Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) -- Book 7
|I. Concerning the mode of life of the original Hebrews, and the good reasons for our preferring their divine Scriptures to the doctrines of our forefathers||p. 298 d|
|II. Recapitulation of the theology of other nations, and its evil effects on their mode of life||p. 299 b|
|III. Exposition of the character of the Hebrews, and their modes of thought concerning the Maker and Framer of the Universe||p. 301 b|
|IV. Their opinions concerning the immortality of the soul, and the substance of the body||p. 302 b|
|V. How for their piety they were rewarded with the recorded theophanies and oracles||p. 303 d|
|VI. That apart from Judaism before the time of Moses they were illustrious for piety||p. 304 b|
|VII. That Moses himself has recorded in his own writings the lives of those Hebrews who lived before his time||p. 305 a|
|VIII. That we showed good judgement and wise consideration in accepting their history : also a brief survey, according to the authors quoted, of the lives of the men beloved of God, both those before the flood and those who afterwards continued till the generation of Moses||p. 306 b|
|IX. Of the doctrinal theories of the Hebrews||p. 313 b|
|X. Of general Providence, and the constitution and construction of the world||p. 314 a|
|XI. The opinions of the Hebrews concerning God as the First Cause of the Universe||p. 317 c|
|XII. On the theological doctrine of the Second Cause||p. 320 c|
|XIII. Philo concerning the Second Cause||p. 322 d|
|XIV. Aristobulus on the same||p. 324 a|
|XV. On the constitution of rational creatures||p. 324 c|
|XVI. On the adverse powers||p. 328 a|
|XVII. On the nature of man||p. 330 b|
|XVIII. Philo on the soul||p. 331 b|
|XIX. That matter is not uncreated||p. 333 c|
|XX. On the same subject from Origen's Commentaries on Genesis||p. 334 d|
|XXI. Philo on the same||p. 336 b|
|XXII. That matter is not uncreated, nor the cause of evil||p. 337 b|
NEXT as to the Hebrews, and their philosophy and religion which we have preferred above all our ancestral system, it is time to describe their mode of life. For since it has been proved that our abandonment of the false theology of Greeks and barbarians alike has not been made without reason, but with well-judged and prudent consideration, it is now time to solve the second question by stating the cause of our claiming a share in the Hebrew doctrines. When therefore we have the necessary leisure, we shall prove that our borrowing what was profitable from barbarians brings no blame upon us; for we shall show that the Greeks and even their renowned philosophers had plagiarized all their philosophic lore and all that was otherwise of common benefit and profitable for their social needs from barbarians: but that nothing at all has yet been found among any of the nations like the boon which has been provided for us from the Hebrews, will become manifest in the following manner.
ALL the rest of mankind, from the very first establishment of social life and for all subsequent time, persisted in attending to bodily sense only, because they had formed no clear conception concerning the soul within them, and believed that nothing more than what was seen had any real subsistence; they therefore referred beauty and utility and the sole good to bodily pleasure. And as they thought that this alone was to be earnestly desired, as being the only good and agreeable and pleasant thing, and sufficient for the enjoyment of a happy life, they believed it to be the greatest of gods, and have deified it; even life itself they did not desire, if there was to be no participation in bodily pleasure, and they cherished life not for the sake of mere living but for living in pleasure, and prayed that this as the only good might be granted to their children.
Hence some conjectured that sun, moon, and stars were the sources of supply for the life in the flesh; and being also struck with a kind of wonder at beholding their light, pronounced them the first gods, and declared them to be sole causes of the universe. But others again have bestowed the title of gods upon the fruits of the earth, and the moist and dry and hot elements, and the other component parts of the world by which their bodies were nourished and fattened, and made the life of the flesh and its pleasure their pursuit: and others, long before them, with barefaced effrontery deified their own passions, and pleasure their mistress, saying that love, and desire, and lust ruled the very gods themselves. By others, certain tyrants and potentates, who had provided and invented pleasures for them, were deified, both during life and after death, in return for the enjoyments which they had gained from them. Others again, by becoming the playthings of evil spirits and daemons, gave yet greater strength to the passionate part of their soul, by procuring pleasures from them also through the customs of their worship. Others, who could not endure any of these things, introduced atheism as far better than such theology as this: and others yet more shameless than all these declared the philosophic and thrice-blessed life to be no other than the life of pleasure, having defined pleasure as the consummation of all good.
And so in this way the whole race of mankind having become enslaved to the goddess, or rather the foul and licentious daemon, pleasure, as to a harsh and most cruel mistress, was involved in all kinds of miseries. 'For,' as the holy Apostle says, 'their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.' 1
In this way both Greeks and barbarians, wise and simple, falling to the ground and on their belly, worshipped pleasure as a goddess; they cast themselves down on their faces like reptiles; they believed in her as an irresistible and inexorable deity, and were content. In songs also and hymns, and in the festivals of gods, and in their public spectacles, they were initiated in the orgies and celebrated the unseemly rites of none other than foul and licentious pleasure; so that this, above all, has been rightly abolished among us. 'For the devising of idols was the beginning of fornication.' 2
So great had been the manifold variety, to speak briefly, of the theology of the other nations, attached to impure and abominable pleasure as its one principle, but. like a hydra of many necks and many heads, carried out into many various divisions and sections.
When therefore they had entrenched themselves in so great an error, naturally in their service of the goddess and evil daemon, pleasure, evils upon evils gathered round them, while they defiled the whole of life with mad passions for women and outrages on men, marriages with mothers, and incest with daughters, and had surpassed in their excess of wickedness the savage nature of wild beasts. Such then was the character of the ancient nations, and of their false theology, as exhibited in the preceding books by the Greek historians and philosophers whom we have brought together.
IF therefore you have had a general view of the mode of life among the ancients, now set your mind to observe next how the children of the Hebrews alone among so many go off on the opposite course.
For of all mankind these were the first and sole people who from the very first foundation of social life devoted their thought to rational speculation; and having set themselves to study reverently the physical laws of the universe, first as to elements of bodies, earth, water, air, fire, of which they perceived that this universe consisted, the sun also, and moon, and stars, they considered them to be not gods, but works of God; for they perceived that the nature of bodily substance is not only irrational but also lifeless, inasmuch as it is ever in flux and liable to perish. They further argued that it is not possible that the order of the whole cosmos, so well and wisely composed, and full as it is of living beings both rational and irrational, should have a spontaneous cause ascribed to it, nor possible to suppose the creative principle of the living to be lifeless, nor the formative principle of the rational to be itself irrational.
But since a building could never be spontaneously composed of timber and stones, nor yet a garment be completed without a weaver, nor cities and states without laws and an order of government, nor a ship without a pilot, nor the smallest instrument of art exist except through an artificer, nor a ship ever gain a sheltering harbour without a good pilot, therefore neither can the nature of the universal elements, lifeless and irrational as it is, ever by its own law apart from the supreme wisdom of God attain to reason and life. With these thoughts then and such as these the fathers of the Hebrew religion, with purified mind and clear-sighted eyes of the soul, learned from the grandeur and beauty of His creatures to worship God the Creator of all.
AND next, as they became conscious that they were themselves no small part of the whole, they believed that the one part of themselves was precious (and that this was also the true man, which is discerned in the soul), and that the other part holds the place of an envelope of the former, and that this is the body. And so having thus distinguished them, they concentrated their whole thought and diligence upon the life of the inner man.
This they reasoned must be well-pleasing with God the Creator of all, who seemingly had endowed man's nature with dominion over all things upon earth, not so much by strength of body as by excellence of soul: for of existing things some were inanimate, as stones and stocks; and some partakers of a living force, as the plants that grow out of the earth; and some admitted to share in sensation and the impulse of perception, such as are the irrational animals: but all these were subjected, to the service of the one sole race of mankind, constrained thereto not by vigour and strength of body, but by the exercise of reason and by excellence of soul, whereby they have comprehended that the privilege of rule and royalty over all things upon earth has been granted originally from the Author of the universe.
Starting from this thought, they determined to honour the body and the pleasures of the body no higher than the other creatures upon earth; but the ruling principle in themselves akin, as it were, to the Ruler of all, and the soul's rational and intelligent faculty, godlike and capable of true knowledge, bearing, as it were, the likeness of the God over all, this alone they held in high esteem.
Then as they reflected that there was no other good than God the giver of all good things, they declared that the knowledge of Him, and His friendship, were the consummation of all happiness, because on Him alone depends the cause of life itself, and soul, and body, and all things necessary to them.
To Him therefore they have eagerly consecrated themselves wholly, body and soul, making their whole life dependent upon Him, and determining to devote themselves to Him only, and to nothing else among things visible.
Having then thus been shown to be both lovers of God and beloved by Him, they were declared to be true worshippers and priests of the Most High God, or were deemed worthy to be called 'a chosen generation and a royal priesthood and holy nation of God,' 3 and have bequeathed to their descendants a seed of this true religion.
Do you not think then that we have with reason preferred these to the Greeks, and accepted the histories of godly men among the Hebrews rather than the gods of Phoenicia and Egypt, and the blasphemous absurdities about those gods?
OBSERVE then further to what a degree of godly virtue these men are said to have advanced. The Deity having accepted them for the general piety and wisdom of their life, and especially for their devotion to His service, now vouchsafed to them diviner oracles and manifestations of Himself and visions of angels, correcting the defects of their mortal nature by suggestions to guide their conduct, and revealing to them the knowledge of doctrines and precepts worthy of God: so that their minds were enlightened no longer by mere arguments and conjectures, but by the bright light of truth itself; and so inspired by God they pondered over the attainment of things future, as if already present, and prophesied what was to happen universally to the human race.
Such are the examples of the excellence of the Hebrews contained in the much celebrated and truly divine oracles, which we have preferred to the fables and the follies of the Greeks and of our forefathers: for these latter contained the foulest tales concerning their gods, while the other contained religious teaching concerning men beloved of God.
