he will himself have been condemned in advance by that one subsequent to whom he too has come to our notice:  the Creator alone, who cannot be subsequent to anyone, will have the right to lay down this rule against late-comers.  That being so, I propose to prove that the same miracles which are the only evidence you lay claim to for belief in your Christ, the Creator had already of old wrought from time to time by his servants, and from time to time had indicated that they would be performed by his Christ:  and from this I can with justice claim that miracles are no sufficient reason for <your> acceptance of Christ, the more so as those miracles would have been capable of proving that Christ belongs to the Creator and no other, since they correspond with those miracles of the Creator which he performed by his servants and promised in expectation of his own Christ.  And besides, even if other evidences were found in your Christ, new ones I mean, we should find it easier to believe that even the new ones belonged to the same <God> as did the old ones, and not to a god who possesses none but new things, such as have not been submitted to the test of that antiquity which gives faith its victory.  So his coming would need to have been indicated by previous announcements of his own to build up credibility for him, as well as by miracles, especially as he was going to present himself as an opponent of the Creator's Christ,


himself furnished with his own particular signs and prophecies.  Only so could his rivalry of Christ be made clearly evident by all possible forms of difference.  Yet how could a god never previously prophesied of, prophesy beforehand of any Christ of his?  This it is then that demands that no credence be given either to your god or to your Christ:  a god had no right to remain unknown, and a Christ did require to obtain recognition by virtue of a god's commendation.

4. Your god was too proud, I suppose, to copy our God's ordering of events, since he disapproved of him and thought he would soon be shown wrong.  Himself a newcomer, he decided to come in novel fashion, the son before the father's acknowledgement, the emissary before his principal's warrant.  In this way he would become the inventor of a faith most unnatural, in which belief in Christ's coming would precede any knowledge of his existence.  It occurs to me here to discuss this further question, why he did not let (the Creator's) Christ come first.  For when I perceive that through long ages his god with supreme patience suffered a cruel Creator to announce from time to time among men his Christ, and, whatever his reason, delayed either to reveal himself or to intervene, for the same reason I suggest he owed the Creator the further patience of letting him complete his arrangements in respect of his, the Creator's, Christ:  in that way, when the whole activity of the hostile God and the hostile Christ was perfect and complete, he would have been able to superpose upon it ordinances of his own.  But he became tired of all that patience, for we see that he has not waited until the end of the Creator's activities.  There is no point in his having borne with the Creator's Christ being announced in advance, when he has not waited for his actual appearance.  Either he was unjustified in breaking into another's course of events, or he was unjustified in so long abstaining from breaking into it.  What was it that delayed him? or what that shook his patience?  In effect, he is at fault in both directions, revealing himself too belatedly after the Creator, yet too soon before his Christ.  The former he ought to have confuted long ago, the latter not yet.  The savagery of the former he ought not to have borne with so long, the repose of the latter he ought not yet to have disturbed.  In respect of both of them he falls short of his claim to be a god supremely good:  himself without question

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fickle and untrustworthy, lukewarm against the Creator, hot against his Christ, on both sides ineffective:  he has neither put restraint on the Creator nor set a barrier against his Christ.  The Creator is still at large, the same as ever:  a Christ is still to come, as it is written that he will.  Why has he come after the Creator, whose faults he has had no power to correct?  Why was he brought out of hiding before the Creator's Christ, whose coming he cannot prevent?  Or else, if he did correct the Creator's faults, he revealed himself rather late, so that things to be corrected might come first:  in which case, as he was no less intending to correct the Creator's Christ, he ought to have waited a little longer, and then he might have come afterwards as a corrector of him as well as of the Creator.  It is another matter if he too is to come again after that other, so that at his first coming he should have taken proceedings against the Creator by destroying his law and prophets, while at the second he will proceed against the Creator's Christ, disproving his kingship.  As he will at that event complete his course, at that event, if ever, he will deserve our credence:  or else, if his business is now already completed, his <second> coming will be devoid of purpose, seeing he will have nothing to do.

5. So much for skirmishing, as it might be at the first advance, and still at a distance.  As from this point I take up the real battle, fighting hand to hand, I see I must even now mark off some front line at which the contest is to be carried on — I mean the Creator's scriptures.  In accordance with these I propose to prove that Christ belonged to the Creator, seeing that in his Christ they were afterwards fulfilled:  and so I find it necessary to set out the form and, so to speak, the character of these scriptures, to prevent them from being dragged into controversy as often as they are applied to special cases, and, by the intermixture of the defence of themselves with that of the case in hand, blunting the reader's attention.  So from now on I demand that our opponents acknowledge two special cases of prophetic diction.  The first is that by which things future are sometimes set down as if they had already taken place.1 For it is within the competence of deity to account complete all things it has already decided upon, because in God's sight there is no distinction of tense, since with him eternity itself controls a condition in which all tenses are alike.  Thus it is the

5. 1 Past and future in prophecy:  Justin, dial. 114; Irenaeus, demonstr. 67.


more usual practice of prophetic divination to set down what it foresees, while it foresees it, as already seen and so already made actual, with no doubt, that is, of its future fulfilment:  so, in Isaiah, I gave my back to the scourging, and my cheeks to the smiting, I turned not my face away from spitting.a For whether, as we interpret it, it was Christ so early as that making a pronouncement regarding himself, or whether, as the Jews would have it, the prophet was speaking of himself, in either case he was reporting a thing not yet done, as though it were already accomplished.  Another form of speech will be that by which not a few things are set forth figuratively by means of enigmas and allegories and parables, and are to be understood otherwise than as they are written.2 And so we read that the mountains will distil sweetness,b yet not so that you should expect fruit-juice from stones or wine from rocks:  and we hear of a land flowing with milk and honey,c yet not for you to think you will ever squeeze cakes and sweetmeats out of clods of earth:  nor did God in set terms promise to be a water-diviner or a forester when he said, I will set rivers in a thirsty land, and the box-tree and the cedar in the wilderness.d So also when he tells of the conversion of the gentiles, and says, The beasts of the field shall bless me, the sirens and the daughters of the sparrows,e he is certainly not expecting to receive favorable omens from swallows' fledgelings or from little foxes or from those preternatural fabulous women singers.  Why need I say more of this practice?  Even the heretics' own apostle interprets as concerning not oxen but ourselves that law which grants an unmuzzled mouth to the oxen that tread out the corn,f and affirms that the rock that followed them to provide drink was Christ,g in the same way as he instructs the Galatians that the two narratives of the sons of Abraham took their course as an allegory,h and advises the Ephesians that that which was foretold in the beginning, that a man would leave his father and mother, and that he and his wife would become one flesh, is seen by him to refer to Christ and the Church.i

6. If we are for the moment in sufficient agreement concerning these two peculiarities of Jewish literature, the reader has to remember that we have agreed that when we adduce anything of this nature there is to be discussion not of the form of scripture,

5. 2 Types and figures:  Justin, dial. 68, 72, 90, 130.


but of the facts of the case.  So then, since heretical madness was claiming that that Christ had come who had never been previously mentioned, it followed that it had to contend that that Christ was not yet come who had from all time been foretold:  and so it was compelled to form an alliance with Jewish error, and from it to build up an argument for itself, on the pretext that the Jews, assured that he who has come was an alien, not only rejected him as a stranger but even put him to death as an opponent, although they would beyond doubt have recognized him and have treated him with all religious devotion if he had been their own.  It can have been no Rhodian law,1 but a Pontic one, which assured this shipmaster that the Jews were incapable of making a mistake respecting their Christ; although, even if nothing of this sort were found to have been spoken in prophecies against them, human nature alone and by itself, wide open to deception, might have persuaded him that the Jews could have made a mistake, being men, and that it would be wrong to use as a precedent the judgement of persons who had likely enough been mistaken.  But seeing there were also prophecies that the Jews would not recognize Christ and would therefore destroy him, it at once follows that he who was unrecognized by them, he whom they put to death, is the one whom they were marked down beforehand as going to treat in this fashion.  If you demand proof of this, I shall not turn up those scriptures which by pronouncing that Christ will be put to death thereby assert that he will be unrecognized — for unless he had been unrecognized he could surely not have suffered <at their hands> — but, keeping these in reserve for the discussion of his passion, I shall be content at present to adduce those prophecies which prove that Christ would be for a time unrecognized.  They do so in summary form, as they point out that the whole faculty of understanding was taken away from the people by the Creator. I will take away, he says, the wisdom of their wise, and will cover up the prudence of their prudent:a and, Ye shall hear with the ear, and shall not hear, and ye shall see with the eyes and shall not see:  for the heart of this people is become gross, and with their ears they have heard heavily, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should ever hear with their ears, and see with their eyes, and conceive in their heart, and be converted, and I should heal

6. 1 Rhodian maritime law was in high repute; some of its provisions were incorporated in the Digest.


them.b This blunting of their salutary senses they had earned for themselves by loving God with their lips, but with their heart withdrawing far from him.  Consequently, if the announcement of Christ was indeed made by the Creator who established! the thunder and closeth up the spirit and announceth unto men his Christ, according to the prophet Joel,c and if all the hope of the Jews, not to mention also the gentiles, was made to look forward to Christ's revealing, beyond doubt they were stigmatized, through deprivation of their powers of recognition and understanding, their wisdom and prudence, as not likely to recognize or understand that which was announced <as not understood>, namely, Christ:  for their principal wise men, the scribes, and their prudent men, the pharisees, were to be in error against him; as likewise the people were to hear with their ears and not hear — Christ teaching — and to see with their eyes and not see — Christ working miracles — as it is said also in another place, And who is blind but my servants, and who is deaf but he who lords it over them?d Also when he upbraids them, by Isaiah once more, I have begotten and brought up children, but they have rejected me:  the ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know me and the people hath not understood mee — we for our part, assured that Christ has always spoken in the prophets — being the Spirit of the Creator, as the prophet testifies, The person of our spirit, Christ the Lord,2,f who since the beginning, as the Father's representative, has been both heard and seen, under the name of God — we, I say, know that his were those words of this sort, when he even as early as that rebuked Israel for the sins it was prophesied they would commit against him:  Ye have forsaken the Lord, and have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger.g If however you will have it that this whole imputation of Jewish ignorance since the first beginning refers not to Christ but rather to God himself, if you refuse to admit that even in the past the Word and Spirit, the Christ of the Creator, was despised by them and unrecognized, even then you will be confuted.  For as you do not deny that the Creator's Christ is the Son and the Spirit and the substance of the Creator,3 you have to admit that such as did not recognize the Father were incapable also of recognizing the Son, because

6. 2 This is at variance with both the Hebrew and LXX; cf. adv.  Prax. 14.

3 Word, spirit, substance:  see above, II. 9, n. 1.


he is one and the same substance, with the same attributes, and if the fullness of this was beyond their understanding, so, a fortiori, was the derivative, seeing it is joint possessor with the fullness.  If these facts are thus considered, it is now apparent for what reason the Jews both rejected Christ and put him to death — not because they took Christ for a stranger, but because though their own, they did not accept him.  For how could they have taken for a stranger one of whom no announcement had ever been made, when they had been incapable of understanding him who had at all times been the subject of prophecy?  The possibility of being understood or not being understood arises when some fact, by having a foundation in prophecy, is able also to provide subjectmatter for acknowledgement or for error:  whereas that which is devoid of subject-matter has no room for wisdom or its outcome.  Consequently, it was not as belonging to another god that they objected to Christ and persecuted him, but as being nothing more than a man, whom they supposed to be a magician4 in his miracles, and their opponent in his doctrines:  with the result that this man, as belonging to them, being a Jew, yet a perverter and overthrower of Judaism, they brought to judgement and punished by their law:  a stranger they would certainly not have judged.  So far are they from appearing to have taken Christ for a stranger, that it was not as a stranger that they brought his manhood5 to judgement.

7.1 It is now possible for the heretic to learn, and the Jew as well, what he ought to know already, the reason for the Jew's errors:  for from the Jew the heretic has accepted guidance in this discussion, the blind borrowing from the blind, and has fallen into the same ditch.  I affirm that two descriptions of Christ, set forth by the prophets, indicated beforehand an equal number of advents:  one of them, the first, in humility, when he was to be led like a sheep to sacrifice, and as a lamb before his shearer is voiceless so he opens not his mouth, and not even in form was

6. 4 Planus:  the Greek word pla&noj, magician or deceiver, quoted from Matt. 27:63.

5 Hominem eius:  Latin authors habitually used this expression for Christ's human nature, without any suggestion of a double personality:  so adv.  Prax. 30. 2.

7. 1 This chapter is taken up again, adv.  Jud. 14: cf. apol. 21. 15; Justin, dial. 31, 49, 52, 110, 121; Irenaeus, A.H. IV. 1.


he comely.  For, he says, We have announced concerning him:  as a little boy, as a root in thirsty ground:  and he has no appearance nor glory, and we saw him, and he had no appearance or beauty, but his appearance was unhonored, defective more than the sons of men, a man in sorrow, and knowing how to bear infirmity:a because set by the Father for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.b Made by him a little lower than the angels :c declaring himself a worm and no man, the scorn of man and the outcast of the people.d These tokens of ignobility apply to the first advent, as the tokens of sublimity apply to the second, when he will become no longer a stone of stumbling or a rock of offence, but the chief corner-stone, after rejection taken back again and set on high at the summit of the temple — that is, the Church — that rock in fact mentioned by Daniel, which was carved out of a mountain, which will break in pieces and grind to powder the image of the kingdoms of this world.2,e Concerning this advent the same prophet speaks:  And behold, one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, came even to the Ancient of days:  he was in his presence:  and the attendants brought him forward, and there was given to him royal power, and all nations of the earth after their kinds, and all glory to serve <him>, and his power even for ever, that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom, that shall not be destroyed:f then, it means, he will have an honorable appearance, and beauty unfading, more than the sons of men.  For it says, Fairer in beauty beyond the sons of men; grace is poured forth in thy lips; therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.  Gird the sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty in thy worshipfulness and thy beauty.g Then also the Father, now that he has made him a little lower than the angels, will crown him with glory and honor, and will put all things beneath his feet.  Then those who pierced him will know who he is, and will smite their breasts, tribe to tribe — because in fact they formerly failed to recognize him in the humility of human condition:  And he is a man, says Jeremiah, and who shall know him?h Because also, Isaiah says, His nativity, who shall tell of it?i So also in Zechariah, in the person of Jeshua, yes truly, in a name which is itself a sacrament, the veritable high priest of the Father, Christ Jesus, is by two styles of raiment marked out for two advents:  he is at first clothed in filthy garments, which means the indignity of passible and mortal flesh, when also the devil stands as his adversary, the devil who put it into the heart of Judas the traitor, not to mention himself

7. 2 On Dan. 2: 34 cf.  Justin, dial. 70.


being the tempter after <Christ's> baptism:  afterwards he is divested of his previous foulness, and arrayed in robe and mitre and shining crown, which means the glory and dignity of his second coming.3 If also I am to submit an interpretation of the two goats which were offered at the Fast,j are not these also figures of Christ's two activities?4 They are indeed of the same age and appearance because the Lord's is one and the same aspect:  because he will return in no other form, seeing he has to be recognized by those of whom he has suffered injury.  One of them however, surrounded with scarlet, cursed and spit upon and pulled about and pierced, was by the people driven out of the city into perdition, marked with manifest tokens of our Lord's passion:  while the other, made an offering for sins, and given as food to the priests of the temple, marked the tokens of his second manifestation, at which, when all sins have been done away, the priests of the spiritual temple, which is the Church, were to enjoy as it were a feast of our Lord's grace, while the rest remain without a taste of salvation.  So then, seeing that the first advent was for the most part prophesied under the obscurity of figures, and borne down with every sort of indignity, while the second was both clearly told of, and was of divine dignity, they set their eyes on that one alone which they could easily understand and easily believe, the second, and thus were, as might have been expected, misled in respect of the less evident, admittedly less dignified, which was the first.  Thus even until this day they refuse to admit that their Christ has come, because he has not come in majesty, being unaware that he was first also to come in humility.

8. Let the heretic now give up borrowing poison from the Jew, — the asp, as they say, from the viper:  let him from now on belch forth the slime of his own particular devices, as he maintains that Christ was a phantasm:  except that this opinion too will have had other inventors, those so to speak premature and abortive Marcionites whom the apostle John pronounced antichrists, who denied that Christ was come in the flesh,a yet not with the intention of setting up the law of a second god — else for this too they would have been censured <by the apostle> — but because they had assumed it incredible that God <should take to him human>

7. 3 On Zech. 3 cf.  Justin, dial. 115, 116.

4 The two goats at the Atonement, Justin, dial. 40; other types, dial. 111.


flesh.  So Marcion, even more of an antichrist, seized upon this assumption, being better equipped in fact for denial of Christ's corporal substance, in that he had postulated that even Christ's god was neither the creator of flesh nor would raise it to life again — in this too supremely good, and entirely divergent from the lies and deceptions of the Creator.  And that is why his Christ, so as not to tell lies, or to deceive, and in this fashion perhaps be accounted as belonging to the Creator, was not that which he appeared to be, and told lies about what he was — being flesh and not flesh, man and not man, and in consequence a Christ <who was> god and not god.  For why should he not also have been clothed in a phantasm of god?  Or can I believe what he says of his more recondite substance, when he has deceived me about that which was more evident?  How shall he be accounted truthful about the secret thing, who has been found so deceptive about the obvious ?  How can it have been that by confusing within himself truth of the spirit with deceit of the flesh, he conjoined that fellowship of light, which is truth, and deception, which is darkness, that the apostle says is impossible?b Also, now that it is found to be a lie that Christ <was made> flesh, it follows that all things that were done by means of Christ's flesh were done by a lie, his meetings with people, his touching of them, his partaking of food, his miracles besides.  For if by touching someone, or being touched by someone, he gave freedom from sickness, the act performed by the body cannot be credited as truly performed apart from the verity of the body itself.  It was not feasible for anything solid to be performed by that which is void, anything full by that which is empty.  Putative constitution, putative activity:  imaginary operator, imaginary operations.  Thus also the sufferings of Marcion's Christ will fail to find credence:  one who has not truly suffered, has not suffered at all, and a phantasm cannot have truly suffered.  Consequently God's whole operation is overthrown.  There is a denial of Christ's death, the whole weight and value of the Christian name, that death which the apostle so firmly insists on, because it is true, declaring it the chief foundation of the gospel, of our salvation, and of his own preaching. For I delivered unto you, he says, fast of all, that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.c But if his flesh is denied, how can his death be affirmed?  For death is the particular experience of flesh, which by means of

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death is turned downwards into the earth from which it was taken:  such is the law of its own Creator.  But if the death is denied, as it is when the flesh is denied, neither can there be assurance of the resurrection.  By whatever reasoning he did not die, by the same reasoning he did not rise again:  which was that he had not the substance of flesh, to which death appertains, and likewise resurrection.  But further, if doubt is cast upon Christ's resurrection, ours also is overthrown:  for if Christ's is not valid, neither can that be valid for the sake of which Christ came.  For just as those who said there was no resurrection of the dead are confuted by the apostle from the resurrection of Christ, so also, if Christ's resurrection fails, the resurrection of the dead is also taken away.  And so also our faith is vain, and vain is the apostles' preaching.d They are also found false witnesses of God, because they have borne witness that he has raised up Christ, whom he has not raised up.  And we are yet in our sins.  And those who are fallen asleep in Christ, have perished — no doubt they will rise again, but in a phantasm perhaps, as Christ did.

9.1 If in this inquiry you think you can set against me the Creator's angels, alleging that they also, when in converse with Abraham and Lot,a were in a phantasm, evidently of putative flesh, and yet really met with them, and partook of food, and performed the task committed to them, <my answer will be> first, that you have no claim upon the evidences of that God whom you are concerned to depose.  For, the more superior and the more perfect the character of the god you are commending, the more unbecoming to him are evidences belonging to that other:  for unless he is entirely diverse from him he cannot be in any sense better or more perfect.  Secondly, take note besides that we do not admit your claim that in those angels the flesh was putative:  it was of veritable and complete human substance.  For if it was not difficult for God to display true perceptions and activities in putative flesh, much easier did he find it to provide true perceptions and activities with true substance of flesh, the more so as he is himself its particular creator and maker.  Now your god, seeing that he has never produced any flesh at all, may quite reasonably perhaps have brought in a phantasm of something he had not the ability to make the truth of.  But my God, who reshaped into the

9. 1 This chapter is almost verbally reproduced in de carne Christi 3.


quality we know, that flesh which he had taken up out of clay — it was not yet conceived of conjugal seed, yet was already flesh — was no less able out of any material whatsoever to construct flesh for angels as well:  he had even built up the world out of nothing into all these various bodies, and had done this with a Word.  And truly, if your god promises to men some time the true substance of angels — They will, he says, be as the angelsb — why should not my God too have granted to angels the true substance of men, from wheresoever he may have taken it?  Since you for your part will not answer me when I ask from whence that angelic <substance> you speak of is <to be> taken, no more is required of me than to affirm as a fact, which is in keeping with God's dignity, the truth of that object which he presented to three witnesses, the senses of sight, and touch, and hearing.  God finds it more difficult to tell lies than to bring into existence veritable flesh, from whatsoever source, even without the process of birth.  There are yet other heretics, who state that if in the angels that flesh had been truly human it would have needed to pass through human birth:  to these we give in answer a firm reason why it was both truly human yet exempt from birth.  It was truly human for the sake of the truth of God, who is a stranger to all lying and deceit, and because <the angels> could not have been received by men on human terms if they had not been in human substance:  yet it had not passed through birth because Christ alone had the right to become incarnate of human flesh, so that he might reform our nativity by his own nativity, and thus also loose the bands of our death by his own death, by rising again in that flesh in which he was born with intent to be able to die.  For this reason he too on that occasion appeared along with the angels in Abraham's presence, in flesh veritable indeed though not yet born, because it was not yet to die, though it was even then learning to hold converse among men.  Even more so the angels, who were never by God's intention to die for us, had no need to receive their brief experience of flesh by means of birth, because they were not intending to lay it down by means of death:  yet from wheresoever it was they acquired it, and in whatsoever manner they finally disposed of it, they certainly did not tell lies about it.  If the Creator maketh his angels spirits and his attendants a flaming fire,c no less truly spirits than truly fire, he is the same who also made them truly flesh, so that we may


now set it on record, and report back to the heretics, that the promise of some time reforming men into angels is made by that <God> who of old time formed angels into men.

10. So then, as you are not admitted to avail yourself, along with us, of the evidences the Creator provides, seeing these belong not to you, and have their own explanations, I wish you for your part would state what your god had in mind when he produced his Christ not in veritable flesh.  If he held flesh in contempt,1 as being earthly and, as you people keep on saying, packed with dung, why did he not for the same reason despise even the similitude of it?  No dishonorable object can have an honorable copy made of it:  as the thing itself is, so will its likeness be.  But, <you ask>, how could he hold converse among men except by means of a copy of man's substance?  Why then not rather by means of the truth of it, so that he might truly hold converse, seeing he thought it necessary to hold converse ?  With how much more dignity would necessity have made provision of good faith than of fraud?  A sad sort of god is this you set up, in this very fact that he was incapable of bringing his Christ into view except in the likeness of some unworthy object, one which was not even his own.  It may perhaps be permissible to make use of a certain number of unworthy objects, if they are our own:  it cannot be right to use things not one's own, even though they are worthy.  Why then did he not come in some other more worthy substance, something of his own for preference, so as not to show himself in need of unworthy things, which belonged to someone else?  If my Creator entered into converse with a man by means of a bush and a flame, and afterwards by means of a cloud, and a ball <of fire>, and has made use of the bodies of the <four> elements in making himself present, these instances of divine power sufficiently prove that God stood in no need of any contrivance of false flesh, or even of true.  Moreover, if we face the facts, no substance is worthy enough for God to clothe himself with it.  Anything he does clothe himself with, he himself makes worthy — so long as no lie is involved.  And in that case how can he have regarded as a dishonor the verity of flesh, any more than a lie about it?  In fact he made

10. 1 On gnostic and Marcionite vilification of the human body, de carne Christi 4, de res. carnis 4.


it honorable by shaping it <with his hands>.2 How noble now is that flesh, the mere phantasm of which became indispensable to your superior god.

11. All this jugglery of a putative corporeity in Christ has been taken up by Marcion with this in mind, that evidence of human substance might not serve for proof of his nativity as well:  for in that case our claim would be justified that Christ belongs to the Creator, since the announcement had gone forth that he was to be born, and so needed to have human flesh.  Here too that man of Pontus has acted unwisely, not observing that it would be easier to believe that in God there was flesh without birth, than that there was flesh which was not flesh, particularly since such a belief had had the way prepared for it by the Creator's angels, who conversed <with men> in flesh which was true flesh, but had not been born.  Also that woman Philumena did better in persuading Apelles and the other deserters of Marcion, that Christ was indeed clothed with veritable flesh, yet without nativity, having taken it on loan from the elements.1 But if Marcion was afraid that belief in the flesh might also carry with it belief in nativity — there is no doubt that he who was seen to be man was naturally thought to have been born.  A certain woman cried out, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked:a and how comes it that his mother and his brethren are reported standing without?b But we shall consider these texts in their proper place.2 Certainly when he himself described himself as the Son of man, this was a claim to have been born.  For the moment — so that I may defer all these matters until I come to assess the evidence of the gospel — yet <this must stand> which I have already established, that if he who was seen to be a man had without question to be accepted as having been born, to no purpose has <Marcion> conjectured that belief in nativity can be ruled out by the supposition of imaginary flesh:  for what advantage was it that that which was held for true should not

10. 2 Either this, as translated here, refers to God's shaping of man out of clay; or the sentence is a supposed interjection, that Marcion's god honored human flesh even 'by his pretended assumption of it'.

11. 1 Apelles:  de carns Christi 6-9. On the virgin Philumena see the statement of Rhodo, quoted by Eusebius, H.E. v. xiii. 2-7 [Stevenson, A New Eusebius, 82].

2 IV. 26 and de carne Christi 7.


truly have been so, whether it were flesh or nativity?  Or else, if you say human opinion is no concern of yours, you are now honoring your god with an ascription falsely applied, if he knew he was something other than he had caused men to think he was.  And again, it was in your power also to have credited him with a putative nativity, and then you would not have stumbled over this question.  Young women sometimes think themselves pregnant, either because their periods fall late, or because they are swollen up by some distemper.  And in fact it was his duty to act out the phantasm motif right to the end, so as to avoid cutting out the scene of the origin of the flesh, seeing he had not cut out the role of that substance itself.  Evidently you have rejected the idea that his nativity was a pretence:  for you have affirmed that his flesh was real.  Even a real nativity of God is of course a thing most disgraceful.  Come on then, use all your eloquence against those sacred and reverend works of nature, launch an attack upon everything that you are:  revile that in which both flesh and soul begin to be:  characterize as a sewer the womb, that workshop for bringing forth the noble animal which is man:  continue your attack on the unclean and shameful torments of child-bearing, and after that on the dirty, troublesome, and ridiculous management of the new-born child.  And yet, when you have pulled all those things to pieces, so as to assure yourself that they are beneath God's dignity, nativity cannot be more undignified than death, or infancy than a cross, or <human> nature than scourging, or <human> flesh than condemnation.  If Christ did in very truth suffer those things, it was a lesser thing to be born:  if, as a phantasm, his sufferings were a falsehood, so could his birth have been.  So much for Marcion's general arguments, by which he makes out that there is another Christ.3 I think I have sufficiently shown that they have no sort of stability, while my plea is that it is much more consistent with God's character that that shape and form in which he brought his Christ to our knowledge should be the truth and not a lie.  If it was the truth, there was flesh:  if there was flesh he was born.  The <truths> which this heresy attacks, are confirmed when those <allegations> are broken down by which it makes its attack.  Consequently, if because he was born he must be admitted to

11. 3 i.e. the Creator's Christ, who according to Marcion — and the Jews (cf. 16. 3 below) — was still to come.


have had <human> flesh, and if because he has <human> flesh he must be admitted to have been born, and if also <he was real> because he was no phantasm, he must be acknowledged to be the same one who, it was foretold by the Creator's prophets, would come in the flesh, and would do so by process of nativity — in other words, the Creator's Christ.

12.1 Appeal next, as your custom is, to this description of Christ which Isaiah makes, and assert your claim that it in no point agrees.  In the first place, you allege, Isaiah's Christ will have to be named Emmanuel,a and afterwards to take up the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the Assyrians:b and yet he who has come was neither known by any name of that kind, nor has ever performed any warlike act.  My advice to you will be to consider the contexts of each of these two passages.  For there is appended a translation of Emmanuel, God with us;c so that you should not only have in mind the sound of the name, but also its meaning.  For the Hebrew sound, which is Emmanuel, belongs to its own nation:  but its meaning, which is God with us is by the translation made common <to all nations>. Inquire then whether that word, God-with-us, which is Emmanuel, is frequently used in regard to Christ ever since Christ's light has shone forth:  and I think you will agree that it is, in that you yourself say, He is called God-with-us, and that is Emmanuel.  Or else if, because among your company the word used is Godwith-us, and not Emmanuel, you are so frivolous as to refuse to admit that that one is come to whom it particularly belongs to be named Emmanuel — as though this were not the same as Godwith-us — you will find that among the Hebrews there are Christians, even Marcionites, who use the name Emmanuel when they wish to say God-with-us:  as likewise every nation, in whatsoever words they have said God-with-us, have uttered the name Emmanuel, expressing the sound of the word by its meaning.  But if Emmanuel is God-with-us, and God-with-us is Christ, who also is within us — for all you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christd — Christ is just as particularly implied

12. 1 The substance of Chapters 12 — 14 reappears as adv.  Jud. 9. It is disputed whether that part of adv.  Jud. was written by Tertullian or by someone who made use of his work — perhaps the unauthorized transcriber mentioned at I. 1. 1 above.


in the signification of the name, which is God-with-us, as in the sound of the name, which is Emmanuel.  And so it stands agreed that that one is already come who was foretold as Emmanuel, because that which Emmanuel signifies has come, and that is God-with-us.

13. No less are you being led by the sound of the words when you interpret the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria and the king of the Assyrians as indicating that the Creator's Christ will be a warrior.a You miss the point of what scripture promises <in the statement> that before <the child> knows how to say Father, and Mother, he will take up the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the Assyrians.  You must before all else take note of the indication of his age, <and ask> whether it can as yet represent Christ as a <grown> man, far less a commander <of armies>. Do you suppose the infant was going to call men to arms by his mewling, and give the signal for war with a rattle-box instead of a trumpet, and launch his attack upon the enemy not from horse or chariot or city-wall, but from his nurse's or nursemaid's shoulder or back, and thus obtain control of Damascus and Samaria in the place of <his mother's> breasts?  Of course it is another matter if among the men of Pontus the infants of that barbarous race break forth to battle:  I suppose they are first oiled and laid in the sun, and afterwards panoplied in swaddling-clothes and given butter for army-pay — these same who know how to handle a spear before they learn to chew.  But now, since nature in no country gives permission <for infants> to go to war before they <learn to> live, to take up the strength of Damascus before they know the words Father, and Mother, it follows that the statement must be taken as figurative.  But, says he, nature does not permit a virgin to bear <a child>, and yet you believe the prophet.  And rightly so.  For he began by building up credence for a fact incredible, by stating the reason, that it was intended for a sign. Therefore, it says, the Lord shall give you a sign, Behold a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bear a son.1,b Now a sign from God, unless it were some preternatural novelty, would in no sense have been a sign.  Consequently whenever the Jews, in the hope of disconcerting

13. 1 On Isa. 7: 14 and 8: 4 (above) with Ps. 72: 10: Justin, dial. 43 and 77, 78: on virgo, iuvencula also Irenaeus, A.H. III. xxiii, xxv.


us, have the effrontery to utter their lie that it is contained in scripture that a young woman, not a virgin, is to conceive and bear, they are confuted by this fact, that evidently no sign is involved in an everyday occurrence, the pregnancy and childbearing of a young woman.  Therefore a virgin mother, ordained for a sign, naturally carries credence:  an infant warrior by no means so.  For in this second case no question of a sign is involved, but after the sign of the new nativity has been written down, immediately after the sign another part of the infant's upbringing is indicated, that he will eat honey and butter.  Nor is this next remark meant for a sign, that he will not assent to malice, for this too is characteristic of infancy:  but that he will take up the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the Assyrians <is a sign>. Observe the measure of his age while you look for the meaning of the prophecy:  what is more, give back to the gospel of the truth the things of which you, a late-comer, have deprived it, and the prophecy as soon becomes intelligible as it is reported fulfilled.  So let us retain those Wise Men from the East who in his infancy offer to the the new-born Christ gifts of gold and incense:  thus the infant will have taken up the strength of Damascus without fighting or armament.  For apart from the fact, known to everybody, that the strength of the East, that is, its force and power, is customarily potent in gold and spices, it is certainly possible for the Creator to constitute gold the strength of the other nations besides:  as <he says> by Zechariah, And Judah shall encamp before Jerusalem and gather together all the valiance of the peoples round about, gold and silver.c But of that gift of gold David also says, And there shall be given to him of the gold ofArabia;d and again, The kings of the Arabs and of Saba shall offer him gifts.e For the Orient for the most part held the Magi for kings,2 and Damascus was formerly reckoned to Arabia, before it was transferred to Syrophoenicia after the dividing up of the Syrias,3 and it was at that earlier time that Christ took up its strength, by taking up the tokens of it, namely gold and spices:

13. 2 Tertullian is the earliest writer to say that the Magi were kings;  Justin dial. 78, had already said they came from Arabia.

3 Damascus was reckoned to Arabia until it was brought into Coele Syria, on the division of Syria by Septimius Severus between 193 and 198 (Dio Cassius 53.12): Justin, dial. 78, seems to have previous knowledge of this rearrangement unless the observation is a later addition.

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while as spoils of Samaria <he took up> the Magi themselves, who after they had discovered him, and honored him with gifts, and had bowed the knee and worshipped him as God and king on the evidence of the star that was their informant and leader, were made the spoils of Samaria, that is, of idolatry, because they believed in Christ.  For he stigmatized idolatry under the name of Samaria, which was in disgrace because of the idolatry by which it had of old revolted from God under king Jeroboam:  for this is no unusual thing to the Creator, to make a figurative use of the transference of names when the things censured are of like character.  So he also calls the princes of the Jews princes of Sodom, and the people themselves the people of Gomorra.  And again in another place he says, Thy father was an Amorite and thy mother a Hittite, because of the same sort of impiety, although at another time he had even said they were his own sons, I have nourished and brought up sons. So also Egypt is sometimes in his scriptures understood to mean the whole world, when charged with idolatry and abomination:  and in the same way Babylon also in our <apostle> John is a metaphor of the Roman city, which, like Babylon, is great, and proud of empire, and at war against the saints of God.f By this same usage he described the Magi also by the appellation of Samaritans, because, as I have observed, they were despoiled of idolatry, a thing they had in common with the Samaritans. Against the king of the Assyriansg you must understand to mean 'against Herod', against whom in fact the Magi then took action by not bringing him back news of Christ, whom he was seeking to destroy.

14. This interpretation of mine will receive support in that in other places too, where you suppose Christ a warrior because of the names of certain weapons of war, and verbs to the same effect, you stand refuted as we bring under consideration the purport of their context as a whole. Gird thee with a sword upon thy thigh,a says David.  But what do you find written of Christ just before this? Thou art timely in beauty more than the sons of men, grace is poured forth on thy lips.b It is ridiculous to suppose that he was flattering, in the matter of timeliness of beauty and grace of lips, one whom he was girding for war with a sword.  So also, when he goes on to say, And stretch forth and prosper and reign, he adds <the reason>, because of truth and gentleness and righteousness. Who is


going to produce these results with a sword?  Will not that rather produce the opposites of these, guile, and severity, and unrighteousness?  These are surely the particular purpose and effect of battles.  Let us inquire then whether there is a different meaning for that sword, which has so different an activity.  Now the apostle John in the Apocalypse describes a sharp two-edged sword as proceeding from the mouth of God,c exceeding sharp:  and this has to be understood as the divine word, doubly sharp in the two testaments of the Law and the Gospel, sharp with wisdom, directed against the devil, arming us against the spiritual hosts of wickedness and all concupiscence, and cutting us off even from our dearest for the sake of the name of God.  But if you refuse acknowledgement of John,1 you have Paul, a teacher you share with us, who girds our loins with truth, and with the corselet of righteousness, and shoes our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace — not of war — and bids us take to us the shield of the faith, that by it we may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil, and <to take> the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which, says he, is the word of God.d This is the sword which our Lord himself came to cast on to the earth,e not peace.  If this is your Christ, then he too is a warrior.  If he is not a warrior, but advances an allegorical sword, then it was permissible for the Creator's Christ in the psalm, without warlike intent, to be girt with the figurative sword of the word — and in keeping with this is the above-mentioned timeliness and grace of lips — the sword with which he was at that time girt upon the thigh, as David puts it, but was afterwards to cast upon the earth.  For this is what he means by, Stretch forth and prosper and reign:f sending forth the word into all the earth, for the vocation of all the nations:  destined to prosper by the progress of the faith by which he has been received:  and reigning from thenceforth in that he has overcome death by resurrection. And thy right hand, it says, shall marvellously lead thee forth, which means the power of spiritual grace, by which the knowledge of Christ is led forth. Thy arrows are sharp, the precepts which fly in every direction, and the threatenings and the searchings of heart, which pierce and transfix every man's conscience. Peoples shall fall down before thee, in worship.  This is how the Creator's Christ is a warrior and an armed man, this is how he is even

14. 1 For Marcion's rejection of the Apocalypse cf.  IV. 5. 2.


today taking the spoils, not of Samaria only but of all the nations.  You have been taught how his armour is allegorical:  admit then that his spoils are figurative.  As then our Lord speaks, and the apostle writes, figuratively of these matters, we do then with good confidence make use of those interpretations of his, instances of which even our adversaries acknowledge:  and so the Christ who has come will be Isaiah's Christ, for the very reason that he was not a warrior, because he is not by Isaiah described as such.

15. On the question of the flesh, and, by implication, of the nativity, and for the time being of the one name, of Emmanuel, let this suffice.  Next, as concerns his other names, and in particular his name of Christ, what answer are my opponents going to give?  If in your opinion the name of Christ is a common noun, just as the name of god is, with the result that it is permissible for the sons of each of two gods to be called Christ, as also for each <of those gods> to be called father <and> lord, assuredly reason will controvert this proposition.  The name of god, being as it were a natural description of divinity, can be shared among all for whom divinity is claimed, such as idols, as the apostle says, For there are also those that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth.a But the name of Christ, which comes not from nature but from revelation, becomes the peculiar property of him by whom it is known to have been fore-ordained:  nor is it subject to sharing with another god, especially one who is hostile, and has a dispensation of his own, for which he will need to provide specific names.  How ridiculous it is that when they have invented the idea of two gods with hostile dispensations, they admit a partnership of names into this discord of dispensations, although they could have to hand no more cogent proof of two hostile gods than that in their dispensation there should also be found diversity of names.  For there exists no case of opposing attributes which is not marked off by its own particular terminology:  and when a particular terminology is lacking, if it ever is, then the Greek catachresis — of the improper use of a term which does not belong — comes to one's rescue.  But with a god, I imagine, there can be no possibility of anything lacking, or of his needing to furnish his own dispensations with property which belongs to another.  What sort of a god is yours, who even for his own son lays claim to names from the Creator — names that are not only not his own, but are


ancient and well known, and even on that account ought to be unsuitable for a god who is new and unknown ?  In fact how can he tell us that a new patch is not sewn on to an old garment, nor new wine entrusted to old wineskins,b if he is himself patched on to, and dressed up in, names that are old?  How has he managed to strip the gospel away from the law, if himself dressed up in the whole law — for that is what the name of Christ involves?  Who has bidden him not to use a different name, seeing he is a preacher of something different, and comes from a different place, when in fact he has refused to take to him a veritable body with the express intention of not being thought the Creator's Christ?  It was to no effect that he chose not to be taken for that one whose name he chose to bear, when even if he had in fact possessed a body, he would have been more likely not to be taken for the Creator's Christ if he were not using his name.  As things stand, he has rejected the objective reality of one whose name he has accepted, though he could not avoid expressing approval of that objective reality by his use of its name.  For if Christ means 'anointed', anointing is certainly something which is done to a body.  One who had no body could not in any sense be anointed:  one who could not in any sense be anointed could not by any means have had the name of Christ.  It is another matter if he also pretended to a phantasm of the name.  But how, they ask, could he have worked his way into the Jews' confidence except by a name which was usual and familiar among them?  You tell a tale of a god without courage and without principles, since to promote a policy by deception is the device either of selfdistrust or of dishonesty.  With greater honesty and absence of guile the false prophets acted in opposition to the Creator by coming in the name of their own god.  So I do not see how this device had any effect, since the Jews found it easier to believe he was either their own Christ, or else rather some deceiver, than the Christ of a different god — and so the gospel will prove.

16. Now supposing it true that he pilfered the name of Christ, like a petty thief after the dole-basket, why did he also choose to be called Jesus, a name about which the Jews had no such expectations?  Although we for our part have by the grace of God obtained understanding of his mysteries, and recognize that this name too was destined for Christ, it does not follow that the


Jews, deprived of wisdom, were to be aware of that fact.  Indeed until this present day they are hoping for Christ, not for Jesus, and they would rather interpret Elijah as Christ, than Jesus [i.e.  Joshua]. He then who has come also in this name in which Christ was not expected, had it in his power to come in that name alone which was the only one expected.  But as he has combined the two, the expected and the unexpected, both of his designs are put out of court.  For if his reason for being Christ was that he might for a time steal in on the pretence of belonging to the Creator, <the name of> Jesus opposes <this>, because there was no expectation of Jesus [Joshua] in the Creator's Christ:  or if <he was named> Jesus so that he might be taken to belong to the other <god>, <the name> Christ forbids <this>, because the Christ that was hoped for belonged to no other than the Creator.  Which of these <names> can hold its ground, I know not.  But both can hold their ground in the Creator's Christ, in whom also <the name of> Jesus is found to be.  In what way, you ask.  Have your answer here, along with the Jews, who hold the half of your error.1 When Auses [Oshea] the son of Nave [Nun] was marked out as successor to Moses, you admit he is changed from his original name, and begins to be called Jesusa [Jehoshua] ?2 Just so, you answer.  We observe first that this was a figure of him who was to be.  Because Jesus the Christ was going to bring the second people, which are we, born in the wilderness of <this> world, into the land of promise, flowing with milk and honey, which means the inheritance of eternal life, than which nothing is sweeter:  and because this was going to be effected not by Moses, not, that is, by the discipline of the law, but by Jesus, through the grace of the gospel, after we had been circumcised with the knife of flint, that is, the precepts of Christ — for the rock was Christ — therefore that man who was being set aside for the similitudes of this mystery was also first established in the likeness of our Lord's name, being surnamed Jesus [Jehoshua]. Christ himself, when talking with Moses, bore witness that this name is his own.  For who was it that was talking?  Surely the Creator's Spirit, who is Christ.  When therefore he spoke to the people, to whom he had given the commandments, and said, Behold I

16. 1 i.e. the Jews denied that the Creator's Christ was come, but had not invented a superior god or a different Christ, as Marcion had.

2 On the change of name cf.  Justin, dial. 75 and 113.


send my angel before thy face, to guard thee in the way, and to bring thee into the land which I have prepared for thee:  give heed to him and hear him, disobey him not, for he will not hide it from thee that my name is upon him:b he called him an angel because of the greatness of the exploits he was to perform, and because of his office of prophet in declaring the will of God:  but he called him Jesus [Joshua] because of the mystery of his own name which was to be.  Again and again he asserted his own name which he had conferred upon him, because he had ordered him to be addressed in future not as angel or as Auses [Oshea] but as Jesus [Joshua]. Therefore in as much as both these names are appropriate to the Creator's Christ, to that extent neither of them is appropriate to the Christ of a non-creator — nor again is the rest of what he did.  So from this point onwards there must be marked out between you and me that firm and definite ruling, necessary to both parties, by which it is laid down that there can be nothing at all in common between the Christ of another god and the Christ of the Creator.  You will have as great a need to defend their diversity, as I to oppose it:  because you will only be able to prove that another god's Christ has come, by showing that he is far and away different from the Christ of the Creator:  while I shall only be able to prove him the Creator's by showing him to be such a one as is commissioned by the Creator.  On the matter of the names I have now gained my point:  I claim Christ as mine, I assert that Jesus belongs to me.

17. Let us bring the rest of his activities into comparison with the scriptures.  Whatever that poor body may be, in whatever condition it was, and however regarded, so long as he is without glory, without nobility, and without honor, he will be the Christ I know, because it was foretold that in condition and in aspect such he would be.  Once more Isaiah helps us:  We have announced, he says, before him:  as a young boy, as a root in thirsty land:  and he has no form nor glory, and we saw him, and he was without form or comeliness, but his form was dishonored, defective beyond all men:a as also just before, <there was> the voice of the Father <speaking> to the Son, Even as many will be astounded at thee, so thy appearance will be without glory from men.b For though, as David has it, he is timely in beauty even above the sons of men,c yet this is in that allegorical state of spiritual grace, when he girds himself with the sword of the


Word, which is in truth his very own form and comeliness and glory.  But in his incorporate condition he is, according to the same prophet, even a worm, and no man, the scorn of men, and the contempt of the people.d It is no interior quality of his that he proclaims is of that nature.  For if the fullness of the Spirit has come to rest upon him, I recognize a rod out of the root of Jesse:e and its flower will be my Christ, upon whom, according to Isaiah, has rested the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness, the Spirit of the fear of God.  For there is no one of mankind in whom this diversity of spiritual testimonies has met together, except Christ, who was equated with a flower because of the grace of the Spirit, yet was accounted of the stem of Jesse, being descended from it through Mary.  But I challenge you to say what you have in mind.  If you grant that to him applies all this humility and patience and non-resistance, and in view of these he is to be Isaiah's Christ — a man in affliction, and knowing how to bear weakness,f who has been brought as a sheep to sacrifice, and as a lamb before the shearer he opened not his mouth:  who neither did strive nor cry, nor was his voice heard out of doors:  who did not break the bruised reed, which means the shaken faith of the Jews, nor quench the burning flax, which was the recently kindled ardour of the gentiles — he cannot be any other than the one the prophet foretold.  His activity needs to be reviewed by the canon of the scriptures, where, if I mistake not, it is distinguished as a twofold series of acts, of preaching and of power.  But I shall arrange my treatment of both topics as follows.  Since I have thought it well that Marcion's own gospel should be brought under discussion, I shall defer until then my treatment of various aspects of his teaching and miracles, as for the matter then in hand.  Here however in general terms I shall complete the course I have entered upon, explaining meanwhile that Christ is announced by Isaiah as one who preaches:  for he says, Who is there among you who feareth God, and will hear the voice of his Son?g and as a healer, for he says, He himself hath taken away our weaknesses and borne <our> wearinesses.h

18.1 At least in the manner of his death, I suppose, you try to suggest a difference, alleging that the passion of the cross was

18. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv.  Jud. 10.


never prophesied of the Creator's Christ, with a further argument that it is quite incredible that the Creator should have exposed his Son to that form of death on which he himself had laid a curse. Cursed, it says, is every one that hath hung on a tree.a Now the meaning of this curse I leave for later consideration — though it is in full keeping solely with that preaching of the cross which is our present subject of inquiry — because on other occasions also the proof of facts has preceded the explanation of them.  I shall first explain about the types.  And certainly there were most cogent reasons why this mystery could not escape being prophesied by types and figures.  The more incredible it was, the more offensive it would become if it were prophesied in plain terms:  and the more marvellous it was, the more it needed to be covered in obscurity, so that difficulty of understanding might make request for the grace of God.  And so Isaac, to begin with, when delivered up by his father for a sacrifice, himself carried the wood for himself,b and did at that early date set forth the death of Christ, who when surrendered as a victim by his Father carried the wood of his own passion.2 Joseph also, himself to be a type of Christ — and not for this reason alone <that I delay not my course> that he suffered persecution from his brethren because of God's grace, as Christ suffered from the Jews, his brethren according to the flesh — when blessed by his father in these precise terms, His glory is that of a bullock, his horns are the horns of a unicorn:  with them will he winnow the nations together, even to the end of the earth,c was certainly not intended to be a rhinoceros with one horn or a minotaur with two horns:  rather in him Christ was indicated, a bullock according to both accounts, to some people stern as a judge, to others kind as a saviour, whose horns were to be the extremities of the Cross.3 For in a yardarm, which is part of a cross, the extreme ends are called horns, while the unicorn is the upright middle post.  So then by this virtue of the Cross, and by being horned after this manner, he is even now winnowing all the nations through faith, lifting them up from earth into heaven, as he will afterwards winnow them by judgement, casting them down from heaven to earth.  He is also to be found as a bullock in another place in the same scripture, where

18. 2 On Isaac carrying the wood, and on Joseph persecuted by his brethren, Melito, de pascha 59.

3 On types of the Cross:  Justin, dial. 91, 94, 112; Tertullian, ad nat. i. 12.

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Jacob utters a spiritual reproof against Simeon and Levi, who stand for the scribes and pharisees, for their origin is counted from these:  Simeon and Levi have perfected iniquity by their heresy — that, it means, by which they persecuted Christ — let not my soul come into their council, and let not my affections take rest in their assembly, because in their indignation they have put men to death — that is, the prophets — and in their concupiscence they have severed the sinews of a bulld — that is, of Christ, whom after the murder of the prophets they crucified, and with nails wrought savagery against his sinews.  Otherwise it would be to no purpose if, after the murder of men, he were to rebuke them for the slaughter of some ox or other.  And again, why did Moses on that occasion only when Joshua was warring against Amalek, pray sitting and with outstretched hands,e when in such critical circumstances he might have been expected rather to commend his prayer by bended knees, by hands beating the breast, and face turned down to the ground?  Evidently because on that occasion, when one was contending who bore our Lord's name, as our Lord himself was afterwards to contend against the devil, the form of the cross was essential, so that by it Joshua might gain the victory.  The same Moses again, although he had forbidden the likeness of any thing,f afterwards set up a brazen serpent on a poleg in the attitude of one hanging, and commended it to be gazed upon for healing.4 Why was this, except that here too he was asserting the power of our Lord's Cross, by which <that old> serpent, the devil, was being reduced to bondage, while to everyone wounded by spiritual snake-bites who should look upon it and believe in it, was promised healing of the bites of sins, and salvation from thence forward?

19. Come now, if you have read in the Psalms,a The Lord hath reigned from the tree,1 I wonder what you understand by it:  unless perhaps <you think> the reference is to some woodman as king of the Jews, and not to Christ, who ever since his suffering on the tree has been king through his conquest of death.  For although death reigned from Adam until Christ, why should not Christ be said to have reigned from the tree, ever since by dying on the

18. 4 On the serpent of brass, Tertullian, de idol. 5.

19. 1 'From the tree' is not in the Hebrew or LXX or Latin Vulgate of Ps. 96: 10: but it was known to Justin, apol. i. 41, 42; dial. 73; and the epistle of Barnabas (8. 5) seems to be aware of it.


tree of the Cross he drove out the kingdom of death?  In the same sense also Isaiah says, Because to us a child is born:b what is new in this, unless he is speaking of the Son of God?  And, Unto us one is given, whose government is placed upon his shoulder:  which of the kings ever displays the sign of his dominion upon his shoulder, and not rather a crown upon his head or a sceptre in his hand, or some mark of appropriate apparel?  No, only the new king of the new ages, Christ Jesus, <the king> of new glory, has lifted up upon his shoulder his own dominion and majesty, which is the Cross, so that from thenceforth, as our previous prophecy stated, he did as Lord reign from the tree.  You have a hint of this tree also in Jeremiah, who prophesies to the Jews that they will say, Come and let us cast a tree into his bread,c meaning, his body.  For so God has revealed it, even in the gospel which you accept, when he says that bread is his body:d so that even from this you can understand that he who gave bread the figure of his body is the same as he whose body the prophet had of old figuratively described as bread, as our Lord himself was afterwards to expound this mystery.  If you ask for further prophecy of our Lord's Cross, you can find complete satisfaction in the twenty-first psalm, which comprises the whole passion of Christ, who was even at that date foretelling of his own glory. They pierced, he says, my hands and my feet,e which is the particular outrage of the cross.  And again, while appealing for his Father's help, he says, Save me from the lion's mouth, meaning death:  and <my> lowliness from the horns of the unicorn,f the points of the cross, as I have already pointed out.2 Now since neither David nor any king of the Jews had to suffer that cross, you cannot think this a prophecy of the passion of anyone else, but only of him who alone was so notably crucified by that people.  So now, if the heretic's obstinacy contemns and derides all these interpretations of mine, I shall <be prepared to> grant him that the Creator has given <in this psalm> no indication of any cross of Christ, in that even on this ground he will not prove that he who was crucified was any other <than the Creator's Christ> — unless perchance he succeeds in showing that his death in this form was prophesied by his own god, so that diversity of prophesyings may prove there was diversity of passions and, in consequence, diversity of persons.  But as there was no prophecy

19. 2 Ps. 22: 16 sqq. is discussed and interpreted by Justin, dial. 97-106 and apol. i. 38.


of Marcion's Christ, far less of his cross, the prophecy of one death <and not two> is sufficient proof that the Christ who is meant is mine.  From the fact that the manner of his death is not stated, it follows that it could have come about by a cross, and it could only have had reference to another if there had also been prophecy of another — unless perhaps he prefers that not even the death of my Christ was prophesied:  in which case he is put to greater shame, while he tells of the death of his own Christ, whose birth he denies, but denies the death of my Christ, whose birth he admits.  But I can prove both the death and the burial and the resurrection of my Christ by one word of Isaiah, who says, His sepulture hath been taken away out of the midst.g He could not have been buried without having died, nor could his sepulture have been taken away out of the midst except by resurrection.  And so he added, Therefore shall he have many for an inheritance, and of many shall he divide the spoils, because his soul hath been delivered over unto death.h For in this is indicated the purpose of this grace, that it is to be a recompense for the insult of death.  It is likewise indicated that he is to obtain these things after death, by virtue, that is, of resurrection.