THESE things were known among the forefathers of the Jews from long ages past, far before Moses and the Jewish nation existed. For indeed it is well to make this distinction also clear, that Judaism was not yet in existence at that time, but those of whom I speak were Hebrews alike by name and in character, and as yet neither were nor were called Jews.
And you may know the difference between Hebrews and Jews thus: the latter assumed their name from Judah, from whose tribe the kingdom of Judah was long ages afterwards established, but the former from Eber, who was the forefather of Abraham. And that the Hebrews were earlier than the Jews, we are taught by the sacred writings.
But as to the manner of their religion, Moses was the first author of legislation for the Jews, and taught them to observe a certain day of rest, and to keep it with the utmost care for a reminder of the study of the holy scriptures; he taught them also the distinction between animals that might or might not be eaten, and yearly festivals, and certain bodily purifications, another long period also being more religiously observed in accordance with certain covenants.
But the Hebrews who were earlier in time than Moses, having never heard of all the Mosaic legislation, enjoyed a free and unfettered mode of religion, being regulated by the manner of life which is in accordance with nature, so that they had no need of laws to rule them, because of the extreme freedom of their soul from passions, but had received true knowledge of the doctrines concerning God. But now after remarks of this kind, it is time to go through the written records.
So then the great theologian Moses, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, if ever any was, and understanding well the customs of his forefathers, by way of preface to the sacred laws has committed to indelible records the lives of the forefathers of the Hebrews, and the blessings which God vouchsafed to them, and on the other hand the characters and the punishments of other godless and impious nations, because he thought that this would be a needful lesson for those who were to be taught his laws, both for avoidance of the like customs to those of the wicked, and for encouragement to adopt the life of the godly.
It was needful besides that they should not be ignorant, that before them, and before his own written laws, many of their forefathers by right use of reason had already been honourably distinguished for excellence in religion; who having been called friends of God and prophets, gained in his writings eternal remembrance; who also were no aliens in race to these for whom he was ordaining his laws.
Wherefore also it was the more necessary for them, as being by birth descendants of righteous men beloved of God, to show themselves emulous of the piety of their forefathers, and to be eager to obtain from God equal blessings with those who had begotten them. Nor must they grow sluggish and discouraged as if this were impossible, nor renounce the hope of those blessings for themselves; for they were possible, and had been gained with entire success by their own forefathers; whose portraits he was handing down to those who were being instructed in the things of God, recounting the lives of the men of old, and delineating as in painted likenesses the peculiar virtue of each one.
NOR is there anything to hinder us from briefly running over their history. First then we will take those before the Mood, according to the contents of Moses' own writing. For, as before, we ought, I think, to examine the ancestral history of the Hebrews from no other sources than their own, since we learned the Egyptian history from Egyptians, and the Phoenician from their own writers, as again the Grecian history from those illustrious among Greeks, and their philosophy from the philosophers, and not from those who were ignorant of philosophy. For from what other source would it be proper to inquire about the healing art than from those who are well skilled in it? In accordance then with this rule, I think we ought to receive the history of the Hebrews from the learned among the Hebrews, and not from any other source.
As then the story holds among them, from the beginning before the Flood, from the first creation of mankind and for the following generations there have been a certain number of righteous men beloved of God: one of whom 'hoped to call upon the name of the Lord God.' 4
Now this shows that to none but the Creator of all things he gave the title both of Lord and God of the universe: for he was persuaded that not only by creative power had He well and orderly disposed the whole, but also, like the lord as it were of a great city, was the ruler of the whole, and dispenser, and master of the house, being at once Lord, and King, and God.
The first to lay to heart the idea and the name of this Being as Lord and God was the godly man of whom I speak, and who in place of all substance, and title, and abundance, or rather in place of all good, 'hoped to call upon the name of the Lord God,' having procured Him for a treasure to himself of blessings both of soul and body.
In consequence of this it is recorded that he was the first to be called among the Hebrews a true man. At all events he is named Enos, which is 'true man,' by a well-applied appellation. For it is said that we ought to consider and to call no other a 'true man' than him who attains to the knowledge of God and to piety, who is at the same time full of knowledge and of reverence.
For those who are not of this character, but differ in nothing from irrational animals, as driven headlong after the belly and lust, the Hebrew Scripture teaches us to call beasts rather than men, being accustomed to use names in their proper meaning.
Accordingly its custom is to call such men now wolves and dogs, and now swine feeding on refuse and delighting in it; and again reptiles and serpents, answering to the manifold forms of wickedness.
But if at any time it is necessary to denote the man of the common multitude and the race itself, again it uses a suitable and natural appellation, and indicates man as a whole by the name of Adam, because it suggests that this is the proper and natural name of the progenitor and forefather of all men, a name implying according to its translation into the Greek language 'the earthborn.'
So Enos is recorded as the first of the beloved of God among the Hebrews, since he first 'hoped to call upon the name of the Lord God,' proving the truly rational faculty of the soul to be both capable of knowledge and of understanding the true worship of the Godhead: the first of which would be a proof of true knowledge of God, and the second of his hope in the God whom he knew.
For not to neglect nor put in a secondary place the true knowledge of God, but ever and through all to 'hope to call upon the name of the Lord God,' partly as lord of the household, and partly as a gracious and good Father, this must be the thrice blessed end of all.
Such then was he who among the Hebrews has been introduced as the first true man, not Adam, the earthborn by name, who for transgressing God's commandment fell from his better lot, but the very first of God's beloved, who 'hoped to call upon the name of the Lord God.'
Judging therefore by sound reasoning we ourselves also were well pleased to imitate such a character as this, and welcomed the statement of the history as profitable and most beneficial to us; and made a vow that, equalling the example of the man of whom I speak, we would call upon the name of the Creator and Lord of all with a steadfast and good hope.
But now after him of whom we have spoken there was another who 'pleased the Lord, and was not to be found,' as Moses says,5 'because God translated him' for the high perfection of his virtue. For difficult it is to find the truly wise.
Such, however, is he who is perfect in God, he who is withdrawn from the converse of the multitude. For the man of a different character, who frequents the marketplaces and courts and taverns and shops and the general crowd, hustling and being hustled, is swallowed up in the very gulf of wickedness. But he who is taken by God, and translated from this world to that, though he cannot be seen or found by men, has become the friend of God, and is found by God.
Him the Hebrews love to name Enoch: and the name would signify the grace of God. We deemed it therefore a blessed thing to emulate the life of this example also as being good.
Again after these a third appeared: Noah who has received testimony as 'a righteous man in his generation.' 6 And the following will be proofs of his righteousness. A great foulness and darkness of indescribable wickedness had overtaken the whole human race, and the giants talked of by every mouth were carrying on with ungodly and impious efforts their wars with God which are still so celebrated: and already the fathers of this their brood, whether they had sprung from some condition mightier than man's nature, or in whatever way endowed, are said to have begun the teaching of curious arts among men, and to have introduced devices of witchcraft and other mischievous sorcery into their life, so that the whole human race had fallen under one sentence of judgement with God.
And so when all were about to be destroyed by one decree, this one man alone, of whom we are now speaking, is found 'righteous in his generation,' together with his family. While therefore all who were upon the earth were being destroyed by a flood, and the earth itself purged from the former evils by a sudden deluge of waters, the friend of God with his sons and their wives were most wonderfully preserved by God, as a spark to kindle the life that was to follow.
This man then also would be a primitive model, a living and breathing image, who had given an example to his posterity of the character that is pleasing to God.
Such were those before the Flood. And there were others again who came after it, conspicuous for piety, whose memory is preserved by the sacred oracles. One of these is announced as 'priest of the Most High God,' called by his Hebrew name a 'king of righteousness.' 7
For all these there was not one word about bodily circumcision, nor yet about the Jewish commandments of Moses: and therefore it is not right either to call them Jews, nor yet Greeks, because they did not believe in more gods than one like Greeks or the other nations. But they would be more properly called Hebrews, either because of Eber, or rather because of the interpretation of the name.
For by interpretation they are a kind of 'passengers,' who have set out on their journey from this world to pass to the contemplation of the God of the universe. For they are recorded to have travelled the straight path of virtue aright by natural reasoning and by unwritten laws, and to have passed beyond carnal pleasures to the life of perfect wisdom and piety.
Among all these then let us count also the celebrated progenitor of the whole nation, Abraham, to whose righteousness the oracles bear witness; again the righteousness not of the law of Moses, for that was not yet in existence, since Moses arose in the seventh generation after Abraham; but nevertheless he also is pronounced to be eminently righteous and pious, like those who have been mentioned above. So at least the Scripture says: 'And Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.' 8 The answer indeed of God foretells that he shall be 'a father of many nations,' and says expressly that 'in him shall all the nations and all the tribes of the earth be blessed,' 9 directly prophesying the things which are being now accomplished in our time.
But this Abraham, after he had been made perfect in righteousness which he had successfully maintained, not by the law of Moses, but by faith, and after the appearances of God which are recorded, when about to be called the father of a true-born son even in his old age, is the first who in accordance with a divine command circumcises himself, and enjoins the performance of this rite upon his posterity, whether as a manifest signification of the great multitude of the children to be born of him, or that the children might have a paternal mark to show whether they were living in emulation of their forefathers, or falling away from their virtue, or for any other causes whatsoever they were, which we have not now leisure to discuss carefully.
Such then was the character of Abraham set forth like the former for our imitation. And next to him Isaac is exhibited as the successor both to his father's knowledge of God and to divine favour, having received this from his father as the noblest and most blessed of all inheritances. United to one wife, once only, say the sacred oracles, he begat children: but being made thereby the father of twin children, he is said to have set this limit to his intercourse with his wife in his extreme self-control.
Here let me bring before you Jacob, who was also called Israel, a man who received a double name in consequence of the unusual eminence of his proper virtues. When exercised indeed in practical habits and modes of life, and experiencing troubles on behalf of religion, he was called Jacob, a name which when translated into the Greek language means a man in training, an athlete; but when afterwards he receives the rewards of victory over his opponents and is crowned, and is already in the enjoyment of the blessings of contemplation, then his name also is changed by the God who communes with him, who both vouchsafes to him a vision of God, and bestows by his new name the rewards of diviner gifts and honours.
And so the answer of God says to him: 'Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name, for thou hast had power with God, and shalt prevail with men' 10---- where Israel indicates 'the man who beholds and contemplates': since the very name when translated means 'a man beholding God.'
Such then was the character of this man, from whom arose the Twelve Tribes of the Jewish nation. And countless things might be told concerning the life of these men, and their philosophic endurance and discipline, some things viewed literally, and some in allegorical suggestions: of which things others have spoken, as well as myself in my treatise 'Concerning the numerous offspring of the men of old.' Such then were these patriarchs.
Besides them I can tell you of another, whose name was Job, whom the sacred oracles testify to have been a man 'blameless, true, just, and devout, abstaining from every evil thing.' 11 Though he did not belong at all to the Jewish race, he has received witness for all right deeds of religion.
Now as to the children of Jacob, they cherished the knowledge of God and the piety inherited from their forefathers, and advanced the fame of the elder Hebrews to a high degree of glory, so that at length they annexed the government of all Egypt.
Joseph indeed having first been crowned with the rewards of chastity, and afterwards having received the government of Egypt, displayed the divinely favoured character of the Hebrews: and him too we have made it our prayer to emulate, though he had been made a slave by the plot of his brethren, a slave too of an Egyptian.
For I pass by all the rest of his advantages in regard to beauty and strength of body and comeliness, though the Scriptures record that he excelled all in prime of beauty: but his qualities of soul how could any one describe, though he purposed to speak his praise in a manner worthy of his virtue.
The story is that he had by nature the stamp of gentle birth, and the nobility of his disposition blooming upon his face: and so excellently was he endowed with the eminent graces of piety, that his soul shone bright in chastity and justice, in prudence and manliness, and above all in knowledge and piety towards the God of all, which his parents are said to have implanted in his soul from the cradle.
So when his master's wife fell madly in love with him, and tried to drag him as young and beautiful into licentious and amorous intercourse, and attempted first to cajole him with words, and then besought him with entreaties, and at last ventured to lay violent hands upon him, and had recourse now to immodest and shameless embraces, the hero recalling the memory of the piety of his forefathers, and showing himself both in words and deeds the religious man and true Hebrew, shakes off the base and licentious woman, putting her aside with a stronger hand, and running away as from some terrible and raging beast finds safety in flight.
Afterwards with sober reasoning he reflects as follows within himself and says: 'If my master from trusting me knoweth none of the things in his house, and hath given into my hands all that is therein, . . . how then shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?' 12 For which the God of the universe, crowning him as a victor with the rewards of virtue, gives over to him the royalty and governance over his masters and over Egypt itself. Moreover, he also as a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and not a Jew (because the Jewish nation did not yet exist), has been received among the thrice blessed and most highly favoured friends of God.
But after the Hebrews who have been mentioned, the race of their descendants began to grow into a great multitude, and the Jewish nation, which they constituted, now went on multiplying daily and waxing great, until the influence of the pious conduct of their godly forefathers of old began little by little to be weakened and blunted, while the effects of their intercourse with Egyptians gained so much strength over the multitude of whom I speak, that they forgot the virtue of their forefathers, and came round in their modes of living to like customs with the Egyptians, so that their character seemed to differ in nothing from the Egyptians.
At this point then, when they had turned out such as I have described, the God of their forefathers sends forth Moses as a leader and lawgiver, thus verifying the promises given by the oracles to their progenitors: and then having performed by his hand the wonders that are recorded and the extraordinary signs from heaven, He promulgates a law that was suited to the moral condition of those who heard it. For they were unable through moral weakness to emulate the virtue of their fathers, inasmuch as they were enslaved by passions and sick in soul; so He gave them the polity that corresponded to their condition, ordaining some things openly and clearly, and implying others enigmatically, by suggesting symbols and shadows, but not the naked truth, for them to keep and observe.
And so the Jewish polity began about that time with Moses, and continues in accordance with the voices of their own prophets until the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For this also was a prophecy of Moses himself and the prophets who followed, that the customs and ordinances of Moses should not fail before those of the Christ appeared, the ordinances, that is, of the new covenant, which has been proclaimed to all nations through our Saviour; and thus these ordinances found a fulfilment in the way which had been announced.
But since we have briefly described the life of the Hebrews before Moses, and shown the character of their religion, it is time to consider the method of their doctrine also, from the writings of Moses and the prophets who followed him.
FIRST of all then that admirable theologian and lawgiver himself, in founding by his own writing a polity in accordance with religion for the Jewish people, did not think it fit to employ the common and trite preambles to his books; but after he had collected every law enjoining what ought to be done and forbidding what ought not to be done, and the public and civic arrangements concerning their mutual contracts, he thought it right to make his teaching begin with their ancestral theology, because he considered no other instruction to be proper to laws pertaining to religion, than that theology which had come down to him from their forefathers.
He begins therefore with God according to the hereditary doctrines of the theology of their Hebrew progenitors, not as was the wont of Egyptians, nor yet of Phoenicians, or the other nations, who like them degraded the adorable name to a multitude of gods, and regarded the luminaries in the sky as visible gods, and as unseen and invisible gods either the departed from among men, or the daemons of earth and air, according to the statements which we have previously proved.
But having made his whole narrative begin with the universal Cause and Creator of things visible and invisible, he shows that He is the Lawgiver of the constitution of the universe, and establishes Him as king of the world, as of one great city.
He teaches us therefore at the outset to regard Him as the real Author and Ruler not only of the laws which he is himself about to ordain presently for men, but also of the laws of universal nature.
IN fact he represents Him as King and Lawgiver of the whole world: for by His decree and power all things have received their being, and by His laws and limitations again the whole duration of time is directed in its course and order.
For by God's word and law first of all the firmament of heaven is firmly fixed, and the heavy and solid earth is wonderfully poised contrary to its proper nature upon the lighter elements: by the divine word and law the alternating course of night and day is carried round, and by God's word and law the sun himself and moon and the circling host of other stars fulfil their proper course in seemly order; and by the law of the universal King the tropical changes, and periodical revolutions, and yearly cycles, and annual seasons are completed in the all-harmonious concert of the universe; by God's law winter gives way to spring, and spring to the next change of seasons, the depths also of ocean surging up in the flood-tides of winter are yet by divine law shut off in their proper seas, so that they dare not transgress the bounds of their sacred laws; and the dry substance of the earth, being watered by streams of rain and snowstorms supplied likewise by divine law in due measure, brings forth innumerable kinds of plants and animals: in a word, nature the universal mother, subjected to God's command, obeys the divine laws and the counsel of the all-ruling God.
For not without design, nor as it chanced, nor by spontaneous and irrational impulse, has this so vast system been arranged; nor is this great and most beautiful construction the work of a causeless nature; but it is a creation of the all-wise Architect of the universe, and is directed by the same Being's words and sacred laws.
Having begun from this point, and assigned the laws which concern the nature of the universe before treating of human legislation, the prophet exhorted men before all things to give their mind to God the universal King, and not carelessly to forsake His laws; since the sun himself, the heaven, and the world, the earth and all things upon earth, and all that are considered works of nature serve His commandments and ordinances and sacred laws and words.
Wherefore, in just consequence, even more ought the human race, being no small part of the whole, to adhere closely to the divine ordinances, and not be surpassed by the partial elements. For in the beginning the earth received its law from Him who said: 'Let the earth bring forth grass, yielding seed after its kind, and fruit-tree bearing fruit.' 13 And at His word the earth, exhibiting its readiness to obey His law, never yet even to the present time disregarded the divine command.
Thus also when God said: 'Let the waters bring forth the moving things that have living souls, and fowls that fly in the firmament of heaven:' 14 at the word, the element of water performed its work, and is now still seen rendering its obedience to His law.
If then sun and moon and stars, having been appointed by the divine law to perform their proper courses, and 'to be also for signs and for seasons and for days, and for years,' 15 do not disregard their code of laws, what excuse can still be left for you to obtain pardon if you despise the laws of God?
By this preliminary teaching the admirable author convinced us, and with good reason made us emulous of his own divine knowledge and piety; because we have been unable to find anything like this among the theologians of the nations before mentioned.
Then after the primary theology he passes on to the second doctrine which is both physical and philosophical. That is to say, next to the knowledge of God, and the arrangement of the universe, he advances in order to that which is by nature second; the doctrine, that is, concerning the nature of man, because next to the knowledge of God it is necessary for one to know himself. For this reason he next teaches us what man is, and what it is that leads him to the knowledge and worship of God, and what is the life that corresponds to the ruling part of man. Having therefore drawn the distinction, between body and soul, he defines the true man as placed in the soul, partaking of an intelligent and incorporeal and rational essence, as having been created after the image of God; but the body as being an earthly envelope of the soul: and to these he adds a third, 'the breath of life,' 16 a power uniting and combining that which was taken from the ground with that which had been made after the image of God.
He relates also that the man thus described has his first abode in the thrice-blessed Paradise of God, full of immortal and eternal blessings; but that having been subjected to the law of God, like the rest of the creatures in the beginning of the world, he through heedlessness and transgression of the divine command forfeited this most enviable life.
This is the philosophy which Moses teaches in the preface to his sacred laws, making as it were a proclamation that we are not to disregard our proper dignity, and the likeness to the divine nature which we received, and from which we had been further endowed with the immortality of the soul; because it is not lawful for a king's image to be obliterated. But the original and true image of the God of the universe is His own Word, who is very Wisdom, and very Life, and Light, and Truth, and whatsoever man can conceive of noble and good: and the human mind is an image of an image, inasmuch as it is acknowledged to have been made after the image of God.