20.1 It is enough so far to have traced out Christ's course in these matters, far enough for it to be proved that he is such a one as was foretold, and consequently ought not to be taken as any other than he who it was foretold would be such as this.  And so now, because what happened to him is in harmony with the Creator's scriptures, the prior authority of the majority of instances must restore credibility to those others which in the interest of opposing opinions are either brought into doubt or completely denied.  I now go further, and build up all those parallels from the Creator's scriptures of things it was prophesied would occur after Christ's coming:  for events are found to be happening as they were ordained, which could not have been the case apart from the coming of Christ which had to precede them.  See how all the nations since then are looking up out of the abyss of human error towards God the Creator, and towards his Christ, and deny, if you dare, that this was prophesied.  Even at the very beginning of the Psalms the Father's promise will meet you:  Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee:  require of me and I will

20. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv.  Jud. 12.


give thee the gentiles for thine inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth for thy possession.a You cannot claim that David, rather than Christ, is his son:  or that the boundaries of the earth were promised to David, whose reign was confined to the one single nation of the Jews, rather than to Christ, who has by now taken the whole world captive by the faith of his gospel.  So also by Isaiah:  I have given thee for a covenant of the <human> race, for a light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, those who are in error, to loose from their bonds those that are bound, that is, to set them free from sins, and from the cell of the prison, which is death, those who sit in darkness, the darkness of ignorance.b If these things are coming to pass through Christ, they cannot have been prophesied of any other than him through whom they are coming to pass.  Also in another place:  Behold I have set him for a testimony to the nations, a prince and commander to the nations:  nations which know not thee shall call upon thee, and peoples shall take refuge with thee.c You cannot interpret this of David on the ground that he had just previously said, And I will ordain for you an eternal covenant, the religious and faithful things ofDavid.d Nay rather, the more so from this <text> will you need to understand that Christ is reckoned <as derived> from David by carnal descent, because of the lineage of Mary the virgin.  For it is in respect of this promise that in the psalm he swears an oath to David, Of the fruit of thy body shall I set upon thy throne.e Which body is this?  David's own?  Certainly not.  David could not have been expected to give birth.  Nor was it his wife's:  for in that case he would not have said, Of the fruit of thy body, but, Of the fruit of thy wife's body.  So it remains that by the mention of David's body he indicated one from among his descendants the fruit of whose body was to be the flesh of Christ:  and this came to flower out of Mary's womb.  That is why he made mention of the fruit of the body only, as of body in particular, as though it were the body alone, with no mention of a husband:  and that is why he referred the body back to David, as the head of the race and the forefather of the family.  So because it was impossible for him to refer that body to a virgin's husband, he referred it back to her forefather.  And therefore this new covenant, which today is found to exist in Christ, must be that which the Creator was then promising when he told of the religious and faithful things of David, which were Christ's things, because Christ is from David.  Indeed his flesh itself must be the religious and


faithful things of David, being now holy by sacred usage, and faithful since its resurrection.  So Nathan the prophet also, in the first of Kingdoms, makes a promise to David for his seed, which, says he, shall proceed out of his body.f If you interpret this simply as applying to Solomon, you will rouse my laughter:  for it will look as though David was Solomon's mother.  But is not Christ here indicated as the seed of David, out of that body which was descended from David — Mary's body?  Yes, it was Christ rather than Solomon, who was to build up the temple of God, that holy manhood in which, as in a better temple, the Spirit of God was to dwell:  and it was Christ rather than Solomon the son of David, who was to be held for God's Son.g Also a throne for ever and a kingdom for ever belongs to Christ rather than Solomon, who was but a temporal king.  Moreover it was from Christ that the mercy of God did not depart away, though upon Solomon even the wrath of God came, because of lechery and idolatry:  for Satan stirred up against him an enemy, an Edomite.2,h So then since all this is not at all apposite to Solomon, but only to Christ, the reasonableness of my interpretations is confirmed, for the outcome of these matters sets its approval on them as things evidently prophesied of Christ.  And so, in him will consist the holy and faithful things of David:  he it was, and not David, whom God set up as a testimony to the nations:  he it was whom he set as a prince and commander to the nations, not David, who commanded only Israel.  It is Christ today upon whom the nations who knew him not are calling, and peoples today are taking refuge with Christ whom formerly they had never heard of.  You cannot say an event is still future, when you now see it happening.

21. Neither for that matter can you establish that suggestion of yours, with a view to distinguishing between two Christs, as that the Judaic Christ was intended by the Creator for the regathering out of dispersion of the people <of Israel> and no others, whereas your Christ has been advanced by the supremely good god for the deliverance of the whole human race:  because, when all is said, the Creator's Christians are found to have existed before Marcion's, in that all peoples have been receiving the call into his kingdom ever since God has reigned from the tree, before there was any Cerdo even, let alone Marcion.  Refuted however

20. 2 A mistaken reference to 1 Chr. 21: 1.


on the vocation of the gentiles, you now turn back to proselytes.  You ask who they are from among the gentiles, that are passing over to the Creator, when those specifically mentioned by the prophet are proselytes, of a different condition, separate, by themselves:  Behold, Isaiah says, proselytes by me shall come near unto thee,a showing that even proselytes were to come to God through Christ.  Also the gentiles, which we are, likewise had their own mention, as people that were hoping in Christ:  And in his name, he says, shall the gentiles hope.b Proselytes however, whom you interpolate into the prophecy concerning the gentiles, do not as a rule hope in Christ's name, but in Moses' law, from which their instruction comes:  whereas the promotion of the gentiles has come about in these last days.  In those very words Isaiah says, And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, namely, the majesty of God, and the temple of God above the top of the mountains, meaning Christ, the catholic temple of God, in whom God is worshipped, established above all the eminences of virtues and powers:  and all the nations shall come to it, and many shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up into the mountain of the Lord, and into the house of the God of Jacob, and he will announce to us his way, and we will walk in it:  for out of Sion shall go forth a law, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.c This way must be the gospel of the new law, and of the new word in Christ, no longer in Moses. And he will judge among the nations, in respect of their error:  and he shall confute a large people, in the first instance that of the Jews and their proselytes. And they shall break down their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, that is, all the devices of injurious minds and hostile tongues and of all malice and blasphemy, they shall convert into the interests of moderation and peace.  And nation shall not take up sword against nation, the sword of discord:  neither shall they learn war any more,d that is, follow up hostilities:  so that here too you may learn that the Christ who was promised was not one powerful in war, but a bringer of peace.  Either deny that these things were prophesied, now that they are plainly seen, or deny that they have been fulfilled, now that you have read them:  or, if you avoid both denials, they must have been fulfilled in him of whom they were prophesied.  Take notice even now of the inception and progress of <his> vocation to the gentiles, who since the last days are coming to God the Creator, that it was not <addressed> to proselytes, whose promotion


<dates> rather from the earliest days.  For this faith of ours was introduced by the apostles.1

22.1 You can see also how there were prophecies of the work of the apostles:  How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, that preach the gospel of good things,a not of war or of evil things.  The psalm also echoes this:  Their sound is gone out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the earth,b <the words> in fact of those who carry with them the law which is come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem:  so that that might come to pass which is written, All those that were far from my righteousness have drawn near to my righteousness and truth.c When the apostles were addressing themselves to this task, they parted company with the elders and rulers and priests of the Jews.  And was not that, he asks, precisely because they were preachers of that other god?  Oh no! preachers of that very same God whose scriptures they were then fulfilling. Turn aside, turn aside, Isaiah calls out, come out from thence, and touch not the unclean thing, blasphemy against Christ:  come out from the midst of it, the synagogue:  be ye separate, that bear the vessels of the Lord.d For already, in accordance with the things above written, the Lord with his own arm had revealed his Holy One, that is, he had by his power revealed Christ openly to the gentiles, so that all the gentiles and the high places of the earth have seen the salvation which came from God.  So also, in turning aside from Judaism itself, by exchanging the obligations and burdens of the law for the freedom of the gospel, they were doing as the psalm advised, Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their yoke from us:e and evidently this was after the gentiles had made tumults and the peoples had imagined vain things, the kings of the earth had stood up, and the princes had gathered together, against the Lord and against his Christ.f And what was the apostles' experience after that?  All the iniquity of persecutions, you answer, as from men who belonged to the Creator, the adversary of the god whom they were preaching.  But why, if the Creator was Christ's adversary, does he not only prophesy that Christ's apostles will be so treated, but also show

21. 1 Franciscus Junius, quoted by Oehler, interprets induxerunt by deleverunt, suggesting that the Marcionites' conviction that proselytes alone were accepted is shown to be false by the fact that the apostles admitted others.

22. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv.  Jud. 11.


himself displeased at it?  He was not likely to be prophesying the activities of that other god, whose existence, you say, he was unaware of, nor to have expressed his displeasure at an occurrence he himself had arranged for:  See how the righteous man doth perish, and no man taketh it to heart:g and righteous men are being taken away, and no man doth regard it:  for the righteous man is removed away, by the person of unrighteousness.2 And who is this righteous man, if not Christ? Come, they say, let us take away the righteous man, because he is useless to us.h So by setting it down first, and repeating it in like terms afterwards, that even Christ has suffered, he prophesied that his righteous ones too would have the same sufferings, first the apostles, and afterwards all the faithful, sealed with that mark of which Ezekiel speaks:  The Lord said unto me, Pass through in the midst of the gate in the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark TAU on the foreheads of the men.i For this same letter TAU of the Greeks, which is our T, has the appearance of the cross, which he foresaw we should have on our foreheads in the true and catholic Jerusalem, in which the twenty-first psalm, in the person of Christ himself addressing the Father, prophesies that Christ's brethren, the sons of God, will give glory to God the Father:  I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing praise to thee.j For with good reason did he assert that he himself would be the doer of that which in our day was destined to be done in his name and in his spirit.  So a little later, My praise is from thee in the great congregation:k and in the sixty-seventh psalm, Bless ye the Lord God in the congregations:l so that the prophecy of Malachi had to be in agreement, / desire it not, saith the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices:  because from the rising of the sun even to its setting, my name is glorified among the gentiles, and in every place a sacrifice is offered to my name, even a pure sacrificem — the rendering of glory, and benediction and praise and hymns.  And since all these are found in use with you also, the sign on the foreheads, and the sacraments of the churches, and die pureness of the sacrifices, you ought at once to break forth and affirm that it was for your Christ that the Creator's Spirit prophesied.

23. Next, seeing you agree with the Jews in denying that their

22. 2 Isa. 57: i LXX. Tertullian evidently understands persona as 'person' (not 'presence', which the Greek could mean) and sublatus as 'destroyed' (not 'saved').

8268076 R


Christ has come, take note also of the end which it was prophesied they would bring upon themselves after Christ's coming, through their impiety in despising him and putting him to death.  First, since that day on which, as Isaiah says, man has thrown away his abominations of gold and silver,a which they made for the worship of vain and hurtful things, since, that is, the light of the truth has shone forth through Christ, and the human race has thrown away its idols, observe whether what follows has not been fulfilled:  For the Lord of hosts hath taken away from Judaea and from Jerusalem, besides other matters, the prophet and the wise master-builder,b namely, the Holy Spirit, who is building the Church, which is the temple and home and city of God.  For, from that time forward the grace of God has ceased among them, and commandment has been given to the clouds that they rain no rainc upon the vineyard of Sorech,d which means, that heavenly benefits have been commanded not to spring up for the house of Israel.  For it had brought forth thorns, with some of which it made a crown for our Lord, not righteousness but a cry,c that cry by which they had required that he might be crucified.  Thus the dews of spiritual graces were taken away from them, and the law and the prophets ceased with John.  After that, by the same continuance of madness even the name of the Lord was through them blasphemed, as it is written, For your sakes my name is blasphemed among the gentilese — for from them began that infamy — and they failed to understand that the time that intervened between Tiberius and Vespasian was <a time for> repentance:  so their land was made desolate, their cities burned with fire, their country, strangers devour it in their presence, and the daughter of Sion was left as a watch-tower in a vineyard or a cottage in a garden of cucumbersf — since the time, in fact, when Israel knew not the Lord, and the people would not understand him, but forsook him, and provoked the Holy One of Israel to indignation.g So also, under certain conditions, the threat of the sword, If ye be unwilling and refuse to hear me, the sword shall devour you,h proved that it was Christ whom they refused to hear, and therefore perished.  He also in the fifty-eighth psalm demands of the Father their dispersion, Disperse them in thy strength.i Again in Isaiah, ending his discourse of their being consumed with fire, he says, For my sake these things have been done to you, ye shall sleep in sorrow.j Quite meaningless this, if they suffered these things not for his sake who


had openly stated that they would suffer them for his sake, but because of the Christ of some other god.  Yes, you say, it was the Christ of the other god who was brought to the cross, by the Creator's powers and principalities which were hostile to him.  I reply that he is shown as being avenged by the Creator, And wicked men are given for his burying-place, those who affirmed that it had been robbed, and rich men for his death,k those who had paid money to Judas for his betrayal, and money to the soldiers for false witness that the dead body had been stolen away.  It follows that, either these things did not happen to the Jews because of him — but on this you are confuted by the agreement of the sense of the scriptures with the course of events and the order of the times — or, if they did happen because of him, it is impossible for the Creator to have avenged any Christ but his own, since he would by preference have rewarded Judas if it had been an opponent of their Lord whom the Jews had put to death.  Certainly, if the Creator's Christ has not yet come, the Christ on whose account it is prophesied that they are to suffer these things, it follows that when he does come they will suffer them.  But where by that time will there be a daughter of Sion to be made desolate?  Even today she is not.  Where the cities to be burned with fire?  They are already in ruinous heaps.  Where the dispersion of that nation?  It is already in exile.  Give back to Judaea its polity, that the Creator's Christ may find it so:  only so can you claim that he who has come is a different Christ.  In any case how can the Creator have given passage through his own heaven to one whom, on his own earth, he was going to put to death, after the violation of the more noble and glorious region of his own kingdom, after the treading under foot of his own palace and citadel?  Or perhaps this is what he was aiming at?  Evidently a jealous God:  yet he is the victor.  Shame on you, who trust in a god who has been vanquished.  What have you to hope for from him who was not strong enough to protect himself?  Either it was through infirmity that he was overpowered by the Creator's angels and men, or it was through malice, while he desired by tolerance to brand them with the guilt of so great a crime.

24. 'Yes,' you object, 'but I do hope for something from him — and this itself amounts to a proof that there are two different Christs — I hope for the kingdom of God, with an eternal heavenly


inheritance:  whereas your Christ promises the Jews their former estate, after the restitution of their country, and, when life has run its course, refreshment with those beneath the earth, in Abraham's bosom.  Such a very good God, if when calmed down he gives back what he took away when angry:  your God, who both smites and heals, who creates evil and makes peace:  a God whose mercy reaches even down to hell.'

Of Abraham's bosom I shall speak at the proper time.  As for the restoration of Judaea, which the Jews, misguided by the names of towns and territories, hope for exactly as described, it would be tedious to explain how the allegorical interpretation of it is spiritually applicable to Christ and the Church and to the possession and enjoyment of it.  I have discussed this in another work, which I entitle Of the Hope of the Faithful.1 At present too it would be superfluous, not least because we are not discussing an earthly but a heavenly promise.  For we do profess that even on earth a kingdom is promised us:2 but this is before we come to heaven, and in a different polity — in fact after the resurrection, for a thousand years, in that city of God's building, Jerusalema brought down from heaven, which the apostle declares is our mother on high:  and when he affirms that our politeuma, our citizenship, is in heaven, he is evidently locating it in some heavenly city.  This is the city which Ezekiel knows, and the apostle John has seen:  and the word of the new prophecy, which is attached to our faith, bears witness to it, having even prophesied that for a sign there would also be an image of the city made present to view, before its actual manifestation.  This prophecy was recently fulfilled, during the expedition to the East:  for it is admitted, even on heathen men's evidence, that in Judaea for forty days there was a city suspended from the sky at the break of morning, that the whole fashion of the ramparts faded out as

24. 1 The work de spe fidelium, which is lost, was known to Jerome:  it probably owed much to Irenaeus, AH. v. xxxi-xxxvi.

2 This account of the millennial reign of the saints on earth before the final resurrection may owe much to the imagination of Montanus and the new prophecy, as well as to Rev. 20: 6. But the idea is found also in Papias, Justin, and Irenaeus;  Jerome says that Dionysius of Alexandria elegantly ridiculed the theory;  Augustine, late in life, thought it a tolerable opinion, and one which he had himself once held.  There is no other reference, either Christian or pagan, to a miraculous appearance in Palestine during the expedition of Severus against the Parthians.


day advanced, and at other times it suddenly disappeared.  This city we affirm has been provided by God for the reception of the saints by resurrection, and for their refreshment with abundance of all blessings — spiritual ones — in compensation for those which in this world we have either refused or been denied.  For it is both just, and worthy of God, that his servants should also have joy in that place where they have suffered affliction in his name.  This is the manner of the heavenly kingdom:  within the space of its thousand years is comprised the resurrection of the saints, who arise either earlier or later according to their deserts:  after which, when the destruction of the world and the fire of judgement have been set in motion, we shall be changed in a moment into angelic substance, by virtue of that supervesture of incorruption,b and be translated into that heavenly kingdom, the same that you now bring under discussion as though it had not been prophesied in the Creator's scriptures, and it were thereby proved that Christ belongs to that other god by whom first and by whom alone you say it has been revealed.  But be sure for the future that the Creator has in fact prophesied of that kingdom, and that even without prophecy it had a claim on the belief of such as belong to the Creator.  What do you think?  When, after that first promise by which it is to be as the sand for multitude,c Abraham's seed is also designed to be as the number of the stars,d are not these the intimations of an earthly as well as a heavenly dispensation?  When Isaac blesses his son Jacob with the words, God give to thee of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth,e are not these indications of both kinds of bounty?  In fact one must here take note even of the structure of the blessing itself.  For in respect of Jacob, who is the type of God's later and more honorable people, that is, of ourselves, the first promise is of the dew of heaven, the second of the fatness of the earth.  For we ourselves are first invited to heavenly <blessings> when we are rent away from the world, and so it appears afterwards that we are also to obtain earthly ones.  Also your own gospel has, Seek ye fast the kingdom of God, and these things shall be added unto you.f But to Esau he promises an earthly blessing, and appends a heavenly one, when he says, Thy habitation shall be from the fatness of the earth and from the dew of heaven.g For the Jew's covenant is in Esau, as they are the sons prior by birth but inferior in affection, and having begun with earthly benefits through the law, is afterwards by an


act of faith led to heavenly things through the gospel.  But when Jacob dreams of a ladder set firm on earth up to heaven, and of angels some ascending and others descending, and of the Lord standing above it, shall we perchance be rash in our interpretation that by this ladder it is indicated that a road to heaven, by which some arrive there, but from which others fall away, has been set up by the Lord's judgement?  Why then, when he had woken up and had at first been shaken by the dread of the place, did he betake himself to an interpretation of the dream?  Having said, How dreadful is this place, he adds, This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.h For he had seen Christ the Lord, who is the temple of God and also the gate, for by him we enter heaven.  And certainly he would not have mentioned a gate of heaven if in the Creator's dispensation there were no entry into heaven.  But there is a gate which lets us in, and a way which leads us there, already laid down by Christ.  Of him Amos says, Who buildeth up his ascent into heaven,i surely not for himself alone, but also for those of his who will be with him. And thou shalt bind them upon thee, it says, like adornment upon a bride.j Thus at those who by that ascent are making their way to heavenly kingdoms, the Spirit marvels, saying, They fly as those that are hawks, as the clouds fly, and as the nestlings of doves, towards me,k meaning, in simplicity, like doves.  For we shall be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord,l the apostle says, when that Son of man, of whom Daniel speaks,m comes in the clouds, and so shall we ever be with the Lord, so long as he is both on earth and in heaven:  and, because of the ungrateful of both promises, he calls even the very elements to witness, Hear O heaven, and give ear O earth.n For my part, even though the scripture did not so often hold out to me the hand of heavenly hope, so as to give me sufficient reason to expect this promise too, yet because I am already in possession of earthly grace, I should be in expectation also of something from heaven, from God who is the God of heaven as he is of earth.  So I should believe that the Christ who promises higher things is the Christ of him who had also promised things more lowly, of him who by small things had given proof of things greater, who also had reserved for Christ alone this proclamation of a kingdom unheard of — if it was unheard of — so that earthly glory should be spoken of by servants, but heavenly glory by God himself.  You however argue for another Christ, even from


the fact that he tells of a new kingdom.  You need first to cite some instance of kindness given, or else I shall have good reason to doubt the credibility of so great a promise as you affirm is to be hoped for.  In fact before all else you need to prove that he who you profess promises heavenly things, has any heaven of his own.  As things are, you are giving invitations to dinner, but not showing at which house:  you are telling of a kingdom, but not pointing out the palace.  Is this because your Christ promises a heavenly kingdom when he has no heaven, in the same way as he made profession of humanity without having a body?  What a phantasm it all is!  What a hollow pretence of so great a promise!

1. Every sentence, indeed the whole structure, arising from Marcion's impiety and profanity, I now challenge in terms of that gospel which he has by manipulation made his own.  Besides that, to work up credence for it he has contrived a sort of dowry, a work entitled Antitheses because of its juxtaposition of opposites, a work strained into making such a division between the Law and the Gospel as thereby to make two separate gods, opposite to each other, one belonging to one instrument (or, as it is more usual to say, testament), one to the other, and thus lend its patronage to faith in another gospel, that according to the Antitheses. Now I might have demolished those antitheses by a specially directed hand-to-hand attack, taking each of the statements of the man of Pontus one by one, except that it was much more convenient to refute them both in and along with that gospel which they serve:  although it is perfectly easy to take action against them by counter-claim,1 even accepting them as admissible, accounting them valid, and alleging that they support my argument, that so they may be put to shame for the blindness of their author, having now become my antitheses against Marcion.  So then I do admit that there was a different course followed in the old dispensation under the Creator, from that in the new dispensation under Christ.  I do not deny a difference in records of things spoken, in precepts for good behaviour, and in rules of law, provided that all these differences have reference to one and the same God, that God by whom it is acknowledged that they were ordained and also foretold.  Long ago did Isaiah proclaim that the law will go forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem — another law, he means, and another word.  In fact, he says, he shall judge among the gentiles, and shall convict many people,a meaning not of the one nation of the Jews, but of the gentiles who by the new law of the gospel and the new word of the apostles are being judged and convicted in their own sight in respect of their ancient

1. 1 Action by counterclaim.  By the forensic device of exceptio peremptaria, the defendant, arguing that even on his own evidence the claimant must be nonsuited, obtains the right to speak first, and becomes in effect the complainant.


error, as soon as they have believed, and thereupon beat their swords into ploughshares, and their zibynae (which is a sort of hunting-spear) into pruning-hooks — that is, they are converting their formerly fierce and savage minds into honest thoughts productive of a good result.  And again:  Hearken to me, hearken to me, my people; and ye kings incline your ears to me:  because a law will go forth from me, my judgement also for a light of the gentilesb — that by which he had judged and decreed that the gentiles also should be enlightened by the law and word of the gospel.  This will be the law also in David, an unassailable law, because it is perfect, converting the soul,c from idols unto God.  This also will be the word, of which Isaiah says again, Because the Lord will make a decisive word upon the earth:d for the new testament is made very concise, and is disentangled from the intricate burdens of the law.  What need of more, when more openly and more clearly than light itself the Creator by the same prophet foretells of the newness? Remember not the former things, neither consider ye the things of old:  old things have passed away, new things are arising:  behold, I make new things, which shall now arise.e Also by Jeremiah:  Renew for yourselves a new fallow, and sow not among thorns, and be circumcised in the foreskin of your heart.f And in another place:  Behold, the days will come, saith the Lord, when I will make for the house of Jacob and the house of Judah a new testament, not according to the testament which I ordained for their fathers in the day upon which I took to me the ordaining of them, so as to bring them out from the land of Egypt.g Thus he indicates that the original testament was temporary, since he declares it changeable, at the same time as he promises an eternal testament for the future.  For by Isaiah he says:  Hearken to me and ye shall live, and I will ordain for you an eternal testament,h adding also the holy and faithful things of David, so as to point out that that testament would become current in Christ.  That Christ would be of the family of David, in accordance with Mary's genealogy, he prophesied also figuratively in the rod which was to come forth out of the root of Jesse.i If therefore he has said that other laws and other words and new ordainings of testaments would come from the Creator, so that his intention is that there shall be other and better offerings of the sacrifices as well, and that among the gentiles — as Malachi says, I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord, neither will I accept your sacrifices at your hands, because from the rising of the sun even to its going down my name is glorified among the gentiles,


and in every place sacrifice is offered to my name, even a pure offering,j which means simple prayer out of a pure conscience — it follows that every change which results from renewal must lead to difference from those things of which it is <the renewal>, and to opposition as a result of difference.  For as nothing that suffers change escapes being different, so nothing different avoids being contrary.  So then, the contrariety which results from difference will pertain to the same one to whom was due the change which resulted from renewal.  He who ordained the change, also established the difference:  he who foretold of the renewal, also told beforehand of the contrariety.  Why need you explain a difference of facts as an opposition of authorities?  Why need you distort against the Creator those antitheses in the evidences, which you can recognize also in his own thoughts and affections? I will smite, he says, and I will heal:k I will slay, he says, and also make alive, by establishing evil things and making peace:l because of which it is your custom even to censure him on account of fickleness and inconstancy, in forbidding what he commands and commanding what he forbids.  Why then have you not also thought out some antitheses for the essential attributes of a Creator always at variance with himself?  Not even among your men of Pontus, if I mistake not, have you been able to realize that the world is constructed out of the diversities of substances in mutual hostility.  And so you ought first to have laid it down that there was one god of light and another of darkness:  then you could have affirmed that there was one god of the law and another of the gospel.  For all that, judgement is already given, and that by manifest proofs, that he whose works and ways are consistently antithetic, has also his mysteries <of revelation> consistently of that same pattern.

2. You have there my short and sharp answer to the Antitheses. I pass on next to show how his gospel — certainly not Judaic but Pontic — is in places adulterated:  and this shall form the basis of my order of approach.  I lay it down to begin with that the documents of the gospel have the apostles for their authors, and that this task of promulgating the gospel was imposed upon them by our Lord himself.  If they also have for their authors apostolic men, yet these stand not alone, but as companions of apostles or followers of apostles:  because the preaching of disciples might be made suspect of the desire of vainglory, unless there stood by it


the authority of their teachers, or rather the authority of Christ, which made the apostles teachers.  In short, from among the apostles the faith is introduced to us by John and by Matthew, while from among apostolic men Luke and Mark give it renewal, <all of them> beginning with the same rules <of belief>, as far as relates to the one only God, the Creator, and to his Christ, born of a virgin, the fulfilment of the law and the prophets.  It matters not that the arrangement of their narratives varies, so long as there is agreement on the essentials of the faith — and on these they show no agreement with Marcion.  Marcion, on the other hand, attaches to his gospel no author's name,1 — as though he to whom it was no crime to overturn the whole body, might not assume permission to invent a title for it as well.  At this point I might have made a stand, arguing that no recognition is due to a work which cannot lift up its head, which makes no show of courage, which gives no promise of credibility by having a fully descriptive title and the requisite indication of the author's name.  But I prefer to join issue on all points, nor am I leaving unmentioned anything that can be taken as being in my favor.  For out of those authors whom we possess, Marcion is seen to have chosen Luke as the one to mutilate.2 Now Luke was not an apostle but an apostolic man, not a master but a disciple, in any case less than his master, and assuredly even more of lesser account as being the follower of a later apostle, Paul, to be sure:  so that even if Marcion had introduced his gospel under the name of Paul in person, that one single document would not be adequate for our faith, if destitute of the support of his predecessors.  For we should demand the production of that gospel also which Paul found <in existence>, that to which he gave his assent, that with which shortly afterwards he was anxious that his own should agree:  for his intention in going up to Jerusalem to know and to consult the apostles, was lest perchance he had run in vain a — that is, lest perchance he had not believed as they did, or were not preaching the gospel in their manner.  At length, when he had conferred with the original <apostles>, and there was agreement concerning the rule of the faith, they joined the right hands <of fellowship>, and from thenceforth divided their spheres of preaching, so that the others should go to the Jews, but Paul to Jews and gentiles.

2. 1 No author's name:  so Adamantius i. 5. 2 For Marcion's treatment of Luke see Appendix 2.


If he therefore who gave the light to Luke chose to have his predecessors' authority for his faith as well as his preaching, much more must I require for Luke's gospel the authority which was necessary for the gospel of his master.

3. It is another matter if in Marcion's opinion the Christian religion, with its sacred content, begins with the discipleship of Luke.  However, as it was on its course even before that, it certainly possessed an authoritative structure by means of which it reached even to Luke:  and so with the support of its evidence Luke also can find acceptance.  But Marcion has got hold of Paul's epistle to the Galatians, in which he rebukes even the apostles themselves for not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,a and accuses also certain false apostles of perverting the gospel of Christ:  and on this ground Marcion strives hard to overthrow the credit of those gospels which are the apostles' own and are published under their names, or even the names of apostolic men, with the intention no doubt of conferring on his own gospel the repute which he takes away from those others.  And yet, even if there is censure of Peter and John and James, who were esteemed as pillars,b the reason is evident.  It was that they appeared to be altering their manner of life through respect of persons.  Yet since Paul himself made himself all things to all men so that he might gain them all,c Peter too may well have had this in mind in acting in some respect differently from his manner of teaching.  And besides, if false apostles also had crept in, their character too is indicated:  they were insisting on circumcision, and the Jewish calendar.  So it was not for their preaching but for their forms of activity that they were marked down as wrong by Paul, though he would no less have marked them wrong if they had been in any error on the subject of God the Creator, or of his Christ.  Therefore we have to distinguish between the two cases.  If Marcion's complaint is that the apostles are held suspect of dissimulation or pretence, even to the debasing of the gospel, he is now accusing Christ, by thus accusing those whom Christ has chosen.  If however the gospel which the apostles compared with Paul's was beyond reproach, and they were rebuked only for


inconsistency of conduct, and yet false apostles have falsified the truth of their gospels, and from them our copies are derived, what can have become of that genuine apostles' document which has suffered from adulterators — that document which gave light to Paul, and from him to Luke?  Or if it has been completely destroyed, so wiped out by a flood of falsifiers as though by some deluge, then not even Marcion has a true one.  Or if that is to be the true one, if that is the apostles', which Marcion alone possesses, then how is it that that which is not of the apostles, but is ascribed to Luke, is in agreement with ours?  Or if that which Marcion has in use is not at once to be attributed to Luke because it does agree with ours — though they allege ours is falsified in respect of its title — then it does belong to the apostles.  And in that case ours too, which is in agreement with that other, no less belongs to the apostles, even if it too is falsified in its title.

4. So we must pull away at the rope of contention, swaying with equal effort to the one side or the other.  I say that mine is true:  Marcion makes that claim for his.  I say that Marcion's is falsified:  Marcion says the same of mine.  Who shall decide between us?  Only such a reckoning of dates, as will assume that authority belongs to that which is found to be older, and will prejudge as corrupt that which is convicted of having come later.  For in so far as the false is a corruption of the true, to that extent must the truth have preceded that which is false.  An object must have been in existence before anything is done to it, as what it is in itself must be prior to any opposition to it.  Otherwise how preposterous it would be that when we have proved ours the older, and that Marcion's has emerged later, ours should be taken to have been false before it had from the truth material <for falsehood to work on>, and Marcion's be believed to have suffered hostility from ours before it was even published:  and in the end <how ridiculous> that that which is later should be reckoned more true, even after the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences of the Christian religion which surely could never have been produced except for the truth of the gospel — even before the gospel was true.  So then meanwhile, as concerns the gospel of Luke, seeing that the use of it shared between us and Marcion becomes an arbiter of the truth, our version of it is to such an extent older than Marcion that Marcion himself once believed it.  That was


when in the first warmth of faith he presented the catholic church with that money which was before long cast out along with him after he had diverged from our truth into his own heresy.  What now, if the Marcionites are going to deny that his faith at first was with us — even against the evidence of his own letter?  What if they refuse to acknowledge that letter?  Certainly Marcion's own Antitheses not only admit this, but even make a show of it.  Proof taken from them is good enough for me.  If that gospel which among us is ascribed to Luke — we shall see <later> whether it is <accepted by> Marcion — if that is the same that Marcion by his Antitheses accuses of having been falsified by the upholders of Judaism with a view to its being so combined in one body with the law and the prophets that they might also pretend that Christ had that origin, evidently he could only have brought accusation against something he had found there already.  No one passes censure on things afterwards to be, when he does not know they are afterwards to be.  Correction does not come before fault.  As corrector apparently of a gospel which from the times of Tiberius to those of Antoninus had suffered subversion, Marcion comes to light, first and alone, after Christ had waited for him all that time, repenting of having been in a hurry to send forth apostles without Marcion to protect them.  And yet heresy, which is always in this manner correcting the gospels, and so corrupting them, is the effect of human temerity, not of divine authority:  for even if Marcion were a disciple, he is not above his master:  and if Marcion were an apostle, Whether it were I, says Paul, or they, so we preach:a and if Marcion were a prophet, even the spirits of the prophets have to be subject to the prophets,b for they are not <prophets> of subversion but of peace:  even if Marcion were an angel, he is more likely to be called anathema than gospel-maker, seeing he has preached a different gospel.c And so, by making these corrections, he assures us of two things — that ours came first, for he is correcting what he has found there already, and that that other came later which he has put together out of his corrections of ours, and so made into a new thing of his own.

5. To sum up:  if it is agreed that that has the greater claim to truth which has the earlier priority, and that has the priority


which has been so since the beginning, and that has been since the beginning which was from the apostles, there will be no less agreement that that was handed down by the apostles which is held sacred and inviolate in the churches the apostles founded.  Let us consider what milk it was that Paul gave the Corinthians to drink,a by the line of what rule the Galatians were again made to walk straight,b what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, and the Ephesians are given to read, what words are spoken also by our near neighbours the Romans, to whom Peter and Paul left as legacy the gospel, sealed moreover with their own blood.  We have also churches which are nurselings of John's:  for although Marcion disallows his Apocalypse, yet the succession of their bishops, when traced back to its origin, will be found to rest in John as originator.  In the same way also the legitimacy of the other churches is to be tested.  So I affirm that among them — and I am not now speaking only of apostolic churches, but of all those which are in alliance with them in the fellowship of the mysteryc — that gospel of Luke which we at this moment retain has stood firm since its earliest publication, whereas Marcion's is to most people not even known, and by those to whom it is known is also by the same reason condemned.  Admittedly that gospel too has its churches; but they are its own, of late arrival and spurious:  if you search out their ancestry you are more likely to find it apostatic than apostolic, having for founder either Marcion or someone from Marcion's hive.  Even wasps make combs, and Marcionites make churches.  That same authority of the apostolic churches will stand as witness also for the other gospels, which no less <than Luke's> we possess by their agency and according to their text — I mean John's and Matthew's, though that which Mark produced is stated to be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was.  Luke's narrative also they usually attribute to Paul.  It is permissible for the works which disciples published to be regarded as belonging to their masters.  And so concerning these also Marcion must be called to account, how it is that he has passed them over, and preferred to take his stand upon Luke's, as though these too, no less than Luke's, have not been in the churches since the beginning — indeed it is to be supposed that they have even greater claim to have been since the beginning, since they were earlier, as written by apostles, and established along with


the churches.  Otherwise, if the apostles published nothing, how can it have come about that their disciples published things instead, when they could not even have existed as disciples apart from some instruction by their masters?  So then, since it is evident that these too existed in the churches, how is it that Marcion has not laid hands on them as well, either to correct if falsified, or to acknowledge if correct?  For it is conceivable that any who were engaged in corrupting one gospel might have taken even greater interest in the corruption of gospels whose authenticity they knew had wider acceptance — false apostles for this very reason, that it was apostles they would be counterfeiting by this forgery.  The more then Marcion might have corrected things which would have needed correction if they had been corrupt, the more he has in fact certified that those have not been corrupted which he has not thought it necessary to correct.  So he did correct the one he thought was corrupt.  Yet even this he had no right to correct:  because it was not corrupt.  For if the apostolic gospels have come down to us in their integrity, while the gospel of Luke, in the form in which we have it, is in such agreement with the standard of those others that it is retained in the churches along with them, it is at once evident that Luke's also came down in integrity until Marcion's act of sacrilege.  In fact it was only when Marcion laid hands upon it, that it became different from the apostolic gospels, and in opposition to them.  So I should recommend his disciples either to convert those others, late though it be, into the shape of their own, so that they may have the appearance of being in agreement with apostolic gospels — for they are every day reshaping this of theirs, as they are every day brought to account by us — or else to take shame of their master, who stands convicted on both accounts, while at one time he bypasses the truth of the gospel through bad conscience, and at another time overturns it through effrontery.  These are the sort of summary arguments I use when skirmishing light-armed against heretics on behalf of the faith of the gospel, arguments which claim the support of that succession of times which pleads the previous question against the late emergence of falsifiers, as well as that authority of the churches which gives expert witness to the tradition of the apostles:  because the truth must of necessity precede the false, and proceed from those from whom its tradition began.


6. I now advance a step further, while I call to account, as I have promised, Marcion's gospel in his own version of it, with the design, even so, of proving it adulterated.  Certainly the whole of the work he has done, including the prefixing of his Antitheses, he directs to the one purpose of setting up opposition between the Old Testament and the New, and thereby putting his Christ in separation from the Creator, as belonging to another god, and having no connection with the law and the prophets.  Certainly that is why he has expunged all the things that oppose his view, that are in accord with the Creator, on the plea that they have been woven in by his partisans; but has retained those that accord with his opinion.  These it is we shall call to account, with these we shall grapple, to see if they will favor my case, not his, to see if they will put a check on Marcion's pretensions.  Then it will become clear that these things have been expunged by the same disease of heretical blindness by which the others have been retained.  Such will be the purpose and plan of my treatise, on those precise terms which have been agreed by both parties.  Marcion lays it down that there is one Christ who in the time of Tiberius was revealed by a god formerly unknown, for the salvation of all the nations; and another Christ who is destined by God the Creator to come at some time still future for the re-establishment of the Jewish kingdom.  Between these he sets up a great and absolute opposition, such as that between justice and kindness, between law and gospel, between Judaism and Christianity.  From this will also derive my statement of claim, by which I lay it down that the Christ of a different god has no right to have anything in common with the Creator; and again, that Christ must be adjudged to be the Creator's if he is found to have administered the Creator's ordinances, fulfilled his prophecies, supported his laws, given actuality to his promises, revived his miracles, given new expression to his judgements, and reproduced the lineaments of his character and attributes.  I request you, my reader, always to bear in mind this undertaking, this statement of my case, and begin to be aware that Christ belongs either to Marcion or the Creator, <but not to both>.

7. [Luke 4: 31-7.] Marcion premises that in the fifteenth year of the principate of Tiberius he came down into Capernaum, a city of Galilee — from the Creator's heaven, of course, into which he


had first come down out of his own.1 Did not then due order demand that it should first be explained how he came down from his own heaven into the Creator's?  For why should I not pass censure on such matters as do not satisfy the claims of orderly narrative, <but let it> always tail off in falsehood?  So let us ask once for all a question I have already discussed elsewhere,2 whether, while coming down through the Creator's territory and in opposition to him, he could have expected the Creator to let him in, and allow him to pass on from thence into the earth, which no less is the Creator's.  Next however, admitting that he came down, I demand to know the rest of the order of that descent.  It is no matter if somewhere the word 'appeared' is used. 'Appear' suggests a sudden and unexpected sight, <by one> who at some instant has cast his eyes on a thing which has at that instant appeared.  To have come down, however — when that takes place the fact is in view and comes beneath the eye:  it also puts the event into sequence, and enforces the inquiry in what sort of aspect, in what sort of array, with how much speed or moderation, as also at what time of day, or of night, he came down:  and besides that, who saw him coming down, who reported it, and who gave assurance of a fact not easily credible even to him who gives assurance.  It is quite wrong in fact, that Romulus should have had Proculus to vouch for his ascent into heaven,3 yet that Christ should not have provided himself with a reporter of his god's descent from heaven — though that one must have gone up by the same ladder of lies by which this one came down.  Also what had he to do with Galilee, if he was not the Creator's Christ, for whom that province was predestined <as the place> for him to enter on his preaching?  For Isaiah says:  Drink this first, do it quickly, province of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, and ye others who <dwell between> the sea-coast and Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles, ye people who sit in darkness, behold a great light:  ye who inhabit the land, sitting in the shadow of death, a light has arisen upon you.a It is indeed to the good that Marcion's god too should be cited as one who gives light to the gentiles, for so there was the greater need for him to come down from heaven — though, if so, he ought to have come down into Pontus rather than Galilee.  Yet since both that

7. 1 Rejection of the infancy narrative, above, I. 19; Irenaeus, AM. I. xxv. i;  Adamantius i. 3. 2 I. 23 above. 3 Romulus:  Livy I. 16.


locality and that function of enlightenment do according to the prophecy have their bearing upon Christ, we at once begin to discern that it was he of whom the prophecy was made, when he makes it clear on his first appearance that he is come not to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them.b For Marcion has blotted this out as an interpolation.  But in vain will he deny that Christ said in words a thing which he at once partly accomplished in act.  For in the meanwhile he fulfilled the prophecy in respect of place.  From heaven straightway into the synagogue.  As the saying goes, let us get down to it:  to your task, Marcion:  remove even this from the gospel, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and, It is not <meet> to take away the children's bread and give it to dogs:c for this gives the impression that Christ belongs to Israel.  I have plenty of acts, if you take away his words.  Take away Christ's sayings, and the facts will speak;  See how he enters into the synagogue:  surely to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  See how he offers the bread of his doctrine to the Israelites first:  surely he is giving them preference as sons.  See how as yet he gives others no share of it:  surely he is passing them by, like dogs.  Yet on whom would he have been more ready to bestow it than on strangers to the Creator, if he himself had not above all else belonged to the Creator?  Yet again how can he have obtained admittance into the synagogue, appearing so suddenly, so unknown, no one as yet having certain knowledge of his tribe, of his nation, of his house, or even of Caesar's census, which the Roman registry still has in keeping,4 a most faithful witness to our Lord's nativity?  They remembered, surely, that unless they knew he was circumcised he must not be admitted into the most holy places.  Or again, even if there were unlimited access to the synagogue, there was no permission to teach, except for one excellently well known, and tried, and approved, and already either for this occasion or by commendation from elsewhere invested with that function. 'But they were all astonished at his doctrine.' Quite so. Because, it says, his word was with power, not because his teaching was directed against the law and the prophets.  For in fact his divine manner of speaking did afford both power and grace, building up, much more than pulling

7. 4 The census records are referred to again Ch. 19. 10. There seems to be no non-Christian evidence that they were preserved in Rome or would be available to inquirers.


down, the substance of the law and the prophets.  Otherwise they would not have been astonished but horrified; would not have marvelled at, but immediately shrunk from, a destroyer of the law and the prophets — and above all else the preacher of a different god, because he could not have given teaching contrary to the law and the prophets, and, by that token, contrary to the Creator, without some previous profession of belief in an alien and hostile deity.  As then the scripture gives no indication of this kind, but only that the power and authority of his speech were a matter of wonder, it more readily indicates that his teaching was in accordance with the Creator, since it does not deny that, than that it was opposed to the Creator, since it has not said so.  It follows that he must either be acknowledged to belong to him in accordance with whom his teaching was given, or else judged a turn-coat if his teaching was in accordance with him whom he had come to oppose.  On the same occasion the spirit of the demon cries out, What have we to do with thee, Jesus?  Thou art come to destroy us.  I know who thou art, the Holy One of God. Here I shall not discuss whether even this appellation was at all appropriate to one who had no right even to the name of Christ unless he belonged to the Creator.  I have fully discussed his titles in another place.5 At present I require to know how the demon knew that he had this name, when no prediction referring to him had ever been made in the past by a god unknown and until that time dumb, a god as whose holy one he had no means of invoking him, a god unknown even to the demon's Creator. <I ask also> what sort of indication he now gave of a new divinity, that by it he could be taken for the holy one of a different god.  Merely that he had gone inside the synagogue and not even in word had taken any sort of action against the Creator?  As then he had no means of recognizing that one whom he had no knowledge of was Jesus and the Holy One of God, it follows that this recognition was of one whom he did know:  for he remembered <two things>, that the prophet had prophesied of the Holy One of God, and that Jesus was God's name in the son of Nun.  He had had these names given by an angel, our gospel relates:  Therefore that which shall be born in thee shall be called holy, the Son of God:d and, Thou shalt call his name Jesus.e Also, though he was only a demon, he had in fact some sense of the Lord's purpose, more than if it had been a stranger's and not

7. 5 The names, or titles:  Emmanuel, III. 12; Christ, III. 15; Jesus, III. 16.


yet well enough known.  For he began by asking, What have we to do with thee, Jesus?, not as though addressing a stranger, but as one whose concern the Creator's spirits are.  For his words were not, What hast thou to do with us?, but, What have we to do with thee?, in sorrow for himself and in regret at his own case:  and as he now sees what this is he adds, Thou art come to destroy us. To that extent he had recognized Jesus as the Son of the judge, the avenger, and <if I may say so> the severe God, not of that perfectly good god who knows nothing of destruction and punishment.  With what purpose have I begun with this episode?  To show you that Jesus was acknowledged by the demon, and affirmed by himself, to belong to none other than the Creator.  But still, you object, Jesus rebuked him.  Of course he did:  he was an embarrassment:  even in that acknowledgement he was impertinent, and submissive in the wrong way, giving the impression that it would be the sum total of Christ's glory to have come for the destruction of demons and not rather for the salvation of men:  for it was he who would have his disciples rejoice not because the spirits were subject to them but because of their election to salvation.f Else why did he rebuke him?  If because he was wholly a liar, then he himself was neither Jesus nor in any sense holy:  if because he was partly a liar, in having rightly thought him to be Jesus and the Holy One of God, but to belong to the Creator, it was most unjust of him to rebuke one who took the view which he knew he must take, and did not entertain the idea which he did not know he needed to entertain, that he was a different Jesus, and the holy one of a different god.  But if his rebuke has no more likely ground than the interpretation we put upon it, in that case the demon told no lie, and was not rebuked for lying:  for Jesus was Jesus himself, and the demon had no means of affording recognition to any besides him:  and Jesus gave assurance of being that one whom the devil had recognized, seeing that his rebuke to the demon was not on account of a lie.

8. [Luke 4: 16-43.] According to the prophecy, the Creator's Christ was to be called a Nazarene.a For that reason, and on his account, the Jews call us by that very name, Nazarenes.  For we are also those of whom it is written, The Nazarenes were made whiter than snow,b having previously of course been darkened with the stains of sin, and blackened with the darkness of ignorance.  But


to Christ the appellation of Nazarene was to apply because of his hiding-place in infancy, for which he went down to Nazareth, to escape from Archelaus, the son of Herod.c My reason for not leaving this out is that Marcion's Christ ought by rights to have forsworn all association even with the places frequented by the Creator's Christ, since he had all those towns of Judaea, which were not in the same way conveyed over to the Creator's Christ by the prophets.  But Christ has to be the Christ of the prophets, wherever it is that he is found to accord with the prophets.  Even at Nazareth there is no indication that his preaching was of anything new, though for all that, by reason of one single proverb, we are told that he was cast out.  Here, as I for the first time observe that hands were laid upon him, I am called upon to say something definite about his corporal substance; that he who admitted of contact, contact even full of violence, in being seized and captured and dragged even to the brow of the hill, cannot be thought of as a phantasm.  It is true that he slipped away through the midst of them, but this was when he had experienced their violence, and had afterwards been let go:  for, as often happens, the crowd gave way, or was even broken up:  there is no question of its being deceived by invisibility, for this, if it had been such, would never have submitted to contact at all.

Touch or be touched nothing but body may,

is a worthy sentence even of this world's philosophy.d In fine, he did himself before long touch others, and by laying his hands upon them — hands evidently meant to be felt — conveyed the benefits of healing, benefits no less true, no less free from pretence, than the hands by which they were conveyed.  Consequently he is the Christ of Isaiah, a healer of sicknesses:  He himself, he says, takes away our weaknesses and carries our sicknesses.e For the Greeks are accustomed to write 'carry' as equivalent to 'take away'. That promise in general terms is enough for me at present.  Whatever it was that Jesus healed, he is mine.  We shall however come to specific instances of healing.  Moreover even to deliver from demons is a healing of sickness.  And so the wicked spirits, as if following the precedent of the previous instance, bore witness to him as they went out, by crying aloud, Thou art the Son of God. Which God, let it even here be evident. 'But they were rebuked, and ordered to be silent.' Quite so:  because Christ wished himself


to be acknowledged as the Son of God by men, not by unclean spirits — that Christ at all events who had the right to expect this, because he had sent before him those preachers, worthier preachers beyond question, through whose agency recognition might be possible.  To reject the commendation of an unclean spirit was within the rights of him who had at his disposal abundant commendations of the Holy Spirit.  One however of whom there had been no announcement — if of course he wished to be recognized, for his coming was to no purpose if he did not — would not have rejected the testimony of an alien substance of any sort whatever, if he had no testimony of any substance of his own, and had come down on to another's property.  One thing more:  as a destroyer of the Creator his greatest desire would have been to be recognized by the Creator's spirits and have them spread his name abroad, through the fear they had of him:  except that Marcion says that his god is not an object of fear, claiming that the object of fear is not the kind god but the judge, with whom are to be found the materials of fear, which are wrath, severity, judgements, vengeance, and condemnation.  But the demons did in fact submit through fear.  So then their confession was that he was the Son of the God who is to be feared:  for if there had been no fear involved, they could have taken this as an occasion when submission might be refused.  But in driving them out by command and rebuke, not by persuasion as a kind one would have done, he disclosed himself as one to be feared.  Or perhaps he rebuked them just because they were afraid of him, being unwilling to be an object of fear?  Yet how did he expect them to come out — a thing they would not have done except from fear?  So then he fell under the necessity of having to conduct himself contrary to his own nature, though he might, as being kind, have pardoned them once for all.  He fell also under another bad mark, that of changing sides, when he allowed himself to be feared by the demons as the son of the Creator, so as now to drive the demons out not by any power of his own but by the Creator's authority.  He goes forth into a desert place.  This kind of country the Creator often made use of.  It was right and proper that the Word should also be visible in a body in the place where of old time he had been active also in a cloud.  The gospel was well suited by that type of place which had been found satisfactory for the law.  So let the wilderness rejoice — for so Isaiah had promised.f When the multitudes


detained him he said, I must proclaim the kingdom of God to other cities also. Had he anywhere yet shown who this god of his was?  Not even yet, I think.  But was he speaking of people who knew there was another god besides?  This too I do not believe.  So then, if neither he himself had said anything about another god, nor did they know of any god besides the Creator, the kingdom he looked forward to was the kingdom of precisely that God whom he knew to be the only God known to those who heard him.

9. [Luke 5: 1-15.] Out of all possible lands of occupations why had he such respect for that of fisherman that from it he took for apostles Simon and the sons of Zebedee — a fact from which an argument was to be drawn cannot be regarded as without significance — when he said to Peter, amazed because of the abundant draught of fishes, Fear not, for from henceforth thou shall catch men? By this remark he suggested how they were to understand the prophecy was fulfilled, and that he it was who had declared, through Jeremiah, Behold I will send many fishers, and they shall fish them,a meaning men.  Thereupon they left their boats and followed him, with understanding of one who had begun to do in fact what he had said in words.  It is quite another thing if he made a pretence of choosing them from the Association of Shipmasters, because he was sometime going to have as his apostle Marcion the navigator.  Now I have already postulated, in opposition to the Antitheses, that Marcion's purpose is in no sense served by what he supposes to be an opposition between the law and the gospel, because this too was ordained by the Creator, and in fact was foretold by that promise of a new law and a new word and a new testament.  But seeing that he argues with unusual insistence in the presence of one whom he calls a kind of suntalai/pwroj, companion in misery, and summisou&menoj, companion in hatred,1 regarding the cleansing of the leper, I shall not think it amiss to meet him, and first to show him the force of that figurative law:  for by the example of the leprous person who must not be touched but must even be excluded from all communication with others, it forbade association with any man defiled by sins — with whom the apostle too says we must not even eat:b for the stains of sins are passed from one to another, as by contagion, if anyone makes contact with a sinner.  And so our Lord, who desired to suggest

9. 1 Tertullian's Latin words seem to be a burlesque on the Greek words of self-depreciation applied to himself by Marcion.


deeper understanding of that law which indicates spiritual things by means of things carnal, and on that account was not pulling down but rather building up that law which he wished men to acknowledge as a matter of closer concern, touched the leper:  for although a man could have suffered defilement from such a one, God could certainly not be defiled, being immune from contamination.  Thus there can be no injunction laid upon him that he ought to have observed the law and not have touched the unclean person, since contact with the unclean was not going to defile him.  That this is more in keeping with my Christ I show you by this, that I prove it is not in keeping with yours.  For if it was in hostility to the law that he touched the leper, making the commandment of the law of no account through contempt of defilement — how could he possibly suffer defilement who possessed no body which might be defiled?  For a phantasm cannot suffer defilement.  He therefore who was incapable of defilement because he was a phantasm, will be found to be immune from contamination not through divine power but by the phantasm's inanity.  Nor can he be supposed to have held in contempt that defilement which he had no ground for:  nor for that matter to have destroyed the law, since he had escaped defilement through the good fortune of the phantasm and not by any display of power.  But even though Elisha, the Creator's prophet, cleansed no more than one leper, Naaman the Syrian, when there were all those many lepers in Israel, even this does not indicate that Christ was in some sense different, as though he were in this respect superior, that being a stranger he cleansed an Israelite leper, whom his own Lord had not had power to cleanse:  because the Syrian was more easily cleansed as a sign throughout the gentiles of their cleansing in Christ the light of the gentiles, who were marked with those seven stains of capital sins, idolatry, blasphemy, homicide, adultery, fornication, false witness, fraud.  Therefore seven times over, as though once under each heading, did he wash in Jordan, both with intent to prophesy the purging of the whole seven, and because the force and fullness of one single washing was reserved for Christ alone, who was to make upon earth not only a determined wordc but also a determined washing.  Even in this Marcion sees an 'opposition', that whereas Elisha needed a material help, and made use of water, seven times at that, Christ by the act of his word alone, without repeating it,


immediately put the healing into effect — as though I were not bold enough to claim even the word he used, as part of the Creator's property.  In any and every object the primary author has the better claim to it.  You regard it perhaps as incredible that the Creator's power should with a word have performed the healing of one single sickness, though that power did with a word produce at an instant this great fabric of the universe.  How better may one discern the Christ of the Creator than by the power of his word?  But perhaps he is another's Christ, because his action is other than Elisha's, because any master is more powerful than his own servant.  By what right, Marcion, do you rule that servants' activities are exactly like their masters' ?  Are you not afraid of it turning to your discredit if you claim that Christ is not the Creator's, on the ground that he had greater powers than the Creator's servant, when it is evident that he is greater by comparison with Elisha's littleness — if indeed he is greater?  For the healing is the same, though the method of working is different.  Has your Christ provided a greater gift than my Elisha gave?  What indeed was that great effect of your Christ's word, which did just the same as the Creator's river had done?2 The rest of what he does follows the same course.  As far as concerned avoidance of human glory, he told him to tell no man:  as concerned the observance of the law, he ordered the proper course to be followed:  Go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded. Knowing that the law was in the form of prophecy, he was safeguarding its figurative regulations even in his own mirrored images of them, which indicated that a man who has been a sinner, as soon as he is cleansed by the word of God, is bound to offer in the temple a sacrifice to God, which means prayer and giving of thanks in the church through Christ Jesus, the universal high priest of the Father.  This is why he added, That it may be to you for a testimony — no doubt by which he testified that he did not destroy the law but fulfilled it, a testimony that it was he and no other of whom it was foretold that he would take upon him their diseases and sicknesses.  This entirely adequate and necessary interpretation of that testimony Marcion, in subservience to his own Christ, seeks to discount under the pretence of

9. 2 Tertullian's affectation of having surrendered to his opponents the Christ of their mutilated gospel here causes him to forget that he is really discussing the acts of the true Christ recorded in the authentic gospel.


consideration and gentleness.  For, says he, being kind, and knowing besides that every man set free from leprosy would follow out the observances of the law, he for that reason ordered him to do so.  What after that?  Did he continue in kindness, that is, in permission to observe the law, or did he not?  If he continued being kind, he can never become a destroyer of the law, nor can he be taken to belong to that other god, since there is a cessation of that destruction of the law on account of which it is claimed he belongs to the other god.  If he did not continue being kind, subsequently destroying the law, then it was false witness that he afterwards lodged with them at the healing of the leper:  for he became a renegade from goodness, in that he destroyed the law.  So he is now evil, as a subverter of the law, if he was kind while allowing the law to be kept.  Yet even by his act in once allowing obedience to the law, he gave assurance that the law is good.  For no man gives permission for obedience to an evil thing.  It follows that in the one case he was bad, if he allowed obedience to a law which was bad, and in the other case worse, if he came as the destroyer of a law that was good.  Moreover, if his command to offer the gift was contingent on his knowledge that every man freed from leprosy would make that offering, it was also in his power to have issued no command for an act which he knew would take place without it.  Also in vain has he come down as with intent to destroy the law, when he makes concessions to keepers of the law.  What is more, since he was aware of the habits of those people, he ought to have taken precautionary action to turn them away from it, if that was the reason for his coming.  Why then did he not keep silence, and let the man obey the law without prompting?  In that case he could be thought to have made some concession to his tolerance.  Instead of which he adds even his own authority, strengthened by the weight of that testimony — testimony of what, unless of enforcing the law?  Truly it makes no difference in what way he confirmed the law, whether as kind, or as disinterested, or as tolerant, or as inconstant, provided, Marcion, that I drive you from your position.  So then he has commanded the law to be fulfilled:  in whatever sense he gave this command, he can in the same sense have stated the principle, I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it.d What good then did it do you to excise from the gospel a sentence which remains there still?  You have admitted that he did for kindness' sake something which you


deny that he said.  So there is proof that he said it, because he did do it, and that it is you that have excised the Lord's words from the gospel, and not our people that have foisted them in.