And for those who were to observe the sacred laws, this preliminary instruction he thought it necessary to receive, and to remember what was the part of them taken out of the earth and to be resolved into earth again, and what the better part in us like to God, and how we ought to behave towards each of the said parts, and not to treat with outrage and impiety the man after the image of God, nor to defile him with foul and unlawful practices; but ever to keep the desire for that first and thrice-blessed abode and life, and to be eager to recur to it, making it our prayer to win that first and thrice-blessed life and dignity, and also to prepare here already for our departure thither; because otherwise it is not possible for the profane and unpurified to tread those sanctuaries, from which the first man through heedlessness has fallen by despising the divine command.
After this the Hierophant adds another most conclusive doctrine, teaching us not to doubt that there is lying in wait for each of us an evil daemon, a slanderer and hater of goodness, plotting from the beginning against the salvation of men.
He calls him 'Dragon' and 'Serpent,' 17 black and a lover of darkness, full of venom and wickedness: and says that he through envy of our divinely inspired life, still tries to trip up and drag down every one of those who are adhering to God; and that by his deceit the forefathers of our race fell from their diviner lot: wherefore also we must be always on the watch against the mischievous crafts of the said daemon.
But why should I thus anticipate, when I ought at once to describe the several things which I have stated out of the Scriptures themselves? Let us then begin with God, after having in the first place invoked His aid through our Saviour.
THEIR system then sets forth the first principle of theology by beginning from the power which made and organized the universe, not by syllogistic reasoning or plausible arguments, but in a more dogmatic and didactic manner of divination by aid of the Holy Ghost, under whose inspiration Moses commenced his doctrine of God in the following manner: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' 18
Then he says: 'God said, Let there be light, and there was light.' 19 And again: 'God said, Let there be a firmament: and it was so.' 20 And again: 'God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, yielding seed after his kind and in his likeness, and every fruit-tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself, after his kind, upon the earth: and it was so.' 21 And again: 'God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years: and it was so.' 22And again: 'God said, Let the waters bring forth moving creatures of living souls after their kind, and all the fowls of the heaven after their kind: and it was so.' 23 And again: 'Let the earth bring forth four-footed beasts and creeping things and wild beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.' 24
The Scripture then by saying in these places 'God said' represents the divine command, and that God willed all things to be thus made, not, however, that we need suppose Him to speak with a voice and words. But summing up the whole statement, it says: 'This is the book of the generation of heaven, and earth, in the day that God made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein.' 25
Such is the theology of the Hebrews, instructing us that all things subsist by the creative Word of God: and afterwards it teaches that the whole world was not left thus desolate by Him who constructed it, as an orphan by his father, but that it is for ever administered by the providence of God; so that God is not only the Organizer and Maker of the whole, but also the preserver, and administrator, and king, and ruler, presiding for ever over the sun itself and moon and stars and the whole heaven and world, overlooking all things with His great eye and divine power, and present with all things both in heaven and earth, and arranging and administering all things in order.
And in the very same way the succeeding prophets also with corresponding inspiration spake at one time in the person of God Himself, saying: 'I am a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God far off. Shall a man do anything in secret, and I not know it? Do not I fill the heaven and the earth? saith the Lord.' 26
And at another time they spake of God thus: 'Who measured the water with His hand, and the heaven with a span, and all the earth with His fist? Who set the mountains by measure, and the hills by a balance? Who knew the mind of the Lord, and who became His counsellor?' 27 And again: 'Who set the heaven for a canopy, and spread it out as a tent to dwell in.' 28 And again: 'Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath showed all these.' 29 And then: 'The LORD God that created the heaven, and fixed it, that established the earth and that which is therein, and giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon, I am the LORD God.' 30 And presently: 'I stretched forth the heaven by Myself, and established the earth.31 I am the LORD God: there is none beside Me.' 32
And again: 'Thus shall ye say unto them: The gods which made not the heaven and the earth, let them perish from the face of the earth, and from under the heaven. The Lord who made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heaven, and brought up clouds from the end of the earth; He made lightnings for rain, and brought forth winds out of His treasures. Every man is become too brutish for knowledge.' 33
And again: 'Whither shall I go from Thy spirit, and where can I be hidden from Thy presence? If I go up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, there Thou art. If I should take my wings in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me.' 34
These and the like are the statements of the theologians later than Moses, who were themselves also Hebrews, and spake concerning God in accordance with their earliest forefathers. But listen now to those who were before Moses, men beloved of God and highly blessed, the first Hebrews, and the very first of them all, Abraham, who has been pronounced the forefather of the whole Jewish race.
'And Abraham said to the king of Sodom, I will lift up mine hand unto the Most High God, who created the heaven and the earth.' 35 And even before Abraham Melchizedek is introduced as priest of the Most High God, blessing Abraham in these words: 'Blessed be Abraham of the Most High God, who delivered thine enemies into thy hand: and blessed be the God who created the heaven and the earth.' 36
In addition to this the narrative introduces Abraham as conversing thus with his servant: 'Put thine hand under my thigh, and I will make thee swear by the LORD the God of heaven, and the God of the earth.' 37 And he adds: 'The LORD the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that took me from my father's house, and from the land where I was born.' 38
Besides all these passages, in the appearance of God to Moses himself, when Moses asked whom he must believe God to be, the answer says: 'I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.' 39
Let these extracts suffice as examples from among ten thousand in the theology of the Hebrews. Is it then right to set in comparison with them the theologies of the wise men of Greece? Some of whom declared that there is no God at all, and others assert that the stars are gods, and that they are red-hot masses of metal, fixed in the sky like studs and plates, and others that God is an artistic fire proceeding in a regular course; and others that the world is not administered by divine providence, but by a kind of irrational nature; and others that things in heaven alone are administered by God, but not things on earth also; and again that the world is uncreated, and was not made by God at all, but subsists spontaneously and accidentally; and others that the complex whole is made up of certain indivisible and minute corpuscles devoid of life and reason.
The doctrines, however, drawn from the oracles of the Hebrews concerning the God of the universe are briefly such as I have described: and after the God of the universe the next thing is to review the doctrines of the Hebrew philosophy concerning the first principle of things created.
THALES of Miletus declared that the first principle of all things is water, Anaximenes the air, Heracleitus fire, Pythagoras numbers, Epicurus and Democritus corporeal atoms, Empedocles the four elements. Let us therefore look also at the oracles of the Hebrews.
Next to the Being of the God of the universe, which is without beginning and uncreate, incapable of mixture and beyond all conception, they introduce a second Being and divine power, which subsisted as the first beginning of all originated things and was originated from the first cause, calling it Word, and 'Wisdom, and Power of God.' 40
And the first to teach us this is Job, saying: 'But whence was wisdom found? And what is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the way thereof, nor yet was it found among men,41... but we have heard the fame thereof. The Lord established the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof.' 42
And David also somewhere in the Psalms, addressing Wisdom by another name, says: 'By the word of the LORD were the heavens established':43 for in this manner he celebrated the Word of God the Organizer of all things. Moreover, his son Solomon also speaks as follows in the person of Wisdom herself, saying: 'I Wisdom made counsel my dwelling, and knowledge and understanding I called unto me.44 By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice.'45 And again:
'The LORD created me as the beginning of His ways unto His works, from everlasting He founded me, in the beginning or ever He made the earth, and before the depths were made, 46. . . before the mountains were settled, and before all hills He begat me;47 . . . when He was preparing the heaven I was beside Him;48 . . . and as He was making safe the fountains beneath the heaven,49 . . . I was with Him arranging. I it was in whom He daily delighted, and I was rejoicing before Him in every season when He was rejoicing in having completed the habitable world.' 50
So Solomon speaks in Proverbs. And the words also which follow are somewhere spoken in Wisdom's own person: 'But what wisdom is, and how she came into being, I will declare, and will not hide mysteries from you; but I will trace her out from the beginning of creation.' 51 To which he afterwards adds: 'For she is an understanding spirit, holy, alone in kind, manifold, subtil, freely moving, clear, undefiled, . . . all-powerful, all-surveying, and going through all intelligent, pure, and most subtil spirits. 52
'For wisdom is more moving than any motion; she penetrateth and passeth through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty: therefore doth nothing defiled find entrance into her. For she is an effulgence from everlasting light, an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image of His goodness. . . . And she reaches from end to end with full strength: and sweetly doth she order all things.' 53
Moreover, the sacred Scripture introduces this divine Word in various ways as sent from the Father for the salvation of mankind: and so it relates that it was He who showed Himself to Abraham and to Moses and to the other prophets beloved of God, and taught them so many things in oracles, and prophesied the things to come, whenever it mentions that God or the Lord appearedand entered into converse with the prophets.
That He also became known to all men as having been sent by the Greater to be a Saviour of the sick and a physician of souls, the Scripture thus declares: 'He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.' 54 And again at another time it says: 'His Word shall run swiftly.' 55 Whence the teaching of the Gospel also in renewing the doctrine of the prophets and fathers makes the theology clear in the following way: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made, that hath been made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.' 56
With good reason then does Moses in his perfect wisdom, when commencing his account of the creation of the world, inspired by the same Spirit declare that in the beginning aforesaid 'God created the heaven and the earth'; and introduces God communing with Him, as with His own and first-born Word, upon the creation of man, in the passage where he writes: 'And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.'57
This the Psalmist also hinted, when describing the First Cause he said: 'He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created':58 plainly supposing the direction and command of the First Cause to the Second, as of a father to a son. For. of course it is quite manifest that every one who speaks at all speaks to another, and he who commands, commands some other than himself.
But expressly mentioning again two Lords both together, that is to say Father and Son, Moses in his narrative of the punishment of the ungodly speaks thus: 'And the LORD rained brimstone and fire from the LORD upon Sodom and Gomorrah.' 59
In accordance with which David also said in a Psalm: 'The LORD said unto my lord, sit thou on My right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.' 60 And further on he hinted at His secret and utterly ineffable generation, saying: 'From the womb I begat thee before the morning star.' 61
Lest, however, you should suppose that these are my subtleties, I will offer you as interpreter of the meaning of the Scripture a man of Hebrew race, who received from his forefathers an accurate knowledge of the history of his country, and had learned the doctrine from his teachers; that is, if you accept Philo as such a man. Listen then to him, how he interprets the divine utterances.