10. [Luke 5: 18-26.] Also a palsied man is healed, and that amidst a throng, with the people looking on.  For, says Isaiah, the people shall see the excellency of the Lord, and the glory of God. What excellency, and what glory? Be strengthened, ye weak hands, and ye enfeebled knees — which indicates paralysis. Be strengthened, fear not.a Not without purpose does he twice say Be strengthened, nor to no effect does he add Fear not, because along with renewal of limbs he was promising also a restoration of strength:  Arise and take up thy bed:  as well as firmness of mind, so as not to be afraid of those who would ask, Who shall forgive sins but God alone? Here then you find fulfilled the prophecy of a particular form of healing, as well as of matters consequent upon the healing.  In the same prophet likewise you may recognize Christ as one who forgives sins:  Because, he says, among very many he shall forgive their sins, and, He himself taketh away our sins.b For <you will find it> also earlier on, our Lord in person speaking:  Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow:  though they be as crimson, I will make them white as wool,c indicating by scarlet the blood of the prophets, and by crimson the blood of our Lord, as more noble.  Also Micah, concerning forgiveness of sins, Who is a God like unto thee, who takest away iniquities and passest over injustices for the residue of thine inheritance?  And he retained not his wrath for a testimony, because he desired there should be mercy.  He will turn back, he will have mercy upon us:  he will overwhelm our iniquities, and overwhelm our sins in the depth of the sea.d Yet even though nothing of this sort had been foretold in respect of Christ, I should have in the Creator instances of this kindness, such as promise me in the Son too the affections of the Father.  I see the men of Nineveh obtaining from the Creator the forgiveness of their crimes — or I should rather say 'from Christ', because even from the beginning he has acted in the Father's name.  I read also that when David confessed his sin against Uriah, Nathan the prophet said, Also the Lord hath cancelled out thy sin and thou shall not die:e also that king Ahab, the husband of Jezebel, guilty of idolatry and of the blood of Naboth, earned pardon on account of repentance:f and that Jonathan the son of Saul wiped out by deprecation the guilt of a broken fast.g Why need I tell


of the nation itself so often restored by forgiveness of sins — by that God who would rather have mercy than sacrifice, and a sinner's repentance rather than his death?h First then you have to deny that the Creator ever forgave sins, and secondly you have to prove that he never prophesied anything of that kind regarding his Christ:  only so will you prove the newness of the kindness of your new Christ, if you succeed in proving that it is neither characteristic of the Creator nor prophesied of by the Creator.  But whether the forgiving of sins can be in character with one who is said not to notice them, or whether one can absolve who cannot if necessary condemn, or whether there is any consistency in pardon being granted by one against whom no offence has been committed, this I have already discussed, and prefer now to draw attention to that, and not to discuss it again.  On the expression Son of man my postulates are two:  first that Christ was incapable of lying, so as to declare himself the Son of man if he was not really so:  and that no one can be accepted as Son of man who is not of human birth, either on the father's side or the mother's:  and this will call for discussion, on what side his human birth must be taken to be, the father's or the mother's.  Now if he is from God as father, certainly his father is not a man:  if his father is not a man, the only thing left is for him to be of a human mother:  and if of a human <mother> it is already evident that she is a virgin.  For as there is ascribed to him no human father, neither can his mother be reckoned to have a husband:  and <this mother> to whom no husband is reckoned, is a virgin.  Otherwise there will be two fathers involved, God and a man, if his mother is not a virgin.  For she has to have a husband, if she is not to be a virgin, and by having a husband she will cause him who was to be the Son of God and of man to have two fathers, God and a man.  That perhaps is the sort of nativity the old tales ascribe to Castor and Hercules.  But if the distinctions are made in this form, that is, if on his mother's side he is the Son of man because he is not the Son of man on his father's side, and if his mother is a virgin because he has no man for his father, this must be Isaiah's Christ whom he prophesies that a virgin will conceive.  By what reasoning then, Marcion, you accept Son of man <into the text of your gospel> I am unable to understand.  If <you mean> son of a human father, you deny that he is the Son of God:  if <you mean> son of God as well, you are making Christ into Hercules out of the old


story:  if only his mother was human, you admit that he is mine:  if neither father nor mother was human, then he is not the son of man at all, and we must conclude that he told a lie when he called himself something that he was not.  One thing alone can get you out of these straits — if you are bold enough either to give your god, the father of Christ, the name of Man, which is what Valentinus did with the aeon,1 or else to deny that the virgin is human, which is a thing not even Valentinus has done.  Next, what if in Daniel Christ is dignified with this actual title, Son of man ? i Is not this good enough proof that Christ is the subject of prophecy?  For when he calls himself by that title which was in prophecy applied to the Christ of the Creator, without question he offers himself for recognition as that one to whom the prophecy applied.  Joint possession of names, perhaps, can be regarded as having no special significance — though even so I maintain that persons possessed of opposite characteristics had no right to be called either Christ or Jesus.  But a title, such as 'Son of man', arises from attendant circumstances, and to that extent it is not easy for it to have any pertinence beyond the possession of the same name.  Arising from attendant circumstances, it is applicable to one person alone, especially when there is no recurrence of the same cause for which it could become a joint possession.  So then if Marcion's Christ too were reported to be of human birth, in that case he also would be eligible for joint possession of the title, and there would be two sons of man, as there would be two named Christ and Jesus.  Therefore since this title belongs to that one alone to whom it has reason to apply, if it is also claimed for another, one in whom there is joint possession of the name though not of the title, the joint possession of the name too falls under suspicion in the case of the one for whom without good reason is claimed joint possession of the title.  So it follows that we must take it to be one and the same Person whom we believe more capable of possessing both the name and the title, to the exclusion of the other who, having no good reason for it, is not in joint possession of the title.  Nor can anyone be found more capable of possessing both <name and title> than he who first came into possession of the name of Christ and the title Son of man, namely

10. 1 In the Valentinian system Man (Anthropos), with his consort Church, was not a man but a supercelestial personage, in the second tetrad of emanations from the original Depth and Silence.  He was thus far higher than the Creator, who was entirely excluded from the fullness of the godhead.  Cf. adv.  Val. 8.


the Creator's Jesus.  He it was whom the Babylonian king saw in the furnace, a fourth along with his martyrs, in form like a son of man.2, j He was also revealed expressly to Daniel himself as the Son of mank coming as judge with the clouds of heaven, as scripture also shows him to be.  I have affirmed that this could be enough about the names the prophets give in reference to the Son of man.  But scripture provides me with still more, by our Lord's own interpretation.  When the Jews were taking account only of his manhood, not yet aware that he was also God, as being also God's Son, and were (as might be expected) arguing that a man cannot forgive sins, but only God can, how is it that the answer he gave them concerning man, that he has power to forgive sins — when by using the expression 'Son of man' he implied 'man' as well — was not in terms of their objection?  Was it not that it was his wish by this title Son of man from the book of Daniel to turn their complaint back upon them in such form as to prove that he who was forgiving sins was both God and Man — that one and only Son of man in terms of Daniel's prophecy, who had obtained power to judge, and by it of course the power to forgive sins (for he who judges also acquits) — and so after that cause of offence had been dispersed by his citation of scripture, they might the more readily recognize from that very act of forgiving sins that he and no other was the Son of man?  Actually, he had never before professed himself the Son of man, but on this occasion first on which he first forgave sins — that is, on which he first exercised judgement, by acquittal.  On this subject take note of what all the arguments amount to which our adversaries allege.  They cannot avoid arriving at such a pitch of madness as to insist <that Christ is> the Son of man, so as not to make him a liar, yet to deny that he is of human birth, to escape admitting that he is the Virgin's son.  But if both divine authority, and the facts of nature, and common logic, do not admit of this heretical idiocy, we have even here occasion to insist, in the sharpest possible terms, on the reality of <Christ's> body, in opposition to Marcion's phantasms.  If, being the Son of man, he is of human birth, there is body derived from body.  Evidently you could more easily discover a man born without heart or brains, like Marcion,

10. 2 The Babylonian king said 'one like a son of a god'. Tertullian was thinking of Dan. 7: 13 and 10: 16; he makes the same mistake adv.Prax. 16. Below, Ch. 21. 8, he explains tanquam.


than without a body, like Marcion's Christ.  Go and search then for the heart, or the brains, of that man of Pontus.

11. [Luke 5: 27-39.] The publican chosen by our Lord for a disciple is brought into the argument by Marcion with the suggestion that because he was outside the law and regarded by the Jews as unclean, he must have been chosen by one hostile to the law.  It has escaped his notice even concerning Peter, a man under the law, who was for all that not only chosen but received commendation for having knowledge granted him by the Father.a He had nowhere, <it appears>, seen it written that Christ is proclaimed as the light and hope and expectation of the gentiles.  Yet <Christ> expressed approval of Jews more than others when he said that the whole have no need of a physician, but those that are sick:  for if by those in ill health he meant them to understand those heathen men and publicans of whom he was making his choice, this was an assurance that those Jews who he said had no need of a physician, were in good health.  If that is so, his coming down to destroy the law was ill-conceived, if his purpose was the remedy of that ill-health, when those who were living in the law were in good health, and had no need of a physician.  What can have been the use of his setting out the parable of the physician and not acting on it?  For just as no one brings a physician to people in health, neither does he bring one to people so alien as man is from Marcion's god, when that man has his own author and protector, and from him for preference that physician who is Christ.  This the parable predetermines, that the physician is more likely to be provided by him to whom the sick persons belong.  From what direction does John make his appearance?  Christ unexpected:  John also unexpected.  With Marcion all things are like that:  with the Creator they have their own compact order.  The rest about John later, since it is best to answer each separate point as it arises.  At present I shall make it my purpose to show both that John is in accord with Christ and Christ in accord with John, the Creator's Christ with the Creator's prophet, that so the heretic may be put to shame at having to no advantage made John's work of no advantage.  For if John's work had been utterly without effect when, as Isaiah says, he cried aloud in the wilderness as preparer of the ways of the Lord by the demanding and commending of repentance, and if he had


not along with the others baptized Christ himself, no one could have challenged Christ's disciples for eating and drinking, or referred them to the example of John's disciples who were assidous in fasting and prayer:  because if any opposition had stood between Christ and John, and between the followers of each, there could have been no demand for imitation, and the force of the challenge would have been lost.  For no one could think it strange and no one be put to grief if the rival preachings of hostile divinities were also discordant in their rules of conduct, having begun by being discordant in the authorities imposing the rules.  Consequently Christ belonged to John and John to Christ, and both to the Creator, both concerned with the law and the prophets, as preachers and teachers.  Otherwise Christ would have repudiated John's rules, as pertaining to a different god, and would have commended his disciples for quite rightly following different practices, having been brought into the service of a different divinity of opposite character.  As things are, by submissively offering the explanation that the sons of the bridegroom could not fast so long as the bridegroom was with them, and by promising that they would afterwards fast when the bridegroom had been taken from them, he did not commend the disciples, but rather found excuses for them, as though the rebuke was not without cause, nor did he repudiate John's rule of conduct but rather gave it approval:  for the present he allowed it to John's circumstances, for the future approving it for circumstances of his own.  Otherwise he would have repudiated it, and commended its opponents, if the rule which then existed had not been a rule of his own.  I recognize my Christ also under that name of Bridegroom, of whom the psalm speaks:  He himself is as a bridegroom coming forth out of his chamber:  from the height of heaven is his going forth, and his returning even unto the height of it.b Also in Isaiah, rejoicing in his father's presence, he says, Let my soul exult in the Lord, for he hath clothed me with the garment of salvation and with the robe of joyfulness, as for a bridegroom, and hath placed upon me a crown as for a bride.c He accounts the church as in himself, and concerning it the same Spirit says to him:  Thou shall clothe thee with them all, as an ornament upon a bride.d This bride Christ also summons to himself by the mouth of Solomon, if indeed you have found this written, Come, my bride, from Lebanon,e pleasantly introducing the mention of Lebanon, the mountain, which among the Greeks is


the word for incense:  for it was out of idolatry that he made the church his bride.  Now deny, if you can, your utter madness, Marcion:  you go so far as to assail the law of your own god.  He contracts no marriages, nor recognizes them when contracted, refuses baptism except to the celibate or the eunuch, keeping it back until death or divorce.  How then can you call his Christ a bridegroom?  This title belongs to him who has joined together male and female, not to one who has put them asunder.  You are in error also about that pronouncement of our Lord in which he is seen to make a distinction between new things and old.  You are puffed up with old wineskins, and befuddled with new wine, and consequently have sewn the patch of heretical newness upon the old, which is the prior, gospel.  In what respect, please tell me, is the Creator other <than himself>?  When he gave command by Jeremiah, Renew for yourselves a new fallow,f did he not turn them away from things old?  When by Isaiah he declares, The old things are passed away, behold these are new things that I make,g is he not turning them round towards new things?  I have long since established the fact that this termination of the ancient things was rather the Creator's own promise made actual in Christ, under the authority of that one same God to whom belong both old things and new.  For new wine is not put into old bottles by one who has never had any old bottles, and no man adds a new piece to an old garment unless he has an old garment to add it to.  The <only> person who abstains from doing a thing if it ought not to be done, is the person who has the means of doing it if it ought to be done.  Consequently, if <Christ> was applying the parable to this purpose, of indicating that he separated the newness of the gospel from the oldness of the law, he made it clear that that from which he separated it was his own, and ought not to have been stigmatized as evil by the separation of things which did not belong:  because no man combines his own belongings with those of others just to make it possible to separate them from those of the others.  Separation is possible because things are conjoined:  and their conjunction brings it about.  So he made it plain that the things he was separating had once been in unity, as they would have continued to be if he were not separating them.  In that sense we admit this separation, by way of reformation, of enlargement, of progress, as fruit is separated from seed, since fruit comes out of seed.  So also the gospel is


separated from the law, because it is an advance from out of the law, another thing than the law, though not an alien thing, different, though not opposed.  Nor is there in Christ any novel style of discourse.  When he sets forth similitudes, when he answers questions, this comes from the seventy-seventh psalm:  I will open my mouth, he says, in a parable, which means a similitude:  I will utter dark sayings,h which means, I will explain difficulties.  If you had wished to prove a man was of a foreign nation, perhaps you would do so by his idiomatic use of his native speech.

12. [Luke 6: 1-11.] Concerning the sabbath also I make this preliminary remark, that there could have been no ground for this objection either, except that Christ represented himself as Lord of the sabbath.1 There could have been no discussion as to why he was breaking the sabbath, if it had been his duty to break it.  And it would have been his duty to break it, if he had belonged to that other god, and no one would have been surprised at his doing what it was incumbent upon him to do.  The reason for their surprise then was that it was not his business both to represent God the Creator and to assail his sabbath.  So then, that we may have a decision on all these primary matters, so as not to have to repeat ourselves at every quibble of our opponent which rests upon some new aspect of Christ's teaching, this postulate shall be taken as established, that the only reason why discussion arose at the novelty of any of his teaching was that nothing had ever yet been said about any novel deity, nor had there been any discussion of it:  nor can the retort be made that by the actual novelty of each point of his teaching Christ gave sufficient proof of a different deity, since it is perfectly clear that there is no room for surprise at the existence in Christ of that novelty which the Creator had actually promised.  Surely the natural process would have been for that other god to be first brought to notice, and afterwards for his moral code to be introduced:  because it is the god that gives authority to the code, not the code that gives authority to the god — unless of course Marcion did not obtain his perverse writings from a teacher but learned of the teacher through the writings.  The other considerations regarding the sabbath I set out as follows.  If Christ did subvert the sabbath, he acted after the Creator's example:  for at the siege of the city

12. 1 The sabbath:  II. 21 and adv.  Jud. 4.


of Jericho the carrying of the ark of the covenant round the walls for eight days, including the sabbath, by the Creator's express command, broke the sabbath by working — or so those people think who have the same opinion also of Christ, being unaware that neither did Christ break the sabbath nor did the Creator, as I shall shortly show.  Even so, the sabbath was on that occasion broken by Joshua so that this too might be taken as referring to Christ.  Even if it was through hatred that he made an attack on the Jews' most solemn day because <as Marcion alleges> he was not the Jews' Christ, even by this hatred of the sabbath he, the Creator's Christ, acknowledged the Creator, following up his cry made by the mouth of Isaiah:  Your new moons and sabbaths my soul hateth.a Now in whatever sense this was spoken we know that in circumstances of this kind a sharp reproof has to be put in action against a sharp provocation.  Next I shall argue the case in reference to the actual subject in which Christ's rule of conduct has been thought to destroy the sabbath.  The disciples had been hungry:  on that very day they had plucked the ears of corn and rubbed them in their hands:  by preparing food they had made a breach in the holy day.  Christ holds them guiltless, and so becomes guilty of infringing the sabbath:  the pharisees are his accusers.  Marcion takes exception to the heads2 of the controversy  — if I may play about a bit with the truth of my Lord3 — written document and intention.  A plausible answer2 is based upon the Creator's written document and on Christ's intention, as by the precedent of David who on the sabbath day entered into the templeb and prepared food by boldly breaking up the loaves of the shewbread.4 For he too remembered that even from the beginning, since the sabbath day was first instituted, this privilege was granted to it — I mean exemption from fasting.  For when the Creator forbade the gathering of two days' supply of manna, he allowed it only on the day before the sabbath, so that by having food prepared the day before he might make immune from fasting the holy day of the sabbath that followed.  Well it is then that our Lord followed the same purpose in breaking down the sabbath — if that is what they want it called:  well it is also that he

12. 2 Status and color as terms of rhetoric:  Quintilian, inst. orat. in. vi sqq. 3 Holmes translates this:  'if I may call in aid the truth of my Lord to ridicule his arts'. He may be right. 4 At 1 Sam. 21:3 the sabbath is not mentioned.


gave effect to the Creator's intention by the privilege of not fasting on the sabbath.  In fact he would have once and for all broken the sabbath, and the Creator besides, if he had enjoined his disciples to fast on the sabbath, in opposition to the fact of scripture and of the Creator's intention.  So then, as he did not keep his disciples in close constraint, but now finds excuse for them:  as he puts in answer human necessity as begging for considerate treatment:  as he conserves the higher privilege of the sabbath, of freedom from sorrow rather than abstention from work:  as he associates David and his followers with his own disciples in fault and in permission:  as he is in agreement with the relaxation the Creator has given:  as after the Creator's example he himself is equally kind:  is he on that account an alien from the Creator?  After that the pharisees watch if he will heal a man on the sabbath, that they might accuse him — evidently <accuse him> as a breaker of the sabbath, not as the setter forth of a strange god:  for perhaps I shall everywhere insist on this point alone, that nowhere was there any prophecy of a different Christ.  But the pharisees were utterly in error about the law of the sabbath, having failed to notice that it is under certain conditions that it enjoins abstention from works, under a specific aspect of them.  For when it says of the sabbath day, No work of thine shall thou do in it,c by saying thine it has made a ruling concerning that human work which any man performs by his craft or business, not divine work.  But the work of healing or of rescue is not properly man's work but God's.  So again in the law it says, In it thou shall do no manner of work, save that which is to be done for every soul, that is, with the purpose of setting a soul free:  for the work of God can be done even by the agency of a man, for the saving of a soul, yet God is the doer of it:  and this as Man Christ also was going to do, because he is also God.  Because of his desire to lead them towards this understanding of the law by the restoration of the withered hand, he asks them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath, or not ? to set a soul free, or to destroy it?: so that by giving approval to that sort of work which he purposed to do for the soul, he might give them warning of what works the law of the sabbath forbade, human works, and what works it enjoined, divine works, which were to be done for every soul.  He called himself Lord of the sabbath, because he was protecting the sabbath as belonging to himself.  Though even if he had broken it, he would have had the


right to, because he who has given a thing existence is even more than lord of it.  But he did not, as its Lord, wholly destroy it, and so it can now become clear that not even of old at the carrying of the ark at Jericho was the sabbath destroyed.  For that too was a work of God, which he himself had commanded, and which he had ordained for the sake of the souls of his own men which were exposed to the hazards of war.  And even if he has in some place expressed his hatred of sabbaths, by saying Your sabbaths,d he reckons as men's sabbaths, not his own, those which are celebrated without the fear of God by a people full of sins, who love God with the lips and not with the heart:  while to his own sabbaths, all such as should be kept by his rules, he assigned a different quality, and these he afterwards by that same prophet pronounces true and delightsomee and not to be profaned.f Nor then did Christ in any way revoke the sabbath, but retained the law of it both just before in the case of the disciples when he performed a work for their soul — for he granted to hungry men the comfort of food — and just now when he heals the withered hand:  on each occasion he insists by his actions, I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it,g even if Marcion has closed his mouth with this word.  Even in this instance he fulfilled the law by explaining the circumstances which condition it, by throwing light upon different kinds of works, by doing the things which the law exempts from the restraints of the sabbath, by making even more holy by his own kind deeds that sabbath day which since the beginning had been holy by the Father's kind words; for in it he made himself the minister of those divine aids, <a ministry> which an adversary would have provided for on other days to avoid doing honor to the Creator's sabbath and giving back to the sabbath the works which are proper to it.  If on that day the prophet Elisha restored to lifeh the Shunamite woman's son that was dead,5 you observe, O pharisee, and you too, Marcion, that of old it was the Creator's practice to do good on sabbath days, to set a soul free, not to destroy it, and that Christ introduced nothing new, nothing which was not in line with the example, the gentleness, the mercy, even the prophecies, of the Creator.  For here too he puts into present effect the prophecy of a particular kind of healing:  weak hands are strengthened,i as also were enfeebled knees in the sick of the palsy.

12. 5 At 2 Kings 4: 23 the woman's husband says it is not the sabbath.


13. [Luke 6: 12-19.] You cannot deny that he brings to Sion and Jerusalem good tidings of peace and of all good things, nor that he goes up into the mountain and there spends all night in prayer, and in effect is heard by his Father.  Open then the prophets, and you will find it all set in order there. Get thee up, says Isaiah, into the high mountain, O thou that bringest good tidings to Sion, lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem.a Even now with strength were they astonished at his doctrine:  for he taught them as one that had power.b And again:  Therefore my people shall know my name at that day — what name, unless it be Christ's? — because it is I myself who speak:c because it was he himself who was then speaking in the prophets, the Word, the Son of the Creator. I am here, while the time is, upon the mountains, as one that bringeth good tidings of the hearing of peace, as bringing good tidings of good things.d Also Nahum, one of the twelve, For behold, swift upon the mountain are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of peace:e But concerning the voice of prayer all night to the Father, the psalm manifestly speaks:  O my God, I will cry throughout the day, and thou wilt hear, and at night, and it shall not be to me for vanity.f And in another place a psalm speaks of the same place and voice:  With my voice I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me from his holy mountain.g So you have his name made present, you have the action of one who brings good tidings, you have his place on the mountain, and the time at night, and the sound of the voice, and the Father hearing him:  you have the Christ of the prophets.  But why did he choose twelve apostles, and not some other number?  Nay but even from this I could find that my Christ is indicated, one foretold not only by the voices of the prophets but also by the evidences of facts.  I find figurative indications of this number in the Creator's scriptures, the twelve springs at Elim, the twelve jewels on Aaron's priestly garment, and the twelve stones chosen by Joshua out of Jordan and laid up in the ark of the covenant.h For this was a previous indication that apostles to that number would like fountains and rivers irrigate the world of the gentiles which had formerly been dried up and deserted of knowledge — as he also says in Isaiah, I will place rivers in a waterless landi — and would like jewels shed light upon the holy vesture of the church, that vesture which Christ the Father's high priest has put on, and would be firm in the faith like stones which the true Joshua


has chosen out of the baptism of Jordan and received into the holy place of his own covenant.  Has Marcion's Christ anything that justifies his retention of that number?  It cannot be thought that a thing was done by him without special meaning, which can be seen to have been done by my Christ with special meaning.  The fact itself must belong to the one with whom is found the preparation for the fact.  Also he changes Simon's name to Peter, because the Creator too had altered the names of Abraham and Sarah and Auses, calling this last one Joshua [Jesus], adding syllables to the other two.  Also why Peter?  If because of forcefulness of faith, there were many firm and solid materials to lend a name of their own.  Or was it because Christ is both rock and stone?  For we do indeed find it written that he is set for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.j I leave out the rest.  And so he made a point of passing on to the dearest of his disciples a name specially connected with the types of himself, a closer name, I imagine, than one drawn from other types than his.  There come together from Tyre and Sidon, and from other countries, a multitude even from over the sea.  This the psalm had in mind:  And behold, the Philistines and Tyre and the people of the Morians, these have been there:  Mother Sion, a man will say, and he became man in her — because God as man was born — and he hath builded her by the will of the Fatherk — that you may know that the reason why the gentiles then came together to him was that God as Man had been born and was to build up the church by the Father's will, even from among the Philistines.  So also Isaiah, Lo, these do come from far, and these come from the north and from the sea, and others from the land of the Persians.l Of these he says again, Lift up thine eyes round about and see, all these are gathered together.m And of the same a little later, when she sees the unknown and the strangers:  And thou shall say to thine heart, Who hath begotten me these? and who hath brought me up these? and these, tell me, where have they been?n Must not this be the Christ of the prophets?  So who can the Christ of the Marcionites be?  If perversity is to their mind, the Christ who was not of the prophets.

14. [Luke 6: 20-2.] I come next to those customary judgements by which he builds up his own special doctrine, what I may call the


magisterial edict of Christ.1 Blessed are the indigent — for the translation of the word which is in the Greek requires it so — for theirs is the kingdom of God. Now this very fact that he begins with blessings is characteristic of the Creator, who with no other voice than of benediction gave sanctity to the universe of things as soon as he made them.  For he says, My heart hath disgorged a supremely good word.a This must be that excellent Word, of benediction surely, who by the precedent of the old covenant is recognized as the initiator of the new covenant as well.  What wonder is it then, if he also by words of this kind begins his discourse with the Creator's affections, the Creator who always expresses his love for the indigent, the poor, the humble, and the widows and orphans, comforting, protecting, and avenging them — so that you may take this (as it were) private bounty of Christ to be a stream from the Saviour's fountains?  Truly I do not know which way to turn among so great a multitude of words such as these, as it might be in a thicket or a meadow or an orchard of fruits.  I must take up each instance at random, as chance suggests it.  The psalm calls out, Judge for the fatherless and indigent, and treat with justice the humble and poor:  deliver the poor, and rend the indigent out of the hand of the sinner.b Also the seventy-first psalm, With righteousness shall he judge the indigent of the people, and shall make safe the sons of the poor. And in what follows, it refers to Christ:  All the gentiles shall serve him.c Now David had power over the Jewish people only:  so let no one think it was said with reference to David that he had taken to himself the humble and those who were borne down by need and want. Because, he says, he hath delivered the indigent from the mighty:  he shall spare the indigent and poor, and shall make safe the souls of the poor, and shall redeem their souls from usury and injustice, and honored shall their name be in his sight.d Also:  Let the sinners be turned aside into hell, all the gentiles who forget God, because the indigent man shall not for ever be kept for oblivion, the patient abiding of poor men shall not for ever perish.e Also, Who is like our God, who hath his dwelling on high, and hath regard for humble things in heaven and on earth:  who lifteth up the indigent from the earth, and exalteth the

14. 1 Tertullian suggests that the beatitudes and the woes, after the manner of the praetor's perpetual edict, are Christ's statement of the principles on which he will act when he comes to judge the world.


poor out of the dunghill, that he may make him to sit with the princes of the people?f — meaning, in God's own kingdom.  Also, further back, in Kingdoms, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, in the Spirit gives glory to God and says, He lifteth up the poor from the earth, the indigent also, that he may make him to sit with the mighty ones of the people, evidently in his own kingdom, and upon thrones of glory,g royal thrones.  And in Isaiah also how does he lash out against the oppressors of the needy:  Ye then, what mean ye that ye set fire to my vineyard, and the spoil of the indigent is in your houses?  Wherefore do ye oppress my people, and shame the face of the indigent ?h And again, Woe to them that write down iniquity, for in writing they write down wickedness, avoiding the judgements of the indigent, and ravaging the rights of the poor of my people.i These judgements he also demands on behalf of orphans and widows, these too being in need of consolation:  Do judgement for the orphan, and deal justly with the widow, and come, let us be reconciled, saith the Lord.j Whosoever has that great affection which the Creator has for every rank of humble estate, his also will be the kingdom promised by Christ, whose affection all those already enjoy to whom the promise is made.  Even if you suppose the Creator's promises were earthly, while Christ's are heavenly, it is well enough that until now there is no indication of heaven belonging to any other god but the God to whom earth belongs:  it is well enough that the Creator has made promises of even lesser things, because this makes it easy for me to believe him in respect of greater things, rather than one who has not previously on a foundation of lesser things built up faith in his liberality. Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled. I should have been able to attach this clause to the one before, because they that hunger are precisely the same as the poor and the indigent, except that the Creator had particularly designed this promise as preparatory work for that gospel which in fact is his own:  because by Isaiah he speaks thus of those, meaning the gentiles, whom he would call to him from the end of the earth:  Behold swiftly, lightly, will they comek — swiftly because they are in haste, towards the end of the times, lightly because they are free of the burdens of the ancient law. They shall not hunger nor thirst — which means they will be filled, and a promise like this is only made to such as are hungry and thirsty.  And


again, Behold they that serve me shall be filed, but ye shall be hungry:  behold they that serve me shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty.l We shall ask ourselves whether even these contrasts are not preparatory for Christ.  For the moment, in that he promises the hungry they will be filled, he belongs to the Creator. Blessed are they that weep, for they shall laugh. Proceed with the statement of Isaiah:  Behold they that serve me shall exult in joyfulness, but ye shall be put to shame:  behold they that serve me shall be made glad, but ye shall cry aloud for sorrow of heart.m Take note of these contrasts also in Christ's words.  Undoubtedly gladness and exultation in joyfulness are promised to those who are in opposite circumstances, the sad, the sorrowful, and the distressed.  In fact psalm one hundred and twenty-five also says, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.n Certainly laughter is quite as characteristic of those who exult and are in joyfulness, as weeping is of those in sorrow and grief.  Thus by his prophecy of causes for laughter and of weeping the Creator was the first to say that those who mourn will laugh.  Consequently, when he began his discourse with consolation to the poor and lowly, to those who were hungry and in tears, <Christ> took immediate steps to identify himself with that one of whom he had given indications in Isaiah:  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor.o Blessed are the indigent, for theirs is the kingdom of heavenp — He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted.o Blessed are they that are hungry, for they shall be filled — pTo comfort those that mourn.o Blessed are they that weep, for they shall laughp — To give to them that mourn the glory of Sion, and instead of ashes the joyfulness of anointing, and the garment of glory for the spirit of heaviness.o If this is the ministry Christ fulfilled immediately on entering his course, either he is the same who foretold that he would come for this purpose, or else, if he who foretold it has not yet come, foolishly perhaps, yet of necessity, I shall have to say, he must have given his commission to Marcion's Christ. Blessed shall ye be when men shall hate you and reproach you and shall cast out your name as evil for the Son of man's sake. By this pronouncement he no doubt exhorts them to endurance.  What less did the Creator say by Isaiah? Fear ye not reproach from men, neither be ye brought low by their reviling.q What reproach, what reviling?  That which was to come for the Son of man's sake.  And who is this?  The one who follows the Creator's pattern.  How shall I prove it?  Because of the hatred


prophesied against him:  as by Isaiah, addressing the Jews, the instigators of hatred:  For your sakes my name is blasphemed among the gentiles:r and in another place:  Sanctify him who doth cut off his own soul, who is held in scorn by the gentiles, the servants and the rulers.s For if hatred was foretold against that Son of man who follows the Creator's pattern, while the gospel testifies that the name of Christians, which evidently is derived from Christ, will be hated for the Son of man's sake, and this is Christ, it indicates as the reason for that hatred the Son of man who was after the Creator's pattern, him against whom hatred was foretold.  And in fact, if he were not yet come, the hatred of the name, which is today a present fact, could not have come into evidence before the Person to whom the name belongs.  For he is even now sanctified among us, and does cut off his own soul by laying it down for our sake, and is held in scorn by the gentiles.  Also one who has experienced human birth, he and no other must be that Son of man for whose sake even our name is cast out as evil.

15. [Luke 6: 23-6.] In like manner, he says, did their fathers to the prophets. See this turncoat Christ, first the destroyer of the prophets, and next the vindicator of them:  as their enemy destroying them, by converting their disciples to himself:  as a friend, vindicating them, by casting reproach upon their persecutors.  Now, in so far as vindication of the prophets would have been out of character with the Christ of Marcion who had come to destroy them, to that same extent it is in character with the Creator's Christ to cast reproach upon the persecutors of those prophets whom in all points he was fulfilling — at least because to blame the sons for the fathers' sins is more in keeping with the Creator than it is with that god who does not even censure a man for his own sins.  But, you say, he was not necessarily acting in defence of the prophets if it was his intention to insist on the iniquity of the Jews in not treating with kindness even their own prophets.  Yes, but here there was no excuse for blaming the Jews for wrongdoing:  they should rather have been praised and commended, if they took strong action against those to whose destruction after all these ages your very good god has at last bestirred himself.  But, I imagine, he is no longer perfectly good:  at length he shares something of the Creator's character, and has ceased to be entirely


Epicurus' god.  For see, he betakes himself to cursing and shows himself to be one who is capable of offence and anger.  For he says Woe. So we have the question raised of the import of this word, with the suggestion that it implies not so much malediction as admonition.1 But what is the difference in intention, when even an admonition is not given without the spur of commination, especially when made more astringent by the word Woe? Also both admonition and commination are in character with one who is capable of being angry.  For no one is going either by admonition or by commination to forbid a person to do something, unless he is going to inflict punishment if it is done.  No one can inflict punishment, but one who is capable of anger.  There are others indeed who admit the word involves cursing, but will have it that Christ uttered the word Woe not as proceeding strictly from his own judgement, but because the word woe comes from the Creator, and he wished to set before them the Creator's severity, and so give greater commendation to his own tolerance previously in the beatitudes.  As though this were not within the Creator's competence, in that he presents himself in both aspects, as the kind God and as the Judge, having given previous indication of his kindness in the benedictions, afterwards to append his severity in the maledictions — the full extent of his moral law to be built up in both directions, no less for men to seek after his benediction than for them to take precaution against his malediction.  For he had long ago set it down in that form:  Behold I have set before you blessing and cursinga — which was also an early indication of this double aspect of the gospel.  In any case what sort of person is that who for the sake of suggesting his own kindness begins by pointing the contrast of the Creator's sternness?  A poor sort of commendation is this, which props itself up by the running down of someone else.  But, you say, by pointing the contrast of the Creator's sternness he did establish the fact that he is one to be feared. <Yes:  but> if one to be feared, one rather to be obeyed than disregarded, and Marcion's Christ begins now to give teaching on behalf of the Creator.  Again, if that Woe which has the rich in view is the Creator's, then it is not Christ who is angry with the rich, but the Creator, and Christ sets his approval on rich men's claims, that pride and glory, I mean, that devotion to the world and neglect of God, for which they deserve that Woe

15. 1 On blessing and cursing:  Irenaeus, A.H. iv. xliv. 1-3.


from the Creator.  And surely this disapproval of the rich must proceed from the same <Christ> who has just now expressed approval of the indigent.  Any man disapproves of the contrary of that of which he has expressed approval.  So it follows that if that curse against the rich is ascribed to the Creator, the blessing of the indigent must also be claimed for him, and in that case the whole work of Christ is the Creator's work.  If the blessing meant for the indigent is to be ascribed to Marcion's god, the cursing meant for the rich must be set down to him too, and in that case he will be exactly like the Creator, a kind god and also a judge, and there will no longer be room for that distinction by which there come to be two gods, and, as the distinction is abolished, there will remain no other course than for the Creator to be pronounced the only God there is.  Therefore if Woe is a term of malediction, or of some unusually severe reproof, and if it is by Christ directed against the rich, I have to prove that the Creator too disapproves of the rich, as I have already proved that he is a comforter of the indigent, so that in this sentiment too I may show that Christ is with the Creator.  For if the Creator made Solomon rich, this was because when given the opportunity of choosing he thought it better to ask for things which he knew were pleasing to God — wisdom and understanding — and thus was worthy to obtain the riches also to which he had not given the preference.  And yet even to grant a man riches is not out of character with God, for both by these the rich obtain ease and comfort, and with them are performed many works of justice and charity.  But the faults incidental to riches, the woes in the gospel impute these also to rich persons, Because, it says, ye have received your comfort — meaning, from your riches, because of the reputation they bring and the worldly benefits.  And so in Deuteronomy Moses says, Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built great houses, and thy sheep and thy oxen are multiplied, and thy silver and gold, thy heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God.b So also against Hezekiah the king, when he was puffed up for his treasures' sake, and had boasted of them rather than of God in the presence of the men who had come from Persia,2 <the Creator> makes an attack by Isaiah, Behold the days come, in which all things that are in thy house shall be taken away, and the things which thy fathers have heaped together shall be removed to Babylon.c And by Jeremiah also

15. 2 The messengers had come from Babylon:  Isa. 39: 1; 2 Kings 20: 12.


he said, Let not the rich man glory in his riches, but he that gloriethd — let him in fact glory in the Lord.  So also he attacks the daughters of Sion by Isaiah when they are haughty through luxury and abundance of riches, as he was also in another place to utter threats against the high-born and the proud:  Hell hath enlarged his soul and opened his mouth, and the nobles and the great men and the rich — here will be Christ's Woe over the rich — shall go down there, and a man shall be brought low — evidently one exalted by riches — and a mighty man shall be dishonorede — obviously one honored for his possessions' sake.  And concerning these again:  Behold the Lord of hosts shall shatter the overweening with strength, and the high ones shall be smitten down, and the haughty shall fall by the sword.f And who are these but the rich?  For they have received their comfort, glory and honor, their high estate from their riches.  To warn us away from these he says also in psalm forty-eight, Be not thou afraid, though a man be made rich, even though his glory be increased, because he shall take none of them when he dieth, neither shall his glory go down <to the grave> with him.g Also in psalm sixty-one, Desire not riches, and if they are lustrous, set not your heart upon them.h Lastly, that same word woe is directed by Amos against rich men who abound in delights:  Woe, he says, to them that sleep on beds of ivory, and flow with delights upon their couches, who eat the kids out of the flocks of goats and the sucking calves out of the herds of cattle, who beat time to the sound of instruments — they reckoned these as things that abide, not as things that flee away — who drink their wine refined, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments.i Therefore even if I had done no more than show the Creator dissuading men from riches, and not also condemning rich men in advance, and that with the same word that Christ also used, no one could deny that the threat added against the rich by that woe of Christ, came from the same authority from whom the dissuasion from the objects themselves, the riches, had already issued.  For a threat is something added to dissuasion.  He utters a woe also against those who are full, because they will be hungry; as also to those who laugh now, for they shall mourn.  With this correspond the things already mentioned as set over against his benedictions by the Creator:  Behold, they that serve me shall be filled, but ye shall be hungry — evidently because you have been filled:  and behold, they that serve


me shall rejoice, but ye shall be put to shamej — evidently, you will weep who now laugh.  For as it says in the psalm, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,k so also in the gospel, they that sow in laughter, that is, because of joy, shall reap in tears.  Long ago did the Creator set these things side by side:  Christ, by not changing them but only giving them emphasis, has made them new. Woe when men shall speak well of you. That is what their fathers used to do to the false prophets.  No less does the Creator, by Isaiah, censure those who seek after the blessing and praise of men:  O my people, they that call you blessed do lead you astray and disturb the paths of your feet.l And in other terms he even forbids them to have any confidence in a man, and consequently not in man's praise, as by Jeremiah, Cursed is the man who hath hope in a man.m For he says also in psalm one hundred and seventeen, It is better to trust in God than to put confidence in man, and it is better to hope in God than to hope in princes.n So then everything that people try to obtain from man, the Creator has given judgement against, including their well-speaking.  He it is who condemns their fathers no less for praising and blessing the false prophets, than for persecuting and rejecting the true prophets:  just as the insults done to the prophets could not have been acceptable to the God of those prophets, even so the favors done to the false prophets could have been displeasing only to the God of the true prophets.

16. [Luke 6: 27-31.] But, he says, to you I say who hear — proving that this is a long-standing command of the Creator, Speak in the ears of them that heara — Love your enemies, and bless them that hate you, and pray for them that speak evil of you. All this the Creator has enclosed in one sentence by Isaiah, Say to them that hate you, Ye are our brethren.b For if we have to address as brethren those who are our enemies, who hate us and curse us and speak evil of us, evidently he who gave instructions for them to be reckoned as brethren is the one who has given the command to bless those that hate us and pray for those who speak evil of us.  Admittedly Christ teaches a new degree of forbearance, when he puts restraint on that retaliation for injury which the Creator permitted by demanding an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth:  for he on the contrary orders us rather to offer the other cheek, and in


addition to the coat to let go of the cloak also.  Evidently Christ will have added this as supplementary, yet in agreement with the Creator's rules.  So we need an immediate decision on this question, whether the rule of forbearance is contained in the Creator's teaching.  When by Zechariah he gives the instruction, Let not any one of you remember his brother's malice,c that includes his neighbour.  For again he says, Let not any one of you think over his neighbour's malice.d He who has charged them to forget the injury has even more than given them charge to bear with it.  But again when he says, Vengeance is mine and I will avenge,e he inculcates forbearance, as that which stands in expectation of vengeance.  So then, in so far as it is quite incredible that the demand of tooth for tooth and eye for eye in return for an injury should proceed from the same one who forbids not only retaliation, not only vengeance, but even the remembrance and recollection of injury, to that extent it becomes clear to us in what sense he decreed an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth — not so as to permit a second injury of retaliation, seeing he had forbidden this by prohibiting vengeance, but so as to set restraint upon the first.  This he had forbidden by the interposition of retaliation, so that every man, having regard to that permission for a second injury, might abstain from committing the first.  For he is aware that violence is more readily restrained by the immediate application of retaliation than by the promise of future revenge.  Both of these had to be provided for, to meet human nature and men's faith, so that the man who believed God might expect God to exact vengeance, while the man who was deficient in faith should have respect for the laws of retaliation.  This was the intention of that law, but it was in difficulties through lack of understanding, until Christ, as Lord both of the sabbath and of the law and of all his Father's ordinances, both revealed <its purpose> and made it capable <of comprehension> when he commanded the offering even of the other cheek:  for by so doing he put an end to those reprisals for injury which the law had intended to check by retaliation, reprisals which beyond doubt the prophecy had manifestly brought under restraint when it forbade the remembrance of injury and referred vengeance back to God.  Consequently, whatever addition Christ made, he caused no destruction of the


Creator's rules:  for the command he gave was not in opposition but in furtherance of them.  So then if I look for his actual reason for enjoining forbearance, forbearance so full and complete, it can only be convincing if it appertains to that Creator who promises vengeance and presents himself as judge.  Otherwise if such a burden of forbearance, in not only not striking back but even of presenting the other cheek, in not only not returning insults but even of kindly speaking, in not only not holding on to one's coat but even of letting go of one's cloak also, is imposed upon me by one who is not going to be my defender, in vain does he enjoin forbearance:  for he sets before me no reward for <following> his injunction, I mean, no fruit of my endurance:  and this is the revenge which he ought to have left in my discretion if he himself does not provide it, or else, if he was not leaving it to me, he ought to provide it for me:  because it is in the interest of good conduct, that injury should be avenged.  For it is by fear of vengeance that all iniquity is kept in check.  But for that, if indiscriminate liberty is accorded, iniquity will get the mastery, so as to pluck out both eyes, and knock out all the teeth, because it is convinced of impunity.  But this is characteristic of that supremely good god, who is kind and nothing more, to inflict injury upon forbearance, to open the door to violence, to abstain from defending the righteous, and to leave the wicked unconstrained. Give to everyone that asketh thee — evidently, to the man in need, or perhaps so much the more to the man in need, if it includes the man with abundance.  So then to prevent any from being in need, you find that in Deuteronomy there is imposed upon the giver the example of the Creator, who says, There shall be no needy person in thee, that the Lord thy God may surely bless theef — the giver, it means, who has caused there to be no needy person.  But there is more here.  For his command is, to give to one who does not ask:  Let there not be, he says, a needy person in thee, which means, without being asked, take care that there shall not be:  by which he makes an even stronger case for giving to the one who does ask.  Again in what follows:  But if there shall be one in need from among thy brethren, thou shall not turn away thy heart nor shut thy hand from thy brother who is in need:  thou shalt surely open to him thy hand, and shall lend him as much as he is in want of.g Now a loan is not usually given except to


one who asks for it.  But about the loan, more hereafter.  Now if anyone wishes to argue that the Creator ordered gifts to be given to the brethren, but that Christ said they must be given to all who ask, so that this is something new and different, I answer that this will be one of those points in which the Creator's law is found in Christ.  For Christ has prescribed the same action towards all men, as the Creator did towards the brethren.  For although that kindness is greater which is exercised towards strangers, it takes no precedence of that which was previously a debt towards the people next door.  For who is there that is able to love strangers?  But if the second degree of kindness, towards strangers, is the same as that first degree, towards one's neighbours, that second degree will have to belong to the same one to whom the first belonged — much more easily than that the second degree should belong to one whose first was non-existent.  So it was in accordance with the course of nature that the Creator first taught of kindness towards neighbours, intending afterwards to extend it towards strangers, and, according to the reckoning of his own dispensation, at first towards the Jews, and afterwards also towards every race of men.  Consequently, so long as the mystery remained within Israel, quite rightly he enjoined mercy towards the brethren alone:  but when he had given to Christ the heathen for an inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession,h and when the fulfilment began of that which was spoken by Hosea, Not-my-people <shall be> My-people, and She that had not obtained mercy <shall be> She that hath obtained mercyi — the gentile nation, it means — from thenceforth Christ extended towards all men the law of his Father's bounty, excluding none from his compassion as he excludes none from his vocation.  And so also any further teaching he gave, this also he had received to add to his inheritance of the heathen. And as ye would that men should do to you, even so do ye to them. In this precept of course the other side of it is to be understood:  And as ye would that men should not do to you, neither do ye to them.  If this precept was given by a new god, one formerly unknown, and even now not fully revealed, one who had previously given me no formative instruction by which I could know beforehand what I ought to wish for or not to wish for for myself, and so do for others what I wished to be done to me, and abstain from doing what I did not wish to be


done to me, — in that case he has left to my own judgement wide possibilities, in no way tying me down to any agreement of acts and wishes, so as to do to others what I would they should do to me, and not do to others what I would not they should do to me.  For as he has given no definition of what it is my duty to wish or not to wish, either for myself or for others, so as to equate my action with the law of my will, it follows that I am able not to grant to another that which I should wish another to grant to me, love, respect, consolation, protection, and benefits of that nature, and likewise to do also to another what I should wish another not to do to me, violence, insult, despite, deceit, and evils of that kind.  Indeed with such-like disagreement of their acts and their wishes do the heathen conduct themselves who are as yet without instruction from God.  For although the fact of good and evil is known by nature, yet God's rule of conduct is not:  but when this is known, then at length agreement between will and action comes into operation as a result of faith, as under the fear of God.  And so Marcion's god, now that he has recently been revealed, if indeed revealed, has not been in a position, in respect of this precept which we are considering, to publish a summary so concise and obscure and even yet of hidden meaning, or more easy of interpretation in accordance with my own preferential choice:  for he had worked out no previous distinction in the matter.  My Creator however has both of old time and in every place prescribed that the needy, poor and orphans and widows, must receive protection, help, and refreshment:  as by Isaiah, Break thy bread for the indigent, and them that are without shelter bring thou into thy house, and if thou seest the naked, cover him:j also by Ezekiel, concerning the just man, He will give his bread to the hungry, and will cover the naked.k As early as that then he taught me well enough to do to others what I would they should do to me.  And likewise by such pronouncements as Thou shall not kill, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness,l he taught me not to do to others the things I would not they should do to me.  Consequently the precept in the gospel will have come from him who of old time both prepared for it, and gave it distinct expression, and set it under the arbitrement of his own rule of conduct, and has now, as was his right, given it summary precision:  because also in another context it was foretold that the


Lord, which is Christ, would make concise speech upon the earth.m

17. [Luke 6: 34-49.] Next, on the matter of lending at interest, when he puts this question, And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?, run over what follows in Ezekiel on the just man above-mentioned:  He hath not, it says, put out his money at interest, and will not accept any increasea — meaning the excess amount due to interest, which is usury.  It was first necessary for him to suppress the return of interest on capital:  by this means he would the more easily reconcile a man to the loss possibly even of the capital, when he had first been taught to remit the interest on it.  This is what I mean when I speak of the function of the law in preparing for the gospel.  So early as that by certain primary precepts of a benevolence which had not yet learned to express itself clearly, was it gradually moulding the faith of some few towards the full splendour of the Christian moral law.  For he said before, And he will restore the pledge to the debtor,b evidently if he is insolvent, for would any man have had cause to write that the pledge must be restored to one who was solvent?  It is put much more evidently in Deuteronomy:  Thou shalt not sleep upon his pledge, but thou shalt surely return to him his cloak about sunset, and he will sleep upon his cloak.c Clearer still before that:  Thou shalt release every debt which thy neighbour oweth thee, and thou shalt not require it of thy brother, because the release of the Lord thy God hath been proclaimed.d Now when he orders debt to be remitted, evidently meaning to one who is not going to repay — for it means still more when he forbids asking for it back, even though the man is going to pay — what does he mean, who has enjoined so great a loss on loans, except that we must lend even to one who has no intention of paying? And ye shall be the sons of God. An outrageous thing, if that god is going to make us sons to himself, who by depriving us of matrimony has made it impossible for us to get sons for ourselves.  How can he promote <us as> his own to that title which he has already abolished ?  I cannot become the son of a eunuch, especially when I have for Father the same one whom all things have.  For just as he who is the Creator of the universe is the Father of all things, so he who is the creator of no substance is but a eunuch.  Even if the Creator had not conjoined the male and the female, even if he had not granted offspring to all living


creatures whatsoever, I was in this relation to him before there was paradise, before there was sin, before the expulsion, before the two became one.  At once was I made his son, immediately he had formed me with his hands, when by his breath he gave me movement.  He it is who now for a second time gives me the name of son, while he brings me to birth not this time as soul but as spirit. Because, he continues, he is kind unto the unthankful and evil. Well done, Marcion.  Cleverly enough have you deprived him of rain and sunshine, that he might not be taken for the Creator.  Yet who is this kind one, who has never been heard of until now?  How could he be kind when from him had proceeded no good gifts of this sort of kindness with which <he had acted> who gave us the loan of sunshine and showers without expectation of any return from the human race?  This the Creator has done, who in return for all his liberality in works of nature even until now bears with men while they pay their debt of thanksgiving more readily to idols than to himself.  Truly kind is he, even with spiritual benefits:  for the judgements of the Lord are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.e He therefore who has here put the ungrateful to rebuke, is he who had the right to find them grateful, and his sunshine and showers you too, Marcion, have enjoyed without gratitude.  Your god however had no call to complain of the ungrateful, as he had made no provision for having them grateful.  Again when he teaches of mercy and pity he says, Be ye merciful, even as your Father has had mercy upon you. This will be, Break thy bread for the hungry, and him that is without shelter bring into thy house, and if thou seest the naked cover him;f and, Judge for the fatherless and sustain the cause of the widow.g I see here that ancient teaching, of him who would rather have mercy than sacrifice.h Or else, if it is now some other who has required mercy because he also is merciful, how is it that in all these ages he has not been merciful to me? Judge not, that ye be not judged:  condemn not, that ye be not condemned:  forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  give, and it shall be given to you:  good measure, pressed down and running over, shall they give into your bosom.  With the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again. As I see it, this sounds like reward called forth by deserts.  From whom then comes the reward?  If from men only, then his teaching is of human conduct and human payment, and our obedience will be entirely given to men:  if from the Creator, as from a judge and assessor of men's


deserts, then it is to him that he directs our obedience, since with him he has asserted that retribution is to be sought for or feared, in accordance as each of us has judged or condemned, or forgiven or meted out:  if from that <god of Marcion's> then he too is now become a judge — and this Marcion denies.  So let the Marcionites make their choice, whether it is worth as much to fall away from their master's rule, as to take it that Christ's teaching has in view perhaps men, or else the Creator.  But the blind leads the blind into the ditch. Some few believe Marcion.  But the disciple is not above his master. This ought not to have been forgotten by Apelles, first Marcion's disciple, and afterwards his corrector.  Let the heretic also extract the beam out of his own eye, and then let him pass censure on the mote he thinks is in the Christian's eye.  Moreover a good tree would not bring forth evil fruit, for neither would the truth bring forth heresy:  an evil tree would not bring forth good fruit, nor heresy the truth.  For this reason Marcion has not brought out anything good from the evil treasure of Cerdo, nor Apelles from that of Marcion.  We shall find it much more appropriate to interpret of these persons the things which Christ has made into an allegory referring to men, than to interpret them of two gods, as Marcion's offence puts it.  I reckon that it is not without justification that I continue to take my stand upon the position by which I lay it down that nowhere in any sense is any different god revealed by Christ.  I am surprised that in this alone Marcion's adulterating hand lost its cunning.  Except that even robbers have their fears.  No evil act is exempt from fear, because none is exempt from consciousness of itself.  For all that time then even the Jews knew no other god except him besides whom they as yet knew no other, nor called upon any other god than him whom alone they knew.  If that is so, whom shall we take to have asked, Why callest thou me Lord, Lord? Shall it be one who had never been so called, because never until now revealed? or shall it be he who was always acknowledged as Lord, as having been known from the beginning — in fact, the God of the Jews?  Who else could have added, While ye do not what I say? Can it be one who only at that moment was attempting to teach them, or one who since the beginning had addressed to them the utterances of both law and prophets?  He too would have been in a position to rebuke their disobedience, even if he had never elsewhere rebuked them.  Yes, he who, before Christ came, had addressed them


with, This people loveth me with their lips, but their heart is removed far from me,i was now bringing up against them their ancient obstinacy.  But for this, how out of character it was that a new god, a new Christ, the bringer of the light of this new and great religion, should pronounce obstinate and disobedient those of whom he could have had no possible experience!