[PHILO IUDAEUS] 62 'WHY as if speaking of another God does He say, "In the image of God I made man," 63 and not in the image of Himself? With consummate beauty and wisdom is this oracle expressed. For nothing mortal could be made in the likeness of the Most High God and Father of the universe, but in the likeness of the second God, who is the Word of the former. For it was right that the rational character in the soul of man should be impressed on it by the divine Word; since the God who is prior to the Word is superior to every rational nature; and it was not lawful for any created thing to be made like to Him who is set above the Word in the most excellent and unique nature.'
This is what I wish to quote from Philo's first book of Questions and Answers. But the same author in the first book On Agriculture also calls the Word the First-born Son of God, in the following phrase:
'All these things then God the Shepherd and King guides according to justice, having set over them as a law His own right Reason (Word) and First-born Son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred flock, as a lieutenant of a great king.' 64
Also again in the second book the same author writes as follows word for word:
'If therefore any one wishes to escape the difficulties which present themselves in the questions thus raised, let him say freely that nothing material is so strong as to be able to support the weight of the world. But the eternal Word of the everlasting God is the most strong and firm support of the universe.
'He it is who, being extended from the middle to the ends and from the extremities to the middle, runs the full length of nature's invincible course, bringing all the parts together and binding them fast. For the Father who begat Him made Him an indissoluble bond of the universe.
'Naturally therefore will neither all earth be dissolved by all water which its bosom contains, nor will fire be extinguished by air, nor on the other hand will air be burnt up by fire, since the divine Word sets Himself as a boundary of the elements, like a vowel between consonants, in order that the universe may be harmonious as in the case of music expressed in writing, since He by the persuasion of His concurrence mediates and reconciles the threatenings of the adverse elements.' 65
Thus speaks Philo. And Aristobulus also, another wise man of the Hebrews, who flourished under the rule of the Ptolemies, confirms the doctrine as inherited from his fathers, addressing to Ptolemy himself the Interpretation of the sacred laws, in which he speaks as follows.
[ARISTOBULUS] 66 'BUT the same metaphor might be used also in the case of wisdom: for all light comes from it. Wherefore also some who were of the Peripatetic School have said that it holds the place of a torch: for by following it continuously men will be kept undisturbed through their whole life. But more clearly and more beautifully one of our forefathers, Solomon, said that wisdom subsisted before heaven and earth. This accords with what was said before.'
These then and such as these are the philosophical opinions which the Hebrews have held on this point. Is not this then of all statements the most honourable to God, as referring the beginning of the constitution of the universe to the rational and all-wise power of God, or more precisely to the very Wisdom and very Word of God, rather than to the lifeless and irrational elements?
Be that as it may; such are the opinions of the Hebrews concerning the beginning of the universe. And now let us consider what they teach concerning the constitution of the rational creatures, who came after that first Beginning.
NEXT to the being of God the Universal King, which is without beginning and unbegotten, they teach that Beginning which is begotten from no other source than the Father, being both First-born and fellow worker of the Father's will, and perfectly likened unto Him.
And this Beginning is before all originate things which followed, on which account also they are wont to call it the Image of God, and Power of God, and Wisdom of God, and Word of God, nay further the Great 'Captain of the host of the Lord,' 67 and 'Angel of the great Counsel.' 68
But the intelligent and rational Powers which came after this Beginning pass man's nature to describe, both for multitude and for variety of form, except as far as it is possible to think thereon by the examples drawn from the analogy of things visible, sun, moon, and stars, and heaven itself which encompasses them all together within and beneath itself.
'For there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars,' says the divine Apostle; 'for one star differeth from another star in glory.' 69
In this way, therefore, we must think of the order in incorporeal and intelligent Beings also, the unutterable and infinite power of the God of the universe embracing all of them together; and the second place, next to the Father, being held by the power of the Divine Word, at once creative and illuminating. For which reason also the Hebrews are wont to call Him 'True Light,' 70 and 'Sun of Righteousness.' 71
And next after this second Being there is set, as in place of a moon, a third Being, the Holy Spirit, whom also they enroll in the first and royal dignity and honour of the primal cause of the universe, He also having been appointed by the Maker of the universe for a ruling principle of the created things which came after, those I mean which are lower in rank, and need the help which He supplies.
But this Spirit, holding a third rank, supplies those beneath out of the superior powers in Himself, notwithstanding that He also receives from another, that is from the higher and stronger, who, as we said, is second to the most high and unbegotten nature of God the King of all: from whom indeed God the Word is Himself supplied, and drawing as it were from an ever-flowing fountain which pours forth Deity, imparts copiously and ungrudgingly of the radiance of His own light to all, and especially to the Holy Spirit Himself, who is closer to Him than all and very near; and then to the intelligent and divine powers after Him.
But the Unoriginate Beginning of the whole, which is the fountain of all good, and cause of Deity and life as well as of light and every virtue, being also first of the first and beginning of all beginnings, or rather far beyond any beginning and any first and every thought that can be expressed or conceived, communicates wholly whatsoever is comprehended in His ineffable powers to His First-begotten alone, as being alone able to contain and receive that abundance of the Father's perfections which by the rest can neither be reached nor contained.
But the partial gifts He dispenses to those who are in part worthy through the ministration and mediatorship of the Second, in the measure attainable by each: and of these gifts the perfect and supremely holy have been bestowed by the Father on Him who is third from Himself, and receives the gifts through the Son, but is ruler and leader of those who follow.
Hence the whole body of Hebrew theologians, after Him who is God over all, and after Wisdom His Firstborn, regard as God the third holy Power which they call Holy Spirit, and by which they were enlightened and inspired.
Next after heaven, and sun, and moon, they say 'star differeth from star in glory.' 72 Now though for mortal nature it is not possible to find the number of the stars, nevertheless the oracles of the Hebrews say that God the King of All is not ignorant of the numbers and of the names of the heavenly host. Wherefore in them it is said: 'Who telleth the numbers of the stars, and calleth them all by names.' 73
Thus then after those first luminaries which are reckoned among incorporal powers, and excel in power and essence of intellectual light, there are countless tribes and families of stars and a vast difference incomprehensible to us, but not to the Maker of the universe.
And therefore, to represent them as comprehensible to God alone, one of their theologians says: 'Ten thousand times ten thousand ministered unto Him, and thousand thousands stood before Him': 74 showing by the number that to God they are comprehensible, but by the greatness of the number that to us they are infinite; in accordance with our custom of calling things that are many and infinite 'ten thousand,' as an expression of exceeding multitude.
A certain other prophet also, in discoursing of their nature, thus speaks of the Maker of them all as divine, saying: 'O LORD, my God, how greatly art Thou magnified; Thou didst clothe Thyself with honour and majesty. Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heaven like a curtain: . . . who maketh His angels winds, and His ministers a flaming fire.' 75
Now do not suppose that the beings here mentioned partake of the nature of this our mortal and earthly fire, nor yet of the winds proceeding from the irrational nature of air: but just as God Himself, though He is in His nature incorporeal and immaterial, and pure mind, or rather above mind, and above all reason, is yet called in a figurative way wind, and fire, and light, and certain other names adapted to mortal ears; so the divine Scriptures address the intelligent and rational Beings, angels, and archangels, and spirits, and divine powers, and heavenly hosts, principalities, and powers, and thrones, and dominions,76 as if they were myriads upon myriads of stars and luminaries, and say that the Sun of Righteousness and His fellow the Holy Spirit rule and preside over all.77
But all of them, with the Son Himself and Holy Spirit, all intelligent and rational living beings, together with those that are seen in heaven, and the heaven itself and all that it contains within it----all these are commanded by the sacred and prophetic Scripture to render to Him alone who is God over all, who through all and in all is universal King and Ruler and cause of the whole world, as being the Framer and Maker and Guardian and Saviour of all, to render, I say, to Him His becoming praise and the worship that is proper to God, saying: 'Praise ye God from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise Him, all ye angels of His: praise Him, all His hosts. Praise Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light. Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created; He made them fast for ever and ever: He gave them a law, and it shall not pass away.' 78
Such are the doctrines received from the Hebrews, which we have preferred to the erroneous polytheism and daemonism of the Greeks, knowing and duly honouring divine powers as servants and ministers of God the universal King, but confessing Him alone as God, and worshipping Him alone, whom heaven itself, and all things that are in heaven, and things above heaven were taught to worship and praise and celebrate as God: for even the Only-begotten of God and First-born of the whole world, the Beginning of all, commands us to believe His Father alone true God, and to worship only Him.
NEXT we must consider what the Hebrew oracles deliver to us concerning the adverse power also. They teach that the divine powers set over the whole world by the will of the Father----'the ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall inherit salvation' 79----and the holy angels of God and archangels, and all the intelligent nature which is the minister of blessings, being full of light, and almoner of all the blessings that are bestowed on men from God, are the attendants of God the sole King of all; and next that, like the stars of heaven, they circle round the Sun of Righteousness 80 and His fellow the Holy Spirit, and enjoy the supply of their light, and for that reason are naturally compared to the luminaries in heaven.
But the nature which is turned away from these, and for its own wickedness is deprived of the company of the better spirits, and contrary to the former has exchanged light for darkness, Scripture calls by the names which befit the badness of their disposition.
The leader for instance of their fall, who had been the cause both for himself and for others of their apostasy from, the better angels, as having fallen down utterly beneath the piety of the more godlike, and wrought for himself the venom of malice and impiety, and become the author of darkness and folly in consequence of his wilful departure from the light----him the Scripture is wont to call dragon and serpent, and black and creeping, an engenderer of deadly poison, a wild beast, and a lion devouring mankind, and the adder among reptiles.
The divine words say that the cause of his falling away was frenzy of mind and distraction of thought, and describe as follows both his fall and his insanity: 'How is the day star, which did rise in the morning, fallen from heaven! He is crushed to the ground, which did send forth to all the nations. And thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into the heaven; above the stars of heaven will I set my throne. ... I will be like unto the Most High.' 81
And again: 'Thus saith the Lord: Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I have dwelt in the habitation of God.' 82 And again: 'Thou art the sealing of the pattern, and crown of beauty; thou wast born in the pleasaunce of the paradise of God; every precious stone was thy covering,' 83 and the rest.
And to this he adds: 'Thou wast in the holy mountain of God, in the midst of the stones of fire; thou wast blameless in thy days, from the day that thou wast created, till thine unrighteousness was found in thee.84 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thy knowledge was corrupted with thy beauty; because of the multitude of thy sins I have cast thee to the ground.' 85
By these passages then we have learned directly the former association of him of whom we speak with the diviner powers, and his fall from the better sort through his own arrogance and rebellion against God. Under him there is besides a countless race involved in similar offences, which for their impiety fell from the lot of the pious angels, and in exchange for their former lightsome and divine surrounding, and their honour in the King's palace, and a life passed among the blessed and angelic choirs, received by the just judgement and sentence of the mighty God an abode in Tartarus, the place befitting the impious, which is called by the divine word the abyss, and darkness, not such as with us, but that which is made known by the divine oracles.
And of this race a small fragment left on the earth and in the sublunar air to exercise the athletes of piety, has become a joint cause of the polytheistic delusion of mankind which is no better than atheism.
But upon these also holy Scripture has set appropriate names, more plainly when it calls them evil spirits and daemons, 'principalities and powers, world-rulers, and spiritual hosts of wickedness'; 86 but figuratively, when it is encouraging the beloved of God to have no fear of the crowd of hostile daemons, by what it says: 'Thou shalt go upon the asp and adder: the lion and the dragon shalt thou tread under thy feet.' 87
A proof of their hatred of God is that they wish themselves to be proclaimed gods, and steal away for themselves the honours intended for God, and attempt to entice the simple by divinations and oracles as lures and baits, and draw them away from looking up to the God of the whole world, and drag them down into the pit of utter destruction in impious, and godless superstition. Wherefore an effort to flee with all speed from their deceits was made by the Hebrews alone from the earliest ages, by expressly teaching that 'all the gods of the nations are daemons.' 88
But now, by God's grace we may say, through our Saviour's teaching in the Gospel all nations from all parts of the earth have been delivered from the bondage of the daemons, and sing the praise of that God whom we have learned to be the only Saviour, and King, and God of the whole world.
HERE again the Phoenician and Egyptian account of the origin of animal life introduced spontaneous generation of all living beings upon the earth including even man, and described one and the same nature as springing forth in the like fortuitous manner from the earth, supposing that there is no difference at all between the irrational and the rational soul and being.
These at least were the doctrines set forth in the statements of their writers which have been previously quoted. But again with good reason we have preferred the Hebrews as having defined the circumstances of the original constitution of man with great beauty and wisdom and truth.
For the one part of ourselves they say is divine and immortal, being neither carnal nor corporeal by nature, and this they say is the true man made in the image and likeness of God; and he is the work of God, and not of chance nor of spontaneous growth, but of the universal Cause Himself, when by divine decree He had willed that the earthly regions should not be without a share of intelligent and rational being, that so the befitting hymn of praise should ascend to Him from all creatures in heaven and earth and sky, which possess reason and are able to apprehend His divine nature.
Thus then it is contained in the oracles of the Hebrews: 'And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and God created man, in the image of God created He him.' 89 And again: 'And God took dust from the earth and formed man, and breathed breath of life into his face; and man became a living soul.' 90 This again is interpreted by Philo the Hebrew, adding yet the following to his sayings which have been quoted.
[PHILO IUDAEUS] 91 'BUT whereas the others, who said that our mind is a part of the ethereal nature, connected man by kinship with the ether; the great Moses did not liken the form of the reasonable soul to any of the things created, but said that it was a genuine coinage of that divine and invisible Spirit, marked and stamped by the seal of God, the impress of which is the eternal Word. "For God," says he, "breathed breath of life into his face, and man became a living soul." 92 So that he who receives that breath must be made like to Him that sends it forth.
'Wherefore also it is said that man was made iu the image of God, but not in the image of anything created. It naturally followed then that, as man's soul was fashioned after the likeness of the archetypal Word of the First Cause, so his body, being raised up toward heaven the purest portion of the universe, should lift its eyes on high.'
So far Philo. With good reason then does the sacred Scripture affirm that man was not made in the same way as the other animals; because some of them came forth from the earth at one command of God the King of all, and others again at His bidding flew up out of the watery element: but of the living creatures upon earth only the most beloved of God, ourselves, have been made in our soul after the image and likeness of God. And in reference to this man is also regarded as having the nature of a ruler and a king, and is the only one of the creatures upon earth that has powers of reasoning, creating, judging, and legislating, and is capable of learning arts and sciences. For only the soul in man is an intelligent and rational essence, in which the other animals on earth do not participate.
They therefore are serfs, and fill the place of servants to man: while he as lord and ruler enslaves and subjugates those that are far superior in bodily strength, but inferior by their privation in regard to the intelligent essence.
He therefore, they say, was created with a certain singular excellence after the image and likeness of God by God Himself. And for this reason he is able to attain to a presentation of the concept of God, and to form perceptions of wisdom and righteousness and every virtue, to calculate also the courses of sun and moon and stars, and the cycles of days and seasons, thanks to the kinship with heaven, which man alone of mortal things exhibits.
But the outward frame enveloping this part of man is essentially different in kind and born of the earth, yet this also itself is a work of God taken from earth and returning to earth. And therefore we ought to care for this part as much as a master cares for a brute beast when distressed, and to treat it gently, and feed it just as a slave well attached to the service of human life; but the master within, as being of noble birth and in nature akin to God, we must honour in liberal ways, as having also received honour from the First Cause of all.
The oracles at least say that the Universal King, having adorned man's original nature with divine powers and with the likeness of God, allotted his first mode of life in accordance with the gifts which He had bestowed, and associated him with divine companies in a Paradise of good things.
Also that God on His part had in the beginning as an all-kind Father bestowed these blessings upon him, but that he by wilful choice fell away from these happier conditions, and for neglect of a divine command passed by exchange into the condition of mortality.
Wherefore also it is our highest concern to make piety our very first aim, and to amend the first transgression by a sequel of happier omen; and so to hasten on to the recurrence and restoration of our proper state. For the true end of man's nature is not here on earth sinking down into ruin and destruction, but in yonder place from which the first man fell away.
And therefore it is necessary to win back again the purity and likeness to God of the intelligent being within us; and to this all men must zealously strive with all their might to return, by devotion to piety and virtue.
Such were the philosophic doctrines concerning man's nature taught by the Hebrews originally, before any Greeks had even come into the world: for these being of yesterday and quite newly sprung up from the earth, designed to steal away the doctrines of barbarians, and did not abstain from those of the Hebrews, as our discourse in its progress will presently show.
But since it was peculiar to the Hebrew doctrines to regard the Supreme God as the one sole Creator of all things, including the substance underlying bodies, which the Greeks call hylé (matter), whereas countless multitudes of barbarians and Greeks alike stood opposed to this opinion, some of them declaring that matter was the source of evil and subsisted without beginning, and others that in its own nature it had neither quality nor shape, but by the power of God had acquired its orderly arrangement together with its qualities; we must therefore show that the opinion of the Hebrews upholds a far better doctrine, approaching the question with logical demonstration, and overthrowing the opposite argument with correct reasoning.
I shall quote then the words of those who before our time have thoroughly examined the doctrine, and first of Dionysius, who in the first book of his exercitations Against Sabellius writes on the subject before us as follows:
[DIONYSIUS ALEXANDRINUS] 93 'NOR are they free from impiety who regarding matter as unoriginate give it over into the hand of God for orderly arrangement, inasmuch as being originally passible and changeable it yields to the alterations impressed upon it by God.
'For let them explain clearly from what source like and unlike originally subsist in God and in matter. For then we must further think of some higher than each of them, a thought which it is not lawful to entertain concerning God. For whence came it that they are unoriginate, a property said to be alike in both, and whence a third conceived to be higher than either of them?
'For if God is the absolutely unoriginate, and if the being unoriginate is, as one might say, His very essence, matter cannot be unoriginate; for matter and God are not the same: but if each is what it properly is, namely matter and God, while the unoriginate is attached to both, this manifestly is different from each of them, and earlier and higher than both.
'The idea however that these subsist together from the beginning, or rather that this one of them, the matter, subsists of itself, is utterly overthrown by the difference of their opposite conditions.
'For let them tell us the cause for which, though both be unoriginate, God on the one hand is impassible, unchangeable, immovable, actively operative, while the other is on the contrary passible, changeable, unstable, transformable.
'How then could they harmonize and agree in their course? Did God adapt Himself to the nature of matter, and so work it artistically? But this surely is absurd, that God should work like men, as a goldsmith, and a stonecutter, and in all the other handicrafts in which materials can be shaped and modelled.
'But if He gave to matter such qualities as He chose according to His own wisdom, and set His seal upon it in the manifold forms and varieties of shape and pattern of His own workmanship, then this is both a reverent and true account, and gives additional confirmation to the belief that God the real substance of the universe is unoriginate,
'For together with the being unoriginate He also combined His proper mode of existence. There is much then to be said against these men also, but it does not lie in our way now: yet in comparison with the most atheistical polytheists these are the more reverent.'
Such are the extracts from Dionysius: but listen also to what Origen says.
[ORIGEN] 94 'IF it is a difficulty to any one that, because of the case of human artists, he cannot admit that God furnished the existing world without any substratum of unoriginate matter, since neither can a statuary make his proper work without bronze, nor a carpenter without timber, nor a builder without stones, we must question him about God's power, whether God, if He wills to establish whatever He chooses, there being no defect nor weakness in His will, cannot establish that which He chooses.