18. [Luke 7.] Likewise in his commendation of the centurion's faith, it is not likely that the statement that he had not found so great faith even in Israel should have been made by one to whom Israel's faith was of no concern.  Nor could it become his concern from then onwards, that a faith which was still immature  — not to say non-existent — should receive from him either approbation or preference.  But, <you object> why might he not have used for an illustration faith in a different god?  Because in that case he would have said that such great faith had never existed in Israel, whereas what he did say was that he ought to have found so great faith in Israel:  for he had come in expectation of finding it, being Israel's God and Israel's Christ, and would not have criticized it except as one who had the right to demand it and search for it.  An opponent would have preferred to find it as he did find it, for he would have come rather with a view to weakening and destroying it, not so as to approve of it.  He also raised to life the widow's dead son.  Not a novel piece of evidence.  The Creator's prophets had done this:  how much more his Son.  Until that very moment Christ had made no suggestion of any other god — so much so that all who were there rendered glory to the Creator, saying that A great prophet is risen up among us, and, God hath visited his people. Which god?  Evidently he to whom that people belonged, and by whom prophets had been sent.  Now since those people glorified the Creator, and Christ who heard and knew it did not correct them when they honored the Creator for this great testimony of a dead man raised to life, without doubt we must either admit he was the messenger of no other god than the God he did not object to them honoring on account of the benefits and miracles he himself had wrought:  or we must ask how it was that for all that time he tolerated their error, when his coming was for this precise purpose, of curing their error.  But John is offended when he hears of Christ's miracles — because, <you suggest>, he belongs to the other <god>. I however


shall first explain his reason for offence, so that I may the more easily show up the offence of the heretic.  When the Lord of hosts himself was by the Word and Spirit of the Father working and preaching upon earth, it was necessary that that apportionment of the Holy Spirit which, after the manner of what was measured out to the prophets, had in John had the function of preparing the ways of the Lord, should now depart from John, having been drawn back again into the Lord, as into its all-inclusive headspring.1 And so John, being now an ordinary man, one of the multitude, was offended, as indeed a man might be:  not because he was hoping for, or thinking of, a different Christ — for he had no ground for such a hope — since he was teaching and doing nothing new.  No man can have doubts about one who he knows does not exist, and of whom therefore he entertains neither hopes nor understanding.  John however, both as Jew and as prophet, was quite sure that no one is God except the Creator.  Evidently it is easier to think that his doubts were concerned with one whose existence he was convinced of, but was not sure whether this was he.  So it is in this fear that John asks, Is it thou who earnest, or do we look for another? — a simple inquiry whether he whom he was looking for had come. Is it thou who contest — that is, who art to come:  or do we look for another — that is, is there another whom we are expecting, if thou art not he whose coming we expect?  For he had hopes — and all were thinking on those lines — arising out of the similarity of the evidences, that possibly for the meanwhile a prophet had been sent, and that it was a different one from him, a greater one, the Lord himself, whose coming was expected.  And in fact that John's being offended consisted in this, that he was not sure whether that same one had come whom they were expecting, that one whom they ought to have recognized by the works prophesied of him, appears from the fact that the Lord returned answer to John that it was by those same works that he ought to be recognized.  And since it is agreed that these were prophesied with respect to the Creator's Christ — as I have proved in regard to each of them — it is worse than ridiculous that he

18. 1 That the ancient prophecy ceased, not only with John, but in John himself, has become to Tertullian almost a commonplace:  de orat. 1. 2; de bapt. 10. 5; adv.  Jud. 8. 14; de praesc. haer. 8. 3. In this he follows Justin, dial. 51, 52 (on Jacob's blessing of Judah), 57 (on Isaiah 11: 1-3, where he says 'shall rest upon him' means 'shall come to an end with him', i.e. 'shall in his time reach their limit').


should have sent back the answer that a Christ not the Creator's was the interpretation of those signs by which he was the rather urging his recognition as the Christ of the Creator.  It is even more ridiculous if a Christ who is not John's bears witness to John, giving assurance that he is a prophet, yea even more, a sort of angel, affirming that it is even written of him, Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way:a for in kindly fashion he recalls the prophecy to the former mind of John who is now offended, so that by thus assuring John his precursor that he has really come he may extinguish the doubt involved in that question, Is it thou who earnest, or do we look for another? For as the precursor had now completed his task, and the Lord's way was prepared, he himself must be understood to be the one for whom the precursor had done service.  Greater indeed is he than all that are born of women:  but the reason why he is less than the least in the kingdom of God is not that there is a kingdom of one of the gods in which every least person is greater than John, and a John of another god who is greater than all born of women.  For whether it is that he speaks of some particular least person because of humility, or that he speaks of himself because he was taken to be less than John, in that all men were pouring out into the wilderness to John rather than to Christ — What went ye out into the wilderness to see? — in either case it has reference to the Creator, first that it is his John who is greater than men born of women, and again that it is either Christ or every least person who is to be greater than John in that kingdom which no less is the Creator's, and is even now greater than that great prophet because he has not been offended at Christ — for this it was that made John little.  Concerning forgiveness of sins I have already spoken.  The story of that sinful woman will have this in point, that when she kissed our Lord's feet, and watered them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and covered them with ointment, it was a true and actual body that she handled, and not an empty phantasm:  and that, as might be expected with the Creator, a sinful woman's repentance won for her pardon, for he is wont to prefer it to sacrifice.  Also, since the urge to repentance had proceeded from faith, it was through repentance justified by faith that she heard the words, Thy faith hath saved thee, from him who had already declared by Habakkuk, The just shall live by reason of his faith.b


19. [Luke 8: 1-21.] That certain wealthy women accompanied Christ, and ministered to him of their possessions, and among them the wife of the king's steward, is taken from prophecy.  For these it was whom he called to him through Isaiah:  Ye wealthy women, arise and hear my voice, showing them to be disciples first, and afterwards workers and assistants:  ye daughters in hope, hear my words:  remember the day of the year, with labour in hope, the labour with which they followed him, and ministered to him because of hope.  No less concerning parables, let it once for all suffice to have proved that this species of discourse was promised by the Creator.  But next, that pronouncement of the Creator to the people, With the ear ye shall hear, and shall not hear,a has frequently given Christ occasion to insist, He that hath ears, let him hear — not as though through opposition Christ was giving back the hearing which the Creator had taken away from them, but because rebuke had to be followed by exhortation.  First, With the ear ye shall hear and shall not hear:  afterwards, He that hath ears, let him hear. Those who had ears were themselves responsible for their not hearing:  though he was showing them that ears of the heart are necessary, and it was with these that the Creator had said that they would not hear.  And so through Christ he adds, Take heed how ye hear, and do not hear, because they heard with the ear and not with the heart.  If you attach its proper meaning to this admonition, according to the mind of him who was exhorting them to hear, even when he said Take heed how ye hear, he was issuing a threat to those who were not prepared to hear.  Look how your god is making a threat — so very kind that he neither judges nor is angry.  My point is proved by the sentence next following:  To him that hath, shall be given:  but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath. What is it will be given?  Increase of his faith, or even understanding, or perhaps salvation itself.  What is it will be taken away?  Evidently that which will be given.  By whom will it be given and taken away?  If it is to be taken away by the Creator, by him also it will be given.  If it is to be given by Marcion's god, by him also it will be taken away.  Yet on whichever reckoning he threatens to take it away, it will not come from that god who is unable to threaten because he is unable to be angry.  Also I wonder how one can talk about a lamp never being hidden, who through all those long ages had hidden himself, a greater and more essential light:  and


how he can promise that all things secret shall be made manifest, when he is all the while keeping his god in darkness, waiting I suppose for Marcion to be born.  We come now to the standing argument of all those who bring into controversy our Lord's nativity.1 He himself, they say, affirms that he has not been born when he says, Who is my mother and who are my brethren? In this way heretics are always, by their theories, wresting plain and simple expressions in any direction they please, or else, on supposition of simplicity, giving a general meaning to expressions based on special conditions and particular reasons, as on the present occasion.  We on the contrary affirm, first, that there could have been no report brought to him that his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to see him, if he had had no mother or brethren, and if he who brought the message had not known who they were, either by previous acquaintance or by having then and there been informed, either when they asked to see him or when they themselves sent the messenger.  To this first submission of ours our adversaries' usual answer is, What then if the message was brought with the purpose of tempting him?  But the scripture does not say so, though its custom is to indicate when anything is done for temptation's sake — Behold a doctor of the law stood up, tempting him,b and in that question about tribute-money, And there came to him pharisees, tempting himc — and consequently, where it makes no mention of temptation, it does not admit of its being interpreted as temptation.  For all that, though I have no need to, I demand the reasons for such temptation, in what respect they can have tempted him by the mention of his mother and his brethren.  If because they wished to know whether he had been born, or not — had there ever been any doubt of this, which they could resolve by means of that temptation?  Yet who could have any doubt of the birth of one who he saw Was a man, whom he had heard declare himself the Son of man, who in consideration of all his human attributes they hesitated to believe was God, or the Son of God?  They found it easier to esteem him a prophet, some great one no doubt, but one in any case who had been born.  Even if there had been reason to tempt him by investigating his nativity, any other means would have

19. 1 Cf. de carne Christi 7, in controversy with Apelles.  The question, 'Who is my mother and my brethren?', not recorded by St.  Luke, was taken over by Marcion from Matt. 12: 48 and Mark 3: 33.


been more in keeping with such temptation than the mention of those relations whom, in spite of having been born, he might by that time have lost.  Tell me, does everybody who has been born, have a mother still living?  Does everybody who has been born, have brothers born to him as well?  Is it not more likely that people have their fathers living or their sisters, or even no one?  Also it is well known that a census had just been taken in Judaea by Sentius Saturninus, and they might have inquired of his ancestry in those records.2 Thus in no respect has this suggestion of temptation stood up to examination, and it really was his mother and his brethren who stood without.  It remains for me to ask what he had in mind when in some figurative manner he used the words, Who is my mother, or my brethren?, giving the impression of denying both relationship and nativity — yet arising from the requirements of the situation and conditional upon a reasonable explanation.  It was that he was rightly displeased that while strangers were within, intent upon his words, such near relations stood without, and what is more, sought to distract him from his appointed work.  This was not so much a denial as a disavowal.  And consequently, after his first remark, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?, he added, Those only who hear my words and do them, thus transferring those titles of relationship to others, whom he should judge more closely related to him by their faith.  Now no one makes a transference except from one already in possession of that which is transferred.  If then he made to be his mother and brethren those who were not, in what sense did he deny those who were?  Evidently on conditions of their own deserving, not from denial of those close relations, giving in himself an example of his own teaching, that he who should put father or mother or brethren before the word of God was not a worthy disciple.d For the rest, the admission that they were his mother and his brethren was even more clearly expressed by this refusal to acknowledge them.  By adopting others he confirmed those whom through disfavor he denied, and the substitution was not of others more real but of others more worthy.  In any case it is not surprising that he preferred faith to blood-relationship, when <as Marcion will have it> he had no blood.

19. 2 C. Sentius Saturninus, consul 19 B.C., afterwards proconsul of Africa (Tertullian, de pallio 1), legate of Syria 9-6 B.C., is often mentioned by Josephus.  Only Tertullian connects him with the Judaean census of Luke 2:1.


20. [Luke 8: 25-48.] Now who is this, that commands even the winds and the sea?  Some new ruler, perhaps, and impropriator of the elements which have belonged to that Creator who is now subdued and dispossessed?  By no means.  Those elements had recognized their author, even as they had of old been accustomed to obey his servants.  Look at Exodus, Marcion:  see how Moses' rod gave orders to the Red Sea, a much greater matter than all the ponds in Judaea, so that it was split to the bottom, was made firm with equal amazement on either side, and by a route through its midst let the people pass through on dry feet:  and again at the command of the same rod its nature returned, and the flowing together of the waters overwhelmed the Egyptian host.  To that Work also the south winds gave service.a Read how for the dividing off of one tribe by lot there was a sword at their crossing of Jordan,b after Joshua had clearly enjoined its current from above and below to stand still as the prophets passed over.  What say you to this?  If Christ belongs to you, you will not find him more powerful than these servants of the Creator.  Now I might have wen content with these instances, but that a prophecy of this actual walking upon the sea had anticipated Christ's action.  When he crosses the sea, there is a psalm being fulfilled, The Lord is upon many waters.c When he scatters its waves, Habakkuk is being fulfilled, Scattering the waters by his passage.d When at his rebuke the sea is stricken down, Nahum too is made complete, He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry,e along with those winds, of course, by which it was disquieted.  By what evidence will you have me prove that Christ is mine?  By the Creator's acts or by his prophets?  Come now, you who suppose the prophecy was of a militant and armed warrior, not as a figure or an allegory of fine who on a spiritual battlefield, with spiritual armour, was to wage spiritual war against spiritual enemies:  when you find in one single man a multitude of devils, who call themselves a legion, evidently a spiritual one, learn from this that Christ too must be understood to be he who in spiritual armour and as a spiritual warrior is an overthrower of spiritual enemies, and so it was he who was also to contend with the legion of demons:  and thus it will become evident that of this war the psalm declared, The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.f For when he did battle with the last enemy, which is death,g he triumphed by the trophy of the cross.  But of which god did the legion testify that Jesus is


the son?  Surely, of that God whose torments and abyss they already knew and feared.  For it does not seem that they can still have been unaware of what the power of that new and unknown god was accomplishing on earth, since it is not at all likely that the Creator was unaware of it.  For even if he had at one time been unaware of another god over above himself, now at least he had become aware of him in action beneath the Creator's own heaven:  and what their Lord had become aware of must by now have become known to his whole body of servants in that same world and within that same circuit of heaven in which that extraneous divinity was engaged.  In as much then as both the Creator and everything that was his, would have known of that extraneous divinity if it had existed, by so much, seeing it did not exist, the demons were aware of no other Christ than the Christ of their own God.  They do not request of that other god that which they must have remembered they had to request of the Creator, to be excused the Creator's abyss.  Thus they obtained their request.  And how did they earn it?  Was it because they had lied, because they had made him out the son of the cruel God?  Yet who can this have been, who granted a boon to liars, and bore with his own traducers?  No, it was because they had not h'ed, because they had known him for the God of the abyss, their own God, that in this way he gave assurance that he was he whom the demons had acknowledged him to be, Jesus the judge, the son of God the avenger.  Next we observe in Christ a trace of those pettinesses and infirmities of the Creator.  For I too am content to attribute ignorance to him.  Let me do so, to oppose the heretic.  He is touched by the woman with an issue of blood, and does not know by whom. Who touched me? he asks.  Even when the disciples suggest a reason he persists in his expression of ignorance:  Somebody hath touched me:  and confirms this by proof:  For I have perceived that virtue is gone out of me. What says the heretic?  Did Christ know who it was?  Then why did he speak as though in ignorance?  Surely it was to elicit her confession, and take proof of her fear.  In this way he had in former time looked for Adam, as though in ignorance, Adam where art thou? You have also the Creator excused along with Christ, and Christ put into equality with the Creator.  But this too, <you object>, as an opponent of the law:  because the law sets a barrier against contact with a woman with an issue of blood,h


for that very reason he was intent not merely to permit her touching of him but even to grant her healing.  Here is a god, kind not by his own nature but through opposition to another.  And yet, if we find that the woman's faith had deserved it so, When he says, Thy faith hath saved thee, who are you, that you should discover hostility to the law in that act which the Lord himself indicates was performed as the reward of faith?  But you wish to make out that the woman's faith was just this, that she had held the law in contempt.  Yet who can believe that a woman with as yet no knowledge of any <second> god, the initiate as yet of no new law, should make a breach in that law to which she was still bound?  By what faith did she break it?  Through belief in which god?  In contempt of which god?  The Creator?  Sure is that she touched him because of faith.  If faith in the Creator, because she had no knowledge of another god, did she in any respect make a breach in his law?  Her breaking of it, if she did break it, arose from faith in the Creator.  Yet how can both things be true, that she both broke the law, and broke it because of that faith for the sake of which she ought not to have broken it?  I shall explain.  Her faith was, in the first place, this by which she trusted that her God preferred mercy even to sacrifice, by which she was assured that that God was at work in Christ, by which she touched him, not as a holy man, nor as a prophet, who she would know was because of his human substance capable of defilement, but as God himself, whom she had assumed to be incapable of pollution by any manner of uncleanness.  In this way she was not in error in interpreting for herself that law which indicated that those things contracted defilement which were capable of defilement:  but not God, who she was confident was in Christ.  And moreover she had this in mind, that the injunction in the law is concerned with that ordinary and customary flux of blood at menstruation or childbirth, which proceeds from natural functions — not such as proceeds from ill health.  She however had an issue caused by ill health, for which she knew she had need not of any period of time, but of the aid of divine mercy.  Thus she can be seen not to have broken into the law but to have made a distinction.  This will be a faith which also conferred understanding:  Unless ye have believed, it says, ye shall not understand.i Christ, while approving of the faith of this woman who believed


in the Creator and no other, replied that he himself was the God of that faith of which he approved.  Nor shall I leave this unsaid:  that when his garment is touched, and a garment is put upon a body, not on a phantasm, there is proof also that he had a body — not as though this were our present subject, but because it has a bearing on our present inquiry.  For if there had been no veritable body, a phantasm, being an unsubstantial object, could not have contracted defilement.  If then because of his unsubstantial character he is incapable of defilement, why should he have wished <for an explanation>?  If <he did this> as an enemy of the law, he was being deceitful, for he was not really contracting pollution.

21. [Luke 9: 1-26.] He sends out the disciples to preach the kingdom of God.  Has he indicated here at least, which God?  He forbids them to take for the journey anything for food or clothing.  Who could have given this command, but he who feeds the ravens and clothes the flowers of the field, who of old gave orders that the ox treading out the corn must have unmuzzled mouth, as licence to filch fodder from his labour — because the labourer is worthy of his hire?  Let Marcion delete such matters, so long as their meaning is preserved.  But when he tells them to shake off the dust from their feet against those who have given them no reception, this too he says must be done for a testimony.  Now no one makes testimony of a matter which is not proposed for judgement:  when he orders unkindness to be brought under attestation, he is holding out the threat of a judge.  That it was no new god that Christ commended was also made quite clear by people's general opinion, in that Herod was assured by some that Christ Jesus was John, by others Elijah, by others some one of the old prophets.  Whichever of these he might have been, he was certainly not raised up again so that after resurrection he might preach some other god.  He feeds the people in the wilderness, after his ancient custom.  If there is not the same impressiveness, then on this occasion he is inferior to the Creator, who not for one day but for forty years, not with earthly provisions of bread and fish, but with manna from heaven, prolonged the lives not of about five thousand, but of six hundred thousand men.  Yet in this respect it was the same impressiveness, that following the ancient precedent he desired that that slender provision should not merely suffice but have some to spare, So also at a time of famine


in Elijah's day the last small provisions of the widow of Zarephath by the prophet's blessing continued abundant through all the time of famine:a you have it in the third of Kingdoms.  If you also turn to the fourth, you will find the whole of this activity of Christ in the case of that man of God to whom were brought ten loaves of barley:  and when he had ordered them to be distributed to the people, and his servitor, comparing the number of the people and the smallness of the provision, had answered, What, should I set this before an hundred men ?, he replied, Give, and they shall eat, for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave remainders ... according to the word of the Lord.b Even in new things Christ is as of old.  Peter, who had seen these doings and compared them with the ancient things, perceived that they were not only events of time past but were even then prophecies for the future:  so that when our Lord asked who they thought he was, and Peter answered on behalf of them all, Thou art the Christ, he cannot have Supposed him a novel Christ, but only the one he knew in the scriptures and was now observing in deeds.  This <answer> he himself confirms — even until now he is content with it:  he confirms it even when he enjoins silence.  For if Peter was not in a position to affirm that he was any other than the Creator's, and Christ himself gave orders that they were to tell no man of this, evidently he was unwilling for Peter's supposition to be published abroad.  Quite so, you say:  because that supposition was incorrect, and he did not wish a lie to be spread abroad.  But it was another reason he gave for silence:  that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and scribes and priests, and be slain, and after three days rise again.  And since these things too were prophesied of the Creator's Christ, as I shall fully explain in their proper places, in this way too he proves himself to be that one of whom they were prophesied.  Certainly even if they had not been prophesied, the reason he gave for commanding silence was not one which proved Peter mistaken:  it was the call to undergo sufferings. Whosoever, he says, will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose it for my sake, will save it. Assuredly it was the Son of man who pronounced this judgement.  Do you too then, in company with the king of Babylon look into his burning fiery furnace, and you will find there one like unto a son of manc — he was not yet actually that, not yet having experienced human


birth — as early as that setting forth this course of action.  He saves the lives of the three brethren who agreed together to lose them for God's sake, but has destroyed the lives of the Chaldeans who preferred to keep them safe by worshipping the idol.  Where is that newness you speak of in a doctrine of which these are ancient instances? — Indeed there is also a series of prophecies both that there will be martyrdoms, and that they will receive from God their reward. Behold, says Isaiah, how the righteous perisheth, and no man taketh it to heart, and righteous men are taken away, and no man considereth.d When does this more truly take place than in the persecution of his saints? — Surely it is no simple <death>, or one by the law of common nature, but that noble death in fighting for the faith, in which he who loses his life for God's sake preserves it:  so that here at least you may see you have a Judge, who rewards an evil gaining of life by the losing of it, and a good loss of life by its salvation.  To me also he shows himself a jealous God, who returns evil for evil:  Whoso shall be ashamed of me, he says, of him will I also be ashamed. Yet ground for shame does not attach to any Christ but mine, whose whole life was so much a matter of shame that it lies exposed even to the taunts of heretics, who with all the malice they are capable of complain endlessly of nothing but the squalor of his birth and babyhood, and even the indignity of his flesh.  But that Christ of yours, what fear is there of anyone being ashamed of him, when he himself no cause for it?  He was not conceived in a womb — not even a virgin's, though a virgin is a woman, and even though there were no male seed, yet by the law of corporal substance <he would have been formed> from a woman's blood — he was never reckoned to be flesh before he was formed, nor was he called a fetus after his shape was complete; he was not set free after ten months' torment, nor was he spilt upon the ground through the sewer of a body, with a sudden attack of pains along with the uncleanness of all those months, nor did he greet the daylight with tears or suffer his first wound at the severing of his cord:  he was not washed with balm, nor treated with salt and honey, nor did swaddling-clothes become his first winding-sheet:  no question thereafter of his wallowing in uncleanness in a mother's lap, of his nuzzling at her breasts, of a long infancy, a tardy boyhood, of waiting for manhood:  no, he was brought to birth out of heaven,


at once full-grown, at once complete, Christ with no delay, spirit and power and god — and nothing more.  So then, as he was no true <man>, for <his manhood> was not visible, likewise he had nothing for men to be ashamed of in the curse of the cross, for he was devoid of the truth of it, being devoid of body.  So it cannot have been your Christ who said, Whoso shall be ashamed of me. It must have been our Christ who used this expression, he who was made by the Father a little lower than the angels;e a worm and no man, a very scorn of men and the outcast of the people;f because so it pleased him, that by his bruise we should be healed,g and in his dishonor should our salvation stand firm.  So with good cause did he bring himself low on behalf of man whom he had made, on behalf of his own, not another's, image and similitude:  so that as man had not been ashamed when worshipping stone and stock, he might with equal courage not be ashamed of Christ, and thus by the shamelessness of faith might make satisfaction to God for the shamelessness of idolatry.  Which of all this applies to your Christ, Marcion, as a thing deserving of shame?  Clearly, of yourself he should be ashamed, for your having invented him.

22. [Luke 9: 28-36.] This in particular you have reason to be ashamed of, that when he withdraws into the mountain you permit him to be seen in the company of Moses and Elijah, though he had come as their overthrower.  This you suggest was the intended meaning of that voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son, hear him — that is, not Moses and Elijah any longer.  In that case the voice was sufficient, without putting Moses and Elijah on display, since by stating clearly whom they must hear he would have forbidden their hearing any others whatsoever. Or else perhaps he allowed their hearing Isaiah and Jeremiah, if the prohibition applied only to those in actual view.  As things are, even if their presence was essential, they need not just for that reason have been revealed in conversation, which is an indication of companionship, nor as sharing in his glory, which is an instance of his condescension and grace; but in some sort of squalor, or even in the Creator's darkness which he had been sent to disperse; certainly far removed from the glory of that Christ who was intending to cut off from his own gospel their speeches and even their writings.  Is this the way he shows they are strangers to him, by having them with him?  Is this the way he teaches us to


repudiate them, by linking them with himself?  Is this the way he overthrows them, by arraying them in his own brightness?  What more could their own Christ have done?  I suppose, by way of perversity he could have given them the appearance which Marcion's Christ ought to have given them — or else have had with him any you like, except his own prophets.  But the Creator's Christ, what should he rather do than bring into evidence along with himself those who had told of him beforehand? than be seen in company with those by whom he had been seen in revelations? than speak with those who had spoken of him? than share his glory with those by whom he was named the Lord of Glory, with those officers of his, one of whom had of old been the informer of his people, the other afterwards to be its reformer, the one the beginner of the Old Testament, the other the finisher of the New?1 So it is with good reason that Peter also, because of their inseparable connection with him, recognizes who his Christ's companions are, and offers the suggestion, It is good for us to be here — good to be, evidently, where Moses and Elijah are — and let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee and one for Moses and one for Elijah, but not knowing what he said. How 'not knowing' ?  Was it by a mere mistake? or was it for the reason by which we, in our argument for the new prophecy, claim that ecstasy or being beside oneself is a concomitant of grace?2 For when a man is in the spirit, especially when he has sight of the glory of God, or when God is speaking by him, he must of necessity fall out of his senses, because in fact he is overshadowed by the power of God — on which there is disagreement between us and the natural men.  Meanwhile it is easy to prove that Peter was beside himself.  For how could he have known who Moses and Elijah were, except in the spirit — for the Jewish people could have had no pictures or statues of them, since the law also forbids similitudes — how, unless because he had seen them in spirit?  And so it was not possible for him to know what he had said when in the spirit, and not in his <natural> senses.  Otherwise, if 'he did not know' means that he was mistaken in thinking that this was the Christ of Moses and Elijah, — consequently it is already evident that

22. 1 On the expected return of Elijah, along with Enoch, to inaugurate the new covenant, de anima 35 and 50, and Irenaeus, A.H. v. v. 1. 2 For the suggestion that St.  Peter, 'not knowing what he was saying', was in an ecstasy, cf. adv.  Prax. 15.


a little earlier, when Peter was asked by Christ whom they considered him to be, his answer Thou art the Christ, meant 'the Creator's Christ': because if he had then been aware that he belonged to that other god, he would not have made a mistake here either.  But if he was mistaken here because mistaken previously, in that case be assured that until that very day no new deity had been revealed by Christ, and even until then Peter had not been in error, seeing that even until then Christ made no such revelation:  and that all that time Christ could not be supposed to belong to any other than the Creator, to whose whole course of action he has here also given expression.  He takes with him three from among the disciples as witnesses of the vision and the words that are to be.  This too belongs to the Creator:  In three witnesses, he says, shall every word be established." He withdraws into a mountain:  I recognize his normal place, for it was in a mountain that both by vision and by his own voice the Creator had first instructed his ancient people.  It was necessary that the new covenant should receive attestation in a high place such as the old covenant had been written in, and beneath the same covering of a cloud — and no one can doubt that this was condensed out of the Creator's air, unless perhaps he had brought his own clouds down thither, because he had himself forced a way through the Creator's heaven:  or perhaps he only borrowed the Creator's fog for his own use.  Likewise even now the cloud was not silent, but there is the accustomed voice from heaven, and the Father's new testimony concerning the Son.  He who had said, in the first psalm, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten theeb — and of him also <he speaks> by Isaiah, Who is it that feareth God, and heareth the voice of his Son? — so when he now declares him present, saying, This is my Son, there is at once understood, Whom I have promised.  For if at one time he made a promise, and then afterwards says, This is, the use of the presenter's voice in pointing to the thing promised belongs to him who formerly made the promise, not to one to whom answer couid be made, But who are you yourself, to say, This is my son, when you have no more made previous announcement of him than you have given indication of your own previous existence?  Listen then to him whom from the beginning the Creator had commanded them to hear.  He calls him a prophet, for as a prophet he was to be regarded by the people. A prophet, Moses says, shall God raise up unto you of your sons — by


carnal origin, he means — ye shall hear him as though hearing me:  and every one that heareth him not, his soul shall be cut off from among his people.d So also Isaiah:  Who is there among you that feareth God?  Let him hear the voice of his Son.e This voice the Father himself would some time commend, for it says, Establishing the words of his Son,f by saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him. So that even though there has been a transference made of this hearing from Moses and from Elijah to Christ, this is not as from one god to another god, nor to a different Christ, but by the Creator to his own Christ, in accordance with the demise of the old covenant and the succession of the new:  Not a delegate, says Isaiah, nor a messenger, but God himself shall save them,g now in his own person preaching, and fulfilling the law and the prophets.  So the Father has put into the Son's charge the new disciples, by first displaying Moses and Elijah along with him in his excellence of glory, and thus granting them release, as having at length fully discharged their office and dignity — so that for Marcion's benefit confirmation might be given of this very fact, that there is even a sharing of Christ's glory with Moses and Elijah.  We find also in Habakkuk the complete outline of this vision, where the Spirit speaks in the person of the apostles sometime to be, Lord, I have heard thy hearing and was afraid.h What hearing, other than of that voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son, hear him?  I considered thy works and was astounded.h When else than when Peter saw his glory, and knew not what he said? In the midst of two living creatures, Moses and Elijah, thou shalt be known.h Of these also Zechariah had a vision in the figure of the two olive trees and the two branches of the olive:  for these are they of whom he heard it said, Two sons of richness stand by the Lord of the whole earth.i And once more, Habakkuk again, His virtue covered the heavens, with that cloud, and his glory will be as the light,j the light with which even his garments glistered.  And if we call to mind the promise to Moses, here it will be seen fulfilled.  For when Moses asked to have sight of the Lord, and said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, manifest thyself to me, that I may knowledgeably see thee,k what he looked for was that aspect in which he was to live his human life, which as a prophet he was aware of — but God's face, he had already been told, no man shall see and live — and God answered, This word also which thou hast spoken, I will do it for thee. And again Moses said, Shew me thy glory:  and the Lord answered, concerning the future, as before, I


will go before <thee> in my glory, and what follows.  And at the end, And thou shall see then my later parts, not meaning his loins or the calves of his legs, but the glory he had asked to see, though it was to be revealed to him in later times.  In this glory he had promised to be visible to him face to face, when he said to Aaron, And if there shall be a prophet among you, I shall be known to him in a vision, and shall speak to him in a vision, not as to Moses:  to him I shall speak mouth to mouth, in full appearance, the full appearance of that manhood which he was to take upon him, and not in an enigma.l For even if Marcion has refused to have him shown conversing with the Lord,3 but only standing there, even when standing he stood mouth to mouth with him, and face to face, as it says, not outside of him, looking towards the glory that was his, and of course in full view.  So at his departure from Christ he retained the light of that glory precisely as he did at his departure from the Creator:  as then he dazzled the eyes of the children of Israel, so now he dazzles the eyes of blinded Marcion, who has failed to see how this evidence tells against himself.

23. [Luke 9: 41-62.] I take upon me the character of Israel.  Let Marcion's Christ stand and cry, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you, how long shall I bear with you? He will at once have to listen to me when I say, Whosoever you are, you that are to come,1 first tell us who you are, from whom you come, and what rights you have over us.  Until this moment all that you have is the Creator's.  Clearly, if you come from him, and are acting for him, we consent to the reproof.  But if you come from another, I would have you tell us what of yours you have ever entrusted to us which called for our belief:  then you may upbraid our unbelief, though not even yourself have you ever revealed to us.  How long ago did you begin to act among us, to justify that complaint of 'how long' ? In what respects have you borne with us, so as to charge us with your patience?  Like Aesop's ass, as soon as you come out of the well you begin to bray.  I take upon me next the cause of the disciples, upon whom he has come down hard:  O faithless nation, how long shall I be with you, how long

22. 3 Marcion excised the second half of Luke 9:31 ('and spake of his decease').

23. 1 'Eperxo&menoj, 'he that cometh' (cf. infra, 25. 7), was apparently taken up by Marcion from the Baptist's question at Luke 7:19 and used as a catchword with reference to his Christ's second advent.


shall I bear with you? This outburst of his I should with complete justice cause to recoil, in these terms:  Whosoever you are, you that are to come, first tell us who you are, from whom you come, and what rights you have over us.  Until this moment, I imagine, you belong to the Creator, which is why we have followed you, because we recognized in you all those attributes that are his.  So that if you come from him, we consent to your reproof.  But if you are acting for another, tell us, pray, what you have ever entrusted to us of your own, which we ought by now to have believed:  then may you rebuke our unbelief:  until this very moment you neglect to say who is your principal.  But how long ago was it you began to act among us, so as to count the time against us?  In what matters have you borne with us, so as to boast of your patience?  An ass out of Aesop's well has lately appeared among us, and already begins to bray.  Would anyone riot have made the injustice of the rebuke recoil in these terms, if he believed that <Christ> belonged to <a god> who had as yet no right to complain?  Yet not even he would have come down hard Upon them, if he had not of old time held converse among them in the law and the prophets, and in mighty works and good deeds, and always found them unbelieving.  But see, <you say>, Christ loves the little ones, and teaches that all who ever wish to be the greater, need to be as they; whereas the Creator sent bears against some boys, to avenge Elisha the prophet for mockery he had suffered from them.  A fairly reckless antithesis, when it sets together such diverse things, little children and boys, an age as yet innocent, and an age now capable of judgement, which knew how to mock, not to say, blaspheme.  So then, being a just God, he did not spare even boys when disrespectful, but demanded Honor to old age, and more particularly from the younger:  but as a kind God he loves the little ones to such a degree that in Egypt he dealt well with the midwives who guarded the childbearing of the Hebrews, which was in peril through Pharaoh's edict.a So here too Christ's disposition agrees with the Creator's.  But now for Marcion's god, who is opposed to matrimony:  how can he be taken for a lover of little ones?  The whole reason for these is matrimony.  One who hates the seed must of necessity detest its fruit.  Yes, even more savage must he be held to be than the Egyptian king.  Pharaoh indeed did not permit the infants to be suckled:  Marcion's god forbids them even to be born,


depriving them even of those ten months' life in the womb.  Yet how much easier it is to believe that affection for little ones should be reckoned an attribute of him who by blessing matrimony for the propagation of the human race, has by this blessing made promise also of the fruit of matrimony, which is first concerned with infancy.  The Creator, at Elijah's demand, brings down a plague of fire upon that false prophet.b I take note of a judge's sternness:  and on the contrary of Christ's gentleness when reproving the disciples as they call for the same punishment upon that village of the Samaritans.  Let the heretic also take note that this gentleness of Christ is promised by that same stern Judge:  He shall not strive, it says, nor shall his voice be heard in the street:  a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.c Such a one was even less likely to burn men up.  For even in Reference to Elijah in his day, it says, The Lord was not in the fire but in a gentle spirit.d And next, why does this god, full of human kindness, not accept the person who thus offers himself to him as an inseparable companion?  If because it was in pride or from hypocrisy he had said, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest, it follows that by judging that pride or hypocrisy ought to be reflected, he showed himself a judge:  and in fact he did bring condemnation upon the man he refused, since he was not to attain to salvation.  For just as he calls to salvation him whom he does not refuse, or even the one he himself invites, so he condemns to destruction the one he refuses.  But when to the man who has made the excuse of his father's burying he gives the answer, Let the dead bury their own dead, but do thou go and proclaim the kingdom of God, he has given manifest confirmation to both of these Creator's laws:  the one concerning the priesthood in Leviticus, which forbids the priests even to be present at their parents' obsequies — Upon every soul departed, it says, the priest shall not enter in, even upon his father he shall not become defilede — and the one concerning <nazirite> vows in Numbers, for there too him who has vowed himself to God he commands, among other things, not to enter in upon any soul departed, not even his father's or mother's or brother's:f and I suppose it was for the <nazirite> vow and for the priesthood that he intended this man whom he had begun to prepare for preaching the kingdom of God.  If that is not the case, he must be judged undutiful enough who without the intervention of any legal cause gave orders that sons must neglect their fathers' burial.


Also when he tells that third person not to look back, the man who was thinking first to bid farewell to his own people, he is following out the Creator's ruling:  he too had told those not to look back, whom he had rescued out of Sodom.g

24. [Luke 10: 1-20.] He chooses other seventy apostles also, over above the twelve:  for to what purpose twelve, after that number of wells in Elim, without adding seventy, after that number of palm-trees?a Antitheses for the most part are produced by diversity of purposes, not of authorities, though he who has not kept in view the diversity of purposes has easily been led to take it for diversity of authorities.  When the children of Israel set out from Egypt the Creator brought them forth laden with those spoils of gold and silver vessels and clothing, as well as the dough in their kneading-troughs, whereas Christ told his disciples to carry not even a staff for their journey.b It was because the former were being moved out into the wilderness, but the latter were being sent into cities.  Consider the purposes in hand, and you will perceive that there was one and the same authority, who arranged the provisioning of his people differently according to poverty or plenty, cutting it down when there would be abundance in the cities, precisely as he gave full supply when there was to be scarcity in the wilderness.  The former he forbade even to carry shoes:  for he it was under whom not even in the wilderness during all those years did the Israelites wear out their shoes. Salute no man, he says, by the way:  look at Christ, your destroyer of the prophets, from whom he copied this, among much else.  When Elisha sent his servant Gehazi on a journey to raise up again from death the son of the Shunamite woman, I take it he gave him these instructions:  Gird up thy loins and take my staff in hand, and go:  whomsoever thou shall meet on the way, bless him not — that is, give him no salutation:  and if any bless thee, give him no answerc — that is, do not return his greeting.  For what is this blessing in the midst of journeys, except exchange of salutations upon meeting?  So also our Lord told them into whatsoever house they entered, to speak peace to it.  He follows the same precedent:  for this too was the order Elisha gave, that when he came into the Shunamite's house, he was to say to her, Peace to thy husband, peace to thy son.d These shall be the


antitheses we prefer, such as bring Christ into line <with the Creator>, not such as make him separate.  But the labourer is worthy of his hire:  who has better right to say this than God the Judge?  For this very act is an exercise of judgement, to pronounce the labourer worthy of his hire.  Every grant of reward is based upon some exercise of judgement.  So here too the Creator's law receives attestation, when he judges that even working oxen are labourers worthy of reward:  Thou shalt not, he says, muzzle the ox when it is threshing. Who is this so bountiful towards men?  He Surely who is also bountiful towards cattle.  And as Christ also declares that labourers are worthy of their hire, he sets in a good light that injunction of the Creator about taking away the Egyptians' vessels of gold and silver.  For those who had built for the Egyptians houses and cities were certainly labourers worthy of their hire, and the instruction given them was not for robbery but for recovering the equivalent of their wages, which they could not exact in any other way from those who were lords over them.  That the kingdom of God was neither a novelty nor till then unheard of he affirmed again in these terms, by ordering the proclamation that it was come near.  That which has sometime been far off, this it is that can be said to have come near:  whereas if it had never existed in the past before coming near, that which had never been far off could not be said to have come near.  Everything novel and unknown is also unexpected.  Everything which when it is announced is unexpected, then for the first time puts on a visible form and then first becomes present, past, or future.  But for that, it can neither in the past have been delayed, so long as there was no announcement of it, nor can it have come near since the announcement of it began.  He also added that they were to say to those who had not received them, But know this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh. If this injunction is not given by way of threat, it is given to no purpose at all:  for what concern was it of those people that the kingdom was coming nigh, except that its approach is with judgement and for the salvation of such as had welcomed its proclamation?  In this way, if there can be no threatening without subsequent action, you have in him that threatens a God who takes action, and a judge in either case.  So also he says the dust must be shaken off against


them, for a testimony — those bits of their land that cleave to them, not to say all further communication.  For if inhumanity and inhospitality are to receive from him no punishment, why does he begin with that attestation, which certainly involves threatenings?  Moreover, seeing that in Deuteronomy the Creator too forbids Ammonites and Moabites to be received into the congregation,e because when the people were come out of Egypt they with inhumanity and inhospitality deprived them of provisions, from this it will be clear that the prohibition of intercourse found its way from him to Christ, with whom it takes the form, He that despiseth you despiseth me. This also the Creator said to Moses, They have not despised thee but me.f For Moses was an apostle, just as much as the apostles were prophets:  the authority of these two offices must be regarded as equal, as proceeding from one and the same Lord of both apostles and prophets.  Who is it now will give the power of treading upon serpents and scorpions?  Is it to be the Lord of all living creatures, or he who is not even the god of a single lizard?  Well it is that the Creator through Isaiah has promised this power even to very little children, to thrust their hand into the hole of the asp and into the den of the brood of the asps, and not be hurt at all.  And in fact we know — without rejecting the literal meaning of scripture, for not even wild beasts have had power to hurt when faith has been there — that figuratively by scorpions and serpents are indicated the spiritual hosts of wickedness, whose prince also is represented under the name of snake and dragon and every most notorious evil beast, in the scriptures of the Creator, who granted this power to his previous Christ,1 as the ninetieth psalm says to him, Thou shalt go upon the asp and the basilisk, the lion and the dragon shalt thou tread underfoot.g So also Isaiah:  In that day shall the Lord draw forth his sword, holy, great and strong — meaning, his Christ — against that dragon, the great and crooked serpent, and shall slay him in that day.h And when Isaiah also says, It shall be called a pure way and a holy way, and the unclean thing shall not pass over it, and there shall not be there an impure way, but they that shall have been scattered shall walk therein and shall not err, and there shall no longer be a lion there, nor shall anything from among the evil beasts go up into it, nor shall it be found there,i since that way indicates the faith by which we shall come to God,

24. 1 Priori Christo suo:  i.e. the real Christ, not the one Marcion says is still to come to restore the Jewish kingdom.


evidently it is to that same way, which is faith, that he promises the driving away of wild beasts and the subjection of them.  Lastly, you could find, if you were to read what goes before, that the times of the promise are in agreement:  Be strong, ye weak hands and ye feeble knees:  . . . then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hearken:  then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be clear.j So when he had told of benefits of healing, then it was that he put scorpions and serpents under subjection to his saints:  and this was he who had first received from his Father this authority so as to grant it also to others, and now made it manifest in the order the prophecy had foretold.

25. [Luke 10: 21-8.] Can any be called upon as Lord of heaven, without being first shown to be the maker of it?  For he says, I thank thee, and give praise, O Lord of heaven, because those things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, thou hast revealed unto babes. What things? and whose things? and by whom hidden? and by whom revealed?  If by Marcion's god they have been hidden and revealed — since he had never provided anything in which things could have been hidden, neither prophecies nor parables nor visions, nor any evidences of events or words or names adumbrated in allegories or figures of speech or the clouds of enigma, but had hidden even his own greatness, and was only then in process of revealing it through Christ, this is unfair enough.  What sin had the wise and prudent committed that there should be hidden from them that god whom their wisdom and prudence had not been sufficient to enable them to know?  No way had been provided by any works that told of him, no footprints even, by which wise men and prudent might have been guided to him.  And yet even if they had in some respect been at fault regarding a god unknown, suppose him just now become known, yet there was no reason for them to find him a jealous god, for he is introduced as of opposite character to the Creator.  Consequently, seeing he had made no provision of materials in which he could have hidden something, nor had been dealing with offenders from whom he ought to have hidden it, nor had the right to hide things even if he had been dealing with such offenders, it follows that he can never be the revealer of things, because he has never been the


hider of them, and in that case is neither the lord of heaven nor the father of Christ:  but rather he is, who satisfies all these conditions.  For he has hidden things by first setting forth a document of prophetic obscurity, such as faith might earn the right to understand — for Unless ye believe, ye shall not understanda — and counted the wise and prudent guilty because, when God could have been known of from all those mighty works,b they neglected to seek after him or even vainly philosophized against him, providing the heretics with devices:  and so at long last he is a jealous God.  And in fact, this that Christ thanks God for, he long ago preached of by Isaiah:  I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the prudence of the prudent.c In another place too he indicates that he has both hidden things, and will reveal them, And I will give them the hidden treasures, and will open for them <treasuries> invisible.d And again, Who else shall frustrate the signs of the ventriloquists, and their divinations out of the heart, turning the wise men backwards and making their cogitations foolish ?e Also, if he has appointed his Christ a giver of light to the gentiles, I have set thee for a light of the gentilesf — and these we understand under the name of 'babes', for formerly they were small in understanding, and infants by lack of prudence, but now also are little by the humility of faith — we shall find it easier to believe that the same God has also by Christ revealed things to babes, who aforetime kept them hidden, and promised that by Christ there would be a revelation.  Else, if it is Marcion's god who has laid open those things which formerly were kept hidden by the Creator, in that case he has done service to the Creator by explaining his concerns.  But, you object, this was for his undoing, so as to bring them to light.  In that case it was his duty to bring them to light for those from whom the Creator kept them hidden, the wise and prudent.  For if he was doing this from kindness, knowledge needed to be granted to those to whom it had been denied, not to those babes from whom the Creator had withheld nothing.  And yet even at this point, I suppose, we prove that in Christ there is to be seen the building up of the law and the prophets, and not the pulling down of them.  He says all things are delivered to him by his Father.  You can believe this, if Christ belongs to the Creator to whom all things belong, because the Creator has not delivered all things to the Son as to one less than himself:  for by the Son, who is his own Word, he created them all.  But if Christ is 'he that doth come',


what are those 'all things' that are delivered to him by the Father?  The Creator's things?  Then those are good things which the Father has delivered to the Son, and good too is that Creator whose 'all things' are good, and that other one is not good who has broken in upon another's goods so as to deliver them to his son.  If he teaches men to keep their hands off what is another's, he is certainly in extreme poverty in having nothing to enrich a son with except what is another's.  Or, if nothing of the Creator's has been delivered to him by his father, by what right does he lay claim to the Creator's man?  Or else, if it is only man who has been delivered to him, then man is not 'all things'. But the scripture says that delivery of all things has been made to the Son.  Also, if you are going to interpret 'all things' as 'all races of men', meaning all the gentiles, these too it is the Creator's prerogative to have delivered to his Son:  I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the bounds of the earth for thy possession.g Or again, if your god has some few things of his own, so as to deliver them all to his son at the same tune as the Creator's man, out of all these point out one single thing, for a pledge, for a sample:  otherwise I shall with as complete justification refuse to believe that 'all things' belong to him to whom I do not see anything belonging, as with good cause I shall believe that even the things I do not see, belong to him whose are the whole world of things which I do see.  But, No man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son, and who the Son is, but the Father, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him. And thus it was an unknown god whom Christ preached.  From this sentence other heretics1 too take for themselves support, objecting that the Creator was known to all men, to Israel because they were his particular friends, to the gentiles by the law of nature.  Yet how is it that the Creator himself testifies that even Israel does not know him? But Israel doth not know me, my people hath not understood me.h Nor do the gentiles:  For behold, he says, no man, even from the gentiles.i For which reason he has reckoned them a drop in a bucket, and has deserted Sion like a watch-tower in a vineyard.j See then whether there be confirmation of the prophetic voice which rebukes that human ignorance towards God which has extended even to the Son.  For his reason for

25. 1 The 'other heretics' will be those of the gnostic sects in general, who all of them postulated a god unknown and unknowable, whom their Christ told them of, without making him known.


inserting the statement that the Father is known by that man to whom the Son has revealed him, is that it was he himself who was proclaimed as set by the Father as a light of the gentiles, and that they were to receive light concerning God, the God of Israel, and this by virtue of a fuller acknowledgement of God.  So then, evidences which are capable of applying to the Creator can never serve as testimony to another god on the ground that those which do not apply to the Creator can serve for testimony to another god.  If you look at the words which follow — Blessed are the eyes that see the things which ye see:  for I tell you that the prophets have not seen the things that ye see — they follow on from the previous thought, that so true is it that no man has known God as men should, that not even the prophets had seen the things which became visible under Christ.  For if he had not been my Christ he would not at this point have put in evidence any mention of the prophets:  for what wonder was it that they had not seen the evidences of an unknown god, one revealed after all those ages?  Also where could have been the felicity of those who were then seeing things which those others with good cause had not been able to see, in that they had not obtained the actual presence of things which they had never even preached of, except that those who had the power to see those effects of the God who was no less their God, things they had also preached of, had for all that never seen them?  This then must have been the felicity of those who were seeing things which others had only preached of.  In short we shall prove, have already proved, that in Christ those things have been seen which had been prophesied of, yet had been hidden even from the prophets, and consequently were hidden also from the wise and prudent of the world.  In the gospel of truth a doctor of the law approaches Christ with the question, What shall I do to obtain eternal life? In the heretic's gospel is written only 'life', without mention of 'eternal', so that the doctor may have the appearance of asking for advice about that life, that long life, which is promised by the Creator in the law,k and the Lord may then seem to have given him an answer in terms of the law, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, because the question asked was about the law of life.  But a doctor of the law certainly knew already on what terms he could obtain that legal life, and so would not have asked questions about a life which he himself taught the rules of.  But


it was because the dead were already being raised up by Christ, that this man, raised up to the hope of eternal life by these instances of life restored, and fearing that this nobler hope might entail something more in the way of conduct, therefore asked for advice about eternal life and the obtaining of it.  And so our Lord, being himself no other than he always was, introduces no other new commandment, but only that which above all else pertains to the whole of salvation, both to this life and the other, and sets before him the actual content of the law, that of loving the Lord his God in all possible ways.  And again, if the consultant's question and Christ's response were concerned with that long life which is under the Creator's control, and not with eternal life which is under the control of Marcion's god, how does he obtain eternal life?  Certainly not on the same terms as the long life, because the difference in the rewards demands belief in a difference of the work to be done.  And therefore your Marcionite will not obtain eternal life as a result of loving your god, as he who loves the Creator will obtain a long life.  And if our God is to be loved, who promises a long life, surely he is even more to be loved who offers life eternal.  It follows then that to the same God belongs both this life and that, since the same rule of conduct must be followed for both the one life and the other.  What the Creator enjoins, we need Christ to grant us that that be loved:  for even here that general rule obtains, that it is easier to believe that greater things are to be found with him in whom smaller things set the precedent, than with him from whom there have been no smaller things to prepare for faith concerning things greater.  It is by now no matter if our people have added 'eternal'. For me it is enough that that Christ of yours, who calls men not to a long life but to eternal life, when asked for advice about the long life which he was putting an end to, did not instead exhort the man to the eternal life which he was introducing.  What, I ask you, would the Creator's Christ have done, if he who had given the man instruction on how to love the Creator, was not himself the Creator's?  He would have said, I imagine, that the Creator must not be loved.