'For as, according to all who bring in providence in their own argument, the qualities which were non-existent are established by Him as He chooses for the orderly arrangement of the whole by His unspeakable power and wisdom, so, the reason being the same in both cases, His will is able to bring into existence all the substance that He needs.
'For to those who will not admit that this is so we shall put the question, whether it does not follow from their argument that God by a lucky chance found the substance unorigiuate, without which, had it not been supplied to Him by its unoriginate character, He could have produced no work at all, but would have continued to be no Creator, no Father, no Benefactor, no Good Being, nor anything else that is with good reason predicated of God.
'Whence also came the measurement of just so much of the substratum of matter as to suffice for the establishment of a world of the actual size? For it would seem as if some providence anterior to God must have supplied Him with the matter, providing that the art existing in Him should not have mere empty ideas from the want of any substance, with which He could co-operate in embellishing the world with so great beauty.
'Whence also has matter become capable of receiving every quality which God wills, unless God Himself made it for His own use just so much and such as He wished to have?
'At all events if we admit as a hypothesis that matter is unoriginate, this is what we shall say to those who wish to have it so; if without any providence supplying the, material substance to God it has become such as it is, what could providence, if it existed, have done more than their spontaneous chance?
'And if God Himself, when matter was non-existent, chose to prepare it, what would His wisdom and divine power have done more than that which, as supposed, arose from the unoriginate? For if it is found that the same result would have been produced by providence, which was produced even without providence, what reason is there why we should not dispense with the Demiurge and the Artificer in the case of the world-order also?
'For just as it is absurd in the case of this ordered world, so skilfully contrived, to say that it has become such without help from a wise Artificer, so it is also equally unreasonable that the matter, being of such extent, and such quality, and so pliable to the Artificer, the Word of God, has been unoriginate.
'In answer, however, to those who compare the fact that no workman makes anything without material, we must say that they are comparing dissimilar cases. For providence supplies every artificer with his material, as coming from some former art either human or divine. This then will at present suffice in answer to those who, because it is said, "And the earth was invisible and unarranged,'' 95 think that material substance is unoriginate.'
So far this author. But the Hebrew Philo also in his book Concerning Providence gives the following account of matter:
[PHILO IUDAEUS] 96 'BUT concerning the quantity of the material substance, if it has indeed been created, there is this to be said. With a view to the creation of the world God estimated an exactly sufficient quantity of matter, so that there might be neither deficiency nor excess. For it would have been absurd that, whereas particular artists whenever they are making anything, and especially any costly thing, measure the quantity of materials that will suffice, yet He who devised numbers and measures and their equivalent relations to each other, should not have taken thought for a sufficiency.
'I shall therefore confidently assert that the world needed neither less nor more material substance for its furnishing, since otherwise it would not have been perfect, nor complete in all its parts; whereas now it has been well wrought and completed out of a perfect supply of material substance. For it is the proper mark of a workman thoroughly skilled in his art to see that he has sufficient material before beginning any fabric.
'Although therefore a man, even if he were superior in knowledge to all others, being unable entirely to escape from error which is natural to mortals, might perhaps be deceived in regard to the quantity of the matter, when practising his art, adding to it at one time as too little, and at another time taking from it as too much; yet He who is a kind of fountain of all knowledge was not likely to supply Himself with too little or too much of anything, inasmuch as He employs measures elaborated to a marvellous exactness, all satisfactory.
'But he who chooses to prate at random, might as well at once bring forward against us the works of all artists as having gained an advantage in their construction by the addition or diminution of something in the materials. However that may be, it is the part of sophistry to invent quibbles, but of wisdom to examine thoroughly everything in nature.'
Let this suffice to show the character of Philo's opinions. Maximus too, a man not undistinguished in the Christian life, has composed a special treatise Concerning Matter; from which I think it will be useful to quote some sentences of moderate length, for the accurate decision of the question before us.
[MAXIMUS] 97 'I DO not suppose that you any more than myself are ignorant that it is impossible for two unoriginate things to subsist together, although you certainly seem to have attached to your argument this presupposition, that it is absolutely necessary to affirm one of two things, either that God is separate from matter, or on the other hand that He is inseparable from it.
'Should any one therefore choose to say that He is united with it, that will be an assertion that the Uncreate is one only; for each will be a part of the other, and being parts each of the other they will not be two uncreated, but one consisting of different parts; for as we do not say that man though consisting of different parts is broken up into the small coin of many created things, but, as reason requires, we say that man is one being of many parts created by God, so, if God is not separate from matter, we must necessarily say that the Uncreated is one only.
'But if any one shall affirm that He is separate, there must of necessity be something that is intermediate between the two, which also makes their separation evident. For it is impossible that one thing can be proved to be separate from another, when there is no third in which the separation between them is found. And this stands true not only in this and any single case, but in very many.
'For the argument which we used in the case of two uncreated beings must necessarily succeed equally well, if the uncreated things were admitted to be three. For in their case also I should ask, whether they are separated one from another, or on the contrary each united to his neighbour.
'So if any one should choose to say that they were united, he will receive the same answer as the first; but if, on the contrary, that they are separated, he cannot avoid the necessary existence of something that separates them.
'But if perchance any one should say that there is also a third statement which may fitly be made concerning things uncreated, that is, that God is not separated from matter, nor on the other hand united with it as a part, but that God exists as it were locally in matter or matter in God, let him receive the conclusive answer, that if we call matter the place of God, we must of necessity say that He can also be contained, and is circumscribed by matter.
'Moreover He must be carried about like matter in a disorderly way, and does not remain settled and constant in Himself, when that in which He exists is carried now this way and now that. And besides this we must also say that God has existed in things of worse nature. For if matter was once without order, and He wishing to change it for the better put it into order, there was a time when God was in things without order.
'I might also fairly ask this question, whether God completely filled matter, or was in some portion only of it. If then any one should choose to say that God was in some portion of matter, he makes Him very much smaller than matter, if indeed a part of it contained the whole of Him: but if he should say that God is in all matter, he has to explain how He was to work upon it. For he must either say that there was a sort of contraction of God, and that when this was effected He wrought upon that part from which He had receded; or else that He wrought upon Himself together with the matter, not having any place into which He could withdraw.
'If however any one shall say that matter is in God, it is equally necessary to inquire whether it is by God's being separated from Himself, just as tribes of living creatures subsist in the air, by its being divided and parted for the reception of the creatures that arise in it; or whether matter is in God as in a place, that is, as water is in land.
'For if we should say, "As in the air," we must necessarily say that God is divisible: but if, "As water is in land," and if matter was in confusion and disorder, and moreover contained evils, we are compelled to say that God is the place of disorder and evil: which seems to me an irreverent statement, nay more, a dangerous one. For you claim the existence of matter in order to avoid calling God the author of evil, and while wishing to escape from this you say that He is the receptacle of evil.
'Now if you had said that from the nature of existing creatures you supposed matter to be uncreated, I should have had much to say about matter in proof that it cannot possibly be uncreated. But since you said that the origin of evil was the cause of such a supposition, I therefore think it well to proceed to the examination of this latter point. For when a clear statement has been given of the mode in which evils exist, and of the impossibility of denying that God is the author of evil, if matter is attributed to Him, I think that such a supposition is utterly overthrown.
'You say then that co-existing from the beginning with God there is matter without qualities, out of which He formed the beginning of this world? '
'Such is my idea.'
'Well then, if matter was without qualities, and if the world has been made by God, and there are qualities in the world, God must have been the maker of the qualities.'
'That is true.'
'Now since I heard you say before, that it is impossible for anything to be made out of the non-existent, answer me this question of mine. Do you think that the qualities of the world have not been produced out of pre-existing qualities?'
'I think so.'
'But are something else besides the substances?'
'That is so.'
'If then God made the qualities neither out of pre-existing qualities, nor out of the substances, because they are not themselves substances, we are compelled to say that they have been made by God out of non-existents. And hence I thought it was too much for you to say, that it was impossible to suppose that anything has been made by God out of non-existents.
'However, let the argument on this point stand as follows: Even among ourselves we see men making some things out of what is non-existent, however much they seem to be making them in some material: as for instance let us take our example in the case of architects. For they make cities not out of cities, and temples in like manner not out of temples.
'But if, because there are substances underlying these things, you suppose that they make them out of existing things, your argument deceives you. For it is not the substance that makes the city, or the temples, but the art which is employed about the substance; and the art is not produced out of some underlying art in the substances, but is produced out of an art which is non-existent in them.
'But I suppose you will meet my argument in this way, that the artist makes the art which is in the material substance out of the art which he has in himself. Now in answer to this I think it may fairly be said, that it is not produced even in the man out of any underlying art. For it is not possible to grant that the art exists independently by itself, since it is one of the accidents, and one of those things which have existence given to them at the moment when they are produced in a substance.
'For the man will exist even apart from his skill as an architect, but this will have no existence unless there be first a man. And hence we are compelled to say that it is the nature of the arts to be produced in men out of what is non-existent. If therefore we have now shown this to be so in the case of men, why was it not proper to say that God was able to make not only qualities but also substances out of what was non-existent? For the proof that it is possible for something to be made out of what is non-existent shows that this is the case with the substances also.
'But since you are anxious to inquire concerning the origin of evil, I will pass to the discussion of that subject. And I wish first to ask you a few questions. Do you think that evils are substances, or qualities of substances?
'I think it is right to say that they are qualities of substances.
'But matter, we said, has no quality nor shape?
'So I declared in the preface to my argument.
'If therefore evils are qualities of substances, and matter had no qualities, but God, you said, was the maker of qualities, God must be also the creator of evils. When therefore even in this way it is impossible to say that God is not the cause of evils, it seems to me superfluous to attach matter to Him. But if you have anything to say against this, begin your argument.
'If our inquiry arose out of contentiousness, I should not think it right to give a second definition of evils: but since it is rather for the sake of friendship and the benefit of our neighbour that we are examining the questions, I think it right to allow a new definition concerning them.