26. [Luke 11: 1-28.] When he had been praying in a certain place, to that higher-class father, looking up with eyes above measure presumptuous and audacious towards the heaven of that


Creator by whose sternness and savagery he could easily have been struck down by lightning and hail — even as at Jerusalem he can have been crucified by him — one of his disciples approached him and said, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples, because, as you will have it, he thought a different god must needs be prayed to in different terms.  Anyone who makes this assumption first needs to prove that it was a different god that was brought to light by Christ.  No man would have desired to know how to pray, without having previously got to know whom he was to pray to.  If then that disciple already knew this, prove it.  As however even to this moment you prove nothing of the kind, take it from me that what he asked for was a form of prayer to that Creator to whom also John's disciples addressed their prayers.  But seeing that John too had introduced a kind of new order of prayer, for this reason Christ's disciple had good reason to assume that he must make this request of him, so that they too might in their own Master's own appointed way make their prayer to God — not a different god, but in a different manner.  And again, <if it were a question of a different god>, neither would Christ have granted the disciple knowledge of the prayer without first telling him. who that god was.  So it follows that the prayer which Christ taught was addressed to the same God whom the disciple already knew.  Again, take note of which God the terms of the prayer suggest.  Whom shall I address as Father? Him who has had nothing at all to do with the making of me, and from whom I in no sense take my origin, or him who by making me and fashioning me became my begetter?  Whom shall I ask for the Holy Spirit?  Him by whom not even mundane spirit is conveyed to me, or him who even makes his angels spirits, and whose own Spirit at the beginning was borne upon the waters?  Shall I pray for the kingdom to come, of him who I have never been told is the king of glory, or of him in whose hand are even the hearts of kings?  Who is it will give me daily bread?  Shall it be he who creates for me not so much as a grain of millet, or he who provided his people even with the daily bread of the angels from heaven?  Who is it will forgive my sins?  He who by not judging does not retain them, or he who, if he does not forgive, will retain, that he may judge?  Who is it will not let us be led into temptation?  He whom the tempter has no call to be afraid of, or he who since the beginning of the world has held under


condemnation the angel who became a tempter?  Any man who in such terms as these makes request to another god, and not the Creator, is not praying to him, but insulting him.  Again, from whom shall I ask, that I may receive?  On whose property shall I seek, that I may find?  At whose door shall I knock, that it may be opened to me?  Who is it has anything to give to him that asks, except him whose are all things, whose also am I who am asking?  What is there I have lost on the ground of that other god, that of him I should seek it and find it?  If you say wisdom and prudence — these are things the Creator has hidden, and of him I shall seek for them.  If you say salvation, and life, these too I shall ask of the Creator.  Nothing can be sought for in hope of finding, except in that place where it has lain hidden, and so may come to light.  So again I shall knock at no other door than that from which I was driven away.  Also, if receiving and finding and obtaining admission are the fruit of toil and persistence on the part of the man who has asked and sought and knocked, take note that these are duties enjoined and rewards promised by the Creator.  That supremely good god of yours, coming without being asked, to grant gifts to the man who is not his own, could not have demanded of him either toil or persistence:  for he would not have been supremely good if he did not spontaneously give to one who was not asking, make provision for one to find who was not seeking, and open to one who was not knocking.  The Creator however was in a position to give such injunctions through Christ, to the intent that because man by sinning had offended his own God, he might toil, and by persistence in asking might receive, by persistence in seeking might find, and by persistence in knocking obtain admission.  With that in view, the parable that comes before this represents that man who at night asks for bread, as a friend, not a stranger, knocking at the door of a friend, not of one unknown.  Now man, even if he has offended, is more the friend of the Creator than of Marcion's god:  and so he knocks at the door of him to whom he has the right to come, whose door he can easily find, who he knows has the bread, who is now in bed with those children whose birth was to his liking.  Even that he knocks late at night — the tune belongs to the Creator:  the late hour belongs to him. whose are all the ages, and the sunset of the ages.  At this new god's door no one would have knocked late at night:  he is only just waking up into daylight.  It was the Creator


who long ago shut up against the gentiles that door at which the Jews long ago were knocking:  he it is who rises and gives, if not yet as to a friend, at any rate not to an entire stranger, but, as it says, because he is troublesome.  But 'troublesome' is what a god lately arrived could not in so short a time have found any man to be.  Acknowledge then as your Father the God you refer to as the Creator.  He it is who knows what his sons are in need of.  When they asked for bread he gave them manna from heaven, and when they were in want of flesh-meat he sent out the quailmother, not a serpent instead of a fish, nor a scorpion instead of an egg.  Now to abstain from giving evil instead of good will be within the competence of him to whom both belong:  whereas Marcion's god, who does not possess a scorpion, was not in a position to say he would abstain from giving a thing he did not possess.  Such a statement can be made by one who has a scorpion but does not give it.  Likewise also the Holy Spirit will be given by him who has under his control the spirit which is not holy.  When he had driven out the deaf devil — so as in this form of healing also to come into agreement with Isaiaha — and it had been alleged that he cast out devils through Beelzebub, he asks, If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? By this question what else does he suggest than that he casts them out by the same means by which their sons do?  The power, that is, of the Creator.  For if you suppose the sentence must be read, If I cast out devils by Beelzebub by whom your sons cast them out, as though he were upbraiding them for casting out devils by Beelzebub, the preceding observation will tell against you, that Satan cannot be divided against himself.  Consequently neither did they cast them out by Beelzebub, but, as I have said, by the power of the Creator:  and so as to cause this to be understood he adds, But if I by the finger of God drive out devils, is not then the kingdom of God come near against you? For in the case of Pharaoh those magicians whom he brought into action against Moses referred to the power of the Creator as the finger of God.b The finger of God was this which indicated something quite small, yet exceeding strong.  In proof of this, Christ, who does not destroy the records of his own acts of long ago, but reminds men of them, spoke of God's power as the finger of God, which they must understand was the power not of any other god, but of him in whose scriptures it was so


described.  It follows also that the kingdom which had come near was of that God whose power was referred to as his finger.  With good reason, therefore, with his parable of the strong man armed, whom another stronger than he overcame, did he connect the prince of the devils, whom he had previously called Beelzebub and Satan, indicating that by the finger of God he had been overcome, not that the Creator had been suppressed by some other god.  If this last had been the case, how could the Creator's kingdom still be standing, with its own boundaries and laws and functionaries, when, even if the world remained intact, it could have seemed that that stronger god of Marcion had overcome him at least in this, that Marcionites did not continue to die, in accordance with his law, dissolving into <his> earth, and learning often even from the scorpion that the Creator has not been overcome?  A woman from the multitude cries out, that blessed was the womb that had borne him, and the breasts which had given him suck.  And the Lord answers, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it:  because even before this he had rejected his mother and his brethren, because he prefers those who hear God and obey him.  For not even on the present occasion was his mother in attendance on him.  It follows that neither on the previous occasion did he deny having been born.  So now, when he hears this once more, once more he transfers the blessedness away from his mother's womb and breasts and assigns it to the disciples:  he could not have transferred it away from his mother if he had had no mother.

27. [Luke 11: 29-52.] I propose in some other connection to prove that the faults the Marcionites allege against the Creator are no faults at all:  enough for the present that they are found in Christ.  He too is changeable, variable, capricious, teaching one thing, doing another:  he tells them to give to everyone that asks, but himself gives no sign to those who do ask.  All those long ages he has hidden his light from men, though he says a lamp ought not to be put in a corner, but insists that it must be set on a lampstand so as to give light to all.  He forbids the return of cursing for cursing,a not to mention taking the initiative in it, yet hurls his Woe against the pharisees and doctors of the law.  Is there any Christ so like my God as his own Christ?  I have now more than


once insisted that he could by no means have been stigmatized as a destroyer of the law, if it had been a different god he was proclaiming.  And so here, the pharisee who had invited him to dinner was considering within himself why he had not washed before sitting down:  that was the law, and Christ was upholding the God of the law.  But Jesus gave him an explanation of the law, saying that though those people cleansed the outsides of cup and vessel their inward parts were full of robbery and iniquity.  Thus he made it clear that in God's sight cleanness of vessels is to be taken to mean cleanness of men:  for in fact the pharisee had been discussing with himself about a man, not a cup, that was left unwashed.  So he says, Ye make clean the outside of the cup, meaning the flesh, but ye do not make clean your inward parts, which is the soul:  and he adds, Did not he that made the things that are without, the flesh, also make the things that are within, the soul?  By saying this he clearly indicated to them that cleanness of both the outer and the inner man is the concern of one and the same God, for to him both belong, and he prefers mercy not only to a man's washing of himself, but even to sacrifice.  For he adds a rider, Give alms of those things which ye have, and all things will be clean unto you. Even if it is possible for that other god to have commanded mercy, yet he cannot have done it before he became known.  Moreover here too it is shown that they were under criticism not as regards the God <they thought they served> but as regards the moral law of that God who demanded of them figuratively cleanness of vessels, but in open fact works of mercy.  So also he rebukes them for tithing pot-herbs, but passing over vocation and the love of God.  Which God's vocation and love?  His surely by the rule of whose law they were offering as tithes both rue and mint.  For the sum of his remonstrance was this, that they were taking care about trivial things, and were doing so for him for whom they were doing no service of greater things, though he said, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength, the God that called thee out from Egypt.b But for this, the time would not have permitted that Christ should demand of them so immature, nay rather so unripe, an affection for a new god lately arrived — not to say, not yet openly revealed.  Also when he complains of their seeking after primacy of place and the honor of salutations, he is putting into action a judgement


of the Creator, who calls princes of this sort rulers of Sodom,c and moreover forbids people to put their trust in their superiors, and what is more declares that that man is above all things miserable who sets his hope on man.d But if the reason for a man's seeking after high position is the desire to glory in other men's services, he who has forbidden this sort of services, of hoping and putting confidence in man, has thereby rebuked those who seek after high positions.  He attacks even the doctors of the law, because they burdened others with burdens grievous to be borne, which they themselves lacked courage to approach even with one finger.  In saying this he is not criticizing the burdens of the law, as one who denounces it.  How can he have been a denouncer, when at that moment he was accusing them of passing over the more important things of the law, almsgiving and vocation and the love of God?  Not even these weighty things <did he denounce>, far less tithings of rue and cleanness of vessels.  Else he would have judged them excusable, if they had been unable to bear things unbearable.  But what are the burdens he censures?  Those which they piled on of their own, teaching for precepts the doctrines of men, for the sake of their own convenience joining house to house so as to take away what was their neighbour's, exhorting the people, loving gifts, seeking after rewards, laying waste the judgements of the needy, so that the widow might be to them for a spoil, and the fatherless for a prey.e Of these again Isaiah says, Woe to them that are mighty in Jerusalem:f and. again, They that make demands of you are lords over you.g Who make more demands than the doctors of the law?  And if these were also displeasing to Christ, it was as his own that they displeased him:  the doctors of some one else's law he would never have made an attack on.  But why have they to listen to that Woe even because they built up memorials to those prophets whom their fathers had destroyed?  Surely they were the rather worthy of praise, as by this work of pious affection they testified that they did not assent to the deeds of their fathers:  except that Christ was jealous — the sort the Marcionites have in disrepute — visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children even to the fourth generation.  And what was that key of knowledge the doctors of the law held, if it was not the interpretation of the law?  To the understanding of it neither


did they themselves draw near, because, he means, they did not believe — for unless ye believe, ye shall not understandh — nor did they let others in, because in fact they preferred to teach the precepts and doctrines of men.  So then, is he who upbraided those who neither themselves entered in nor afforded access to others, to be regarded as a disparager of the law or an upholder of it?  If a disparager, then those who put restrictions on the law ought to have won his approval:  if an upholder, then he is not hostile to the law.  But, you object, all this he brought up against them with intent to put the Creator in a bad light, as being stern, and such that upon those at fault against him the woe would come.  Yet who would not rather be afraid to incense that stern one by defecting from him?  So by insisting that he is to be feared Christ so much the more taught them to seek his favor.  And that is what you would expect the Creator's Christ to do.

28. [Luke 12: 1-21.] And so it was with good reason that he disapproved of the hypocrisy of the pharisees, who loved God with their lips and not with their heart. Beware, he says to the disciples, of the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy, not the preaching of the Creator.  The Son hates these who show insolence to his Father:  it is against him, not against another, that he would not have his disciples so behave.  Against that other, hypocrisy might perhaps have been permitted, and still have served as a warning for the disciples to beware of.  It is in this sense that he rejects the example of the pharisees:  he was forbidding the commission of that offence against the God against whom the pharisees committed it.  Therefore when he had censured that hypocrisy of theirs, which hid the secrets of their heart, and overshadowed with superficial services the hidden things of unbelief, that hypocrisy which held the key of knowledge but neither entered in itself nor allowed others to enter, thereupon he added, But there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and nothing hid that shall not be known. Let no one suppose that by this he indicates the revealing and making known of a god previously unknown and kept hidden, when his suggestion is that even those things about which they murmured and discussed among themselves — when for example they said concerning him, This man driveth not out devils but by Beelzebub — would come forth into the open and be found on the


lips of men, following upon the publishing of the gospel.  After that he turns to his disciples and says, But I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that can only kill you, and after that have no further power upon you — but Isaiah will be seen to have already told them this, See how the righteous is taken away, and no man observeth ita — But I will shew you whom to fear:  fear him who after he hath killed hath power to send into hell — indicating, no doubt, the Creator — and so I say fear him. At this point it could be sufficient for my purpose if by ordering him to be feared he indicates that he must not be affronted, and by indicating that he must not be affronted he orders them to seek his favor, and so he who gives these commands belongs to that same God on whose behalf he requires this fear and avoidance of affront and seeking of favor.  But I can deduce it from what follows:  For I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, I will confess him before God. So that those who confess Christ will have to be put to death in the presence of men, and will of course have nothing more to suffer from them after being put to death.  These then will be they whom he begins by warning not to fear being put to death and nothing more:  for he first says this about not fearing being put to death, so as to continue with his command to uphold the confession:  And whosoever shall deny me before men will be denied before God — denied by him who if he had confessed would have confessed him.  For as he is to confess him that confesses, he it is also who will deny him that denies.  Moreover if it is the confessor who has nothing to fear after the killing, it will be the denier who has something to fear even after death.  It follows then that if that is the Creator's concern which is to be feared after death, the penalty of hell, then the denier too is the Creator's concern.  But if this is true of the denier, it is true also of the confessor, who after being killed will have no more to suffer from man, though evidently he would have to suffer from God if he became a denier.  And so Christ belongs to the Creator, since he indicates that deniers of himself have to fear the Creator's hell.  So after this warning against denial there follows also an admonition to stand in dread of blasphemy:  Whosoever shall speak against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him. Now if both the forgiveness and the retention of a sin involve the suggestion that God is a judge, then his will


be that Holy Spirit who must not be blasphemed, for it is he who will not forgive the blasphemy, even as just now that Christ was his who must not be denied, because he it is who will put the denier to death in hell.  But if, as is the case, Christ averts blasphemy from the Creator, I cannot see in what sense he has become an adversary to him.  Or else, if by these sayings he indicates disapproval of his severity, as that he will not forgive blasphemy and will even put some to death in hell, we are left with this, that the spirit of that opponent god may be blasphemed with impunity, and his Christ denied, and that it makes no difference whether he be worshipped or despised, because as there is no penalty for despising him, so from the worship of him there can be no hope of any reward.  Those brought before the authorities for examination he forbids to think beforehand of their answer:  For the Holy Spirit, he says, will teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. As the Creator possesses evidence of this sort, his too will be this precept, for the pattern of it has been already set.  Balaam the prophet, in Numbers,b was summoned by king Balak to curse Israel, with whom he was going into battle:  at once he was filled with the Spirit, and pronounced not the curse for which he had come, but the blessing which the Spirit in that very hour put into his mouth:  for he had already testified before the king's messengers, and soon afterwards before the king himself, that what God should put into his mouth, that he would speak.  So much for your new doctrines of your new Christ — doctrines which the Creator's servants long ago made a beginning of.  Look again how evidently the example of Moses is the opposite of Christ's.  When two brethren quarrel, Moses without being asked steps between them and rebukes him that does the wrong:  Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?, and is rejected by him:  Who made thee a master or a judge over us ?c But when Christ was asked by a certain man to compose the strife between himself and his brother over the division of the inheritance, he refused his assistance, even in so honest a cause.  In that case my Moses is better than your Christ, for he is concerned about peace between brethren, and takes action against wrongdoing:  whereas the Christ of your supremely good god, who is not a judge, asks, Who has set me as a judge over you ? He could find no other terms of excuse, to save him from using those in which a dishonest man and his disaffected brother had shaken


off the upholder of honesty and family feeling.  In fact, by making use of that ill expression he expressed approval of it, and of that ill action, by declining to compose peace between those brothers.  Was it not rather that he disapproved of their driving Moses away with those words, and therefore in the similar case of those brothers at disagreement desired to put them to shame by calling that expression to mind?  Evidently so.  For he had himself, as the Creator's spirit, been present in Moses, and to him those words were said.  I think I have already in another connection sufficiently proved that boastfulness of riches is condemned by our God, who puts down the mighty from their seat and lifts up the poor from the dunghill.d From him then will have come that parable of the rich man who complimented himself on the produce of his lands, to whom God said, Thou fool, this night shall they require thy soul, and whose shall those things be which thou hast prepared? In the same way that king who boasted to the Persians of his precious things and of the treasure-houses of his delights, heard hard words <from God> through Isaiah.e

29. [Luke 12: 22-59.] Who is this that would have us not be concerned for our life, in the matter of feeding, or for our body in the matter of clothing?  Surely he who has of old made provision of these things for man, and as he continually supplies us with them does with good reason forbid concern for them, as a challenge to his generosity.  To the substance of the soul itself he has given a value better than meat, and to the material of the body a shape better than a garment:  for his ravens neither sow nor reap nor gather into storehouses, and yet receive nourishment from him, whose lilies and whose grass neither weave nor spin and yet are clothed by him:  his Solomon too was of excellent glory, yet was not better arrayed than one little flower.  However, there is nothing so easy as that one should make provision, and a different one should command us not to be anxious about that provision, even when the latter is a disparager of the former.  If indeed it is as a disparager of the Creator that he would have us not take thought for the sort of trivialities for which neither ravens nor lilies toil, because in fact for their little worth they come naturally to hand, this will shortly appear.  Meanwhile why does he say they are of little faith?  I mean, of which faith?  That which


they could not as yet show to god in its perfection, because he was but lately revealed and they were just beginning to learn of him ?  Or that which on this very account they owed to the Creator, their believing that he does of his own will grant the human race full supplies of these things, and so ceasing to take thought about them?  For when he also adds, For these things do the nations of the world seek after, because of course they do not believe in God the Creator and Provider of them all, this was a rebuke to those whom he would not have to be like the gentiles, by being little in faith towards that same God towards whom he marked the gentiles as devoid of faith.  But when he adds once more, But the Father knoweth that ye have need of these things, I must first inquire whom Christ wishes them to understand by the Father. If he means their own Creator, he thereby affirms the goodness of him who knows what his sons have need of:  but if he means that other god, how does this one know that food and clothing are what man has need of, when he has provided none of these?  For if he had known, he would have made provision.  Or otherwise, if he does know what things man has need of, but has made no provision of them, his failure to provide was due either to malice or to incapacity.  Now when he declared these things necessary for man, he at once affirmed their goodness:  for nothing that is evil is necessary.  So he cannot be taken for a disparager of the works of the Creator or of his bounties — and with this I complete the argument I just now deferred.  But if it is another who has both made provision for, and now supplies, the things he knows are necessary for man, how is it that Christ himself promises them?  Or perhaps he is generous with another's property:  for he says, Seek ye the kingdom of God, and these things shall be added unto you. Added by himself, he means.  But if by himself, of what sort is he, who proposes to supply us with what is another's?  If by the Creator, whose of course they are, who is this that promises what another will give?  If these are additions to the kingdom, to be administered as a second step, then the second step belongs to him to whom the first belongs, and the food and raiment belong to him whose is the kingdom.  So then the objective truth of the parables, and the balanced statement of the similitudes, is the Creator's promise in its fullness, for they have in view no other than him to whom they will be found applicable in every detail.  Servants we are, for we have God for our Lord.  We are to gird


up our loins, which means, be freed from the entanglements of this over-dressed and complicated life.  Also we must have our lamps burning, that is, our minds alight with faith and resplendent with works of truth, and so be waiting for the Lord, that is, for Christ. When he returns, where from?  If from the wedding, he must be the Creator's Christ, for the Creator approves of marriage:  if he is not the Creator's, not even would Marcion when invited have gone to the wedding, out of regard for his own god who disapproves of marriage.  So the parable has broken down in that lord and whom he stands for — or would do, if he had not been one to whom marriage is no offence.  Again in the parable which follows one is badly astray who identifies with the person of the Creator that thief by whom, if the householder had known the hour of his coming, he would not have suffered his house to be broken through.  How can the Creator be taken for a thief, when he is the Lord of every man?  No one becomes a thief, or a breaker-up, of his own property:  the one who does that, is he who has come down into another's property and is taking man away from his Lord.  But he means that the thief, in our case, is the devil, and that if at the beginning the man had known the hour of his coming he would never have been broken in on by him:  and therefore he tells us to be prepared, because at an hour we think not the Son of man will come — not that he is himself the thief, but the judge, certainly, of those who will not have prepared themselves nor have taken precautions against the thief.  So then if he himself is the Son of man, I take him to be a judge, and in the judge I lay claim to the Creator.  If however it is the Creator's Christ he refers to here under the name of Son of man, so as to suggest that he is that thief the time of whose coming we know not, you have the rule I recently laid down, that no one becomes a thief of his own property — saving always this, that in so far as he represents the Creator as one to be feared, to that extent he acts as his representative and belongs to the Creator.  And so when Peter asks whether he has spoken this parable to them, or even to all, with reference to them and to all who should ever be in charge of churches he sets out the similitude of the stewards, of whom the one who in his lord's absence has treated his fellow servants well will on his return be put in charge of all his goods:  but the one who has acted otherwise will when his lord returns, on a day he has not reckoned for


and at an hour he was not aware of, — and the lord is that Son of man, the Creator's Christ, not a thief but a judge — be set on one side, and his portion will be appointed with the unbelievers.  It follows then either that he is here setting before us the Lord as judge, and is instructing us on his behalf:  or else, if he means that supremely good god, he here affirms that he too is a judge — much as the heretic dislikes it.  For they try to mitigate the meaning here, when it is proved to apply to Marcion's god, as though it were an act of peacefulness and gentleness merely to set him on one side and appoint his portion with the unbelievers, as one who has not been called to account but merely returned to his own position.  As if even this were not done by judicial process.  How silly!  What shall be the end of those set on one side?  What but loss of salvation? — seeing they will be set aside from those who are to obtain salvation.  And what is the condition of unbelievers?  Is it not damnation?  Else if those set on one side, and those unbelievers, will not have anything to suffer, equally by contrast those who are retained, along with the believers, will get no reward.  But if those retained, and those believers, are to obtain salvation, it follows of necessity that this is what those set aside, and the unbelievers, will lose.  And this will constitute a judgement, and he who proposes it belongs to the Creator.  And whom else shall I understand by him who beats the servants with few or with many stripes, and requires from them in proportion as he has entrusted to them, if not a God who repays?  And whom does he teach me to obey, if not a God who gives a reward?  It is your Christ who cries out, I am come to send fire on the earth. It is your supremely good one, that lord who has no hell, he who shortly before had restrained his disciples from calling down fire upon an inhospitable village, whereas my <God> burned up Sodom and Gomorra with a cloud of fire, and of him the psalm says, There shall go afire before him and burn up his enemies,a and by Hosea he uttered the threat, I will send a fire upon the cities of Judaea,b and by Isaiah, A fire is kindled from my indignation.c He must be speaking the truth.  If he is not the same who also sent forth his voice from the burning bush, then what possible fire can you claim he means?  Even if it is a figure of speech, by the very fact that he takes an element of mine, to present the thoughts of his own mind, he is mine who makes use of mine.  The metaphor


of the fire must come from him whose is the veritable fire.  He will himself be found to give a better explanation of the character of that fire when he proceeds, Suppose ye that I am come to send peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay:  but division. The book says, A sword:1, d but Marcion corrects it, as though division were not the function of a sword.  So then, as he has not come for peace, by fire he means the fire of overthrow.  Like battle, like fire:  like sword, like Same:  neither of them proper for <your> lord.  Finally he says, The father shall be divided against the son and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother, the daughter in law against the mother in law, and the mother in law against the daughter in law. If for this battle between close relations the prophet's trumpet has sounded in these same words, I suspect perhaps Micah foretold it of Marcion's Christ.e And so he declared them hypocrites, for examining the face of the sky and the earth, but failing to discern that time, the time at which he ought to have been recognized as fulfilling all the things which had been prophesied against them, and teaching accordingly.  And yet who could have recognized the times of him to whom he had no means of proving the times belonged?  With good cause he rebukes them for not judging of themselves what is just.  Already he has given this command, by Zechariah:  Execute the judgement of justice and peace:f by Jeremiah:  Execute judgement and righteousness :g by Isaiah:  Judge for the fatherless, justify the widow :h laying it to the charge even of the vineyard of Sorech that it had not wrought judgement but a cry.i He then who had formerly taught them to do justice by commandment, was now demanding that they should do it also by free choice.  He who had sown the seed of commandment, was now pressing for abundant fruit of it.  But now, how unfitting that that god of yours should enjoin righteous judgement, when he was engaged in overthrowing God the righteous Judge.  For even that judge who sends men to prison, and does not bring them out until they have paid the last farthing, these people explain in the person of the Creator, for disparagement sake.  This I am bound to oppose on the same ground:  that every time they quote against me the Creator's sternness, this is always proof that Christ belongs to him for whom he demands obedience by reason of fear.

29. 1 A lapse of memory.  The sword comes from Matt. 10: 34; Luke 12: 53 has 'division'.


30. [Luke 13: 10-28.] Again in what terms did he counter that objection about a work of healing performed on the sabbath? Doth not every one of you on the sabbath loose his ass or his ox from the stall and lead him to watering? Thus, by having done this work according to the terms of the law, he did not break but confirm the law, which commanded that no work should be done but such as had to be done for every living soul — and how much more for a human soul?  In the matter of the parables, it is well understood that I do in every case explain how apposite they are.  The kingdom of God, he says, is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his own garden. Whom must we understand in the person of the man?  Evidently Christ, because, even though he be Marcion's Christ, he is described as the Son of man, who has received from the Father the seed of the kingdom, which is the word of the gospel, and has sown it in his garden, meaning the world, and, if you like, on this occasion in a human being.  But since he has said in his own garden, while neither the world nor that human being belongs to Marcion's god, but to the Creator, it follows that he who has sown the seed on his own property is proved to be the Creator.  Otherwise if for the sake of escaping this noose they divert the person of the man away from Christ and apply it to a man who takes the seed of the kingdom and sows it in the garden of his own heart, not even so can this matter apply to anyone but the Creator.  For how can it be that the kingdom belongs to that most gentle god, when it is immediately followed by the fire of judgement with its sternness and tears?  Of the second parable I do rather fear that perhaps it looks to the kingdom of that other god:  for he has compared it to leaven, and not to that unleavened bread which is more usual with the Creator.  This surmise too suits the purpose of those who are destitute of arguments.  Consequently I in turn shall drive out one fond conceit by another, and say that leaven as well is in keeping with the Creator's kingdom, in that after it comes the oven, and the furnace of hell.  How very often has he already shown himself as a judge, and, in the judge, as the Creator?  How very often does he eject people, and condemn them by this rejection?  So in the present instance, When the master of the household, he says, is risen up — when? if not when Isaiah has said it, When he ariseth to shake terribly the eartha — and hath shut to the door, evidently to shut out the unrighteous.  And when they knock he will answer them,


I know not whence ye are:  and again when they tell the tale of how they have eaten and drunk in his presence, and he has taught in their streets, he will continue, Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth:  where? outside, of course, where those will be who were shut out when the door was shut to by him.  Thus from him there will be punishment from whom comes that shutting out for punishment, when they see the righteous entering into the kingdom of God, but themselves kept outside.  Kept out by whom?  If by the Creator, who then is to be inside, receiving the righteous into the kingdom?  The good god?  What concern is it then to the Creator, to keep outside for punishment those whom his adversary has shut out, when they ought instead to have been accepted by himself, if you please, to spite that adversary?  However, that god of yours, who is going to shut out the unrighteous, must either know or not know that the Creator is going to keep them in detention for punishment.  Either then their detention will be against his will, in which case he is inferior to him who detains them, and against his will lets him have his way:  or else, if he is willing for this to be done, he himself has passed judgement that it was right for it to be done, and will prove to be no better than the Creator, being himself in approval of the Creator's iniquitous act.  If in no sense the theory will hold, that one <Christ> is supposed to punish and another to set free, it remains that both judgement and kingdom belong to one <Christ> only, and that so long as both belong to that one, then he who passes judgement is the Creator's Christ.

31. [Luke 14: 12-24.] What sort of people does he say must be invited to dinner or supper?  The sort that he had told them of by Isaiah:  Break thy bread for the hungry, and the poor and such as have no covering bring into thy housea — those in fact who have no means of returning your hospitality.  As Christ says that this return of hospitality must not be sought for, but promises it at the resurrection, this follows the Creator's practice, who has no pleasure in such as love gifts and follow after a reward.  Consider also the parable of the man who sent out invitations:  to which of us is it better suited? A certain man made a supper, and invited many. Evidently the appointments of the supper signify the full satisfaction of


eternal life.  I remark first that total strangers, and persons bound by no rights of relationship, are not as a rule invited to supper:  certainly it is easier to suppose those of the household are, and near friends.  So then it was for the Creator to have given the invitation, since with him were connected those who received it, both through Adam by ties of humanity, and through the fathers seeing they were Jews:  certainly not for that other, with whom they were connected neither by nature nor by grant of privilege.  Again, if he who has prepared the supper sends to the guests, on this account too it is the Creator's supper, for he has sent to give notice to guests previously invited through the fathers, but needing to have notice given them through the prophets:  it is not the supper of one who has never sent anyone to give notice, and has done nothing before that by way of invitation, but has himself suddenly come down, issuing his invitation while just becoming known, collecting them up for the feast while just issuing the invitation, and making the hour of the supper the same as that of inviting them to it.  Those invited begin to make excuse.  If invited by the other god, rightly so, as their invitation was unexpected:  if not rightly so, it was not unexpected.  But if their invitation was not unexpected, then it came from the Creator from whom it came long before.  For it was his invitation they long ago declined, when for the first time they said to Aaron, Make us gods to go before us;b and after that when they heard with the ear, and did not hear, the invitation of God.c It was God also who with close application to this parable spoke by Jeremiah:  Hear my voice, and I will be to you for a Lord and ye to me for a people, and ye shall walk in all my ways whichsoever I shall command you.d This was God's invitation. Yet, it says, they heard not, neither inclined their ear. This was Israel's refusal. But they went away in those things which they had lusted after in their own evil hearte — I have bought a field, I have purchased oxen, I have married a wife.  So again he adds:  I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets — this will be the Holy Spirit, giving the summons to the feasters — by day and before daybreak. Yet my people hearkened not, nor attended with their ears, but hardened their neck.f When this is reported to the master of the household, he is moved <with anger> — well enough that he was moved, for Marcion says his god has no emotions,


and so in this also he is mine — and gives orders for a second choice from out of the streets and lanes of the city.  Let us see whether to the same effect as, again by Jeremiah, he asks, Have I become a wilderness to the house of Israel, or a land left for desolation ?g That is, Have I not those whom I may promote, and places from which to promote them? Because my people hath said, We come not to thee. And so he sent for others to be invited, but still out of the same city.  After that, as there was still plenty of room, he ordered them to be gathered in from the highways and hedges, which now means us, from the nations outside — no doubt with that hostility with which he says in Deuteronomy, I will turn my face away from them, and will shew what shall be to them at the last — that is, that others will take possession of their place — because it is a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faith.  They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not god, and have provoked me to anger with their idols, and I will move them to jealousy with that which is not a nation, and with a foolish nation will I provoke them to anger.h With us, it means, whose hope the Jews maintain:  and of that <hope> the Lord says they shall not taste, because Sion is left deserted as a watch-tower in a vineyard and a lodge in a garden of cucumbers,i since the time it refused the last and final invitation to come to Christ.  Of the rehearsal of this history in accordance with the covenant and prophecies of the Creator, how much can have any application to that <Christ> whose <god> has done all his work at one time, and has neither history nor covenant to harmonize with the parable?  Or what is to be his first invitation, and what his admonition at the second stage?  There ought first to be people making excuses, and afterwards others accepting.  But as things are, he has come in time to invite both groups together, whether from the city or from the hedges, contrary to the picture the parable gives.  Nor can he at once pass judgement on the superciliousness of people whom he has not previously invited and to whom he is only now making approaches.  Or on the other hand, if his judgement upon them for despising his invitation refers to a future act of theirs, it follows that the promotion into their place of others from among the gentiles is also a presage of what is to be.  Evidently to meet this need he is to come a second time to preach to the gentiles.  Yet even if he is to come again, I suppose this will not be as one who has still to invite his guests, but only to arrange them in their places.  Meanwhile, you who interpret the invitation


to this supper as meaning the heavenly banquet of spiritual satiety and joyfulness, must remember that even earthly promises of wine and oil and corn and even of citizenship, are no less employed by the Creator as figures of things spiritual.

32. [Luke 15: 4-10.] Who is it that seeks for a lost sheep and a lost coin?  Surely he who has lost them.  And who is it has lost them?  He who had them in possession.  And who was it had them?  Their owner, of course.  If then man is the property of none other than the Creator, then the man's owner had him in possession, he who had him lost him, he who lost him sought for him, he who sought for him found him, and he who found him rejoiced.  Thus the force of both parables is of no account in respect of him who is the owner of neither sheep nor coin — nor of man.  He has not lost him, for he never had him in possession:  nor sought for him, for he never lost him:  nor found him, for he has not even sought for him:  nor rejoiced, for he has not found him.  And consequently this rejoicing over a sinner's repentance, that is, over the recovery of one that was lost, is the prerogative of him who long ago declared that he had no wish for a sinner's death, but rather for his repentance.

33. [Luke 16: 1-17.] Who those two masters are who he says cannot be served, because of necessity one of them will be spurned and the other protected, he himself makes clear when he sets them down as God and mammon.  And next, if you have no one to explain to you whom he intends you to understand by mammon, you can hear it from himself.  When advising us so to use worldly possessions as to provide for ourselves future friendships and support, he refers to the example of the servant who, when dismissed from office, relieves his lord's debtors by reducing their obligations, and so gains security for himself:  and adds, And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, meaning, with money, as that servant did.  For all of us know that money is the author of unrighteousness, and the tyrant of all human society.  So when he saw that the covetousness of the pharisees was subservient to it, he slung out this sentence, Ye cannot serve God and mammon. So the pharisees, who were covetous of money, derided him, because they understood that by mammon he meant money.  So let no one suppose that by 'mammon'


one must understand the Creator, or that Christ had called them away from the Creator's service.  How so?  Learn rather from this how Christ has shown that God is one.  He has made mention of two masters, God and mammon, the Creator and money.  So, ye cannot serve God, the God they were thought to be serving, and mammon, to which they preferred to commit themselves.  But if he had been representing himself as that other, it would have been three masters, not two, that he indicated.  For the Creator is master, being God, and in fact much more a master than mammon, and deserving much greater respect, being much more the master.  For how can it be that when he had called mammon a master and had mentioned him in the same sentence with God, he should in truth have omitted to mention those people's own God, the Creator?  Or was it that by not mentioning him he admitted it was permissible to serve him, since it was only himself and mammon he said could not be served?  So when he speaks of God, in the singular — though he would have mentioned the Creator too, if he himself had been that other <god> — it was the Creator he did mention, by the fact that he did without further definition refer to him as master.  And so light will be thrown on this, in what sense it was said, If ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you that which is true? He means 'unrighteous money', not 'the Creator', for even Marcion says the Creator is 'righteous'. And if ye have not been found faithful in that which is not your own, who will give you that which is mine?1 For to servants of God that which is unrighteous must always be 'not their own'. But how can the Creator be an alien to the pharisees, when he is the particular God of the Jewish nation?  If then these expressions do not apply to the Creator but to mammon, the questions Who will entrust to you that which is more true? and, Who will give you that which is mine? cannot be taken for questions by one god about another god's grace.  He might indeed have been thought to mean this, if by censuring them for unfaithfulness towards the Creator, not towards mammon, he had by mentioning the Creator introduced distinctions between <him and> some second god who would refuse to entrust his own truth to those unfaithful to the Creator; as likewise he can indeed be taken for the Christ of that other god, except that he is set before us in

33. 1 At Luke 16: 12 the MSS. vary between 'that which is ours' and 'that which is your own': 'that which is mine' (i.e.  Christ's) was Marcion's invention.


terms by which he is kept at a distance from the subject under discussion.  Seeing also that the pharisees, by justifying themselves before men, were placing in man their hope of reward, his rebuke to them had the same bearing as that of the prophet Jeremiah, Wretched is the man that hath hope in man.a And as he says next, But God knoweth your hearts, this was a reference to the power of that God who declared himself a shining light, searching the reins and the hearts.b If he adverts on their pride, That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination to God, he sets Isaiah in front of their eyes, For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be against every one that is despiteful and proud, against every one that is high and lifted up, and they shall be brought low.c I can now find out why Marcion's god remained all those long ages in hiding.  He was waiting, I suspect, until he should learn all these things from the Creator.  So he learned them, right down to the time of John, and then after that came forth to announce the kingdom of God, saying, The law and the prophets were until John, since which time the kingdom of God is announced. As though we too did not know that John has been set as a sort of dividing-line between old things and new, a line at which Judaism should cease and Christianity should begin — not however that by the action of any alien power there came about this cessation of the law and the prophets, and the inception of that gospel in which is the kingdom of God, Christ himself.  For if, as I have proved, it was the Creator who prophesied that old things would pass away and new things take their place; and if John is set forth as the forerunner who prepares the ways of that Lord who will bring in the gospel and proclaim the kingdom of God, and from the fact that John is now come, this must be that Christ who was to come after John as forerunner; and if old things have come to an end, and new things have begun, with John as the point of division:  then that which conforms to the Creator's ordinance will not be so unexpected as to amount to proof that the kingdom of God takes its origin from every imaginable source except the sunset of the law and the prophets upon John, and the daybreak that came after.  So then let heaven and earth pass away,d as have the law and the prophets, more quickly than one tittle of the words of the Lord :2 for Isaiah says, The word of our God abideth for ever.e For Christ, who is the Word and Spirit of the Creator, had in Isaiah so long before prophesied of John

33. 2 Marcion seems to have combined Luke 16: 17 with 21: 33.


as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,f and as one who was to come for this end, that the sequence of law and prophets should from that time cease — by being fulfilled, not by being destroyed — and that the kingdom of God should be proclaimed by Christ:  which is why he appended the statement that it would be easier for the heavenly bodies than for his words to pass away, so affirming that this too which he had spoken of John had not passed into abeyance.

34. [Luke 16: 18-31.] But, <you allege>, Christ forbids divorce:  his words are, Whosoever sendeth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery:  and whosoever marrieth one that is sent away by her husband, is no less an adulterer. So as to forbid divorce on this side as well, he makes unlawful the marriage of a divorced woman.  Moses however permits divorce, in Deuteronomy:  If any man hath taken a wife, and hath dwelt with her, and it come to pass that she find not favor with him because some unseemly thing hath been found in her, he shall write a bill of divorcement and give it into her hand and send her away from his house.a You notice the contrast between law and gospel, between Moses and Christ?  To be sure I do.  For you have not accepted that other gospel, of equal truth, and of the same Christ, in which while forbidding divorce he answers a particular question concerning it:  Moses because of the hardness of your heart commanded to give a bill of divorcement, but from the beginning it was not sob — because in fact he who made them male and female had said The two of them shall become one flesh.c What therefore God has joined together shall a man presume to put asunder?  So by this answer he did two things:  he set a guard upon Moses' regulation, as his own, and set in its proper context the Creator's ordinance, being the Creator's Christ.  But seeing I have undertaken to confute you from those documents which you have accepted, I will meet you on this ground, as though <this> Christ were mine.  When he forbids divorce, while yet claiming as his father him who has joined together the male and the female, must he not rather have defended than abolished Moses' regulation?  But now, let us suppose that this Christ is yours, giving opposite teaching to Moses and the Creator — provided that if I prove it was not opposite, I may claim him as mine.  I maintain that he has here issued his prohibition of divorce under a certain condition — if any man sends away his wife with the intention of taking


another.  His words are, Whosoever sendeth away his wife and marrieth another hath committed adultery, and whosoever marrieth one sent away by her husband is no less an adulterer — <marrying> a woman sent away <is forbidden> for the same reason for which her husband is not allowed to send her away, so that another may be taken:  marrying a woman unlawfully sent away is like marrying one not sent away, and the man who does this is an adulterer.  So the marriage not properly dissolved remains a marriage:  and for her to marry while the marriage remains, is adultery.  Thus if it was under these conditions that he prohibited sending away a wife, this was not a total prohibition:  and this that he has not totally prohibited he has permitted under other conditions, where the reason for the prohibition is absent.  Thus his teaching is not in opposition to Moses, for he in some form retains his regulation — I do not yet say he confirms it.  If however you deny that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how comes it that you yourself make separation between married people?  For you neither allow the conjunction of male and female, nor do you admit to the sacrament of baptism and the eucharist persons married elsewhere, unless they have made conspiracy between themselves against the fruit of matrimony, and so against the Creator himself.  In any case, what in your view does a husband do if his wife has committed adultery?  Will he keep her?  But, you know, your own apostle does not permit the members of Christ to be joined to a harlot.d It appears then that divorce, when justified, has Christ's authority.  Next also Moses receives support from him, for he prohibits divorce under the same heading as Christ does — unless there be found in the woman some unseemly thing.  For in Matthew's gospel Christ says, Whosoever shall send away his wife, saving for the cause of adultery, causeth her to commit adultery:  e and the man who marries one sent away by her husband is no less declared an adulterer.  But except for the cause of adultery, neither does the Creator put asunder that which he himself has joined together:  for Moses again in another place makes the rule that the man who had married after violence committed, could not send away his wife at any time.f But if a marriage enforced in consequence of violence is to be permanent, how much more shall one contracted willingly and by agreement?  This too has the authority of prophecy, Thou shalt not send away the wife of thy


youth.g Thus you find Christ by himself treading at every point in the Creator's footsteps, whether in permitting divorce or in forbidding it.  You will find him also, in whichever direction you will, taking forethought regarding marriage:  while he will not have it dissolved, he forbids separation:  and while he will not have it continue under stain he permits divorce.  You to your shame refuse to join together those whom your own Christ has joined.  To your shame you put them asunder without that just cause for which your Christ also would have them put asunder.  It is my next duty to show you also from what source the Lord derived this judgement, and for what purpose he intended it.  So it will become more fully evident that he had no intention of suppressing Moses' ruling by this sudden introduction of the subject of divorce:  for in fact there was no sudden introduction, since it had its origin in the aforesaid mention of John.  John rebuked Herod because contrary to the law he had married the wife of his deceased brother, who had a daughter by her.  The law does not allow this, or give any command of this sort, except when the brother has died childless, so that seed may be raised up to him by his own brother, of his own wife.  So John had been cast into prison by that same Herod, and afterwards put to death.  So our Lord, having made mention of John, and in effect of what led to his death, did under the figure of adultery and unlawful marriage make this attack upon Herod, when he pronounced an adulterer even one who has married a woman sent away by her husband.  In this way he could pass sterner censure upon Herod's godlessness, who had married a woman sent away by her husband by death, which is a sort of divorce, even though this was his brother, who had a daughter by her — on which account his action was illicit, suggested by lust and not by the law — and therefore had put to death that prophet who censured his breaking of the law.  The observations I have made here will be of service also for the narrative that follows, of the rich man in pain in hell and the poor man at rest in Abraham's bosom.  For that too, as far as the surface of scripture goes, is set before us abruptly, though as concerns the purport of its meaning it too is linked with the reference to the ill usage of John and his disapproval of Herod's unlawful marriage:  for it delineates the latter end of both, Herod in torment, and John comforted, so that even while alive Herod might hear it said, They have there Moses


and the prophets, let them hear them. But Marcion twists it into another direction, so as to claim that both of the Creator's rewards in hell, whether of torment or of comfort, are intended for those who have obeyed the law and the prophets, while he defines as heavenly the bosom and the haven of his particular Christ and god.  I shall have an answer to this:  his <defective> eyesight is put to reproof by the scripture itself, which in distinction from hell marks off for the poor man Abraham's bosom.  For, I suppose, hell is one thing, Abraham's bosom quite another.  For it says that between those regions a great gulf intervenes and prevents passage from either side to the other.  Moreover the rich man could not have lifted up his eyes, even from a great distance, except towards things higher, even from the far abyss through that immense distance of height and depth.  Hence it becomes plain to any wise man who has ever heard of the Elysian fields, that there is a sort of distinct locality referred to as Abraham's bosom, for the reception of the souls of his sons even from among the gentiles — for he is the father of those many nations who are to be reckoned Abraham's offspring — and those of that same faith by which Abraham himself believed God, beneath no yoke of the law, and without the sign of circumcision.h So I affirm that that region, Abraham's bosom, though not in heaven, yet not so deep as hell, will in the meanwhile afford refreshment to the souls of the righteous, until the consummation of all things makes complete the general resurrection with its fullness of reward:  for then will be made manifest that heavenly promise which Marcion claims for his own <god>, as though the Creator had made no publication of it.  Towards this Christ buildeth up his ascent into heaven,i as Amos says, evidently for his own people, where there is also that place eternal of which Isaiah speaks:  Who shall announce to you the place eternal? Who but Christ, it means, who walketh in righteousness and speaketh of the direct way, hating unrighteousness and iniquity.j But if that place eternal is promised by the Creator, and it is he who builds up the ascent into heaven, he too who promises that the seed of Abraham shall be as the stars of heaven, on account, of course, of that heavenly promise, why should it not be possible, without prejudice to that promise, for the expression 'Abraham's bosom' to mean a sort of temporary refuge for the souls of the faithful, in which there exists already in outline an image of that


which is to be, with the prospect of a sort of candidature for one judgement or the other?  A warning besides to you heretics, while you are still alive, of Moses and the prophets preaching one God, the Creator, preaching also one Christ, who is his, and that the judgement both of punishment and of eternal salvation rests with the one and only God, who both kills and makes alive.  Yes but, Marcion says, our god's warning from heaven commanded them to hear not Moses and the prophets, but Christ:  Hear him.k Quite so.  Because by that time the apostles had heard Moses and the prophets as much as they needed, having become followers of Christ through belief in Moses and the prophets.  Peter could not have taken upon him to say Thou art the Christ,l unless he had first heard and believed Moses and the prophets, since by them alone was there so far any announcement of Christ.  So this faith of theirs had earned confirmation also by that voice from heaven, which commanded them to hear him whom they had taken knowledge of as preaching good tidings of peace, good tidings of good things,m announcing the place eternal, and building up for them his own ascent into heaven.n But the statement made in hell, They have there Moses and the prophets, let them hear them, had reference to those people who did not believe, or did not entirely so believe, that the announcement made by Moses and the prophets of punishments after death had reference to the pride of riches and the boastfulness of luxury, and that they were decreed by that God who puts down princes from their thrones and lifts up the needy out of the dunghill.o Since then diversity of sentence on the one side or the other is within the Creator's competence, it is no difference of two divinities we have here to decide on, but a difference in the facts under consideration.

35. [Luke 17.] Thereupon he turns to his disciples, and pronounces Woe upon the author of offences, saying that it were better for him if he had not been born,a or if a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were hurled into the depth, rather than have offended one of these little ones — meaning his disciples.  Consider how severe a punishment he threatens him with.  For it is he and no other who will take vengeance for offence to his disciples.  Observe then that he is a judge, and that he declares


his care for his own with the same regard for them as the Creator before him:  He that toucheth you, as it were toucheth the apple of my eye.b It is the same meaning, of one and the same speaker.  A brother who sins, he says must be rebuked.  He who neglects to do this, is himself at fault, because either from hatred of his brother he would have him continue in sin, or else he spares him through acceptance of his person, though he has it in Leviticus:  Thou shall not hate thy brother in thy heart:  thou shall surely rebuke thy neighbour — and of course brother — and shall not take up sin because of him.c Nor is it any wonder that this is the teaching of him who forbids you to disregard even your brother's cattle if you find them straying on the road,d so as to fail to bring them back to your brother — how much more your brother to himself.  Also he tells you to forgive your brother who sins against you, even seven times.  Too little, evidently.  With the Creator there is more, for he sets no measure, but makes the pronouncement without limit, that you are not to be mindful of your brother's malice,e and commands you to grant forgiveness not to one who asks for it but even to one who does not ask:  for his intention is not that you should forgive the offence, but forget it.  The law concerning lepers has a profound meaning, in respect of the various forms of that disease and of the high priest's inspection of it.f This it will be our task to ascertain, while it falls to Marcion to set against it the strict meaning of the law, so as in this case too to maintain that Christ is in opposition to it.  For Christ dispenses with the strict rules of the law here too in the healing of ten lepers, whom he merely told to go and show themselves to the priests, and cleansed them as they went, with no contact and no word of command, but by silent power and unaided will.  And surely when it has once been put on record that Christ is the healer of sicknesses and disabilities, and when he has been proved so by facts accomplished, we have no need for any discussion of the form and manner of those healings, or for the Creator in Christ to be challenged before the law if he has himself performed some action otherwise than he laid down in the law.  For in fact the Lord does his works in one way by himself or by his Son, in another way by the prophets his servants, especially those works which are evidences of his might and power:  for these, being his own works, are more excellent in glory and power, and therefore


may rightly be different from those done by agents.  But things like this have already been said elsewhere in my previous evidence.  Now although he has said before this that there were many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha the prophet and that none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian,g the matter of number will be no indication of a difference of gods, to the diminution of the Creator who heals only one, and the advancement of him who cleansed ten.  For who can doubt that many more could have been cured by him who had already cured one, rather than the ten by him who had never in the past cured even one?  But he is chiefly concerned in this statement to attack Israel's Unbelief or pride, in that though there were among them many lepers, and a prophet was not unavailable, even when proof had been given, no one made speed to God who was at work in the prophets.  So then, since he himself was with primary and plenary authority the high priest of God the Father, he did examine them in accordance with the secret meaning of the law, which indicates that Christ is the true examiner and remover of the defilements of men.  But he also gave them the order which was in the surface meaning of the law:  Go, shew yourselves to the priests. Why so, if his intention was to cleanse them first?  Was it perhaps as one casting scorn on the law, so as to let them see, as they were healed on the way, that the law was nothing to them, nor the priests either?  Any man must himself answer for it, who thinks Christ so tied to rule as this.  No, we need worthier interpretations, more conformable to faith:  that the cause of their healing was that when commanded to make their way to the priests, according to the law, they did as they were told.  For it is beyond belief, that observers of the law should have won their healing from a destroyer of the law.  But why did he give no such order to the original leper?1 Because neither did Elisha to Naaman the Syrian:  but that does not mean he was not the Creator's prophet.  I have given a fair answer:  yet he who has believed understands also something deeper.  Hear then what the reasons were.  The act took place in the parts of Samaria, from which in fact one of the lepers had come.  But Samaria had revolted from Israel, deriving that schism from the nine tribes torn away by Ahijah the prophet, which

35. 1 Who this original leper was, is not clear:  certainly not the leper at Luke 5: 12-16, for he did receive such an order, which Marcion had not excised.


Jeroboam had settled about Samaria.  Now in other ways too the Samaritans were always pleased with themselves, about mountains, and ancestral wells; as in the gospel of John that Samaritan woman in conversation with our Lord at the well, Art thou greater, and so on:  and again, Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem men ought to worship.h So now he who by Amos had said Woe to them that shall trust in the mountain of Samaria,i now vouchsafes to restore even it, and of set purpose commands it to show itself to the priests — because there were no priests except where there was a temple — thus making the Samaritan subject to the Jew, because salvation is of the Jews, although the Samaritans also are Israelites.  For the whole of the promise to the tribe of Judah was Christ himself:  so that they might know that at Jerusalem were both priests and temple and the matrix of religion and the fountain, not a <mere> well, of salvation.  And so, when he saw that they had acknowledged that the law must be fulfilled at Jerusalem, as they were now fit to be justified by faith without the observance of the law, he gave them healing.  So again when he marvelled that that one alone of the ten, a Samaritan, on his release remembered to give thanks to God, he did not command him to offer a gift according to the law, because he had already offered a sufficient sacrifice by giving glory to God — and it is in this way that our Lord wishes the law to be interpreted.  Yet to which god did the Samaritan return thanks, when not even an Israelite had until then heard of any god but one?  Surely to the same God to whom all those previously healed by Christ.  And so he was told, Thy faith hath made thee whole, because he had understood it was his duty to offer a true oblation to Almighty God, which is the giving of thanks, in his true Temple, in the presence of Christ his true High Priest.  But not even the pharisees can be taken to have consulted our Lord about the kingdom of any alternative god, asking when it was to come, so long as no publication of another god had as yet been made by Christ:  nor can he be supposed to have given his answer about the kingdom of any god except the one he was asked about. The kingdom of God, he says, cometh not with observation, neither do they say, Lo here, lo there, for behold the kingdom of God is within you. Surely everyone must interpret these words, Is within you, as 'in your hand', 'within your power', if you give ear, if


you do the commandment of God.  But if the kingdom of God is in the commandment, set opposite to it Moses, as my antitheses suggest, and there is complete agreement.  The commandment, he says, is not on high, nor far from thee.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up to heaven, and bring it down for us, and we will hear it and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea and bring it for us, and we will hear it and do it ?  The word is near thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, and in thy hands, to do it.j This will be the meaning of, Not here, not there; for behold the kingdom of God is within you. And to prevent heretical audacity from arguing that our Lord's reply to them was concerned with the Creator's kingdom, about which they consulted him, and not with his own, the words that follow stand in the way.  For when he says that the Son of man must first suffer many things, and be rejected before his coming, in which also the kingdom will be revealed in its objective reality, he shows that it was of his own kingdom that he gave the answer, and that it was in expectation of his own sufferings and rejections.  But as he had to be rejected, and afterwards acknowledged and lifted up and glorified, he gleaned this word 'rejected' from that passage where in David, in the figure of the stone, both his appearances were prophesied of, the first to be refused, the second to be honored. The stone, it says, which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner:  this is the Lord's doing.k There would be no purpose in it, if we supposed that God prophesied of the contempt or the glory of someone else, and had not in view him whom he had had in view in the figure of the stone and the rock and the mountain.  But if it is his own coming he speaks of, why does he compare it with those dark and frightful days of Noah and Lot, if he is a god kind and gentle?  Why does he warn them to remember Lot's wife, who despised the Creator's orders and suffered for it, if he is not coming with judgement, to avenge the breach of his own orders?  Even if he does take vengeance, as the Creator does, if he does judge me, he has no business to inform me of that by the evidences of the God he is overthrowing:  else I must think that that God is informing me.  But if he is here speaking not of his own coming, but of the Jewish Christ's, let us even now be in expectation lest he make some prophecy of his own coming, believing meanwhile that it is himself he prophesies of in every place.


36. [Luke 18.] To commend perseverance and persistence in prayer, he applies the parable of a judge who by the persistence and perseverance of a widow's complaints was compelled to give her a hearing.. So he points to God as a judge to be prayed to, not himself, if <as you allege> he is not a judge.  But he adds that God will avenge his own elect.  If then he who is an avenger must also be a judge, in that case he has set his approval on the Creator as a better sort of God when he indicates that he is an avenger of his own elect who cry day and night to him.  He next refers to the Creator's temple, and describes two men who worship with opposite intentions, the pharisee with pride, the publican with humility, and tells how the one in consequence went down to his house rejected, the other justified:  and in giving this instruction by what rule prayer ought to be made, he has here too specified that that God ought to be prayed to from whom men could expect a response to that rule of prayer, a response either in rejection of pride or in justification of humility.  I find in Christ no indication of any temple, or of people who pray in it, or of any judgement, of any other god than the Creator.  Him he commands us to worship in humility, as one who raises up the lowly; not in pride, for he puts down the mighty.  What other god has he commended to my worship?  By what rule?  With what hope?  None, I imagine.  For the prayer too which he has taught us, I have proved is conformable to the Creator.  It is another matter if as a god supremely good, and of his own nature kind, he does not wish even to be worshipped. Who, he asks, is supremely good, except one, that is God? Not as though he has indicated by this that one out of two gods is supremely good, but that there is one only supremely good God, who is for this reason the one supremely good because he is the only God.  And indeed he is supremely good, sending rain upon the just and the unjust, and making his sun to rise upon the good and the bada — bearing with, and feeding, and helping even Marcionites.  So then when he is asked by that certain man, Good Teacher, what shall I do to obtain possession of eternal life?, he inquired whether he knew — which means, was keeping — the Creator's commandments, in such form as to testify that by the Creator's commandments eternal life is obtained:  and when that man replied, in respect of the chief of them, that he had kept them from his youth up, he got the answer, One


thing thou lackest; sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. Come now, Marcion, and all you companions in the misery and sharers in the offensiveness of that heretic, what will you be bold enough to say?  Did Christ here rescind those former commandments, not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness, to love father and mother?  Or is it that he both retained these and added what was lacking?  And yet, even this commandment of distributing to the poor is spread about everywhere in the law and the prophets, so that that boastful keeper of the commandments was convicted of having money in much higher esteem.  So then this also in the gospel remains valid, I am not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil.b At the same time also he relieved of doubt those other questions, by making it clear that the name of God, and of supremely good, belongs to one only, and that eternal life and treasure in heaven, and himself besides, pertain to that one, whose commandments, by adding what was lacking, he both conserved and enriched.  So he is to be recognized as in agreement with Micah, in this passage where he says, Hath he then showed thee, O man, what is good?  Or what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justice, to love mercy, and to be prepared to follow the Lord thy God?c For Christ is that Man, declaring what is good:  the knowledge of the law, Thou knowest the commandments:  to do justice, Sell the things thou hast:  to love mercy, And give to the poor:  to be prepared to go with the Lord, And come, follow me. The Jewish race was from the beginning so clearly distinguished into tribes and communes and families and households, that no man could easily be of unknown descent, at least from the recent census of Augustus, of which perhaps the records were still on display.  But Marcion's Jesus — yet there could be no doubt that one had been born, who was seen to be a man — he indeed, not having been born, could have had in the public records no note of his descent, but would have had to be reckoned as one from among those persons who in some way or other were classed as unknown.  When then that blind man had been told that he was passing by, why did he cry out, Jesus thou son of David, have mercy on me, except that he was with good reason regarded as the son of David, which means, of the family of David, in consideration of his mother and his brethren, who had in fact on one occasion because of people's


knowledge of them, been reported to him as being present?  But they that went before rebuked the blind man, that he should hold his peace.  Quite properly:  because he was making a noise, not because he was wrong about the son of David.  Or else you must prove that those who rebuked were convinced that Jesus was not the son of David, if you wish me to believe that that was their reason for putting the blind man to silence.  Yet even if you did prove this, the man would more readily assume that those people were in ignorance, than that the Lord could have allowed to pass a false description of himself.  But the Lord is patient.d He is not however one who stands surety for error — but rather a revealer of the Creator — so that he would not have failed first to take away the cloud of this aspect of that man's blindness, and so prevent him from thinking any longer that Jesus was the son of David.  Far from it:  to preclude you from speaking ill of his patience, or from attaching to him any charge of keeping back the truth, or from saying he is not the son of David, he expressed the clearest possible approval of the blind man's commendation, rewarding it with the gift of healing, and with witness to his faith. Thy faith, he says, hath made thee whole. What do you say was the substance of that blind man's faith?  That Jesus had come down from that god of yours with intent to overthrow the Creator and destroy the law and the prophets? that he was not the one foreordained to come forth from the root of Jesse and from the fruit of David's loins, a giver of gifts also to the blind?  No, there did not yet exist, I think, people of Marcion's sort of blindness, that such should have been the content of that blind man's faith which he expressed in the cry, Jesus, thou son of David. Jesus knew that this was what he is, and wished it to be known of all men, so that although the man's faith was based on better eyesight, although it was possessed of the true light, he gave it the further gift of external vision, so that we too might be taught what is the rule, and also the reward, of faith.  He who wishes to see Jesus, must believe him the son of David by descent from the virgin:  he who does not so believe will never be told by him, Thy faith hath saved thee, and consequently will remain blind, falling into the ditch of an antithesis, which itself falls into a ditch.  For this is what happens when the blind leads the blind.  For if, <as you suggest>, blind men once came into conflict with David at his recapture of Sion,e fighting back to prevent his admission —


though these are a figure of that nation equally blind, which was some time to deny admission to Christ the son of David — and therefore Christ came to the blind man's help by way of opposition so that by this he might show himself not the son of David, being of opposite mind, and kind to blind men, such as David had ordered to be slain:  <if this is so> why did he say he had granted this to the man's faith, and false faith at that?  But in fact by this expression son of David I can, on its own terms, blunt the point of the antithesis.  Those who came into conflict with David were blind:  but here a man of the same infirmity had presented himself as suppliant to the son of David.  Consequently, when he gave this satisfaction, the son of David was in some sort appeased and restored his sight, adding also a testimony to the faith by which he had believed this very fact, that he must address his prayer to the son of David.  For all that, David I think will have been offended by the insolence of those Jebusites, not by the state of their health.

37. [Luke 19: 1-27.] Salvation also comes to the house of Zacchaeus.  How did he earn it?  Was it that even he believed that Christ was come from Marcion?  No, for there remained still in the ears of all of them that blind man's cry, Have mercy upon me, Jesus thou son of David,a and all the people were giving praises to God — not Marcion's god, but David's.  For in fact Zacchaeus, though a foreigner,1 yet perhaps had breathed in some knowledge of the scriptures by converse with Jews, or, what is more, without knowing about Isaiah, had fulfilled his instructions. Break thy bread, he says, to the hungry, and bring into thy house them that have no covering — and this he was even then doing when he brought the Lord into his house and gave him to eat. And if thou see the naked, cover himb — at that very moment he promised this, when he offered the half of his goods for all works of mercy, thus loosing the bonds of enforced contracts, and letting loose the oppressed, and breaking down every unjust assessment, in the words, And if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore it fourfold. And so our Lord says, Today is salvation <come> to this house:  he bears witness that those were works of salvation which the Creator's prophet

37. - Luke 19: 1-10 does not say that Zacchaeus was a foreigner, unless that is implied by his being a chief tax-collector.  In LXX allophylus is the word for Philistine.


had enjoined.  But when he says, For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost, I do not at present claim that he who had come to save that which was lost, was he to whom belonged, and from whom had become lost, that which he had come to save;  I turn my steps towards a different subject.  There is no doubt that a man is under discussion.  Since a man consists of two substances, body and soul, the question we must consider is, in respect of which kind of substance he may be supposed to have become lost.  If of the body, then his body was lost, his soul was not.  That which was lost, is what the Son of man saves:  and so the flesh obtains salvation.  If he was lost in respect of his soul, then it is the loss of the soul which is intended for salvation:  the flesh, which has not got lost, is safe already.  If the whole man was lost, in respect of both substances, then the whole man must of necessity be brought to salvation, and there is an end of that opinion of the heretics who say the flesh finds no salvation.  And besides, there is confirmation of the fact that Christ belongs to the Creator, since in full accord with the Creator he promised salvation of the whole man.  Also the parable of the servants, who are judged variously according as they account for their lord's money entrusted to them, indicates that God is a judge, even on the side of severity, not only promoting to honor, but even taking away that which a man thinks he has.  Or else, if here too it is a pretence of his, that the Creator is an austere one, taking up that which he has not laid down, and reaping that which he has not sown, here again the instruction comes to me from him whose the money is which <the parable> advises me to put on usury.

38. [Luke 20: 1-8, 22-44.] Christ knew the baptism of John, whence it was.  Why then did he ask the question, as though he did not know?  He did know that the pharisees would not answer him.  Why then did he ask, to no purpose?  Was it not that he might judge them out of their own mouth, or even out of their own heart?  So take this episode to bear on the justification of the Creator, and on Christ's agreement with him, and ask yourself what the consequence would have been if the pharisees had returned an answer to his question.  Suppose they had answered that John's baptism was from men:  they would at once have been stoned to death.  Some anti-marcionite Marcion would have stood up and said, 'See a god supremely good, a god the opposite


of the Creator's doings! well aware that men were going to fall headlong, he himself put them on the edge of a precipice.' For this is how they treat of the Creator, in his law about the tree.a But suppose John's baptism was from heaven. And why, Christ says, did ye not believe him ? So then he whose wish it was that John should be believed, who was expected to blame them for not believing him, belonged to that God whose sacrament John was the minister of.  At all events, when they refused to answer what they thought, and he replied in like terms, Neither do I tell you by what power I do these things, he returned evil for evil. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's. Which shall be the things that are God's?  Those that are like Caesar's penny, God's own image and likeness.  So his command means that man must be given back to his Creator, in whose image and likeness and name and metal he was stamped into shape.  Let Marcion's god go and fetch coinage for himself — Christ's command is for the penny, which is man, to be rendered to its own Caesar, not to a stranger — except that one has to do this, who has not a penny of his own.  It is a just and creditable rule that whenever a question is asked the meaning of the reply must be pertinent to the purpose of the inquiry.  It is the act of a madman, when a person asks for judgement on one matter, to answer him about something different.  So let us not attribute to Christ an act unseemly even for a man.  The sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, having a question to ask about this, set before our Lord a case out of the law, touching a woman who according to legal requirement had married seven brothers who died one after the other, and asked which man's wife she would be reckoned to be at the resurrection.  This was the subject of the question, the object of their consultation.  Christ's answer must have been on the same terms.  He had no fear of anyone, nor any reason why we should think he either refused their questionings, or used them as an opportunity for giving secret hints of things which in other circumstances he did not teach openly.  His answer then was, that the children of this world marry.  You see how pertinent to the case:  because the question asked was about the world to come, in which he was going to define the rule that no one marries, he first stated the fact that marriage does take place here where there is also death.  Those however whom God has accounted


worthy of the inheritance of that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, <he says,> nor are given in marriage, because they cannot die any more, since they become like the angels, being made the sons of God and of the resurrection.  Since then the meaning of the reply must be turned in no other direction than the purpose of the inquiry, if by this meaning of the reply the purpose of the inquiry is satisfactorily met, then our Lord's reply has no other meaning than that by which the question receives an answer.  You have the times during which marriage is permitted and those in which it is not, arising not from a question about this in itself, but about the resurrection.  You have also a confirmation of the resurrection in itself, and the whole of what the sadducees were asking questions about:  for they were not asking questions about a different god, nor did they seek to know about their own particular law of marriage.  If however you make Christ give an answer to questions that were not submitted to him, you are saying that he was incapable of answering the questions he was asked about — that in fact he was trapped by the sadducees' cleverness.  Beyond now what is strictly necessary, having dealt with the main question, I shall take up the discussion against the quibbles they attach to it.  They have seized upon the text of scripture, and have read on like this:  'Those whom the god of that world has counted worthy'.1 They attach 'of that world' to 'god', so as to make out that there is another god, 'of that world'. Whereas it ought to be read, Those whom God has counted worthy, so that by punctuating after 'God', 'of that world' belongs to what follows, that is, Those whom God hath counted worthy of the inheritance of that world, and of the resurrection. For the question he was asked was not about the god of that world, but about its conditions, whose wife the woman was to be in that world, after the resurrection.  So again, on the subject of marriage, they misrepresent his answer, so as to make out that, The children of this world marry and are given in marriage, refers to the Creator's men whom he allows to marry, whereas they themselves, whom the god of that world, that other god, has counted worthy of the resurrection, even here and now do not marry, because they are

38. 1 'The god of that world etc.' was Marcion's tendentious alteration of Luke 20: 35, 'They that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, etc., There is nothing in the parallel passages Matt. 23: 30 and Mark 12: 25 to justify the alteration.  Cf. also V. 11.9 'the god of this world'.


not the children of this world — although it was the marriage of that world he was asked about, not this, and the marriage he said there was not, was that about which he was consulted.  So then those who had taken in the real force of his words and their expression and punctuation, understood no other meaning than that which was pertinent to the subject he was asked about.  And so the scribes comment, Master, thou hast well said. For he had agreed with them about the resurrection, explaining the manner of it, as against the heresy of the sadducees.  And here too he did not refuse the commendation of those who took it that that was what his answer meant.  If now the scribes regarded Christ as the son of David, and David himself calls him Lord, what does this mean to Christ?  It was not that David was correcting a mistake of the scribes, but that David was paying respect to Christ, when David affirmed that Christ was his Lord even more than his son — and this would not be in character with a destroyer of the Creator.  But on my side how very apposite an interpretation.  He had recently been called upon by that blind man as son of David:  what he then refrained from saying, as he had no scribes present, he now in their presence brings forward without suggestion from them, so as to indicate that he whom the blind man, following the scribes' doctrine, had called merely David's son, was also David's Lord.  So he rewards that blind man's faith, by which he had believed him the son of David, but criticizes the tradition of the scribes, by which they failed to know him also as Lord.  Anything that had bearing on the glory of the Creator's Christ, could only have been sustained in this form by one who was himself the Creator's Christ.

39. [Luke 21: 8-38.] We have already reached agreement on the rightful ownership of the names, that it appertains to him who first proclaimed his own Christ among men, and changed a name to Jesus.  Thus we shall also be in agreement concerning the presumption of one who says that many will come in his name, when it is not his name if he is not the Christ and Jesus of the Creator, to whom the rightful possession of the name belongs, and when, what is more, he forbids our acceptance of others who are in like case with himself, seeing that he, no less than they, has come in a name not his own — unless it was his purpose to forewarn the disciples against lying claimants to the name, he himself through


rightful ownership of the name possessing the truth of it.1 So then those people will come, saying I am Christ.a You, <Marcion,> will receive them:  you have received one exactly like them.  For this one too has come in his own name.  What then of the fact that there is still to come the real owner of the names, the Christ and Jesus of the Creator?  Shall you reject him?  But how unfair, how unjust, how unworthy of a god supremely good, that you should not receive him when he conies in his own name, when you have already received another in his name.  Let us see also with what signs he marks the times.  Wars, I imagine, and kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation, and a plague, and famines and earthquakes, and fearful sights, and great signs from heaven, all of which are in keeping with a stern and fearsome God.  When he adds even that these things must needs be, who does he claim that he is, one who brings the Creator to ruin, or one who defends him?  It is the Creator's appointments he affirms must needs be fulfilled, though being himself supremely good, and these so sad and so fearsome, he would have taken them away rather than have decreed them, if they had not been his very own.  But before these things he tells them that persecutions and sufferings will come upon them, for martyrdom and also for salvation.  See how this was foretold in Zechariah:  The Lord Almighty shall defend them, and they will devour them, and stone them with sling stones, and they will drink their blood like wine, and will fill their bowls as of the altar, and the Lord shall save them in that day like sheep, even his own people, because the holy stones roll down.b And that you may not think this is prophesied of the sufferings which awaited them from foreigners, in the name of all those wars, consider of what sort they are.  No one when telling of wars to be waged with lawful arms takes account of stoning, which is more usually met with in popular assemblies and unarmed tumult.  No one in war measures all those rivers of blood by the capacity of bowls, nor equates this with the blood shed upon one single altar.  No one describes as sheep those who fall when under arms in war, themselves contending with equal ferocity, but those rather who are slain in their own station and patience, in self-surrender rather than in self-defence.  He says in fact, Because the holy stones roll down, not,

39. 1 The sentence begins as an attack on Marcion's Christ, but from 'unless it was his purpose' drops the irony, and reverts to the truth, that he who spoke these words is the Creator's, the real, Christ.


Because soldiers fight.  For the stones are those foundations upon which we are being built up, laid down, as Paul says, upon the foundation of the apostles;c and these holy stones began to roll down when they were set up against the assault of all men.  Here again he tells them not to meditate beforehand what ought to be their answer at judgement seats:  for it was he who had put into the mouth of Balaamd what he had not thought of, indeed the opposite of what he had thought of, and when Moses made the excuse of slowness of tongue had promised him a mouth.e And of that wisdom itself, which no one could resist, he gave evidence by Isaiah, This man shall say, I am God's, and shall cry in the name of Jacob, and another shall be inscribed by the name of Israel.f For what is there wiser or more irresistible than a plain and express confession in the name of a martyr who prevails with God ?  For this is the meaning of Israel. And no wonder that a check was put upon premeditation by one who himself received from the Father the ability to speak words in season:  The Lord giveth me the tongue of discipline <to know> when I ought to utter speech:  except that Marcion suggests that Christ is not subject to the Father.  That there were prophecies of persecution from near kindred, and of evil-speaking from hatred of the name, I have no need to point out a second time. But by endurance, he says, ye shall make out your salvation, of which in fact the psalm speaks, The endurance of the just shall not perish for ever.g So it says in another place, Right dear is the death of the justh — because of his endurance, no doubt, seeing that Zechariah has it, But there shall be a crown for them that have endured.i But so that you may not presume to argue that the apostles were put to distress by the Jews as preachers of your other god, remember that the prophets also suffered the same things from the Jews, though they were apostles of no other god than the Creator.  Having next indicated the time of its destruction, when Jerusalem should have begun to be compassed about with armies, he goes on to tell of the signs of the last end, wonders in the sun and moon and stars, and on earth distress of nations in astonishment, as by the roar of the waves of the sea, because of their expectation of the evils overhanging the world.  And that even the powers of the heavens must be shaken, listen to Joel:  And I will shew wonders in the heaven and in the earth, blood and fire and vapour of smoke:  the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.j You have also Habakkuk,


The earth will be rent asunder with rivers, the peoples will see thee and be in travail, thou wilt scatter the waters in passing by, the deep uttered his voice, the summit of his fear was lifted high:  the sun and the moon stood still in their order:  into the light thy gleamings will go forth, into the lightning <of> the thunder <of> thy shield:  in thy threatening thou wilt diminish the earth, and in thine indignation thou wilt put down the nations.k Our Lord's pronouncements and the prophets' are, I think, in agreement regarding the shaking of the heavens and the earth, the planets and the nations.  And what does the Lord say next? And then shall they see the Son of man coming from heaven, with great power.  But when these things come to pass, ye will look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption has drawn nigh — at the time of the kingdom, to be sure, to which will apply the parable that follows. So ye also when ye see all these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. This will be that great and notable day of the Lord, when he comes as the Son of man from heaven, as Daniel says:  Behold one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, and what follows:  and there was given to him kingly authority,l that which in the parable he had gone forth to claim, when he left money with his servants for them to do business with:  and all the nationsl — those which the Father had promised him in the psalm, Desire of me and I will give thee the gentiles for thine inheritancem — and all glory serving him, and his dominion is everlasting, that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,l because in it they will not die, nor marry, but will be like the angels.  Again of that advent of the Son of man, and the benefit of it, in Habakkuk:  Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for the salvation of thine anointed ones,n those who are to look up and lift up their heads, when redeemed at the time of the kingdom.  So then since there is agreement in these statements involving promises, as there was in those which involved shattering down, because of this harmony between the prophets' pronouncements and our Lord's, you will be unable at this point to interpose any distinction, so as to refer the shatterings to the Creator — a god of savagery, shatterings such as a god supremely good could not permit, far less look forward to — but assign to your supremely good god those promises which the Creator in ignorance of him had not prophesied about.  Otherwise, if they were his own promises that <the Creator> prophesied, and these were not different from the promises of Christ, <the Creator> will be equal in liberty with


your supremely good god, and it will appear that nothing better is promised by your Christ than by my Son of man.  You will find that the whole sequence of the gospel narrative, from the disciples' question as far as the parable of the fig-tree, is in its close-knit reasoning so attached on one side and on the other to the Son of man as to combine together in him both the sorrows and the joys, both the shatterings and the promises:  nor can you detach from him either part of them.  So then as it is but one Son of man whose advent is appointed between those two terms of shatterings and of promises, with that same one Son of man are necessarily associated both the distresses of the nations and the aspirations of the saints:  for his position between them is such that he belongs equally to both terms, bringing by his advent an end to the one, the distresses of the nations, and a beginning to the other, the aspirations of the saints.  So that if you admit that the coming of the Son of man is my Christ's advent, the more you impute to him those imminent sorrows which precede his advent, the more you are forced also to ascribe to him those good things which take their rise from his advent:  or alternatively, if you prefer <the coming of the Son of man> to be the advent of your Christ, the more you ascribe to him those good things which arise from his advent, the more you are forced also to impute to him those sorrows which precede his advent.  For the sorrows are no less closely attached to the corning of the Son of man by going before, than are the good things by coming after.  Ask yourself then to which of the two Christs you assign the role of the one Son of man, so that to it may be referred both the one series of events and the other.  You have admitted either that the Creator is supremely good, or that your god is stern in nature.  Finally, consider the evidence of the parable itself:  Behold the fig tree and all the trees:  when they have produced fruit, men understand that summer has come near:  so ye also, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is at hand. So if the appearance of fruit on small trees gives the sign for the summer season, because it precedes it, no less do the collisions of the world, by going before it, mark beforehand the sign for the kingdom.  Now every sign belongs to him to whom belongs the property of which it is the sign, and upon every property the sign is set by him to whom the property belongs.  Thus if the collisions are signs of the kingdom, as the fruiting of trees is of summer, it follows that the kingdom is the


Creator's, since to him are ascribed the collisions which are the signs of the kingdom.  He had begun by saying that these things must needs be — things so frightful, so horrible — your god supremely good — certainly things foretold by the prophets and the law:  and so he was not destroying the law and the prophets, for he affirms that those things must needs be accomplished which they had foretold.  And now he adds that heaven and earth shall not pass away unless all things be fulfilled.  What things are these?  If the things which are from the Creator, quite rightly will the elements await the fulfilment of their Lord's proceedings:  if the things which are from that god supremely good, I doubt if heaven and earth will await the accomplishment of things which the opponent has decided on.  If the Creator is going to bear with this, he is not a jealous god.  So then, let earth and heaven pass away:  for so their own Lord has determined.  Provided that his word abide for ever:  for so Isaiah has foretold it will.o Also let the disciples take heed, lest at any time their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this world, and so that day come upon them suddenly, like a snare — because they have forgotten God amid the world's abundance and interests.  The warning will have come from Moses.p So deliverance from the snare of that day will come from him who of old issued this warning.  There were also other places in Jerusalem where he might teach, and other places outside Jerusalem where he might go out and rest.  Yet by day he was teaching in the temple, as he had himself foretold by Hosea, In my temple they found me, and in it was there disputation with them.q But by night he went out into the olivegarden:  for so had Zechariah declared:  And his feet shall stand in the mount of Olives.r There were also appropriate times for hearing him:  for they had to come together early in the morning, because after saying, by Isaiah, The Lord giveth me the tongue of learning, he added also, In the morning he applied to me an ear for hearing.s If this is to destroy the prophets, what must it be to fulfil them?

40. [Luke 22: 1-20.] Likewise he knows at what season that one must needs suffer, whose passion the law prefigures.  For out of all those Jewish feasts he has chosen the day of the passover.  For with reference to this mystery Moses had declared, It is the Lord's passover.a So he makes his affection plain:  With desire I have desired to eat the passover with you before I suffer. Look at this destroyer of the


law, who had desired to keep the passover.  Was it perhaps that Jewish lamb's flesh would give him pleasure?  Or not rather that he was to be brought as a sheep to sacrifice, and as a sheep before the shearer was not to open his mouth,b and so had that great desire to accomplish the figure of his saving blood?  He could perhaps have been betrayed by some stranger:  then I could not have said that even in this the psalm was fulfilled, He that hath. eaten bread with me shall lift up his heel against me.c He could have been betrayed and no one have been paid for it:  for how little had a betrayer to do in the case of one who met with people openly, and could have been taken by force quite as easily as betrayed.  But this would have been in keeping with a different Christ, not one who was fulfilling prophecies:  for it is written, Because they sold the righteous.d Also the amount and the destination of the price paid, brought back when Judas repented, and spent on the purchase of the potter's field, as is contained in Matthew's gospel, is prophesied of beforehand by Jeremiah:  And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, or honored, and gave them for the potter's field.' So then, having affirmed that with desire he had desired to eat the passover, his own passoverf-- it would not have been right for God to desire anything not his own — the bread which he took, and divided among his disciples, he made into his body, saying This is my body, that is, the figure of my body.1 Now there could have been no figure, unless it had been a veritable body; for an empty thing, which a phantasm is, would have been incapable of figure.  Or else, if you suppose he formed bread into a body for himself because he felt the lack of a veritable body, then it was bread he ought to have delivered up for us.  It would well suit Marcion's vacuity, that bread should be crucified.  Yet why does he call his body bread, and not rather a pumpkin, which Marcion had instead of a heart?  For he did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who himself speaks by Jeremiah, They have devised a device against me, saying, Come and let us cast wood upon his bread,g meaning, the cross upon his body.  So Christ, who throws light upon ancient

40. 1 Harnack (Marcion, p. 144, note 2) mistakenly attributes this explanation to Marcion, and credits him with a figurative interpretation of the dominical words.  The explanation is Tertullian's, and figura does not indicate anything merely figurative, but a visible objective shape.  So above, I. 14. 3. panem quo corpus suum repraesentat, 'makes his own body present': also III. 19. 3. In the next sentence, panem corpus sibi finxit, the verb means 'moulded', not pretended'.


things, has made it quite clear what on that earlier occasion he meant by bread, when here he calls bread his own body.  So also at the reference to the cup, when establishing the covenant sealed with his own blood, he affirmed the reality of his body:  for there can be no blood except from a body which is flesh.  For even if our adversaries suggest some sort of body which is not of flesh, certainly it can have no blood in it if it is not of flesh.  So the proof that there is a body will stand firm by the evidence of flesh, as the proof that there is flesh stands by the evidence of blood.  And so that you may recognize in wine an ancient figure for blood,2 Isaiah will help:  Who is this that cometh out of Edom, the redness of his garments out of Bozrah, so glorious in apparel which is violent with strength?  Wherefore the redness of thy garments, and thy vestments as from the outlet of the winepress, full and trodden down?h For the prophetic Spirit, as one having already in full view our Lord coming to his passion, clothed of course in flesh, since in it he suffered, indicates by that redness of apparel the bloodstained garment of his flesh that was trodden down and strained out by the violence of the passion, as in the outfall of a winepress — because it is from a winepress that men come down as if stained with blood from the redness of wine.  Much more evidently did Genesis in the blessing of Judah, of whose tribe the origin of Christ's flesh was to proceed, as early as that depict Christ in Judah:  He shall wash his garment in wine and his vesture in the blood of the grape:i by garment and vesture indicating his flesh, and by wine his blood.  So now also he consecrated his blood in wine, as he had of old used wine as a figure for blood.

41. [Luke 22: 22, 33-4, 54-71.] Woe, he says, to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. So now it is confirmed that woe must be understood as a calling down of wrath and threatening, and be taken as the expression of one angry and offended — unless perhaps Judas was to commit with impunity so great a crime.  If with impunity, the woe is pointless:  if not with impunity, then he must expect to be punished by him against whom he has committed the crime of betrayal.  Now if he knowingly permitted a man whom

40. 2 Epiphanius, Panarion 42. 3. 3, says that water was used at a Marcionite Eucharist.  At I. 14, when speaking of Marcionite practice, Tertullian does not mention wine.  The present passage reads like a strong suggestion that Marcionites ought to observe the dominical command.


he had himself elected into his company, to plunge into so great a crime, you can no longer bring under discussion concerning the Creator, in the matter of Adam, objections which recoil back on your own god as well — that he either did not know, seeing he did not by providence prevent the sinner:  that he was unable to prevent him, if he did not know:  or was unwilling to do so, if he both knew and was able:  and therefore must be judged of evil intent, as having permitted his own man to perish for his sin.  I advise you therefore to recognize the Creator in this <Christ>, rather than make your supremely good god like him, contrary to your own doctrine.  Also when Peter has made a rash utterance, and he turns him rather in the direction of denial, you can see he is a jealous god.1 Moreover, as he was the Christ of the prophets it was his due to be betrayed with a kiss, being the Son of him whom the people loved with their lips.  When brought into the council he is asked whether he is himself the Christ.  With reference to what Christ could the Jews have asked this question, except their own?  Why then did he not, even then, tell them of that other ?  Because, you answer, he had to be able to suffer.  By which you mean, so that he, supremely good, might plunge into crime those who were still ignorant. 'But even if he had told them, he would still have suffered:  for he said, If I tell you, ye will not believe:  and by refusing to believe, they would have continued to demand his death.' But surely he would have been more likely to suffer if he had declared himself <the Christ> of that other god, and consequently an opponent of the Creator.  And so it was not with the intention of suffering that he forbore even then to explain that he was different:  but because they desired to extort a confession from his own mouth, and yet even if he confessed were not going to believe, though they ought to have known who he was from his works which were in fulfilment of the scriptures, it was his right, as one to whom unchallenged recognition was due, to hide himself from them.  And for all that he still gives them a chance, when he says, Hereafter shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power of God. From Daniel's prophecy he put himself before

41. 1 A jealous god.  A note by Franciscus Junius explains this to mean that Christ delivered over to temptation a disciple who had made a rash promise, with intent that the glory might belong to himself alone.  But, we add, tibi marks this as a debating point against Marcion:  it is Marcion's Christ who takes action which Marcion stigmatizes as characteristic of the Creator.


them as the Son of man,a and from David's psalm as sitting at the right hand of God.b And so from that saying of his, and its bringing together of <two texts of> scripture, they were fully enlightened as to whom he wished them to take him to be, and asked him, Art thou then the Son of God? Of what god, if not the only God they knew about?  Of what god, if not him who they remembered had said in the psalm to his son, Sit thou on my right hand? 'But he answers, Ye say it, as though it were, I do not.' No, but he affirmed that he was that which they had said when they asked him that second time.  Yet how can you prove that they were asking a question, and not themselves making the statement when they said Thou art then the Son of God? In that case, as he had indirectly proved by the scriptures that they must understand he was the Son of God, and they perceived this — Thou art then the Son of God, which thou art unwilling to declare openly — he likewise answers in the affirmative, Ye say it:  and so clearly was this his meaning, that they continued in the impression which his statement indicated.

42. [Luke 23.] So when they had led him to Pilate they began to accuse him of saying he was Christ a King, meaning no doubt the Son of God, who was to sit at God's right hand.  Surely they would have arraigned him under some other charge, being in doubt whether he had said he was the Son of God, if he had not by the statement Ye say it, indicated that he was what they said.  Also when Pilate asked, Art thou the Christ?1 he answered again Thou sayest it, so that he might not seem, through fear of the authority, to have refused to answer.  So the Lord is set in judgement, and has set in judgement his own people. The Lord himself is come into judgement with the ancients and the princes of his people,a as Isaiah has it.  From then onwards he fulfilled all that is written of his passion. The heathen thereupon raged, and the peoples imagined vain things:  the kings of the earth stood up, and their rulers gathered together into one, against the Lord and against his Christ.b The heathen, the Romans who were with Pilate; the peoples, the tribes of Israel:  the kings, in Herod:  the rulers, in the high priests.  Also when he was sent by Pilate as a gift to Herod he proved the truth of Hosea's words:  for it was of Christ that he prophesied, And they

42. 1 Pilate's question was 'Art thou the King of the Jews?': the chief priests asked, 'Art thou the Christ?' — Luke 22: 66 sq.


shall bring him in bonds as a present to the king.c So Herod was exceeding glad to see Jesus, yet he heard from him not a word:  for as a lamb before the shearer he opened not his mouth,d because the Lord had given him the tongue of discipline, that he might know in what manner he ought to bring forth speech:e that tongue in fact which in the psalm clove to his throat,f he now proved the truth of by not speaking.  Barabbas, a man of most criminal conduct, is released as though a good man:  while Christ, most righteous, is demanded for death as though a murderer.  Also two malefactors are crucified along with him, that he might be numbered among the transgressors.  Evidently the statement that his raiment was divided among the soldiers and partly assigned by lot, has been excised by Marcion, because he had in mind the prophecy of the psalm, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.g So he will have to excise the Cross as well, for the same psalm is not silent about it:  They pierced my hands and my feet.h The whole of what followed is to be read there. Dogs are come about me, the council of the wicked hath laid siege against me:  all they that saw me laughed me to scorn:  they have spoken with their lips and wagged their heads <saying>, He trusted in God, let him deliver him.i What now of the evidence of his garments?  Have the benefit of your falsifying:  Christ's garments are the whole psalm.  See also how the powers of heaven are shaken:  it was their Lord who was dying.  If his rival had been in distress the whole heaven would have blossomed out with lights, the sun would have leaped up with his rays, the day would have preferred to remain bright, gladly looking on while Marcion's Christ was crucified.  These proofs would have been at my disposal even if they had not been prophesied. I will clothe the heaven with darkness,j says Isaiah.  This also will be the day of which Amos speaks:  And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at noon — you see also the significance of the sixth hour — and there shall be darkness over the land.k Also the veil of the temple was rent, by the breaking out of the angel, who deserted the daughter of Sion, leaving her as a watch-tower in a vineyard and a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.l And see how it continues, even in the thirtieth psalm, to present Christ in his own person:  he cries aloud to the Father, so as even in dying, with his last words, to fulfil the prophets:m And having said thus, he gave up his spirit. Who did?  Did the spirit give up itself, or the flesh give


up the spirit?  But the spirit cannot have given up itself:  there is a difference between the one which gives up and the other which is given up.  If the spirit is given up, it has to be given up by something else:  whereas if the spirit had been by itself, the word used would have been 'depart' and not 'give up'. Who is it then that gives up the spirit, if not the flesh?  For the flesh breathes while it has the spirit, and therefore when it loses it, gives it up.  In short, if there was no flesh, but only a phantasm of flesh, and there was also a phantasm of spirit, and the spirit gave itself up, and by giving itself up departed, then no doubt the phantasm departed when the spirit, which was a phantasm, departed, and the phantasm along with the spirit ceased to be there.  In that case, nothing remained on the cross, after he gave up his spirit nothing was hanging there, nothing was begged for from Pilate, nothing was taken down from that gallows, nothing was wrapped in linen, nothing was laid in a new sepulchre.  And yet it was not nothing.  What then was it?  If a phantasm, then Christ was still within it.  If Christ had gone away, then he had taken the phantasm with him.  It only remains for heretical presumption to say that a phantasm of a phantasm remained there.  Though if Joseph knew that that was a real body which he had treated with so great affection — that Joseph who had not consented with the Jews in their crime — Blessed is the man who hath not gone away in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, and hath not sat in the seat of the pestilences.n

43. [Luke 24.] It was indeed necessary that the man who provided for the Lord's burial should be spoken of in prophecy, and in that same text deservedly be called blessed:  for neither does prophecy leave unnoticed the services of those women who came to the sepulchre before daybreak with the spices they had prepared.  Of this he speaks by Hosea:  That they may seek my face, before daybreak will they be awake unto me saying, Let us go and return unto the Lord, because he hath torn and will heal us, he hath smitten and will have mercy upon us:  after two days will he heal us, and on the third day we shall rise again.a Who can forbear to believe that these words recurred again and again in the thoughts of those women between the grief of their present destitution, with which they seemed to themselves smitten by the Lord, and the hope of his resurrection, by which they rightly thought to be restored?  By his body not


being found, his sepulture was taken away out of the midst, as Isaiah says.b Also in the same place two angels were seen:  this number of attendants was the customary usage of that Word of God which by two witnesses is established.  The women returning from the sepulchre, and from that vision of angels, were foreseen by Isaiah, who says:  Ye women, coming from the vision, come ye,c evidently to report the Lord's resurrection.  It is well also that the disciples' unbelief persisted, so that right to the end our claim should stand that to the disciples Christ Jesus had declared himself no other than the Christ of the prophets.  For when two of them were on a journey, and the Lord had joined himself with them, while it did not appear that it was he himself, and he even pretended not to be aware of the things that had happened, they said, But we were thinking that he himself was the Redeemer of Israel, evidently Israel's, and the Creator's, Christ.  To that extent had he never declared himself any other.  Otherwise they would not have supposed him the Creator's:  and when he was supposed to be the Creator's, he would not have tolerated this supposition about himself if he had not been who he was supposed to be.  Otherwise he must be thought of as the author of error and a renegade from the truth:  and this will not suit your description of him as a god supremely good.  But not even after his resurrection did he show them that he was any different from him they said they thought him to be.  It is true that he severely rebuked them:  O fools, and slow of heart in not believing all the things which he spoke to you. In saying this he proves he belongs not to another god but to the same God.  For the angels had said the same to the women:  Remember the things he spoke to you in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must needs be delivered up, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And why 'must needs', except it was so written by God the Creator ?  That is why he rebuked them, for being offended at his passion, and nothing more, and for being doubtful in the faith of the resurrection reported to them by the women, and for these reasons ceasing to believe that he was who they had trusted he had been.  And so, since it was his wish to be believed to be that which they had trusted he was, he affirmed that he was who they had trusted he was, the Creator's Christ, the Redeemer of Israel.  Now concerning the verity of his body, what could be clearer?  When they were in doubt whether he were not a phantasm, or even supposed that he was a phantasm, he said to them,


Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ?  Behold my hands and feet, that it is I myself:  for a spirit hath not bones, as ye see me having. Now here Marcion, on purpose I believe, has abstained from crossing out of his gospel certain matters opposed to him, hoping that in view of these which he might have crossed out and has not, he may be thought not to have crossed out those which he has crossed out, or even to have crossed them out with good reason.  But he is only sparing to statements which he proceeds to overturn by strange interpretation no less than by deletion.  He will have it then that <the words> A spirit hath not bones as ye see me having, were so spoken as to be referred to the spirit, 'as ye see me having', meaning, not having bones, even as a spirit has not.  And what sense would there be in such a round-about way of putting it, when he might have said quite plainly, For a spirit hath not bones, as ye see that I have not'?  Why again did he offer his hands and feet for them to examine — and these members consist of bones — if he had no bones?  Why does he add, And know that it is I myself, though of course they knew beforehand  that he had a body?  Or else, if he was in every respect a phantasm, why did he upbraid them for thinking him a phantasm?  And yet, while they still believed not, he asked them for food, so as to show that he even had teeth.

I have, I think, fulfilled my promise.  I have set before you Jesus as the Christ of the prophets in his doctrines, his judgements, his affections, his feelings, his miracles, his sufferings, as also in his resurrection, none other than the Christ of the Creator.  And so again, when sending forth his apostles to preach to all the nations,d he fulfilled the psalm by his instruction that their sound must go out into all the world and their words unto the ends of the earth.e I am sorry for you, Marcion:  your labour has been in vain.  Even in your gospel Christ Jesus is mine.

1. Nothing is without an origin except God alone.  In as much as of all things as they exist the origin comes first, so must it of necessity come first in the discussion of them.  Only so can there be agreement about what they are:  for it is impossible for you to discern what the quality of a thing is unless you are first assured whether itself exists:  and you can only know that by knowing where it comes from.  As then I have now in the ordering of my treatise reached this part of the subject, I desire to hear from Marcion the origin of Paul the apostle.  I am a sort of new disciple, having had instruction from no other teacher.  For the moment my only belief is that nothing ought to be believed without good reason, and that that is believed without good reason which is believed without knowledge of its origin:  and I must with the best of reasons approach this inquiry with uneasiness when I find one affirmed to be an apostle, of whom in the list of the apostles in the gospel I find no trace.  So when I am told that he was subsequently promoted by our Lord, by now at rest in heaven, I find some lack of foresight in the fact that Christ did not know beforehand that he would have need of him, but after setting in order the office of apostleship and sending them out upon their duties, considered it necessary, on an impulse and not by deliberation, to add another, by compulsion so to speak and not by design.  So then, shipmaster out of Pontus, supposing you have never accepted into your craft any smuggled or illicit merchandise, have never appropriated or adulterated any cargo, and in the things of God are even more careful and trustworthy, will you please tell us under what bill of lading you accepted Paul as apostle, who had stamped him with that mark of distinction, who commended him to you, and who put him in your charge?  Only so may you with confidence disembark him:  only so can he avoid being proved to belong to him who has put in evidence all the documents that attest his apostleship.  He himself, says Marcion, claims to be an apostle, and that not from men nor through any man, but through Jesus Christ.a Clearly any man can make claims for himself:  but his


claim is confirmed by another person's attestation.  One person writes the document, another signs it, a third attests the signature, and a fourth enters it in the records.  No man is for himself both claimant and witness.  Besides this, you have found it written that many will come and say, I am Christ.b If there is one that makes a false claim to be Christ, much more can there be one who professes that he is an apostle of Christ.  Thus far my converse has been in the guise of a disciple and an inquirer:  from now on I propose to shatter your confidence, for you have no means of proving its validity, and to shame your presumption, since you make claims but reject the means of establishing them.  Let Christ, let the apostle, belong to your other god:  yet you have no proof of it except from the Creator's archives.  Even Genesis long ago promised Paul to me.  Among those figures and prophetical blessings over his sons, when Jacob had got to Benjamin he said, Benjamin is a ravening wolf:  until morning he will still devour, and in the evening will distribute food.c He foresaw that Paul would arise of the tribe of Benjamin, a ravening wolf devouring until the morning, that is, one who in his early life would harass the Lord's flock as a persecutor of the churches, and then at evening would distribute food, that is, in declining age would feed Christ's sheep as the doctor of the gentiles.  Also the harshness at first of Saul's pursuit of David, and afterwards his repentance and contentment on receiving good for evil,d had nothing else in view except Paul in Saul according to tribal descent, and Jesus in David by the Virgin's descent from him.  If these figurative mysteries do not please you, certainly the Acts of the Apostles have handed down to me this history of Paul, nor can you deny it.  From them I prove that the persecutor became an apostle, not from men, nor by a man:  from them I am led even to believe him:  by their means I dislodge you from your claim to him, and have no fear of you when you ask, And do you then deny that Paul is an apostle?  I speak no evil against him whom I retain for myself.  If I deny, it is to force you to prove.  If I deny, it is to enforce my claim that he is mine.  Otherwise, if you have your eye on our belief, accept the evidence on which it depends.  If you challenge us to adopt yours, tell us the facts on which it is founded.  Either prove that the things you believe really are so:  or else, if you have no proof, how can you believe?  Or who are you, to believe in despite of him from whom alone there

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is proof of what you believe?  So then accept the apostle on my evidence, as as you do Christ:  he is my apostle, as also Christ is mine.  Here too our contest shall take place on the same front:  my challenge shall be issued from the same stance, of a case already proven:  which is, that an apostle whom you deny to be the Creator's, whom in fact you represent as hostile to the Creator, has no right to teach anything, to think anything, to intend anything, which accords with the Creator, but must from the outset proclaim his other god with no less confidence than that with which he has broken loose from the Creator's law.  For it is not likely that in diverging from Judaism he did not at the same time make it clear into which god's faith he was diverging:  because it would be impossible for anyone to pass over from the Creator, without knowing to whom his transit was expected to lead.  Now if Christ had already revealed that other god, the apostle's attestation had to follow:  else he would not have been taken for the apostle of the god whom Christ had revealed, and indeed it was not permissible for a god already revealed by Christ to be kept hidden from the apostle.  Or if Christ had made no such revelation about that god, there was the greater need for his being revealed by the apostle:  for there was now no possibility of his being revealed by any other, and without question there could be no belief in him if not even an apostle revealed him.  Such is my preliminary argument.  From now on I claim I shall prove that no other god was the subject of the apostle's profession, on the same terms as I have proved this of Christ:  and my evidence will be Paul's epistles.  That these have suffered mutilation even in number, the precedent of that gospel, which is now the heretic's, must have prepared us to expect.

2. On the Epistle to the Galatians.1 [Gal. 1.] We too claim that the primary epistle against Judaism is that addressed to the Galatians.  For we receive with open arms all that abolition of the ancient law.  The abolition itself derives from the Creator's ordinance, and I have already in these books more than once discussed the renovation foretold by the prophets of the God who is mine.  But if the Creator promised that old things would pass away, because, he said, new things were to arise, and Christ has marked the date of that passing — The law and the prophets were until John? — setting up John as a boundary stone between the

2. 1 See Appendix 2.


one order and the other, of old things thereafter coining to an end, and new things beginning, the apostle also of necessity, in Christ revealed after John, invalidates the old things while validating the new, and thus has for his concern the faith of no other god than that Creator under whose authority it was even prophesied that the old things were to pass away.  Consequently both the dismantling of the law, and the establishment of the gospel, are on my side of the argument when in this actual epistle they are connected with that assumption by which the Galatians conceived the possibility of having faith in Christ, the Creator's Christ, while still keeping the Creator's law:  because it still seemed to them beyond belief that the law should be set aside by its own Author.  Now if they had been taught by the apostle about an entirely different god, they would at once have known they must depart from the law of that God whom they had deserted when they followed the other.  For would any man who had accepted a new god, have waited any longer to be told that he must follow a new rule of conduct?  Really, the fact that the same deity was being preached in the gospel who had always been known in the law, while the rule of conduct was not the same — here lay the whole ground of the discussion, whether the Creator's law must needs be put out of court by the gospel, in the Creator's Christ.  Take away that ground, and there is nothing left for discussion.  But if there were nothing left for discussion because all of them acknowledged they had to depart from the Creator's order through faith in that other god, the apostle would have found no reason for so strongly enforcing a duty which faith itself had naturally enjoined.  Therefore the whole intent of this epistle is to teach that departure from the law results from the Creator's ordinance, as I shall next proceed to show.  Also if he projects no mention of any new god — a thing he could never have more conveniently done than while on this subject, where he could have found for them a reason for the abeyance of the law in this sole and all-inclusive proposition of a new divinity — it is evident in what sense he writes, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into grace, unto another gospel — another in manner of life, not in religion, another in rule of conduct, not in divinity:  because the gospel of Christ must needs be calling them away from the law, towards grace, not away from the Creator towards another god.  For no one had removed them away from the Creator, so


as to give them the impression that being transferred to another gospel was as though they were being transferred <back again> to the Creator.  For when he also adds that there is no possible other gospel, he confirms that that is the Creator's, which he claims is the gospel.  Now the Creator promises a gospel when he speaks by Isaiah, Get thee up into the high mountain, thou that preachest the gospel to Sion, lift up the voice in thy strength, thou that preachest the gospel to Jerusalem:b also, to the person of the apostles, How timely are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, that preach the gospel of good thingsc — those, he means, who preach the gospel among the gentiles, because again, In his name shall the gentiles hoped — Christ's name, that is, to whom he says, I have set thee for a light of the gentiles.e So that if there is also a gospel of this new god, and you will have it that this is what the apostle was then upholding, in that case there are two gospels, belonging to two gods, and the apostle told a lie when he said there was no possible other gospel, though there is another, and he could just as well have upheld his own gospel by proving it the better one, not by laying it down that it is the only one.  But perhaps, to escape from this, you will say, And that is why he subjoined, Though an angel from heaven preach the gospel otherwise, let him be anathema, because he knew the Creator also was going to preach the gospel.  So again you are tying yourself in knots:  for this is what you are entangled with.  It is not possible for one to affirm there are two gospels, who has just denied that there is more than one.  Yet his meaning is clear, as he has put himself down first:  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach the gospel otherwise. He said it for the sake of emphasis.  And yet, if he himself is not going to preach the gospel otherwise, certainly an angel is not.  So the reason why he referred to the angel was that as they were not to believe an angel, or an apostle, even less must they believe men:  he had no intention of connecting the angel with the Creator's gospel.  After that, as he briefly describes the course of his conversion from persecutor to apostle he confirms what is written in the Acts of the Apostles,f in which the substance of this epistle is reviewed; namely, that certain persons intervened who said the men ought to be circumcised, and that Moses' law must be kept, and that then the apostles, when asked for advice on this question, reported on the authority of the Spirit that they ought not to lay burdens upon


men which not even their fathers had been able to bear.  Now if even to this degree the Acts of the Apostles are in agreement with Paul, it becomes evident why you reject them:  for they preach no other god than the Creator, nor the Christ of any god but the Creator, since neither is the promise of the Holy Spirit proved to have been fulfilled on any other testimony than the documentary evidence of the Acts.  And it is by no means reasonable that that writing should in part agree with the apostle, when it relates his history in accordance with the evidence he supplies, and in part disagree, when it proclaims in Christ the godhead of the Creator, with intent to make out that Paul did not follow the preaching of the apostles, though in fact he did receive from them the pattern of teaching how the law need not be kept.

3. [Gal. 2 and 3.] So he writes that after fourteen years he went up to Jerusalem, to seek the support of Peter and the rest of the apostles, to confer with them concerning the content of his gospel, for fear lest for all those years he had run, or was still running, in vain — meaning, if he was preaching the gospel in any form inconsistent with theirs.  So great as this was his desire to be approved of and confirmed by those very people who, if you please, you suggest should be understood to be of too close kindred with Judaism.  But when he says that not even was Titus circumcised, he now begins to make it plain that it was solely the question of circumcision which had suffered disturbance, because of their continued maintenance of the law, from those whom for that reason he calls false brethren unawares brought in:  for their policy was none other than to safeguard the continuance of the law, dependent no doubt on unimpaired faith in the Creator; so that they were perverting the gospel, not by any such interpolation of scripture as to suggest that Christ belonged to the Creator, but by such a retention of the old rule of conduct as not to repudiate the Creator's law.  So he says, On account of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ, that they might reduce us to bondage, we gave place by subjection not even for an hour. For let us pay attention to the meaning of his words, and the purpose of them, and <your> falsification of scripture will become evident.  When he says first, But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised, and then proceeds, On account of false brethren


unawares brought in, and what follows, he begins at once to render a reason for a contrary action, indicating for what purpose he did a thing he would neither have done nor have let it be known he had done, except for the previous occurrence of that on account of which he did do it.  So then I would have you tell me, if those false brethren had not come in unawares to spy out their liberty, would they have given place to subjection?  I think not.  Then they did give place because there were people on whose account concession was advisable.  For this was in keeping with faith unripe and still in doubt regarding the observance of the law, when even the apostle himself suspected he might have run, or might still be running, in vain.  So there was cause to discountenance those false brethren who were spying upon Christian liberty, to prevent them from leading it astray into the bondage of Judaism before Paul learned that he had not run in vain, before those who were apostles before him gave him their right hands, before with their agreement he undertook the task of preaching among the gentiles.  Of necessity therefore he gave place, for a time, and so also had sound reason for circumcising Timothy,a and bringing nazirites into the temple,b facts narrated in the Acts, and to this extent true, that they are in character with an apostle who professes that to the Jews he became a Jew that he might gain the Jews, and one living under the law for the sake of those who were living under the lawc — and so even for the sake of those brought in unawares — and lastly that he had become all things to all men, that he might gain them all.  If these facts too require to be understood in this sense, neither can any man deny that Paul was a preacher of that God and that Christ, whose law, although he rejects it, yet he did now and again for circumstances' sake act on, but would have needed without hesitation to thrust out of his way if it had been a new god he had brought to light.  Well it is therefore that Peter and James and John gave Paul their right hands, and made a compact about distribution of office, that Paul should go to the gentiles, and they to the circumcision:  only that they should remember the poor — this too according to the law of that Creator who cherishes the poor and needy, as I have proved in my discussion of your gospel.1 Thus it is beyond doubt that it was a question solely of the law, until decision was reached as to how much out of the law it was convenient should be

3. 1 i.e.  IV. 14.


retained.  But, you object, he censures Peter for not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.  Yes, he does censure him, yet not for anything more than inconsistency in his taking of food:  for this he varied according to various kinds of company, through fear of those who were of the circumcision, not because of any perverse view of deity:  on that matter he would have withstood any others to their face, when for the smaller matter of inconsistent converse he did not spare even Peter.  But what do the Marcionites expect us to believe?  For the rest, let the apostle proceed, with his statement that by the works of the law a man is not justified, but only by faith.  The faith however of that same God whose is the law.  For he would not have taken so much trouble to distinguish faith from law — a distinction which difference of deity would have made without his insistence, if there had been any such difference.  Quite naturally, he was not rebuilding the things he had pulled down.  But the law was due to be pulled down since the time when John's voice cried in the wilderness, Prepare ye the ways of the Lord,d so that river valleys and hills and mountains should be filled up or laid low, and crooked and rough places should be brought into straightness and into level plains — that is, the difficulties of the law into the facilities of the gospel.  He has now remembered that the time of the psalm is come:  Let us break their bonds off from us, and cast away from us their yoke,e now that the heathen have raged and the peoples imagined vain things:  the kings of the earth have stood up, and the rulers have gathered together into one, against the Lord and against his Christ:  so that now a man is justified by the freedom of faith and not by the bondage of the law:  because the just liveth by faith:f and as the prophet Habakkuk said this first, you have also the apostle expressing agreement with the prophets, as Christ himself did.  Consequently the faith in which the just man shall live, must be of that God whose also is that law by which the man who labours in it is not justified.  Moreover if in the law there is a curse, but in faith a blessing, you have both of these set before you by the Creator:  Behold, he says, I have set before thee cursing and blessing.g You cannot claim there is opposition:  although there is opposition of effects, there is none of authorities, for both effects are set before them by the one authority.  But as the apostle himself explains how it is that Christ was made a curse for us, it is


evident how well this supports my case, is in fact in accordance with faith in the Creator.  Because the Creator has given judgement, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree,h it will not follow from that that Christ belongs to another god and for that reason was already in the law made accursed by the Creator.  How can the Creator have put a curse beforehand upon him he does not know exists?  Yet is it not more reasonable for the Creator to have surrendered his own Son to his own malediction, than to have subjected him for malediction to that god of yours, and that for the benefit of man who belonged to another?  Again if in the Creator this seems a dreadful act in respect of his Son, no less is it so in your god:  while if it has a reasonable explanation in your god, no less has it in mine, or even more in mine.  For it would be easier to believe that to have provided a blessing for man by putting Christ under a curse was the act of him who had in former time set before man both cursing and blessing, than of him who according to you had never made profession of either.  So we have received, he says, a spiritual blessing by faith; the faith, he means, by which, as the Creator puts it, the just man lives.  This then is my contention, that the faith belongs to that God to whom belongs the original pattern of the grace of faith.  And again when he adds, For ye are all the sons of faith, it becomes evident how much before this the heretic's diligence has erased, the reference, I mean, to Abraham, in which the apostle affirms that we are by faith the sons of Abraham, and in accordance with that reference he here also has marked us off as sons of faith.  Yet how sons of faith? and of whose faith if not Abraham's?  For if Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned for righteousness, and thenceforth he had the right to be called the father of many <gentile> nations:  and if we by believing God are the more thereby justified, as Abraham was, and the more obtain life, as the just man lives by faith:  so it comes about that up above he pronounced us sons of Abraham, as the father of faith, and here sons of faith, that by which Abraham had received the promise of being the father of the gentiles.  In this very fact of dissociating faith from circumcision, was not his purpose to constitute us sons of Abraham, of him who had believed while his body was still unmutilated?  So then the faith of one god cannot obtain admittance to the rule laid down by another God, so as to credit


believers with righteousness, cause the just to have life, and call the gentiles sons of faith.  The whole of this belongs to that God in whose revelation it has already for a long time been known.

4. [Gal. 4-6.] Involved in the same reference to Abraham — and yet the sequence of thought shows him wrong — I still, he says, speak after the manner of a man:  so long as we were children we were placed under the elements of the world, so as to be in bondage to them. Yet this is not spoken in human fashion; it is not an illustration, but the truth.  For what young child — young in mind, at least, as the gentiles are — is not subject to those elements of the world which he looks up to instead of God?  But it was in human fashion that the apostle said, After the manner of a man, and continued, Yet even a man's testament no man setteth aside or addeth thereto:  for by the example of a man's testament, which is permanently valid, he found security for the testament of God. To Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed.  He said not 'seeds' as though they were many, but 'seed', as of one, and that is Christ. Let Marcion's eraser be ashamed of itself:  except that it is superfluous for me to discuss the passages he has left out, since my case is stronger if he is shown wrong by those he has retained. But when it came about that the time was fulfilled, God sent his Son — evidently that God who is the God even of those times of which the ages consist, who also has ordained the signs of the times, suns and moons and constellations and stars, and in short has both foreordained and foretold the revelation of his own Son at the far end of the times:  In the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be made manifest,a and, In the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh,b as Joel has it.  To have waited for the time to be fulfilled was characteristic of him to whom belonged the end of time, as also its beginning.  But that leisured god of yours, who has never either done anything or prophesied anything, and so knows nothing of any time, what has he ever done to cause time to be fulfilled, and to justify waiting for its fulfilment?  If he has done nothing, it was foolish enough that he waited for the Creator's times, and thus did service to the Creator.  But to what purpose did he send his Son? To redeem them that were under the law, that is, to make crooked places into a straight way, and rough places into smooth ways, as Isaiah says,c so that old things might pass away and new things might arise, a new law out of Sion and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem,d

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and that we might receive the adoption of sons, we the gentiles, who once were not sons:  and he himself will be a light of the gentiles, and in his name shall the gentiles hope.e And so as to make it certain that we are God's sons, he hath sent his own Spirit into our hearts, crying Abba, Father:  for he says, In the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.f By whose grace, if not his whose was the promise of grace?  Who is the Father, if not he who was also the Maker?  So then after these riches there had to be no turning back to the weak and beggarly elements.  Now among Romans too the custom is for early instruction to be called elements.  So it was not his wish, by derogatory language about the elements of the world, to alienate people from the God of those elements:  even if, when he said just now, If therefore ye do service to these which by nature are no gods, he was castigating the error of physical, or natural, superstition which puts the elements in the place of God, not even so did he censure the God of those elements.  But what he wishes to be understood by 'elements', that early schooling in the law, he himself makes clear:  Ye observe days and months and times and years — and sabbaths, I suppose, and meagre suppers,1 and fasts, and great days.  For there was need for them to cease from these too, as also from circumcision:  for the Creator had so decreed, when he spoke by Isaiah, Your new moons and sabbaths and great day I cannot away with:  your fasting and workless days and feast days my soul hateth:g and by Amos, I hate, I have rejected, your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies:h also by Hosea, I will also cause all her mirths to cease, and her feast days and sabbaths and new moons and all her solemn assemblies.i Did he, you ask, wipe out observances he himself had appointed?  Better he than someone else:  else if it were some other, then that other supported the Creator's judgement, by abolishing observances the Creator had himself passed sentence on.  But this is not the place for asking why the Creator has broken down his own laws:  it is enough that we have proved he intended to break them down, so as to put it beyond doubt that the apostle has set up no rules in opposition to the Creator, since this removal of the law was the Creator's intention.  Now it does happen to thieves that something let fall from their booty turns to evidence against them:  and so I think Marcion has left behind him this final reference to Abraham — though none had more need of removal — even if he has changed

4.1  Those on the evening before the sabbath.


it a little.  For if Abraham had two sons, one by a bondmaid and the other by a free woman, but he that was by the bondmaid was bom after the flesh, while he that was by the free woman was by promise:  which things are allegorical, which means, indicative of something else : for these are two testaments — or two revelations, as I see they have translated it — the one from Mount Sinai referring to the synagogue of the Jews, which according to the law gendereth to bondage:  the other gendering above all principality, power, and domination, and every name that is named not only in this world but also in that which is to come:j for she is our mother, that holy church, in whom we have expressed our faith:  and consequently he adds, So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. In all this the apostle has clearly shown that the noble dignity of Christianity has its allegorical type and figure in the son of Abraham born of a free woman, while the legal bondage of Judaism has its type in the son of the bondmaid:  and consequently, that both the dispensations derive from that God with whom we have found the outline sketch of both the dispensations.  And the very fact that he speaks of that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free — does not this establish the fact that he who sets free is he who has been the possessor?  Not even Galba ever set free another man's slaves:2 he would find it easier to let free men out of prison.  So then liberty will be a boon from him under whom there has been the servitude of the law.  And rightly.  It was not seemly that men set free should again be bound under the yoke of servitude which is the law:  for the psalm had now been fulfilled, Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yoke from us, after the rulers were assembled into one against the Lord and against his Christ.k As then they were now exempt from bondage, he was insistent on rubbing off from them the brand-mark of bondage, which was circumcision:  and this by the authority of the prophets' preaching, for he remembered it was said by Jeremiah, And be circumcised in the foreskins of your heart:1 because Moses also said, Circumcise the hardness of your heart,m which means, not your flesh.  Again if he was rejecting circumcision because he was the agent of a

4. 2 Suetonius, Galba 9 sq., relates that Galba, while still in Spain, on receiving an invitation to make himself 'defender of the human race', mounted the tribunal as though for the ceremony of manumission, and in dramatic form manumitted the statues and portraits of persons condemned and murdered by Nero:  also, Nero 57, that on the report of Nero's death Roman citizens ran about the streets wearing freedmen's caps.


different god, why does he deny that uncircumcision is of any avail in Christ, any more than circumcision is?  For he ought to have done honor to the opposite of the circumcision he was attacking, if he were the agent of a god opposed to circumcision.  But seeing that both circumcision and uncircumcision owed their origin to the one God, therefore both of them became of no avail in Christ, because faith had gained the preference — that faith of which it was written, And in his name shall the gentiles believe,n that faith which he says is perfected by love, and so again shows that it belongs to the Creator.  If he means the love which is towards God, the Creator also says so:  Thou shalt love God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy strength:o or else if he means towards one's neighbour, And thy neighbour as thyself,p is the Creator's command. But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgement. By which god?  By that supremely good one?  But that one does not judge.  By the Creator?  But not even he will judge an advocate of circumcision.  But if there is to be no other who can judge except the Creator, then the only one who can judge the upholders of the law is he who is himself determined upon its going into abeyance.  What now if he also confirms the law, to the extent to which he must? For all the law, he says, has been fulfilled in you:  thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.q Or else if he wishes 'has been fulfilled' to be taken to mean that it no longer needs to be fulfilled, then it is not his wish that I should love my neighbour as myself — so that this too will have gone into abeyance along with the law.  But no, there will always be the need to continue in this commandment.  And so the Creator's law meets with approval even from his adversary, and has acquired from him not dispossession but compression, the whole sum of it being now reduced to one commandment.  And this again is an act more appropriate to the author of the law than to any other.  Consequently when he says, Bear ye one another's burdens, and so ye shall fulfil the law of Christ, as this cannot be done unless a man loves his neighbour as himself, it becomes evident that Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, in which Bear ye one another's burdens is included, is the law of Christ, and that this is the Creator's, and Christ therefore belongs to the Creator in that the Creator's law is Christ's. Te are astray:  God is not mocked. And yet Marcion's god can be mocked, because he has not learned how to be angry or to take vengeance. For what a man soweth, that shall he also reap:  thus it is that the God of


retribution and judgement utters a threat. But let us not become weary in well-doing, and, While we have time let us work that which is good:  deny that it was the Creator who gave orders to do good, and look out for opposite teaching from your opposite divinity.  But if he makes a promise of retribution, from the same God will come the harvest both of corruption and of life.  Yet in his own time we shall reap, because the Preacher also says, There will be a time for every matter.r But even to me, the Creator's servant, the world is crucified, though not the God of the world, and I to the world, though not to the God of the world.  For he wrote 'world' with reference to its manner of life and conduct, for by the renunciation of it we are crucified to it and die to it, and it to us.  He calls them persecutors of Christ.  But when he adds that he bears in his body the brand-marks of Christ — evidently bodily marks are intended — he asserts that the flesh of Christ, whose bodily brand-marks he draws attention to, is no putative flesh but true flesh in full reality.

5. On the First Epistle to the Corinthians.1 [1 Cor. 1.] My introduction to the previous epistle led me away from discussion of its superscription:  for I was sure it could be discussed in some other connection, it being his usual one, the same in all his epistles.  I pass over the fact that he does not begin by wishing health to those to whom he writes, but grace and peace.  What had he still to do with Jewish custom, if he was the destroyer of Judaism?  For even today the Jews salute one another in the name of peace, and of old in the scriptures such was their form of greeting.  But I do understand how he claimed as his function the preaching of the Creator:  How early are the feet of them that preach the gospel of good things, that preach the gospel of peace:a for as a preacher of good things, which means the grace of God, he knew how greatly was peace to be preferred.  When he reports these as coming from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, making use of ordinary expressions such as are appropriate to our belief as well as yours, I do not think one can discern who is preached as God the Father, and as the Lord Jesus, except from the context, by asking to whom it best applies.  First then I claim that none can be acknowledged as Father <and> Lord except the Creator and upholder of man and of the universe:  also that to the Father the name of Lord is

5. 1 See Appendix 2.


added by reason of his authority:  and this name the Son also obtains from the Father.  Also I claim that grace and peace belong not only to him by whom their proclamation was made, but come from one who has been offended.  For grace only comes after offence, and peace after war.  But the people of Israel by transgression against instruction, and the whole I human race by shutting their eyes to nature, had both sinned and rebelled against the Creator:  whereas Marcion's god was I incapable of taking offence, both because he was not known, and because he cannot be angry.  What grace then can there be from one who has taken no offence? or what peace from one against whom no one has rebelled?  He says the cross of Christ is foolishness to such as are to perish, but to such as are to obtain salvation it is the power and the wisdom of God:  and to show whence this came about, he adds For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will make of no account the prudence of the prudent.b If these are the Creator's words, and it is he who reckons for foolishness I the things which pertain to the plea of the cross, then the cross, I and Christ by reason of the cross, will pertain to the Creator by whom was foretold that which pertains to the cross.  Or else, if <your suggestion is that> the Creator, being hostile, has with this intent deprived men of wisdom, that the cross of his adversary's Christ should be accounted foolishness, — can the Creator by any means have made any pronouncement with reference to the cross of a Christ not his own, of whom, while he was foretelling, he was still ignorant?  And again why, in the presence of a god supremely good and of abundant mercy, do some obtain salvation through believing that the cross is the power and wisdom of God, while others obtain perdition, those to whom the cross of Christ is accounted foolishness?  Surely it means that the Creator has punished by the loss of wisdom and prudence some offence both of Israel and of the human race.  The words that follow will confirm this, when he asks, Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? and when here again he adds the reason:  Because in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom understood not God, God thought it good by the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. But I must first come to a decision about 'world', inasmuch as here in particular these very acute heretics interpret 'world' by 'lord of the world', whereas we understand by it the man who is in


the world, by that ordinary manner of human speech by which we frequently put that which contains for that which is contained in it — the circus shouted out, the hustings have spoken, the lawcourt was excited — meaning, the people who did things in those places.  And so because the man, not the god, of the world in wisdom knew not God, whom he ought to have known — the Jew in the wisdom of the scriptures, and every nation in the wisdom of his works — therefore God, the same God who in his own wisdom had not been known, determined by foolishness to shock men's wisdom, by saving all such as believe in the foolish preaching of the cross:  Because the Jews are asking for signs, though they ought by now to be quite sure about God, and the Greeks are seeking after wisdom, because indeed they do set up their own wisdom, not God's.  But if it were a new god being preached, what wrong had the Jews done in asking for signs by which to believe, or the Greeks in searching for wisdom in which they might by preference believe?  So also the actual repayment both to Jews and Greeks proves God a zealous God and a judge, who by virtue of hostile and judicial retribution has made foolish the wisdom of the world.  But if the pleadings belong to him whose scriptures are adduced in evidence, then when the apostle discourses of the Creator not being understood he is certainly claiming that the Creator ought to have been understood.  Even in saying that his preaching of Christ is to the Jews an offence, he sets his seal on the Creator's prophecy about that, who speaks by Isaiah, Behold I have placed in Sion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence?  But the rock was Christ.d Even Marcion has kept that.  But what is that foolish thing of God which is wiser than men, if not the cross and the death of Christ?  What is that weak thing of God which is stronger than man, if not God's birth, and his human flesh?  But if Christ was neither born of a virgin nor composed of flesh, and consequently has not truly suffered to the end either the cross or death, there was nothing in that either foolish or weak:  and in that case God has not chosen the foolish things of the world to confound its wisdom, nor has God chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong, nor things dishonorable and little and contemptible, things which are not, that is, which do not truly exist, to confound the things which are, that is, which do truly exist.  For nothing ordained by God is


really small and ignoble and contemptible, but <only> that <ordained> by man.  But in the Creator's view even <his> old things can be reckoned for foolishness and weakness and dishonor and littleness and contempt.  What is more foolish, what more weak, than the demand by God of bloody sacrifices and the stench of whole burnt offerings?  What is weaker than the cleansing of vessels and couches?  What more dishonorable than the further despoiling of the flesh which has already enough to be ashamed of?  What more lowly than the demand of eye for eye?  What more contemptible than the distinction of meats?  As far as I know, the whole Old Testament is a matter of scorn to every heretic:  for God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, that he may confound its wisdom — Marcion's god has nothing such, for his opposition does not involve the confutation of opposites by opposites — that no flesh should glory, but that, as it is written, He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord. Which Lord?  Evidently him who gave this instruction — unless indeed the Creator gave instruction to glory in the god of Marcion.

6. [1 Cor. 2 and 3.] And so throughout this passage he makes it plain which God's wisdom he is speaking among them that are perfect — his in fact who has taken away the wisdom of the wise, and made the prudence of the prudent of none effect, who has made foolish the wisdom of the world, by choosing its foolish things and ordaining them for salvation.  This wisdom which he says was kept secret is that which has been in things foolish and little and dishonorable, which has also been hidden under figures, both allegories and enigmas, but was afterwards to be revealed in Christ who was set for a light of the gentiles by that Creator who by the voice of Isaiah promises that he will open up invisible and secret treasures.a For that anything should have been kept hidden by that god who has never done anything at all under which one might suppose he had hidden something, is incredible enough:  he himself, if he did exist, could not have remained hidden:  far less could any mysteries of his.  The Creator however is himself as well known as those mysteries of his which in Israel ran in open succession, though in the shade in respect of what they signified, mysteries in which was hidden that wisdom of God which in its own time was to be spoken among those that were


perfect, but had been ordained in the purpose of God before the ages.  And whose ages, if not the Creator's?  For if the ages are constructed of times, and times are compounded of days and months and years, and days and months and years are marked out by the Creator's suns and moons and stars placed by him for this purpose — for he says, They shall be for signs of months andyearsb — then it is clear that the ages belong to the Creator, and that everything which it says was ordained before the ages belongs to no other than him to whom the ages belong.  Or else let Marcion prove that his god has any ages:  let him point to some actual world in which ages may be counted — some, so to speak, container of times — let him point to some signs, or the ordering of them.  If he has nothing to show, I turn back to ask the question, Then how did he before the Creator's ages ordain our glory?  He could be thought to have ordained before the ages a glory which he had revealed at the outset of an age.  But when he does so now that all the Creator's ages are nearly drawn to an end, it was in vain that he ordained before the ages, and not rather between the ages, that which he intended to reveal when the ages were nearly gone.  To have been in a hurry with his ordaining is not the act of one who has been a laggard in his revealing.  To the Creator however both things are possible, to have ordained before the ages and to have revealed at the end of the ages, because that which he ordained and has revealed, he did in the space between the ages give preliminary service of in figures and enigmas and allegories.  But when, in reference to our glory, he adds that none of the princes of this world knew it, because if they had known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, the heretic argues that the princes of this world crucified the Lord, the Christ of his other god, so that this too may fall to the discredit of the Creator.  Yet I have already shown him by what means our glory must be reckoned to be from the Creator, and he ought to regard it as already settled that that glory which was kept secret in the Creator was necessarily unknown even to all the virtues and powers of the Creator — because even household servants are not allowed to know the intentions of their masters — and even less was it known to those apostate angels and the leader of their transgression, the devil, all of whom I should claim were because of their crime even more thoroughly

826805 U


excluded from any cognizance of the Creator's ordinances.  But now it is not permissible even for me to interpret the princes of this world as meaning the virtues and powers of the Creator, on the ground that to them the apostle imputes ignorance:  while yet according to our gospel even the devil at the temptation knew who Jesus was,c and according to the document you share with us the evil spirit knew that he was the holy one of God and was named Jesus and had come to destroy them.d Also if that parable of the strong man armed, whom another stronger than he has overcome, and has taken possession of his goods,e is, as Marcion has it, taken for a parable of the Creator, in that case the Creator could no longer have remained in ignorance of your god of glory while he was being overcome by him:  nor could he have hanged upon a cross that one against whom his strength was of no avail:  and so it remains for me to argue that the virtues and powers of the Creator did know, and did crucify the God of glory, their own Christ, with that desperation and overflowing of wickedness with which also slaves steeped in villainy do not hesitate to murder their masters:  for in the gospel as I have it, it is written that Satan entered into Judas,f But according to Marcion not even the apostle in this passage permits of ignorance against the Lord of glory being ascribed to the powers of the Creator, because in effect he will not have it that they are referred to as the princes of this world.  And so, as it appears that he was not speaking of spiritual princes, then it was secular princes he meant, the princely people — which was not reckoned among the nations — and its rulers, the king Herod, and even Pilate, and him in whom sat in authority the major principality of this world, the majesty of Rome.  In such a way, while the argumentations of the opposite faction are pulled down, my own expositions are built up.  But you still claim that our glory belongs to your god and has been kept secret with him.  Why then does your god, like the apostle, still rest his case upon the same document?  What has he, here and everywhere, to do with the statements of the prophets?  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counsellor?g Isaiah said it.  What has he to do with my God's evidences?  For when he declares himself a wise master-builder, by this term we find indicated, by the Creator in Isaiah, the one


who marks out the limits set by God's law of conduct:  for he says, I will take away from Judaea, among other matters, even the wise master-builder.h And was not that a presage of Paul himself, who was destined to be taken away from Judaea, which means Judaism, for the building up of Christendom?  For he was to lay that one and only foundation which is Christ.  Indeed of this too the Creator speaks, by the same prophet:  Behold I insert into the foundations of Sion a stone precious (and) honorable, and he that believeth in it shall not be put to shame.i Unless perhaps God was professing himself the fabricator of some terrestrial work, so that it was not his own Christ he indicated as the one who was to be the foundation of those who believe in him.  And upon this according as each man builds, worthy or unworthy doctrine, if his work is to be approved by fire, if his wages are to be paid to him by fire, it belongs to the Creator:  because the judgement by fire is of your superstructure, which <is set> upon his foundation, which means, his Christ. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If man is both the property and the work and the image and the likeness of the Creator, and is flesh by virtue of the Creator's earth, and soul by virtue of his breathing, then Marcion's god is dwelling entirely on someone else's property, if it is not the Creator whose temple we are. But if anyone destroy the temple of God, he shall be destroyed:  by the God of the temple.  When you threaten him with an avenger, it is the Creator you will be threatening him with. Become fools, that ye may be wise. Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. Which god?  If what has preceded does not constitute a precedent judgement in favor of my interpretation, well it is that here again he proceeds, For it is written, He that taketh the wise in their own naughtiness:  and again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are worse than vain.j For in general we shall make it a standing rule that <your god> could never have made use of any sentence of that God whom it was his duty to destroy, without thereby giving teaching in his favor. Therefore, he says, let no man glory in a man. And this too is in line with the Creator's ruling:  Wretched the man that hath hope in a man,k and, It is better to trust in God than to trust in men,l or, of course, to glory.

7. [1 Cor. 4-10.] He himself will bring to light the hidden things


of darkness — evidently by Christ as agent — who has promised that Christ will be a light,a and has declared that he himself is a lantern, searching the heartsb and reins.  Praise for each several man will come from him from whom, as from a judge, will come also the opposite of praise.  Surely, you say, here at least by 'world' he means the god of the world, when he says, We are made a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men, because if by 'world' he had referred to the men of the world he would not have gone on to mention 'men'. Nay rather, to deprive you of this argument the Holy Spirit's foresight has indicated in what sense he meant We are made a spectacle to the world, (namely) the angels who minister to the world, and the men to whom they minister.  Do you think a man of such strong convictions — I leave the Holy Spirit out of account — especially when writing to his sons whom he had begotten in the gospel, would hesitate to name freely the god of the world, against whom he could not give the impression of preaching except by doing so openly?  I make no claim that it was by the Creator's lawc that the apostle disapproved of the man who had his father's wife:  suppose him to have followed the rule of natural or state religion.  But when he sentences him to be delivered unto Satan, he becomes the apparitor of a God who condemns.  Pass over also what he means by, For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord, provided you admit that by destruction of the flesh and saving of the spirit he has spoken as a judge, and that when he orders the wicked person to be put away from among them, he has in mind one of the Creator's most regular expressions. Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new baking, even as ye are unleavened:  so that unleavened bread was to the Creator a figure of ourselves, and in this sense too Christ our Passover was sacrificed.  Yet how can Christ be the Passover except that the passover is a figure of Christ because of the similitude between the saving blood of the <paschal> lamb and of Christ?  How can he have applied to us and to Christ the likenesses of the Creator's solemnities, if they were not ours already?  In telling us to flee fornication he gives evidence of the resurrection of the flesh:  The body, he says, is not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, as the temple is for God and God for the temple.  Shall the temple then perish for God, and God for the


temple?  But you see it written, He that hath raised up the Lord will also raise us up:  in the body also he will raise us up, because the body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body.  And well it is that he piles it on, know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? What has the heretic to say?  Shall those members of Christ not rise again, which are ours no longer?  For we have been bought at a great price.  Evidently at no price at all if Christ was a phantasm without any corporal assets which he could pay over as the purchase-price for our bodies.  So then Christ did possess something to redeem us with, and since in fact he has at some great price redeemed these bodies against which we are not to commit fornication because they are now not ours but Christ's, he will surely bring to salvation for himself possessions he has acquired at so great a cost.  And besides, how can we glorify God, and how can we exalt him, in a body meant for destruction ?  There follows a discussion of matrimony, which Marcion, of stronger character than the apostle, forbids.  For although the apostle takes continency for the greater good, he still allows marriage to be contracted and put to use, even advising continuance in preference to separation.  It is true that Christ forbids divorce, while Moses allows it.  When Marcion deprives his faithful — I say nothing of his catechumens — of cohabitation in any form, demanding divorce even before marriage, whose judgement does he follow, Moses' or Christ's?  And yet when Christ too commands the wife not to depart from her husband, or, if she does depart, to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, he gives permission for the divorce which he does not out and out prohibit, and sets his approval on the matrimony of which from the first he forbids the dissolution, and if perhaps there has been dissolution desires its restoration.  Again, what reasons does he give for continency?  Because the time is short. I had thought, 'because there is a different god in Christ'. And yet, he who causes the shortening of the tune must also be the cause of that which is contingent on the shortening of the time.  No man guides his actions by another's time.  A petty sort of god you say yours is, Marcion, a god in some sort of constraint to the Creator's tune.  Certainly when he rules that a woman may marry only in the Lord, so that no believer may contract matrimony with a heathen, he upholds the Creator's law, who always and everywhere forbids marriage with foreigners.  But, though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth —


it is evident how he means this:  not that there really are, but because there are those that are called so, when they are not.  He begins with idols his intended discussion of things offered to idols:  We know that an idol is nothing. But even Marcion does not deny that the Creator is a God:  so that we cannot suppose the apostle includes the Creator among those which are called gods and yet are not, because even if they had been, yet to us there would be one God, the Father.  And from whom have we all things, if not from him whose are all things?  And what are these?  You have it in what he has said already:  All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come. Thus he makes the Creator the God of all men and things, for from him are the world and life and death, and these cannot belong to that other god.  Therefore from him, among those all things, is Christ.  When giving instruction that every man's duty is to live by his own work, he had begun well enough by citing the example of soldiers and flock-masters and husbandmen:  but divine authority was not there in evidence.  He had therefore no choice but to adduce that law of the Creator which he was for abolishing:  for he had no such law of his own god. Thou shalt not, he says, muzzle the ox that is threshing, and adds, Is God concerned about oxen ? Even about oxen is he kind, for men's sake? Yes, for our sakes, he says, it is written. Consequently, as our claim is, this is his proof that the law is allegorical, lending its support to those who make their living out of the gospel, and that therefore the preachers of the gospel belong to that same God whose is the law which has made provision for them:  this when he says, Yes, for our sakes it is written. But he would not avail himself of the law's permission, preferring to work without wages.  And this he has accounted to his own glorying, which he says no man shall make void:  yet not to the discrediting of the law, which he approves of another man making use of.  Now see how in his blindness Marcion stumbles at that rock of which our fathers drank in the wilderness:  for if that rock was Christ, and Christ is the Creator's, as also Israel was, with what right does he expound this as a type of a different god's religion?  Or was it not with express intent to teach that those ancient things looked figuratively towards Christ who was to have his descent from those men?  Yes, for when he proposes to narrate the subsequent history of that people, he begins by saying, Now these things were


done as examples for us. Tell me, were they done by the Creator as examples for the men of some other god, an unknown one? or does that other god borrow them as examples from another God, his opponent?  Is he attracting me to himself through fears suggested by the God from whom he is withdrawing my allegiance ?  Is his adversary going to put me in a better relationship with him?  If I now commit the same sins as Israel committed, shall I receive the same treatment, or shall I not?  If not the same, vainly does he set before me terrors I am not going to experience.  But from whom must I expect such treatment?  If from the Creator, will they be such things as it beseems him to inflict?  Yet how can it be that he, a jealous God, should punish a sinner against his opponent, and not on the contrary prefer to encourage him?  If from that other god — yet he is incapable of punishing.  Thus the apostle's entire treatment of this subject has no rational consistency, unless it refers to the Creator's rules of conduct.  And once more, at the end there is correspondence with the beginning:  Mow in whatsoever way these things happened to them, they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. Behold this Creator, who has foreknowledge of the other god's Christians, and is the admonisher of them.  I pass over at times the parallels of matters already discussed, while some things I dispatch with brevity.  It is a great argument for that other god, this permission to use meats contrary to the law:  as though we too did not claim that the burdens of the law have been relaxed, though by him who imposed them, him who promised renewal.  So he who forbade certain foods, has now restored that which he granted at the beginning.  If however it had been some other god, an overthrower of our God, his very first prohibition would have been against his men living on his opponent's provisions.

8. [1 Cor. 11-14.] The head of a man is Christ. Which Christ?  The one who is not the man's author?  Now he has written 'head' with reference to authority, and authority can belong to no other than the author.  Of whose man then is he the head?  Undoubtedly the man of whom he goes on to say, For the man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image of God. If therefore he is the image of the Creator — for it was he who, with a view to Christ his Word subsequently becoming Man, said, Let us make man unto our image and likeness — how can I have as head some other, and not him


whose image I am?  For since I am the image of the Creator, there is no room in me for any other head.  Also, why shall a woman need to have power upon her head?  If it is because she was taken out of the man, and was made for the man's sake according to the Creator's ordinance, in this case too the apostle has paid respect to the moral law of him by whose ordinance he explains the purposes of that law.  He adds also, Because of the angels. Which? or rather, whose?  If those which revolted from the Creator, with good reason, so that the woman's face, which was the cause of their offence, should wear, as a sort of mark, this garment of humility and eclipsing of beauty.  If however he means the angels of your other god — what has he to fear, when even Marcionites have no hankering after women?  I have already several times observed that by the apostle heresies are set down as an evil thing among things evil, and that those persons are to be understood as meeting with approval who flee from heresies as an evil thing.  And further, I have already,1 in discussing the gospel, by the sacrament of the Bread and the Cup, given proof of the verity of our Lord's Body and Blood, as opposed to Marcion's phantasm.  Also that every mention of judgement has reference to the Creator as the God who is a Judge, has been discussed almost everywhere in this work.  I proceed to say of spiritual (gifts), that these too were promised by the Creator with reference to Christ, under that general rule — an entirely just one, I suggest — by which actual fulfilment must be regarded as the function of no other than the one whose the promise is shown to have been.  Isaiah made the announcement, There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall come up from the root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. He goes on to recount its forms:  The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness; the Spirit of the fear of God shall fill him.a Thus in the figure of a flower he pointed to Christ who was to rise up out of the rod which had come forth from the root of Jesse — that is, the virgin of the offspring of David the son of Jesse:  and in that Christ the entire substance of the Spirit was to come to rest.2 Not that it was to come as a later addition to him who even before his incarnation has always been the Spirit of God — so that you may not use this as an argument that this prophecy refers to the Christ who as a

8.1  i.e. at IV. 40.        2 On prophecy terminating in Christ, IV. 18. 4.


mere man, solely of descent from David, will in the future <you say> acquire the spirit of his own God — but because from the moment that flower bloomed in the flesh assumed from the stock of David, the entire operation of spiritual grace was to come to rest in him and, as far as the Jews were concerned, to come to an end.  And the facts themselves bear witness to this, since from then onwards the Spirit of the Creator no longer breathes among them, while from Judaea has been taken away the wise and prudent master-builder, the counsellor and the prophet:b so that this is the meaning of, The law and the prophets were until John.c Hear now in what terms he has made the statement that from Christ taken up into heaven gifts of grace would come. He hath gone up into the height, that is, into heaven:  he hath led captivity captive, meaning, death and human bondage:  he hath given gifts to the sons of men,d those free gifts which we call charismata. A graceful touch, that he says 'sons of men', and not just generally 'men', pointing to us as the sons of men, of those who are truly men, the apostles:  for he says, In the gospel I have begotten you, and, O my sons, whom for a second time I bring to birth.e So now there is that promise of the Spirit made in general terms by Joel:  In the last days I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughters shall prophesy, and upon my servants and handmaids I will pour forth of my Spirit.f And in fact if it was for the last days that the Creator promised the grace of the Spirit, while in the last days Christ has appeared as dispenser of spiritual things — for the apostle says, But when the time was fulfilled God sent his Son,g and again, Because the time is now short — it is clear also from that foretelling of the last times that this grace of the Spirit appertains to the Christ of him who foretold it.  Set side by side the apostle's details and those of Isaiah:h To one, he says, is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, so at once Isaiah has set down, The Spirit of wisdom:  to another the word of knowledge, and this must be the word of understanding and counsel:  to another faith, by the same Spirit, which must mean the Spirit of godliness and the fear of God:  to another the gift of healings, to another miracles, and this will be the Spirit of might:  to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another diverse kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues, which will be the Spirit of knowledge. See how both when he sets out the apportionments of the one Spirit and when he expounds their

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particular bearing, the apostle is in full agreement with the prophet.  This I affirm:  the fact that he has brought the unity of our body, in its many diverse members, into comparison with the compact structure of the various spiritual gifts, shows that there is one and the same Lord both of the human body and of the Holy Spirit, that Lord who was unwilling that there should be in a body of spirit any deserving of such spiritual gifts as he has not located also in the human body:  that Lord who by that first and great commandment on which Christ also set his approval, Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart and all thy strength and all thy soul, and thy neighbour as thyself,i taught the apostle that charity must be more highly regarded than all spiritual gifts.  And as he puts it on record that it is written in the law that the Creator will speak with other tongues and other lips, since with this reference he confirms <the legitimacy of> the gift of tongues, here again he cannot be supposed to have used the Creator's prophecy to express approval of a different god's spiritual gift.  Once more, when he enjoins upon women silence in the church, that they are not to speak, at all events with the idea of learning — though he has already shown that even they have the right to prophesy, since he insists that a woman must be veiled, even when prophesying — it was from the law that he received authority for putting the woman in subjection,j that law which, let me say it once for all, <you suppose> he had no right to take note of except for its destruction.  So now, to leave this question of spiritual gifts, the facts themselves will be called upon to prove which of us is making rash claims for his god, and whether it can be alleged in opposition to my statement of claim, that even though the Creator has promised these for some Christ of his not yet revealed, because he is intended for the Jews alone, they will in their own time and in their own Christ and in their own people have their own operations.  So then let Marcion put in evidence any gifts there are of his god, any prophets, provided they have spoken not by human emotion but by God's spirit, who have foretold things to come, and also made manifest the secrets of the heart:  let him produce some psalm, some vision, some prayer, so long as it is a spiritual one, in ecstasy, which means abeyance of mind, if there is added also an interpretation of the tongue:  let him also prove to me that in his presence some woman has prophesied, some great speaker from among those more saintly females of


his.  If all such proofs are more readily put in evidence by me, and are in full concord with the rules and ordinances and regulations of the Creator, without doubt both Christ and the Spirit and the apostle will belong to my God.  Anyone who cares to demand it has here the statement of my case.

9. [1 Cor. 15: 12-28.] Meanwhile the Marcionite will put in evidence nothing of this nature, for he has no longer courage to state whose Christ for preference it is who is not yet revealed.  Just as mine is to be expected, having been prophesied of since the beginning, so his for that reason is not to be expected, seeing he has not existed since the beginning.  We have better right to believe in a Christ to come than the heretic in no Christ at all.1 We have first to inquire in what sense at that time some said there was no resurrection of the dead.  Surely in the same sense as even now, seeing that the resurrection of the flesh is always under denial.  The soul indeed certain of the philosophers claim is divine, and vouch for its salvation, and even the common man on that assumption pays respect to his dead, in that he is confident that their souls remain:  their bodies however are manifestly reduced to nothing, either immediately by fire or wild beasts, or even when carefully embalmed at length by passage of time.  If then the apostle is refuting people who deny the resurrection of the dead, evidently he is defending against them that which they were denying, which is the resurrection of the flesh.2 There, in brief, is my answer.  What follows is more than was necessary.  For the fact that the expression used is 'resurrection of the dead' demands insistence on the precise meaning of the terms.  So then 'dead' can only be that which is deprived of the soul by whose energy it was once alive.  It is the body which is deprived of the soul and by that deprivation becomes dead:  so that the term 'dead' applies to the body.  So then if the resurrection is of something dead, and the dead thing is no other than the body, it will be a resurrection of the body.  So too the term 'resurrection' lays claim to no other object than one that has fallen down.  The verb 'rise' can be used of something which has in no sense fallen down, something which in the past has always lain there.  But 'rise again' applies only to that which has fallen down, since by rising again,

9. 1 The preceding three sentences conclude the argument of Ch. 8. 2 On this subject see de res. carnis, particularly chapters 42-54.


because it has fallen down, it is said to experience resurrection:  for the syllable 're' is always applied to some act of repetition.  So we affirm that the body falls down to earth by death, as the fact itself bears witness, by the law of God.  For it was to the body that God said, Earth thou art, and into earth shall thou go:a so that that which is from the earth will go into the earth.  The falling down is of that which departs into the earth, the rising again is of that which falls down. Since by man <came> death, by man <came> also the resurrection. Here I find that Christ's body is indicated by the designation 'man', for man consists of body, as I have already several times shown.  But if as in Adam we are all brought to death, and in Christ are all brought to life, since in Adam we are brought to death in the body it follows of necessity that in Christ we are brought to life in the body.  Otherwise the parallel does not hold, if our bringing to life in Christ does not take effect in the same substance in which we are brought to death in Adam.  But he has added here another reference to Christ, which for the sake of the present discussion must not be overlooked:  for there will be even more cogent proof of the resurrection of the flesh, the more I show that Christ belongs to that God in whose presence the resurrection of the flesh is an object of belief.  When he says, For he must reign until he place God's enemies under his feet, here again by this saying he declares God an avenger, and consequently the same who has made Christ this promise, Sit thou at my right hand until I place thine enemies as a footstool of thy feet:  the Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion, and be the ruler with thee in the midst of thine enemies.b But it is necessary for me to claim for the support of my point of view those scriptures of which even the Jews attempt to deprive us.  These say that he composed this psalm with reference to Hezekiah, because it was he who set his throne at the right side of the temple, and because God turned back his enemies and consumed them:  and therefore again what follows, Before the dawn out of the womb have I begotten thee,c also applies to Hezekiah, and to Hezekiah's nativity.  We produce the gospels — of their credibility we must at least in the course of this long work have given these people some assurance — which make it clear that our Lord was born at night, which is the meaning of before the dawn, indicated even more clearly by the star, and by the evidence of the angel who at night reported to the shepherds that Christ had just then been born, and by the place


of his birth, since an inn is where people come together at night.  Perhaps also there was a mystic meaning in Christ being born at night, to be himself the light of truth to the darkness of ignorance.  Also God would not have said, I have begotten thee, except to a real son.  For although it was with reference to the whole nation that he said, I have begotten sons,d he did not go on to say, Out of the womb. But why did he go on to say Out of the womb, quite unnecessarily, as though there were any doubt that any one of mankind was born out of a womb, unless because the Spirit intended it to have a more subtle reference to Christ — Out of the womb have I begotten thee, that is, 'out of the womb alone', without the seed of a man — ascribing to the flesh that which is from the womb, to the spirit that which is from himself.  To this is added:  Thou art a priest for ever.e But Hezekiah was not a priest:  and even if he had been, it would not have been 'for ever'. According to the order of Melchizedek,e he says.  What had Hezekiah to do with Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, who himself was not circumcised, yet on accepting the offering of tithes blessed Abrahamf who was circumcised?3 But to Christ the order of Melchizedek will be applicable, for Christ, the particular and legitimate minister of God, the pontifex of the uncircumcised priesthood, was there established among the gentiles from whom he was destined to find better acceptance, and will when he comes at the last time vouchsafe acceptance and blessing to the circumcision, the offspring of Abraham, which will at long last acknowledge him.  There is also another psalm which begins, O God, give thy judgement unto the king, to Christ who is to become a king:  and thy righteousness unto the king's son,g that is, to Christ's people — for those reborn in him are his sons.  Yet this psalm too will be alleged to prophesy of Solomon.  But must not those expressions which are appropriate only to Christ make it plain that the rest also apply to Christ and not to Solomon? He cometh down, it says, like rain on to a fleece of wool, even as the drops that water the earth,h describing his quiet and imperceptible descent from heaven into the flesh.  As for Solomon, although he did come down from somewhere, yet it was not like the rain, because it was not out of heaven.  But I will set out all the more straightforward passages. His dominion, it says, shall be from the one sea to the other, and from

9. 3 When Abraham met with Melchizedek (Gen. 14) he was still uncircumcised.  The same mistake was made by Justin, dial. 33.


the flood unto the world's ends. This has been granted to Christ alone, whereas Solomon had command only of that tiny country of Judaea. All kings shall give him worship:  whom do all worship, except Christ? And all the gentiles shall do him service:  whom, except Christ? Let his name remain for ever:  whose name is eternal, except Christ's? His name shall remain before the sun, for the Word of God, which is Christ, was before the sun. And in him shall all the nations be blessed:  in Solomon no gentile nation is blessed, but in Christ every one of them.  What again, if this psalm also proves he is God? And they shall call him blessed:  because, Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things:  blessed is the name of his glory, and the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. Solomon on the other hand, I boldly say, lost even that glory which he had in God when he was dragged the whole way into idolatry by his wife.  And so when this too is written down in the middle of the psalm, His enemies shall lick the dust,i being put underneath his feet, it will have application to that for which I have both quoted this psalm and claimed it in support of my position:  and so I shall have made out my case that the glory of his kingdom and the subjection of his enemies are in accordance with the Creator's design, and I shall establish my further claim that there is no room for belief in any other Christ than the Creator's.

10. [1 Cor. 15: 29-58.] Let us return now to the resurrection.  I have already, in opposition to all sorts of heretics, given this sufficient attention in a volume of its own:1 though here again I do not neglect it, for the benefit of people unaware of that little work. What, he asks, shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not? That practice must speak for itself.  Perhaps the kalends of February will answer him:  pray for the dead.2 Abstain then from at once blaming the apostle as either having recently invented this or given it his approval, with intent to establish the resurrection of the flesh more firmly in that those who without any effect were having themselves baptized for the dead were

10. 1 The two treatises, de carne Christi and de res. carnis, were written to controvert all those who, denying that the human body can partake of salvation, held docetic views of the humanity of Christ.  Such were Marcionites, Apelleasts, Valentinians, and gnostics of every sort.

2 'Kalends of February' stands by metonymy for the whole month, during which, but particularly on the 21st, honor was paid to the tombs of ancestors and offerings made to their manes:  Ovid, Fasti ii. 533 sqq.


doing so by faith in the resurrection.  We see him in another context setting a limit, of one baptism.a Consequently, to be baptized for the dead is to be baptized for bodies:  for I have shown that what was dead is the body.  What shall they do who are baptized for bodies, if bodies do not rise again?  And so with reason we here take our stand, to let the apostle introduce his second point of discussion, this too with reference to the body. But some men will say, How will the dead rise again ?  And with what body will they come? For after the defence of the resurrection, which was under denial, his next step was to discuss those attributes of the body, which were not open to view.  But concerning these we have to join issue with other opponents:  for since Marcion entirely refuses to admit the resurrection of the flesh, promising salvation to the soul alone, he makes this a question not of attributes but of substance.  For all that, he is most evidently discredited by the things the apostle says with reference to the attributes of the body for the benefit of those who do ask, How will the dead rise again, and with what body will they come ? For he has already declared that the body will rise again, by having discussed the body's attributes.  Again if he proposes the examples of the grain of wheat, or something of that sort, things to which God gives a body, as it shall please him, and if he says that to every seed there is its own particular body, as there is one kind of flesh of men, and another of beasts and birds, and bodies celestial and terrestrial, and one glory of the sun and another of the moon and another of the stars, does he not indicate that this is a carnal and corporeal resurrection, which he commends by carnal and corporeal examples?  And is he not giving assurance of it on behalf of that God from whom come the examples he adduces? So also, he says, is the resurrection. How so?  Like the grain of wheat, as a body it is sown, as a body it rises again.  Thus he has described the dissolution of the body into earth as the sowing of a seed, because it is sown in corruption, <in dishonor, in weakness, but is raised to incorruption>, to honor, to power.  The process followed at the resurrection is the act of that same <God> whose was the course taken at the dissolution — -just like the grain.  If not, if you take away from the resurrection that body which you have surrendered to dissolution, what ground can there be for any difference of outcome?  And further, if it is sown an animate object and rises again a spiritual one, although soul or even spirit


possesses some sort of body of its own, so that animate body might be taken to mean soul, and spiritual body to mean spirit, he does not by that affirm that at the resurrection the soul will become spirit, but that the body, which by being born along with the soul, and living by means of the soul may properly be termed animate, will become spiritual when by the spirit it rises again to eternity.  In short, since it is not soul, but flesh, that is sown in corruption when dissolved into the earth, then that animate body cannot be soul, but is that flesh which has been an animate body, so that out of animate the body is made spiritual:  as also he says, a little later, Not first that which is spiritual. In preparation for this, he has just now observed of Christ himself, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit — although this heretic in his folly has refused to let it be so, for instead of 'last Adam' he has written 'last Lord', fearing that if he treated the Lord as the last Adam we might claim that as the last Adam Christ belongs to the same God as the first Adam.  But the falsification is evident.  For why 'first Adam', if not because there is also a last Adam?  The only things that admit of numerical order are those of equal rank or of the same name or substance or author; for even if in things opposed to one another there can be one first and the other last, they do belong to the same author.  If however the author too is a different one, even he can be referred to as 'the last': yet that which he has become the author of is a first thing, but a last thing if it is on an equality with the first.  But it is not on an equality with the first, because it does not belong to the same author.  In the same manner he will be confuted by the designation 'man'. The fast man, he says, is of the earth, earthy:  the second is the Lord from heaven. Why 'the second', if he is not a man, as the first was?  Or perhaps also the first is 'the Lord', if the second is.  But it is enough that if in the gospel he presents Christ as the Son of man, he cannot deny that as man, and in this manhood, he is Adam.  The words that follow again bring him into difficulties.  For when the apostle says, As is he who is from the earth, that is, the man, such also are the earthy, meaning, the men, it follows that as is the man who is from heaven, such also are the men who are from heaven. For it would not have been possible for him to contrast with earthy men heavenly beings who were not men:  for his intention was to use their joint possession of that name to indicate a more accurate distinction between their present


condition and their future expectation.  For it is by the present and the future that he calls them earthy and heavenly, yet both equally men, who are reckoned either in Adam or in Christ according as their end will be.  And consequently, for an exhortation towards the heavenly hope, he says, As we have borne the image of the earthy let us also hear the image of the heavenly, not with reference to any actuality of the resurrection, but to conduct in this present life.  For his words are, Let us bear, not 'we shall bear', in the imperative, not the future indicative:  for his desire is for us to walk as he himself has walked, and to depart from the image of the earthy man, the old man, which is the operation of the flesh.  What does he say next? For this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot obtain possession of the kingdom of God — meaning those works of flesh and blood which when writing to the Galatians he said could not inherit the kingdom of God:b for his custom in other places besides is to let a substance stand for the works of that substance, as when he says that those who are in the flesh cannot please God.c For when shall we be able to please God if not while we are in this flesh?  There is, I suppose, no other time for us to work in.  But if, though situated in the flesh, we flee the works of the flesh, then we shall not be in the flesh, not because we escape from the substance of the flesh, but from its defect.  But if under the designation 'flesh' it is the works of the flesh, not its substance, that we are bidden to divest ourselves of, it is to the works of the flesh, not the substance of the flesh, that under the name of flesh the kingdom of God is denied:  for condemnation is passed not on that in which evil is done, but on the evil that is done.  To administer poison is a felony, yet the cup in which it is administered is not brought under accusation.  So also the body is the receptacle of carnal acts, but it is the soul which in the body mixes the poison of this or that evil deed.  If then the soul, the author of the works of the flesh, is to be counted worthy of the kingdom of God through the cleansing of the sins it has committed in the body, how can it be that the body, a mere servant, is to continue under condemnation?  Shall the poisoner be acquitted and the cup punished?  For all that, it is not the kingdom of God that we insist on for the flesh, but the resurrection of the substance of it, as it were the door of the kingdom by which entry is made.  The resurrection is one thing, the kingdom another:  the resurrection comes first, the kingdom afterwards.  So we affirm that the flesh rises again,

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but obtains the kingdom after being changed. For the dead shall rise again incorruptible, those, it means, who had become corrupt when their bodies collapsed into destruction:  and we shall be changed, in an instant, in the momentary motion of an eye.  For this corruptible thing — the apostle was grasping his own body when he spoke — must put on incorruption, and this mortal thing put on immortality, so that, in fact, its substance may be made suitable for the kingdom of God.  For we shall be as the angels.d Such will be the change in the flesh — but flesh raised up again.  Else if there is going to be no flesh, how shall it be clothed upon with incorruption and immortality?  So then, made into something else by that change, it will obtain the kingdom of God, being no longer flesh and blood, but the body which God will have given to it.  And so the apostle rightly says, Flesh and blood shall not obtain the kingdom of God, for he ascribes that to the change which ensues upon the resurrection.  So if then will be brought to pass the word which is written in the Creator's scriptures, O death, where is thy victory, or, thy striving?  O death where is thy sting? — and this is a word of the Creator, spoken by the prophete — the fact itself, the kingdom, will belong to him whose word will come to pass in the kingdom.  Nor are his thanks for having enabled us to gain the victory — over death, he means — addressed to any other god than the God from whom he has accepted that word of exultation over death, that word of triumph.

11. On the Second Epistle to the Corinthians.1 [2 Cor. 1-4.] If through the fault of men led astray the word 'god' has become a common noun, in that in the world both speech and belief are of gods in the plural, yet Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ will be understood to refer to none other than the Creator, who has both blessed all things — you have it in Genesisa — and is blessed by all things — you have it in Daniel.b Likewise, if 'father' is a possible description of a god with no offspring, the Creator has a far better right to it; yet even so, Father of mercies has to be the same one who is described as tender-hearted and pitiful and abundant in mercy.  You have it in Jonah,c along with that actual instance of the mercy he showed to the Ninevites when they besought him.  He is ready to be moved by the tears of Hezekiah,d ready also to forgive Naboth's blood to Ahab the

11. 1 See Appendix 2.


husband of Jezebel when he asks for pardon,e ready at once to forgive David's sin when he confesses it,f preferring in fact a sinner's repentance to his deaths — and all this because of his disposition to mercy.  If Marcion's god has either done or said anything of this sort, I shall acknowledge him as a father of mercies.  But if Marcion attaches this title to him only from the time he was revealed, as though he has been the father of mercies only since he undertook to deliver the human race — well, since the time they allege he was revealed we too deny his existence.  He cannot therefore attach any attribute to one whom he only brings into evidence while he attaches some attribute to him.  Only if his existence were previously acknowledged could attributes be attached to him.  That which is alleged as an attribute is <in logical terms> an accident, and accidents are preceded by evidence of the object to which they occur, — and especially so when someone else is already in possession of that which is being ascribed to him of whose existence there has been no previous evidence.  There will be the more cause for denying his existence, the more that which is adduced as proof of his existence is the property of one already shown to exist.  So also the New Testament will belong to none other than him who made that promise:  even if the letter is not his, yet the Spirit is:  herein lies the newness.  Indeed he who had engraved the letter upon tables of stone is the same who also proclaimed, in reference to the Spirit, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon allflesh.h And if the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life, both of them belong to him who said, I will kill and I will make alive, I will smite and I will heal.i I have long ago established my contention that the Creator's power is twofold, that he is both judge and kind, that by the letter he kills through the law, and by the Spirit he makes alive through the gospel.  Two gods cannot be made out of facts which, though diverse, have already been recited in the evidence supplied by the one God.  He also refers to Moses' veil with which he covered his face, which the children of Israel could not bear to look upon.  If his purpose there was to maintain that the brightness of the New Testament, which remaineth in glory, is greater than the glory of the Old Testament, which was to be done away, this too is in agreement with my faith, which sets the gospel above the law:  and in better agreement with mine.  For the giving of superiority is possible only where there has existed something to give superiority over.  And when he says,


But the perceptions of the world were blunted, he is not referring to the Creator but to the people of Israel, who are in the world.  For of Israel he says, Until this very day the same veil is in their heart. He indicates that the veil of the face in Moses was a figure of the veil of the heart in that people, because among them even now Moses is not clearly seen with the heart, just as then he was not clearly seen by face.  What then is there still under a veil in Moses that has reference to Paul, if (as you allege) the Creator's Christ prophesied by Moses has not yet come?  In what sense are the hearts of the Jews described as still covered up and veiled, if the things prophesied by Moses have not yet been brought to pass, the things concerning Christ, in whom they ought to have understanding of Moses?  What did it matter to the apostle of a different Christ, if the Jews failed to understand the mysteries of their own God, unless it was that the veil upon their heart had reference to the blindness by which they failed to look steadfastly upon Moses' Christ?  Then again, that which follows, When however he turneth back to God the veil will be taken away, he addresses to the Jew in particular upon whom Moses' veil still lies:  who, when he has passed over into the faith of Christ, understands how Moses prophesied of Christ.  For the rest, how shall the Creator's veil be taken away in the Christ of a different god, over whose mysteries the Creator could not have laid a veil — unknown mysteries of an unknown god?  So he says that we now with open face, the face of the heart which in the Jews has a veil upon it, looking steadfastly upon Christ are by the same image being transfigured from glory, the glory by which Moses also was transfigured by the glory of the Lord, into glory. Thus he first sets down Moses' corporal enlightenment on meeting with the Lord, and the corporal veil because of the feebleness of that people, and then sets over against them the spiritual revelation and the spiritual glory in Christ — as though, he says, by the Lord of spirits — thus bearing witness that the whole history of Moses was a figure of that Christ who is unknown among the Jews, but well known among ourselves.  I am aware that certain expressions can be made of doubtful meaning through accent in pronunciation or manner of punctuation, when there is room for a double possibility in such respects.  Marcion was catching at this when he read, In whom the god of this age,2 so that

11. 2 On 'the god of this world', compare a similar argument at IV. 38. 5-8, and below, V. 17. 7-9. Tertullian's first suggestion (taken over from Irenaeus, [continued on p. 583)


by pointing to the Creator as the god of this age he might suggest the idea of a different god of a different age.  I however affirm that it must be punctuated like this:  In whom God; and then, Hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this age:  In whom, meaning the unbelieving Jews, in whom was covered up — among some is still covered up — the gospel beneath Moses' veil.  For against them, for loving him with their lips but in their heart removing far off from him, God had uttered threats:j With the ear ye shall hear, and not hear; with eyes ye shall see, and not see,k and, Unless ye believe ye shall not understand:l and, I will take away the wisdom of the wise, and will make of none effect the prudence of the prudent.m But it was not concerning the hiding away of the gospel of an unknown god that he made these threats.  And so, even though it were, The god of this world, yet it is of the unbelievers of this world that he blinds the heart, because they have not of their own selves recognized his Christ, whom they ought to have known of from the scriptures.  So much for this discussion of what is involved in doubtful punctuation — to prevent it from being of advantage to my opponent — satisfied to have won my case — I am even in a position entirely to bypass this argument.  It will be quite easy for a more straightforward answer to explain the lord of this world as the devil, who said, as the prophet relates:  I will be like unto the Most High, I will set my throne in the clouds:n even as the entire superstition of this present age is under contract to him who blinds the hearts of unbelievers, and in particular the apostate Marcion.  He in fact has not observed that the conclusion of the sentence is in opposition to him:  Because God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, unto the light of the knowledge of himself in the countenance of Christ.3 Who was it that said, Let there be light?o And of the giving of light to the world, who was it said to Christ, I have set thee for a light of the gentiles,p those in fact who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death?q To this, by foreknowledge of the future, the Spirit answers in the psalm, There hath been set as a sign above us the light of thy countenance, O Lord.r Now the countenance of God is Christ the Lord:  and of him the apostle has already said, Who is the image of God. So then if Christ is the countenance of the Creator who says Let there be light, then Christ and the apostles

A.H. in. vii. 1) that the correct phrasing is 'the unbelievers of this world', cannot stand:  the Greek will not allow it.  His 'simpler answer' is preferable. 11. 3 Tertullian has in mind two possible meanings of persona, 'face' and 'person'.


and the gospel and the veil and Moses, and the whole sequence, does on the evidence of the end of the sentence belong to the Creator, the God of this world, and certainly not to him who has never said, Let there be light. I forbear to treat here of another epistle to which we give the title To the Ephesians, but the heretics To the Laodiceans. For he says that the gentiles remember that at that time when they were without Christ, aliens from Israel, without the association and the covenants and the hope of the promise, they were even without God, were in the world,s even though <they were> of the Creator.  So then as he has said the gentiles are without God, and the god they have is the devil, not the Creator, it is clear that the lord of this age must be understood to be he whom the gentiles have accepted instead of God, not the Creator of whom they know nothing.  Again, how is it that the treasure we have in our earthen vessels should not be his to whom the vessels belong?  For if it is the glory of God that so great a treasure should be kept in earthen vessels, and the earthen vessels are the Creator's, then the glory also is the Creator's, and it is his vessels that savor of the excellency of the power of God, and the power too is his:  because these things were entrusted to earthen vessels for just that purpose, that his excellency might be approved.  By contrast then, there can be no glory, and therefore no power, for that other god, but rather dishonor and feebleness, if his excellency is contained in earthen vessels which are not even his own.  But if these are the earthen vessels in which he says we suffer so many things, in which we even bear about the dying of God, God is ungrateful enough and unjust enough if he does not intend to raise up again this substance in which for the faith of him so much is suffered, in which also we bear about the death of Christ, in which the excellency of the power receives consecration.  For he sets down the reason, That the life also of Christ may be made manifest in our body, even as, he means, his death too is borne about in the body.  Of which life of Christ then is he speaking?  Of that by which we are now alive in him?  Yet how, in what follows, does he exhort us not towards things visible nor things temporal, but to things invisible and eternal, not, that is, to things present but to things to come?  But if he is speaking of the future life of Christ, and says that it will be made manifest in the body, evidently this is a statement of the resurrection of the flesh:  for he says that our outward man is decaying, yet not as by


everlasting destruction after death, but through the labours and inconveniences of which he has already observed, Neither shall we faint. For when he says that our inward man is renewed from day to day, he is here drawing attention to both facts, the decaying of the body through the harassment of temptations, and the renewing of the mind by contemplation of the promises.

12. [2 Cor. 5-13.] So again when he says that after our earthly house has been dissolved we have an eternal home, not made with hands, in heaven, he does not mean that the home made by the Creator's hand perishes for ever by dissolution after death.  That this discussion is intended to assuage the fear of death and the grief due to that dissolution, is even more evident from what follows, when he adds that in this tabernacle of an earthly body we groan, desiring to be clothed upon with that which is from heaven, seeing that when unclothed we shall not be found naked; that is, we shall have given to us again that of which we have been unclothed, the body.  And again, For we that are in this tabernacle of the body do groan, because we are burdened, not wishing to be unclothed but to be clothed upon. Here he has expressed clearly a matter he touched upon in his first epistle:  And the dead shall rise again incorruptiblea — those already dead — and we shall be changed — we who while in the flesh shall have been found so by God.  For they too will rise again incorruptible, receiving back their body, receiving it entire, so as from henceforth to be incorruptible:  and these <others> because it is the last moment of time, and because of their merits due to the harassments of antichrist, will be granted a bypassing of death, though changed, being not so much divested of the body as clothed upon with that which is from heaven.  So if these latter are over their body to put on that heavenly <garment>, evidently the dead too will receive back their body, that over it they also may put on incorruption from heaven:  because it is of them that he says, For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.b The one part are clothed with it after they have received back the body:  the other part are clothed upon with it, because they have always kept their body.  And so it was not without reason that he said, Not wishing to be divested of the body but to be clothed upon, which means, wishing not to experience death but to be anticipated by life, that this mortal may be swallowed up by life when


rescued from death by virtue of the overclothing of that changed condition.  Consequently, because he has shown that this is the better thing, so that we may not be saddened, as perhaps we may, by the anticipation of death, he says that we have from God the earnest of the Spirit, as it were holding the pledge of that hope of being clothed upon; and that so long as we are in the flesh we are absent from the Lord, and therefore ought to think it better the rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord:  so that we may even welcome death with gladness.  Consequently he adds that we must all be presented before the judgement-seat of Christ, that every one of us may receive back the things he has committed by means of his body, whether it be good or evil. If then reward of merits comes at that point, how can it be thought that some people are already with God?  Also, by referring to the judgement-seat and the rewarding of good work and evil, he points to a judge who passes one sentence or the other, and has also affirmed the presentment <in court> of the bodies of all men.  For the acts committed in the body can only be judged in the body:  for God is unjust if a man is not punished or benefited by means of that by which he has done what he has done. So then, if there be any new creation in Christ, the old things are passed away, behold all things have been made new:  Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled.c If he also bids us cleanse ourselves from the defilement of flesh and blood, it is not the substance <but the works of that substance he says are not> capable of the kingdom of God.  And if his purpose is to present the church as a holy virgin to Christ, evidently as bride to bridegroom, the metaphor cannot be made to apply to one hostile to the actuality of the institution referred to.1 If also he describes as false apostles certain deceitful workers, transforming themselves, evidently by hypocrisy, he is charging them with falsification of manners, not of the faith they preach:  so that the dispute was about the rule of conduct, not about the godhead.  If Satan is transformed into an angel of light, this cannot be directed against the Creator:  for the Creator is not an angel, but God, and he would have been described as transforming himself into a god of light, not an angel, if the reference had not been to that Satan whom both Marcion and I know to be an angel.  Concerning paradise there is a separate work <of

12. 1 Marcion, who objects to matrimony (cf.  I. 29), ought not to have retained the image or metaphor of 2 Cor. 11: 2.


mine> touching on every question suggested by it.  At present perhaps I have this to marvel at, whether a god with no terrestrial interests can have possessed a paradise of his own — unless perhaps he has by permission made use of the Creator's paradise, as <he has of the Creator's> world.  Still, there is the Creator's precedent of lifting a man up to heaven, the case of Elijah.a I shall marvel even more if that lord supremely good, so averse from smiting and raging, should have applied not his own but the Creator's messenger of Satan to buffet his own apostle, and though thrice besought by him have refused to yield.  So then Marcion's god administers correction after the manner of the Creator who is hostile to those exalted, who in fact puts down the mighty from their throne.  And is it he also who gave Satan power even over Job's body, that strength might obtain approval in weakness?  And how is it that this severe critic of the Galatians retains the rule of the law by premising that in three witnesses every word shall be established?  How is it that he threatens that he will not spare the sinners, this preacher of your kind and gentle god?  Indeed he claims that his power to act more sternly when present has been given him by the Lord.  Profess now, heretic, that your god is not an object of fear:  his apostle was.

13. On the Epistle to the Romans.1 [Rom. 1-7.] The nearer this work draws to its end, the less need there is for any but brief treatment of questions which arise a second time, and good reason to pass over entirely some which we have often met with.  It is sheer boredom to argue again about the law:  I have again and again proved that its withdrawal provides no argument for a different god in Christ, for it was prophesied and promised in expectation of Christ in the Creator's scriptures:  so much so that this present epistle is seen for the most part to put the law into abeyance.  Also I have already more than once proved that the substance of the apostle's preaching is of God as judge, and that judge implies avenger, and avenger creator.  And so again here:  when he says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew and to the Greek, because the righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith unto faith, there is no doubt he ascribes both gospel and salvation to a God not kind but just — if I am permitted to make the

13. 1 See Appendix 2.

826805 Z


distinction the heretic makes — a God who carries men over from the faith of the law to the faith of the gospel:  evidently his own law and his own gospel.  Because he also says that wrath is revealed from heaven against the godlessness and unrighteousness of men who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.  Which God's wrath?  Surely the Creator's.  Then the truth will belong to him whose is that wrath which is to be revealed to avenge the truth.  Also when he adds, But we know that the judgement of God is according to truth, he sets his approval on that actual wrath from which proceeds judgement on behalf of the truth, and conversely proves that the truth belongs to that same God of whose wrath he has expressed approval by approving of his judgement.  It is quite a different matter if the Creator in anger is taking vengeance for the truth of that other god being held down in unrighteousness.  But how many ditches Marcion has dug, especially in this epistle, by removing all that he would, will become evident from the complete text of my copy.  I myself need do no more than accept, as the result of his carelessness and blindness, those passages which he did not see he had equally good reason to excise.  For if God will judge the secret things of men, both those who have sinned in the law and those who have sinned without the law — because these too, though they are ignorant of the law, yet do by nature the things of the law — evidently the judge will be that God to whom belong both the law and that nature which to those who know not the law has the value of law.  But how will he judge? According to the gospel, he says, by Christ. So then both the gospel and Christ belong to him whose are both law and nature, and both these will by the gospel and by Christ receive vindication from God in that judgement of God already referred to as according to truth. Therefore just as by the defence of it wrath is revealed from heaven — which can only be from a God of wrath — so again here the thought, in coherence with the former, in which the Creator's judgement is declared, can never be referred to that other god who neither judges nor is wroth, but only to him whose these are — I mean judgement and wrath — at the same time as those also are his by which judgement and wrath are to be exercised — I mean the gospel, and Christ.  Hence his attack upon transgressors of the law, who teach men not to steal yet themselves steal, as a loyal servant of the God of the law, not as attainting the Creator himself under these


heads, as one who while forbidding to steal gave command for deception against the Egyptians in the matter of gold and silvera — for after this fashion they hurl back other complaints against him.  Do you think the apostle hesitated to cast open censure against the God from whom <you allege> he had not hesitated to revolt?  No, his attack was as clearly against the Jews as was his introduction of the prophetic rebuke, For your sakes the name of God is blasphemed.b How preposterous then that he should himself blaspheme the God whom he rebukes evil men for causing to be blasphemed.  He says also that circumcision of the heart is better than uncircumcision:  it was under the God of the law that first appeared this circumcision of the heart, not of the flesh; in the spirit, not in the letter.  But if this is the circumcision Jeremiah means,c And circumcise the foreskins of your heart — as also Moses said,d Circumcise your hardness of heart — then the Spirit who circumcises the heart will be his whose is the letter that slices off the flesh, and the Jew who is in secret will be his whose is the Jew who is one openly:  because the apostle would not be disposed to give the name of Jew to one who was not the servant of the Jews' God.  Of old there was the law, but now the righteousness of God by the faith of Christ.  What is this distinction?  Was it that your god did service to the Creator's design, granting him and his law time <to come into action>?  Or did it belong to the same God then as now?  The law belongs to him to whom belongs the faith of Christ:  the distinction is not between two gods but two courses of divine action.  He enjoins us who are justified, not by the law but by the faith of Christ, to have peace towards God.  Which god?  Him whose enemies we have never been, or him against whose law and nature we have been in rebellion?  For if the peace needed is with him with whom there has been war, for him we shall be justified; and Christ by whose faith we shall be justified, will belong to him to whose peace it is needful that his enemies should sometime be brought back. But the law, he says, entered in besides, that the offence might abound. Why? So that grace, he says, might much more abound. Which god's grace, if not his whose is the law?  Unless you think the Creator with this intent interposed the law, that he might provide business for the grace of that other god who was even his enemy — not to mention, unknown to him — so that as in his own days sin had reigned unto death, so also grace should reign in righteousness unto life through Jesus Christ


his adversary.  Had the Creator's law for this reason concluded all things under sin,e and brought the whole world under accusation, and stopped every mouth, so that no man might glory because of it, but that grace might be reserved for the glory of Christ, not the Creator's Christ but Marcion's?  At this point again I can make preliminary observations regarding Christ's substance, with a view to the question soon to follow.  We were dead, he says, to the law <by the body of Christ>. So then the body of Christ it can even be argued is a body, though not necessarily flesh.  And yet, whatever that substance may be, seeing that he expressly says the body of him who, he goes on to say, has risen again from the dead, 'body' must of course be taken to mean a body consisting of flesh, the flesh against which the law of death has been pronounced.  But see now, he gives evidence in favor of the law, and by reason of sin finds excuse for it. What shall we say then?  That the law is sin?  God forbid. Shame on you, Marcion. God forbid:  the apostle expresses abhorrence of complaint against the law. Yet I know not sin except by the law. What noble commendation does this give to the law, that through it it was <not> possible for sin to remain hidden.  So then it was not the law that led them astray, but sin taking occasion by the commandment.  How can you blame the God of the law for something the apostle does not presume to blame his law for?  Yet he adds even more:  The law is holy, and its commandment is just, and good. When he has such reverence for the Creator's law, I do not see how he can be belittling the Creator.  Who is this that makes a distinction between two gods, one of them just, the other good, when he whose commandment is both good and just must himself be both the one and the other?  As he also affirms that the law is spiritual, then it must be prophetic, and consequently figurative.  For I am bound from this too to conclude that in the law Christ was preached under a figure, which is why not all the Jews were capable of recognizing him.

14. [Rom. 8-14.] That the Father sent Christ in the likeness of flesh of sin is no reason for saying that the flesh which was visible in him was a phantasm.  The apostle has just recently attributed sin to the flesh, and has called it the law of sin dwelling in his members and warring against the law of the mind.a For this purpose then he says the Son was sent in the likeness of flesh of


sin, that he might redeem flesh of sin by a similar substance, a fleshly substance, such as should be similar to sinful flesh, while not itself sinful.  For in this will consist the power of God, in using a similar substance to accomplish salvation.  For it would be no great matter if the Spirit of God were to give healing to flesh, though it is so when this is done by flesh exactly like sinful flesh, which is flesh, though not flesh of sin.  Thus 'likeness' will be concerned with the matter of 'sin', making no suggestion of falsity of substance.  For he would not have added 'of sin' if he had intended us so to understand likeness of substance as to exclude the verity of it:  in such a case he would have written 'likeness of flesh', without 'of sin'. But as he has put it in this form, 'of flesh of sin', he has given assurance concerning the substance, which is flesh, but has made 'likeness' refer to the defect of the substance, which is sin.  But suppose now he did mean likeness of substance:  even so there will be no denial of the verity of the substance.  Why then 'like', if true?  Because although true, it was not of <human> seed:  in quality it was both 'like' and true:  in origin not so, but unlike.  But among opposites there is no similitude.  Spirit could not be described as 'likeness of flesh', because neither could flesh take upon it the likeness of spirit:  if it was visible as that which it was not, it would be described as 'phantasm'. But it is called 'likeness' when it is what it is seen to be.  For it is <a likeness> while it is the equal of something else:  but a phantasm, provided it is no more than that, is not a likeness.  Here again, when explaining how he would have us not to be in the flesh, though we are in the flesh, namely, that we should not be in the works of the flesh, he himself makes it clear that in this sense he wrote, Flesh and blood cannot obtain the kingdom of God,b not passing sentence on the substance, but on its works:  and because while still in the flesh we are capable of not committing these, they will be accounted to the guilt not of the substance but of our conduct.  Again, if the body indeed is dead because of sin, then this is not the death of soul but of body:  but the spirit is life because of righteousness, to that upon which death has come because of sin, namely, the body.  For restitution of an object is only made to him who has lost it, and so it can be a resurrection of the dead only so long as it is a resurrection of bodies.  For he proceeds:  He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies. In this way he confirms the resurrection of the flesh, since apart


from flesh nothing else can be described as body, nor anything else be taken for mortal:  and he has also given proof of Christ's corporal substance, in that our mortal bodies are to be quickened on the same terms on which he too was raised up again, and on the same terms can only mean in the body.  I overleap here an immense chasm left by scripture carved away:  though I take note of the apostle giving evidence for Israel that they have a zeal of God, their own God of course, though not by means of knowledge. For they, he says, being ignorant of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God:  for Christ is the end of the law in righteousness to every one that believeth. Here the heretic will raise a quibble that it was that superior god whom the Jews did not know, and that against him they set up their own righteousness, that of their own law, while they refused to accept Christ, the end of the law.  In that case why does he give his own testimony to their zeal towards God, if it is not also their lack of knowledge towards the same God that he puts to rebuke? — because they were led indeed by zeal for God, though not by means of knowledge, being in fact in ignorance of him, because they were ignorant of his purposes in Christ who was to establish fulfilment for the law, and were thus maintaining their own righteousness in opposition to him.  In like terms the Creator himself attests their ignorance regarding him:  Israel doth not know me and the people hath not understood me:c as also that they preferred to establish their own righteousness, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men,d and also were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ,e because of lack of knowledge, of course.  So then nothing must be explained as referring to another god, which is applicable to the Creator:  for this would mean that in other places too the apostle had undeservedly rebuked the Jews for ignorance regarding a god unknown.  For what sin had they committed in establishing the righteousness of their own God in opposition to the god they were ignorant of?  And now he cries aloud, O the depth of the riches and wisdom of God! . . . and his ways past finding out! Whence that outburst?  Out of his recollection of those scriptures to which he had already referred:  out of his meditation upon those types and figures which he had previously expounded as bearing on the faith of Christ which was to emerge from the law.  If Marcion has of set purpose cut out these passages what is this exclamation his apostle makes,


when he has no riches of <his> god to look upon, a poor god and needy as one must be who has created nothing, prophesied nothing, in fact possessed nothing — one who has come down on to another's property?  Moreover it was the Creator's wealth and riches which were formerly hidden away, but are now unlocked.  For so he had promised:  I will give them the hidden treasures, invisible <treasures> will I open for them.f Hence then the exclamation, O the depth of the riches and wisdom of God, the God whose treasures were now laid open.  That is Isaiah's:  and what follows is from that same prophet's indenture:  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?  Who hath offered a gift to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again ?g When you took away so much from the scriptures, why did you retain this, as though this too were not the Creator's?  Let us look at what clearly are the commandments of a new god:  Abhorring, he says, the evil, and cleaving to the good. Does the Creator say anything different? Put away the evil from you,h and, Depart from evil and do good.i In love of the brotherhood kindly affectioned one to another:  is not that the same as, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself ?j Rejoicing in hope, the hope of God:  for, It is better to hope in the Lord than to hope in governors.k Patient under distress:  for, The Lord will hear thee in the day of distress:l you have the psalm. Bless, and curse not:  who better can have given this teaching than he who established all things with blessings? Not high-minded, but consenting to the lowly, and be not wise in your own sight:  for Isaiah pronounces woe against such as these.m Recompense to no man evil for evil:  And remember not thy brother's wickedness.n Not avenging yourselves:  for, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord.o Have peace with all men:  so also the law of retribution gave no permission to revenge an injury, but restrained the infliction of it by fear of revenge.  With reason therefore has he embraced the Creator's whole moral law in its own principal commandment:  Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. If this fulfilling of the law comes from the law itself, I am now at a loss who may be the God of the law.  Perhaps it is Marcion's god.  But if the gospel of Christ is fulfilled by this commandment, but what is Christ's is not the Creator's, what are we still contending about?  Whether Christ said or did not say, I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, to no purpose has Pontus raged and stormed to discount that saying.  If the gospel has not fulfilled the law, even so the law has fulfilled the gospel.  Well is it again that at the


end he holds out the threat of Christ's judgement-seat, Christ being both judge and avenger, and clearly the Creator's Christ:  certainly he lays it down that his favor must be sought who he indicates ought to be feared — even if it were that other he was telling of.

15. On the First Epistle to the Thessalonians.1 It will not come amiss to pay attention to the shorter epistles as well:  there is savor even in brevity.  The Jews had slain their own prophets.  I may ask, What is this to the apostle of your other god, your god supremely good, who you say does not condemn the sins even of his own people, and himself in a sense puts those same prophets to death by destroying their credit?  What wrong has Israel committed in his sight if it has killed those whom he too has rejected, if it has anticipated him in passing hostile judgement upon them?  But, <you object,> Israel sinned in the sight of their own God.  Rebuke of iniquity has to be the act of him to whom belongs the one who has suffered the wrong:  certainly of anyone rather than the opponent of the sufferer.  And besides, he would not also have burdened them with the charge of the Lord's murder as well, in saying, Who both killed the Lord, and their own prophets — although 'their own' is the heretic's addition.2 Was there anything much to complain of, that they put to death Christ, the preacher of a different god, when they had slaughtered the prophets of their own God?  It is the rhetorical figure of climax, that they had destroyed the Lord, and also his servants.  But if it was one god's Christ they destroyed, and another God's prophets, this was no climax, no piling of wrong upon wrong, but a balancing of wrong against wrong.  But there could be no question of balancing:  there had to be piling up, and this could only be if the wrong was committed against the same Lord under both counts.  Therefore Christ and the prophets belong to the same God.  Now what this sanctity of ours is which he says is the will of God, you might find out from those opposites which he prohibits. To abstain, he says, from fornication — not 'from matrimony': everyone should know how to use his own vessel with honor. How?  While not in lust as do the gentiles. But not even among the gentiles is lust attributed to matrimony, but to unusual and unnatural and outrageous forms of

15. 1 See Appendix 2. 2 But 'their own' found its way into the uncials KL, and the textus receptus.


excess. <Sanctity> is also the opposite of obscenity and uncleanness, putting a check not on matrimony but on lechery, as it uses our vessel in the honorable estate of matrimony.  I shall be seen to have treated of this passage without prejudice to the superior rank of that other, that more complete, sanctity:  for I assign to continence and virginity preference over marriage, yet without prohibiting marriage.  My attack is against those who overthrow the God of marriage, not those who make a practice of chastity.  He says that those who remain until the coming of Christ, will, along with those who are dead in Christ and are to be the first to rise again, be caught up in the clouds into the air to meet the Lord.  I tell myself it was even so long ago with all this in prospect that the celestial existences held in admiration that Jerusalem which is above, and cried in the words of Isaiah, Who are they that fly hither as the clouds, and as doves with their nestlings towards me?a If this is the ascent Christ has in store for us, Christ will be he of whom Amos speaks:  Who buildeth up his ascent into the heavens,b surely for himself and his own.  And next, from whom shall I now hope for these things, except from him from whom I have heard of them?  Which spirit does he tell them not to quench, and which prophesyings does he say must not be despised?  Marcion of course says, not the Creator's Spirit, nor the Creator's prophesyings:  for these, which he brings into disrepute, he has himself already quenched and nullified, and is not in a position to forbid things he has made of no account.  So Marcion's task is to put in evidence today in his church some spirit of his god which from now on is not to be quenched, and prophesyings that are not to be despised.  And if he has put in evidence what he supposes <to be such>, let him know that we shall challenge that, whatever it is, according to the standard of spiritual and prophetic grace and power, calling on it to foretell the future, to reveal the secrets of the heart, and to expound mysteries.  When it produces nothing of this kind, nor obtains its acceptance, we for our part shall produce both the Spirit and the prophesyings of the Creator, giving utterance as he directs.  Thus there will be no further doubt to what things the apostle referred — those things in fact which were to come to pass in the church of that God who himself exists, whose Spirit also is in operation, and his promise being fulfilled.  Come now, you who deny the salvation of the flesh, and whenever the word 'body' is used in this

826805 A a


connection explain it as anything on earth except the substance of flesh, see how the apostle has made distinct reference under definite names to all the substances we consist of, and included them all in one prayer for salvation, desiring that our spirit and body and soul be preserved without complaint at the coming of our Lord and Saviour Christ.  He has written both 'soul' and 'body', two things which are not the same thing.3 For although soul too is body of some sort, having its own attributes, as spirit has, yet when body and soul are spoken of separately soul has its own particular word, having no need for that common term 'body'. This is left to the flesh, which when not referred to by its own particular term, has to be making use of the common one.  In any case, over against spirit and soul I am not aware in man of any other substance except flesh to which this term 'body' can be applied:  so that as often as it is not given its own name I understand it under the name of 'body': much more so here when the flesh which is referred to as body, is being called by its proper name.

16. On the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.  I am forced to repeat certain things again and again, so as to establish the truths connected with them.  I affirm that here again the apostle represents the Lord as giving recompense to deserts of either kind — either the Creator, or, as Marcion would deny, someone like the Creator, one with whom it is a righteous thing that tribulation should be the recompense of those who afflict us, and that rest should be the reward of us who are in affliction, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus when he comes from heaven with his mighty angels and in a flame of fire.  But the heretic has extinguished flame and fire by crossing them out:  otherwise he would have made him into a god like ours.  But the uselessness of the erasure is evident.  When the apostle writes that the Lord will come to exact vengeance of them that know not God and obey not the gospel, and says they will pay the penalty of destruction, an eternal penalty, from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power, he must of necessity bring with him a flame of fire,

15. 3 In terms of Tertullian's Stoic metaphysics everything that exists, even God himself, is body (not 'has a body') of some sort.  So de carne Christi 11.4, adv.  Prax. 7.8. But, he observes, when corpus is used in a non-metaphysical context its natural meaning is caro.


since he comes with intent to punish.  So that in this too, though Marcion denies it, Christ belongs to a God who consumes with fire, and consequently, to the Creator, because he even takes vengeance on them that know not the Lord, which means the heathen:  for he has made separate reference to those who obey not the gospel, whether they be Christian sinners, or Jews.  But to exact penalties of the heathen, such, it seems, as do not know the gospel, is not the act of a god by nature unknown, one never revealed except in the gospel, one not capable of being known by all.  But the Creator has the right to be known by nature, to be understood by means of his works, and thereafter to be sought for with a view to fuller knowledge.  So then, to chastise those who know not God is within the competence of the God whom they have no right not to know.  His very expression, From the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power, in which he uses Isaiah's words, of itself suggests that same Lord, who ariseth to shake terribly the earth.a Now who is that man of sin, that son of perdition, who must needs be first revealed before the Lord's coming, — he who exalteth himself above all that is called God and all that is worshipped, who will take his seat in the temple of God and boast that he is god?  We affirm that he is antichrist, as both the old and the new prophecies explain, as does John the apostle who says that antichrists have already come forth into the world,b forerunners of the spirit of antichrist, denying that Christ has come in the flesh, and dissolving Jesusc — meaning in God the Creator:  though I suspect that according to Marcion antichrist is the Creator's Christ, for in his view <that Christ> has not yet come.  But whichever of the two he is, I should like to know why his coming is with all power and signs and lying wonders. Because, he answers, they have not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved, and for this cause it will become for them an impulse of delusion, that they all may come under judgement who have not believed the truth but have taken pleasure in unrighteousness. So then if this is antichrist, and he is imitating the Creator, it will be God the Creator who sends him to thrust down into error those who have not believed the truth, that they might be saved:  and the truth and the salvation also will belong to him who takes vengeance on their behalf by the substitution of error, that is, the Creator:  and to him also belongs that jealousy in deceiving by error those whom he has not gained by the truth.  If however it


is not antichrist, as we suggest, then it is the Creator's Christ, as Marcion claims.  But how can it be that <Marcion's god> should send the Creator's Christ to avenge his own truth?  But if he agrees regarding antichrist, I go on to ask how it is that <Marcion's god> should have need of Satan, the Creator's angel, and that <Satan> should be slain by him, when his task is to put in operation the working of delusion on the Creator's behalf.  In short, if it is beyond doubt that both the angel and the truth and the salvation are his to whom belong also the wrath and enmity and the sending of delusion against despisers and deserters, and even against the ignorant — and let Marcion at this point retire from his position and admit that his too is a jealous god — which will have the more right to be angry?  He, I suggest, who since the beginning has provided the world of nature with works, with benefits, plagues, preachings, evidences by which men should know him, yet has remained unrecognized:  or shall it be he who once only by the one single document of the gospel, even that far from clear, openly in fact giving evidence for a different God — has brought himself to notice?  So then to him to whom vengeance belongs, will also belong that which is the ground for vengeance, the gospel and the truth and salvation.  To command that that man must work who desires to eat, is the rule of conduct of one who has commanded that an ox must be unmuzzled when it treads out the corn.

17. On the Epistle to the Laodiceans.1 [Eph. 1 and 2.] By the church's truth we have it that this epistle was sent to the Ephesians, not the Laodiceans:  Marcion has been at pains at some time to falsify its title, in this matter too an industrious discoverer of new ways.  But the title is of no concern, since when the apostle wrote to some he wrote to all, and without doubt his teaching in Christ was of that God to whom the facts of his teaching rightly belong.  Now to whom can it rightly belong, according to that good pleasure which he purposed in the mystery of his will for a dispensation of the fullness of times — that I may so express it, since the word has this meaning in the Greek — to recapitulate — that is, to refer back to their beginning, or perhaps to recount from their beginning — all things unto Christ which are in heaven and

17. 1 See Appendix 2.


which are in earth, to whom but to him to whom all things will be found to belong since the beginning, as did even the beginning, and from whom also are the times, and that dispensation of the fulfilling of the times on account of which in Christ all things are being counted back to their beginning?  Your other god, what beginning has he, what 'since when', seeing no work of his exists?  What times, when no beginning?  What fulfilling, when no times?  What dispensation, when no fulfilling?  What in fact has he ever done of old upon earth to justify the reckoning of some longstanding dispensation of times that are to be fulfilled, for the recounting of all things in Christ, even those which are in heaven?  Yet not even in heaven can we suppose acts have been done, whatever acts there are, by any other than him by whom we are agreed the acts were done upon earth.  But if it is not possible for all things since the beginning to be regarded as belonging to any other than the Creator, how can one think they are being recounted by another god unto another Christ, and not by their own Maker unto his own Christ?  If they are the Creator's, of necessity they are different from that different god:  and if different, then contrary.  How then can contrary things be recounted unto one by whom in fact they are being overthrown?  Which Christ is it the next sentence refers to, when he says, That we should be to the praise of his glory who have previously hoped in Christ? Who can have previously hoped, which means hoped in Christ before his coming, except those Jews to whom since the beginning Christ was previously announced?  He then that was previously announced was also previously hoped in.  And so the apostle refers to himself <and his own>, which means the Jews, in such form as to make a distinction when he turns to the gentiles:  In whom ye also, after ye had heard the word of truth, the gospel, in whom ye believed, and were sealed with the holy Spirit of his promise. What promise?  That made by Joel:  In the last days I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh:a that is, upon the gentiles also.  So then both the Spirit and the gospel have to be in that Christ who was previously hoped in, as he was previously prophesied of.  Again, the Father of glory is he whose Christ, the King of glory, the psalm sings of as ascending:  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.b The Spirit of wisdom is requested of him in whose scripture this particular form of spiritual gift is counted among the seven spirits, by Isaiah.c Enlightenment of the eyes of the


heart will be the gift of him who has also enriched with light the outward eyes, and is displeased at the blindness of that people — And who is blind but my servants?d and, Those of God's household have been struck blind.d The riches of the inheritance in the saints are to be found in him who has promised that inheritance by his vocation of the gentiles:  Desire of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance.e That mighty power of his in Christ, in raising him up from the dead, and setting him at his own right hand, and subjecting all things to him, was wrought by him who said, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet:f because also in another place the Spirit speaks to the Father concerning the Son, Thou hast subjected all things beneath his feet.g If from these texts, which quite evidently have reference to the Creator, inference is drawn to a different god and a different Christ, let us ask where now the Creator is.  Clearly we have found him, I imagine, when he says that those men were dead in the sins in which they had walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, who is now at work in the sons of disbelief.  Here again, Marcion cannot explain 'world' to mean the God of the world:  for the thing created is not equivalent to its Creator, nor the thing made to its Maker, nor the world to God.  Nor can he who is the Prince of the power of the ages be described as the prince of the power of the air:  no ruler over higher ranks takes his title from the lower, even though the lower also are counted as his.  Nor can he be taken to be a worker of disbelief, when that is what he himself has to endure from both Jews and gentiles.  Enough then that this description does not apply to the Creator.  As however there is one to whom it does apply, surely the apostle was more likely <than you are> to know this.  And who is this?  Doubtless he who erects the sons of disbelief into a barrier even against the Creator, having taken possession of this air, as the prophet reports that he says, I will set my throne in the clouds, I will be like unto the Most High,h And this must be the devil, whom again in another place — if at least they consent to the apostle being read in this form — we shall recognize as the god of this world:i for to that degree has he filled the whole world with his lying pretence of deity.  Of course, if he had not existed perhaps this description might have applied to the Creator.  The apostle had in the past had his conversation in Judaism.  His parenthesis about the sins in which we too have all been


conversant gives no reason for thinking that the lord of sins and the prince of this air means the Creator:  but it was because in Judaism he had been one of the sons of disbelief, having the devil at work in him when he was persecuting the church and the Creator's Christ, and that is why he says, We were the sons of wrath — by nature, however:  otherwise, because the Creator called the Jews his sons, the heretic might have argued that the Creator is the lord of wrath.  For when he says, We were by nature the sons of wrath, while the Jews are the Creator's sons not by nature but by <God's> promotion of their fathers, he brings 'sons of wrath' into relation with 'nature', not with the Creator, and adds at the end, Even as the others, who are not God's sons at all.  It becomes evident that sins, and the lusts of the flesh, and disbelief, and wrath, are accounted to the common nature of all men, while yet the devil still has designs upon nature, which he has already corrupted by injecting the seed of sin. We are, he says, his own workmanship, created in Christ. To make is one thing, to create is another.  But he has assigned both these acts to one alone.  Now man is the Creator's workmanship:  and so the same God who made us has also created us in Christ.  In respect of our substance, <of what we are in ourselves>, he made us, but in respect of grace he has created us.  Look closely at what follows. Remembering that ye were in time past gentiles in the flesh, who are called the uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh, made by hands:  that ye were at that time without Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants and their promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world. Without which god does he mean the gentiles were, and without which Christ?  Evidently him to whom pertained the commonwealth of Israel, and the covenants and the promises. But now, he says, in Christ ye who were afar off are made nigh by his blood. From whom were they formerly far off?  From those mentioned, above from the Creator's Christ, from the commonwealth of Israel, from the covenants, from the hope of the promise, from God himself.  If that is so, the gentiles are now in Christ being made nigh to those from whom they were then far off.  But if in Christ we have been brought very near to the commonwealth of Israel, which is in the religion of God the Creator, and to their covenants and promise, and even to their God, it is very strange if the Christ of a different god has from far off brought us near to the Creator.  The apostle remembered that


so it was prophesied of the vocation of the gentiles, that they were to be called from far off:  They that were far off from me, have drawn near to my righteousness.j For both the righteousness and the peace of the Creator were proclaimed in Christ, as I have already often pointed out:  and so he proceeds, He himself is our peace, who hath made the two into one, the Jewish people and the gentile, that which was near and that which was far off, having broken down the middle wall of hostility, in his own flesh. But Marcion has removed 'his own', so as to join flesh with hostility, as though this were a carnal defect rather than enmity against Christ.  As I have remarked before, with no Marrucine fidelity2 but with Pontic inconstancy, you have just now agreed about his blood, but here deny his flesh.  If he has made void the law of commandments <contained> in judgements, this must have been by the fulfilling of the law.  There is no need now for, Thou shall not commit adultery, when you have, Thou shall not look for the sake of lusting:k no need for Thou shall not kill, when you have, Thou shall not speak evil:1 and so you cannot make a promoter of the law into an opponent of it. So that he might create the two in himself- — he who had been the maker is the same that creates, as we saw just now, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ — into one new man, making peace — if really new, then really a man, not a phantasm, but himself new, and born in a new manner, of a virgin, by the Spirit of God — thai he might reconcile both to God — the God whom both nations had offended — both the Jewish and the gentile people in one body, as he expresses it, when in it he had slain the enmity by the cross. Here again, in Christ the body is flesh, for it was capable of suffering crucifixion.  So then as he preaches peace to them that are nigh and to those afar off, we have along with them obtained access to the Father, and are no longer strangers or resident aliens, but fellow citizens of the saints, and resident in the household of God — evidently that God from whom we have just shown we were formerly foreigners, set at a far distance — being built upon the foundation of the apostles. The heretic has taken away 'and prophets', forgetting that the Lord has set in the church prophets as well as

17. 2 The Marrucini, a people on the Adriatic coast near Teate (Chieti), are praised by Silius Italicus as inured to war and, like their neighbours the Frentani, incapable of betraying trust:  Punica xv. 566. A legion raised by Caesar in that country remained faithful in spite of the difficulties of the Spanish and African campaigns:  Caesar, de bello civ. i. 23, ii. 34.


apostles:m for he was afraid lest the building up of ourselves in Christ should stand upon the foundation of the older prophets, though the apostle himself ceases not in every place to quote those prophets for our edification.  For from whom did he learn to call Christ the chief corner stone, unless it were from the indication given in the psalm, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?n

18. [Eph. 3-6.] As for the heretic's activity in pruning, no wonder he abstracts odd syllables, when he frequently filches away whole pages.  To himself, the apostle says, last of all was the grace given of making all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which from the ages has been hidden in God who created all things.  The heretic has removed the preposition 'in', and thus makes it read 'from the ages hidden from God who created all things'. But the deceit is evident:  for the apostle proceeds, That unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. Whose principalities and powers does he mean?  If the Creator's, how is it that that god of yours should have been content for his own wisdom to be displayed to the Creator's principalities and powers but not to the Creator himself, when even the powers would not have been capable of getting to know anything if separate from their own principal ?  Or else, if he omitted to mention God at this point because as their principal he is reckoned among them, in that case he would have declared that the mystery had been hidden from the principalities and powers of him who created all things, and by that means would have reckoned him among them.  But if he means it was hidden from them, he ought to have added that it is manifest to him.  So then it was not hidden from God, but hidden in God the Creator of all things, hidden however from his principalities and powers. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?a Convicted here, perhaps the heretic will change position and say that it was his own god who wished to make known to his own powers and principalities that dispensation of his own mystery which God the Creator of all things was ignorant of.  But what point was there in asserting the ignorance of a Creator who was a stranger separated by far distances, when even those of the household of your superior god remained ignorant?  But yet to the Creator also the future was

826805 B b


known.  Did he not inevitably know that which beneath his heaven and on his earth was due to be revealed?  So this too is confirmation of our conclusion already reached.  For if the Creator was sometime to come to know that secret mystery of the superior god, and if the scripture said 'hidden to God who created all things', then it ought to have continued, 'that there might be made known to him the manifold wisdom of god', <to him first and> then also to the powers and principalities of whichever god it was, along with which the Creator was going to acquire knowledge.  Thus it is clear that the word removed, even so remains safe in support of its own truth.  My intention now is to work out my controversy with you in terms of the apostle's allegories.  What models could your new god have found in the prophets? He led captivity captive, the apostle says.  With what armour? in what battles? by laying waste what nation? by overthrowing what city? what women, what children, what chieftains has this conqueror put in chains?  For when in David Christ is prophesied of as girded with a sword upon his thigh,b or in Isaiah as receiving the spoils of Samaria and the riches of Damascus,c you force him to become truly and visibly a warrior.  Observe then here his spiritual armoury and warfare, if you have by now learned that there is a spiritual captivity, so as to admit that this too belongs to him, particularly because the apostle has borrowed his reference to this captivity from the same prophets from whom he had accepted these commandments. Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, and, Be ye angry and sin notd — in the very words in which the psalm would express his meaning — that the sun go not down upon your wrath.  Have no fellowship with the works of darkness:  for, With the righteous thou shall be righteous, and with the froward thou shall become froward, and, Put away the evil man from the midst of you,e and, Go ye out from the midst of them, and touch not the unclean thing, be ye separate that bear the vessels of the Lord.j So also, To be drunken with wine is a dishonor, comes from the place where those are rebuked who make the saints drunken, And ye gave my holy ones wine to drinkg — which Aaron the priest and his sons were forbidden to drink when they went into the holy places.h To instruct them to sing to God with psalms and hymns is in character with him who knew that God's rebuke is directed more against those who drink to the sound of tabrets and psalteries.i So when I discover whose are the commandments and the seeds


or expansions of commandments, I know whose the apostle is.  But that wives ought to submit themselves to their husbands — how does he prove this? Because the husband, he says, is the head of the wife. Tell me, Marcion, does your god use the Creator's handiwork to build up authority for his law?  In this at least there is evident inferiority, that he deduces from it the attributes of his own Christ and his church — even as Christ is the head of the church. So again when he says, He that loveth his wife loveth his own flesh, even as Christ loveth the church:  you see how your Christ and your church are brought into comparison with a work of the Creator.  What great honor is paid to the flesh under the name of the church! No man, he says — except of course Marcion alone — hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the church. Yet you alone show it hatred, by depriving it of resurrection.  You will also need to hate the church, because it likewise has Christ's affection.  Nay, but Christ has loved the flesh no less than the church:  for no man can fail to have affection even for the portrait of his bride, but in fact will keep it safe and pay it respect and put a garland upon it.  The likeness of a thing has partnership in honor with the thing itself.  Need I now make heavy weather of it to prove that there is the same God of the man and of Christ, of the woman and the church, of the flesh and the spirit, when the apostle himself cites, and even expounds, the Creator's ruling? For her sake shall a man leave his father and mother . . . and the two shall be in one flesh:  this is a great mystery. Enough meanwhile if the Creator's mysteries are great in the apostle's sight, though of low esteem among the heretics. But I speak, he continues, with reference to Christ and the church. You have there an interpretation, not a setting aside, of the mystery:  his words prove that the type and figure of the mystery was set forth of old by him to whom also the mystery belonged.  What does Marcion think?  Anyway, the Creator was not in a position to provide types for an unknown god, who even if he were known, was hostile.  The superior god had no right to take anything on loan from the inferior, even for the better purpose of discrediting him. Let children obey their parents. Now even though Marcion has cut out, For this is the first commandment with promise, the law still speaks:  Honor thy father and mother.j And, Parents bring up your children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord:  for you have heard how it was said to the men of old, Ye shall tell these things in


the ears of your children, and your children likewise in the ears of their children.k What need then have I of two gods, if there is but one rule of conduct?  Even if there are two, I shall follow the one who taught first.  But if our wrestling is against the world-rulers, oh what a number of creator gods there now are!  Why should I not make this further claim, that he ought to have mentioned but one world-ruler, if he meant it was the Creator to whom belonged the potentates just referred to.  But since he has already bidden us put on in addition the armour in which we may stand against the wiles of the devil, this is proof that to the devil belong those <existences> which he associates with the devil, namely those powers and world-rulers of this darkness, which we also reckon are the devil's.  Or else, if the devil means the Creator, whom shall the Creator have for devil?  Or is it that as there are two gods, so there are two devils, and that is the meaning of the plurals, powers and world-rulers?  Yet how shall the Creator be himself both god and devil, without the devil too being both devil and god?  For either they are both of them gods, if they are already both of them devils, or else the one who is god is not also devil, as the devil is not also god.  I wonder by what unjust claim the term 'devil' applies to the Creator.  Perhaps it presented some claim by the superior god for the injury done him by that archangel, though he spoke a lie.  For God had not forbidden them to taste of that tree lest they should become gods, but lest they should die for their trespass.  Nor can spiritual hosts of wickedness indicate the Creator, because he has added in the heavens:  for the apostle knew that spiritual hosts of wickedness had been at work in the heavens, when the angels were caused to offend against the daughters of men.  And what need had the apostle to lay complaint against the Creator in ambiguous terms and by any kind of figurative language, when he was already in bonds for the liberty of his preaching, and was in fact putting at the church's disposal that boldness in making known the mystery by the opening of his mouth, for which he now enjoined them to make supplication to God?

19. On the Epistle to the Colossians.1 In my statement of case against all heresies my custom is to mark out a short cut on the evidence of dating, claiming that our rule of faith came first and

19. 1 See Appendix 2.


that all heresy is of more recent emergence.  The apostle will now give evidence of this, when he speaks of the hope laid up in heaven, of which ye have heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is come unto you, even as into all the world. For if as early as that the gospel tradition had found its way everywhere, much more so now.  Moreover if it is ours which has found its way everywhere, rather than any heretical one, not to speak of Marcion's which began in the days of Antoninus, then the apostolic will be ours.  Suppose now that Marcion's has filled the whole world, not even so can it defend itself as apostolic.  Even in such circumstances it must be clear that the apostolic is that which filled the world first with the gospel of that God who also in a psalm said this of the preaching of it:  Their sound is gone out into every land, and their words unto the ends of the world.a He says Christ is the image of the invisible God. But it is we who affirm that the Father of Christ is invisible, for we know that always in the past the Son, as the image of God, was visible to those to whom he did appear, under the name of God:  so that Marcion may not on this account make division and opposition between god visible and god invisible, since from of old it was stated of our God, No man shall see the Lord, and live.b If Christ is not the first-begotten of creation, as being that Word of the Creator by whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made:  if it is not true that in him all things were created in heaven and in earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominations or principalities or powers:  if it is not true that by him and in him all things were created — for it was really necessary that Marcion should disapprove of this — then the apostle would not have stated so plainly, And he is before all men. For how could he be before all men if he were not before all things?  And how before all things if he were not the first-begotten of creation, if he were not the Creator's Word?  How can you prove that one was before all men, who has made his appearance after all things?  Who can know of the priority of one who he did not know existed?  How again can it have been his good pleasure that in himself all fullness should dwell? For in the first place, what is this fullness, if it does not consist of those things which Marcion has suppressed, those created in Christ, in heaven and on earth, both angels and men:  if it does not consist of those things invisible and visible, of thrones and dominations and principalities and powers?  Or if


these have been imported of their own by our false apostles and Judaizing preachers of the gospel, let Marcion tell us what is the fullness of that god of his who has created nothing.  Besides, how can it be that the rival and overthrower of the Creator should have been content for the Creator's fullness to dwell in his own particular Christ?  On behalf of whom, once more, does he reconcile all things unto himself, making peace by the blood of his cross, if not of him whom all things had offended, against whom they had rebelled by that transgression — him in short to whom they belonged?  For they might have been conciliated to a stranger, but reconciled to no god except their own.  So also us who were aforetime alienated and enemies in our mind by evil works, he has brought again into favor with the Creator against whom we had committed offence by worshipping the creation in opposition to the Creator.  But just as he affirms that the church is Christ's body, while here he says that he is filling up that which remains over of the afflictions of Christ in <his> flesh, for Christ's body's sake which is the church, you may not on that account entirely separate his reference to that body from the substance of flesh.  For he has just said that we are being reconciled in his body by means of death:  and evidently his death took place in that body in which by means of the flesh it was possible for him to die — not by means of the church, though no doubt for the sake of the church, exchanging body for body, a carnal for a spiritual one.  Now when he warns them to be on guard against subtle speech and philosophy, as a vain deceit which is in accordance with the elements of the world — not speaking in terms of heaven and earth but of secular literature — and in accordance with the tradition — he means of men of subtle speech, and philosophers — it would be tiresome indeed, and it belongs to a different treatise, to show how by this statement all heresies are under condemnation, because all of them take their stand upon the resources of subtle speech and the principles of philosophy.  At least let Marcion admit that the principal term of his faith is from the school of Epicurus, for to avoid making him an object of fear he introduces a dull sort of god,2 and puts on loan even with God the Creator matter from the porch of the Stoics when he denies the resurrection of the flesh, which in fact no philosophy admits.  From its devices our

19. 2 Perhaps a reminiscence of Seneca, de beneficiis vii. 31. 3, where the Epicurean gods are described as ignavi hebetesque, lazy and dull.


verity is so far removed that it both fears to stir up the wrath of God, and is assured that he has produced all things out of nothing, and professes that he will reconstitute this same flesh, and is not ashamed that Christ was born of the womb of a virgin, in spite of the mockery of philosophers and heretics and the heathen as well.  For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound wise men — that God surely who out of regard for this ordinance of his threatened long ago that he would destroy the wisdom of the wise.c By this simplicity of the truth, the opposite of subtle speech and philosophy, we are precluded from imagining anything perverse.  Again, as God quickeneth us together with Christ, forgiving our trespasses, we cannot suppose that trespasses are forgiven by him against whom they have not been committed because he was at that time unknown.  Come now:  when he says, Let no man judge you in meat and drink or in respect of an holy day or of the new moon or the sabbath, which are the shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ, what think you, Marcion?  We are not now discussing the law, except that here too he explains in what way it is superseded, by being transferred out of shadow into body; that is, from figures into the truth, and that is Christ.  So then the shadow belongs to him whose is the body; which means that the law is his whose also is Christ.  Separate them off, to one god the law, to another god Christ, if indeed you can separate any shadow from that body of which it is the shadow.  Evidently Christ belongs to the law, if he is the body of it, the shadow.  Again if he passes censure upon some who because of visions of angels professed they must abstain from <certain> foods — touch not, taste not — walking in voluntary humility of mind, not holding fast the Head, he is not therefore charging the law, and Moses, with having forbidden the use of certain foods because of superstition about angels:  for it is admitted that Moses received the law from God.  In fact this sort of conduct — according to the commandments, he says, and doctrines of men — he has laid to the charge of those who were not holding fast the Head; that is, him in whom all things are being summed up, now that the absence of distinction of meats has been referred back to its origin in Christ.  As the rest of his precepts are the same as elsewhere, let us be satisfied to have explained in other places how they have derived from the Creator:  for when he foretold that old things were to pass away, as he was to make all things new,d and added the commandment, Renew


for yourselves a new fallow,e he was as early as that teaching them to put off the old man and put on the new.

20. On the Epistle to the Philippians.1 As he enumerates various fashions of preaching — that some out of confidence in his bonds were more boldly preaching the word, while some through envy and strife, certain of them even of good will for the word, a certain number because of affection, not a few from hostility, and some even from contentiousness, were preaching Christ — there was indeed even here opportunity for accusing the preaching itself of diversity of doctrine, seeing it was the cause of so much variety in men's tempers.  Yet as he sets down as diverse only men's outlook of mind, and not the rules of <Christ's> mysteries, he affirms that with whatsoever intention it was one Christ, and one God, his God, who was the subject of that preaching:  and consequently, I make no question, he says, whether in pretence or in truth Christ is preached, because the same one was preached of, whether that were in pretence or in the truth of the faith.  For he brings this reference to the truth into relationship with the faith of the preachers, not the faith as laid down by rule, because there was but one rule, yet the faith of some of the preachers was a true one, being uncomplicated, while that of the others was excessively learned.  And as that is so it is evident that the Christ preached of was he of whom announcement had always been made.  For if a completely different Christ were being introduced by the apostle, the newness of the fact would have produced diversity.  Yet there would not have been lacking those who would for all that expound the gospel preaching with reference to the Creator's Christ, in that even today in all localities there are more people of our judgement than of the heretical one.  In which case not even here would the apostle have refrained from remarking on and castigating diversity:  and so, when diversity is not even a matter of criticism, there is no approval of novelty.  Evidently here too the Marcionites suppose that in respect of Christ's substance the apostle expresses agreement with them, <suggesting> that there was in Christ a phantasm of flesh, when he says that being established in the form of God he thought it not robbery to be made equal with God, but emptied himself by taking up the form of a servant — not 'the truth' — and <was> in the likeness of man — not 'in a man' —

20. 1 See Appendix 2.


and was found in fashion as a man — not 'in substance', that is, not in flesh:  as though fashion and likeness and form were not attributes of substance as well.  But it is well that in.another place also he calls Christ the image of the invisible God.a So then here too where he says he is in the form of God, Christ will have to be not really and truly God, if he was not really man when established in the form of man.  For that 'really and truly' must of necessity be ruled out on both sides if form and likeness and fashion are to be claimed as meaning phantasm.  But if in the form and image of the Father, being his Son, he is truly God, this is proof beforehand that when found also in the form and image of man, being the Son of man, he is truly man.  And when he wrote 'found', he meant it — 'most indubitably man'. For that which a thing 'is found' to be, it certainly is.  So also he was found to be God through his act of power, as he is found to be man by reason of his flesh:  for the apostle could not have declared him obedient unto death if he had not been established in a substance capable of death.  More even than that, he adds the words, Even the death of the cross. For he would not have piled on the horror, lifting on high the virtue of subjection, if he had known this to be imaginary and phantasmal, if Christ had cheated death instead of suffering it, and in his passion had performed an act not of power but of illusion.  Now the things he had formerly counted gain, the things he has just made a list of, glorying in the flesh, the mark of circumcision, the rank and descent of Hebrew from Hebrew, the nobility of the tribe of Benjamin, the dignity of pharisaic office, — it is these he now counts as loss to him — not the Jews' God, but the Jews' lack of feeling.  These he now counts but as dung by comparison with the knowledge of Christ — not by any rejection of God the Creator — and has now a righteousness not his own or derived from the law, but a righteousness which is 'by him', meaning Christ, from God.  So, you object, in view of this contrast, the law did not come from the God of Christ.  How clever you are.  Now hear something cleverer.  When he says, Not that which is of the law but that which is through him, he could not have said through him except of one whose the law was. Our citizenship, he says, is in heaven. I recognize here the Creator's very old promise to Abraham:  And I will make thy seed as the stars in heaven.b Consequently also, One star differeth from another star in glory.c But if Christ when he comes from heaven

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is to transform the body of our humility into conformity with the body of his glory, then that which is to rise again is this body of ours, which is humbled by what it undergoes, and is cast down to earth by nothing but the law of death.  For how shall it be transformed, if it does not exist?  Or if this is spoken of those who at God's coming are to be found still in the flesh and will then be changed,d what shall those do who rise first?  Will they have nothing from which to be transformed?  And yet he says, With them we shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord.e If with them we are to be lifted up, with them we shall also have been transformed.

21. On the Epistle to Philemon.  This epistle alone has so profited by its brevity as to escape Marcion's falsifying hands.  As however he has accepted this letter to a single person, I do not see why he has rejected two written to Timothy and one to Titus about the church system.  I suppose he had a whim to meddle even with the number of the epistles.

Take note, examiner, that the matters discussed in the previous part of this treatise I have now proved from the apostle's writings, and have completed such parts as were reserved for the present work.  So then you are not to think superfluous the repetition by which I have confirmed my original intention, nor are you to doubt the legitimacy of the delay from which I have at length rescued these subjects.  If your examination covers the whole work, you will censure neither superfluity in the present nor lack of conviction in the past.


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Deus vult ! — Brennus ( Inscriptio electronica :   )
Dies immutationis recentissimæ :  die Jovis, 2016 Junii 30