'I think it must have been long manifest to you, that my purpose and my earnest desire in our arguments is, that I do not wish to gain a victory by plausible statement of falsehood, but that the truth should be shown by means of accurate inquiry. And I clearly understand that you also are so disposed. Wherefore employ without any diffidence whatever kind of method you think will enable you to find the truth: for by employing the better method you will benefit not only yourself, but certainly me also on matters of which I am ignorant.'
'I think you plainly admitted that evils also are a kind of substances? '
'Yes, for I do not see them existing anywhere apart from substances.'
'Since then you say, my good sir, that evils also are substances, it is necessary for us to examine the definition of substance. Is it your opinion that substance is a kind of concrete body? '
'And does the concrete body subsist of itself independently, not requiring anything from whose previous existence it may receive its being? '
'And do you think that evils depend on action of some kind? '
'So it seems to me.'
'And do actions come into being at the moment when the agent is present?'
'Such is the case.'
'And when the agent does not exist, there will never be any action of his? '
'There will not.'
'Well then, if substance is a kind of concrete body, and this requires nothing in union with which it may begin to exist, and if evils are actions of some agent, and if actions do require something in union with which they begin to exist, evils cannot be substances.
'But if evils are substances, and murder is an evil, murder will be a substance: yet surely murder is an action of some one, and so murder is not a substance. If however you mean that the agents are substances, I too agree. For example, a man who is a murderer, in respect of his being man is a substance: but the murder which he does is not a substance, but a work of the substance.
'So we say in one case that the man is evil, because of his committing murder, and in a contrary case that he is good, because of his doing good. And these names are attached to the substance in consequence of its accidents, which are not itself: for the substance is not murder, nor again adultery, or any of the like evils. But just as the grammarian is named from grammar, and the rhetorician from rhetoric, and the physician from the art of physic, though his substance is neither the art of physic nor yet rhetoric, nor grammar, but receives the name from its accidents, from which it seems fit to be so called, although it is neither one nor the other of them, in like manner it appears to me that the substance also acquires an additional name from what are thought to be evils, though it is neither of them.
'And in like manner if you imagine some other being in the mind as the cause of evils in men, I would have you consider that he also, inasmuch as he works in them and suggests the doing evil, is himself evil in consequence of what he does. For he too is said to be evil for this reason that he is the doer of evils. But the things which any one does are not himself, but his actions, from which he receives the name of being evil.
'For if we were to say that he himself is what he does, and if he does murders and adulteries and thefts and all the like, then he himself is these: and if he is himself these, and these gain real existence at the time of being done, and in ceasing to be done cease to exist, and it is by men that they are done----then the men must be the makers of themselves and the causes of their own being and ceasing to be.
'Whereas if you say that these are his actions, he has the character of being evil from what he does, not from what constitutes his substance. But we said that a man is called evil from the accidents pertaining to his substance, which are not the substance itself, as the physician from the art of physic.
'If then each man is evil in consequence of his actions, and if his actions receive a beginning of existence, then that man also began to be evil, and these evils too had a beginning. And if this is so, a man will not be without a beginning in evil, nor evils un-originate, because we say that they originate with him.'
'The argument against your opponent you seem to me, my friend, to have completed satisfactorily. For from the premises which you assumed for your argument you seemed to draw the conclusion fairly. For in very truth, if matter was without qualities, and God is the maker of qualities, and evils are qualities, then God must be the maker of evils.
'As to the argument then against that opponent, let us grant that it has been well stated: but in my opinion it is false to say that matter has no qualities; for of no substance whatever is it permissible to say that it is without qualities. For while describing what kind of thing matter is, the speaker indicates its quality by saying that it is without qualities, for that is a certain kind of quality.
'Therefore, if you please, take up the argument again from the beginning against me; since in my opinion matter has qualities eternally and without beginning. For so I maintain that evils arise from the emanation of matter, in order that God may not be the cause of evils, but matter the cause of them all.'
'I welcome your ready zeal, my friend, and commend your earnestness in these discussions. For certainly every one who wishes to learn ought not to assent simply and at random to what is said, but should make a strict examination of'the arguments. For even if the opponent by giving a false definition affords his adversary an opportunity of drawing such a conclusion as he pleases, it does not follow that he will persuade the hearer of this, but if he shall say what seems possible to be said fairly. From which one of two things must follow; for either he will gain the full benefit of hearing an answer to the question which seems to be stirred, or he will convict his opponent in the argument of saying what is not true.
'I think then that you ought not to have stated that matter possesses qualities eternally. For if this is so, of what will God be the maker? For whether we say substances, these we affirm existed before; or on the other hand qualities, these also were there.
'Since therefore substance exists, and qualities also, it seems to me superfluous to say that God is a creator. But that I may not seem to be arranging an argument for myself, do you now answer the question, in what way do you say that God is a creator? Is it that He changed the substances so that they were no longer those which they once were, but became others different from them? Or that He kept the substances the same that they were before, but changed their qualities? '
'I do not at all think that there has been any change of substances: for this appears to me an absurd thing to say. But I assert that there has been a certain change of the qualities, in respect to which I say that God is a creator; just as if one should chance to say that a house has been made out of stones, of which we cannot say that they are no longer stones in their substance, when the stones have become a house.
'For I say that the house has been made by the quality of construction, the former quality of the stones having evidently been changed. Just so it seems to me that God also, while the substance remains, has made a certain change in its qualities, in reference to which I say that the creation of this world has come from God.'
'Since therefore you assert that a certain change of the qualities has come from God, answer me a few questions which I propose to ask. Tell me now whether like myself you also think that evils are qualities of substances? '
'I think so.'
'And were these qualities in matter eternally, or had they a beginning of existence?'
'I say that these very qualities were eternally co-existent with matter.'
'But do you not say that God has made some change of the qualities?'
'That is what I say.'
'Was the change then for the better or for the worse? '
'I am disposed to say, for the better.'
'Well then, if evils are qualities of matter, and God changed its qualities for the better, we are compelled to ask, whence came the evils. For the qualities did not remain of the same kind as they were by nature. Either, if there were no evil qualities previously, but such qualities, you say, have grown around the matter from the first qualities having been changed by God, God must be responsible for the evils, as having changed what were not evil qualities so that they now are evil.
'Or do you not think that God changed the evil qualities for the better, but say that the rest, and so many only as were neither good nor bad for the purpose of arranging the world, have been changed by God? '
'So I held from the beginning.'
'How then do you say that He has left the qualities of the bad as they were? Was it that He was able to annihilate them also, but had not the will; or that He had not the power? For if you say that He had the power but not the will, you must necessarily admit that He is responsible for them, because though He had power to bring evils to an end, He permitted them to remain as they were, especially at the time when He began to operate on matter.
'For if He had taken no care at all about matter, He would not have been responsible for what He permitted to remain. But when He began to operate on a certain portion of it, but left a portion as it was, though He had power to change that also for the better, it seems to me that He incurred the responsibility of causing it, as having left a portion of matter to be mischievous in the destruction of the part on which He operated.
'Moreover in regard to this part it seems to me that the very greatest wrong has been done: this part, I mean, of matter which He so arranged that it now participates in evils. For if one were to examine the facts carefully, he would find that matter has now fallen into a worse condition than its former disorder. For before it was arranged in order, it might have had no sensation at all of evil; but now each of its parts becomes sensible of evils.
'Now let me give you an example in the case of a man. For before he was fashioned and made a living creature by the Creator's skill, he had from his nature the advantage of not participating in any evil at all: but from the time of his being made man by God, he also receives the sensation of approaching evil, and this, which you say has been done by God for the benefit of matter, is found rather to have been added to it for the worse.
'But if you say that the reason why evils have not been made to cease was that God was not able to annihilate them, you will be asserting that God is deficient in power: and the want of power will mean either that He is by nature weak, or that being overcome by fear He has been brought into subjection by some greater power.
'If then you will dare to say that God is weak by nature, you seem to me to be in danger for your very salvation: but if through being overcome by fear from the greater power, the evils will be greater than God, as prevailing over the impulse of His will; which seems to me an absurd thing to say of God.
'For why will not rather these evils be gods, as being able according to your argument to overcome God, since we say that God is that which has the authority over all things?
'I wish, however, to ask you a few questions also about matter itself. So tell me now, whether matter was something simple or compound: for the diversity of its products brings me round to such a mode of examining this subject. Since if matter was simple and uniform, but the world compound, and composed out of different substances and mixtures, (it is impossible to say that it has been made out of matter, because compounds cannot be composed out of a single thing which has no qualities); for "compound" signifies a mixture of several simple things.
'But if on the other hand you should choose to say that matter is compound, you must of course say that it has been composed out of certain simple things. Now if it was composed out of simple things, those simple things once existed by themselves, and matter has come from their composition; whence also it is shown to be created.
'For if matter is compound, and compounds are constituted out of simples, there was once a time when matter did not exist, that is to say, before the simples came together. But if there was once a time when matter did not exist, but never a time when the uncreate did not exist, matter cannot be uncreate. Henceforward, however, there will be many uncreate things. For if God was uncreate, as well as the simple elements out of which matter was composed, the uncreate will not be two only.
But is it your opinion that no existing thing is contrary to itself?'
'And is water contrary to fire? '
'It appears to me contrary.'
'And in like manner darkness to light, and heat to cold, and also moist to dry? '
'I think it is so.'
'Therefore if no existing thing is contrary to itself, (and these are contrary to each other) they will not be one and the same matter, nor yet from the same matter. I wish, however, to ask you again another question like this. Do you think that the parts of a thing are not destructive one of another? '
'And that fire and water, and the rest in like manner, are parts of matter? '
'They are so.'
'Well then? Do you not think that water is destructive of fire, and light of darkness, and all the other similar cases? '
'I do think so.'
'Therefore if the parts of a thing are not destructive one of another, while the parts of matter are destructive one of another, they will not be parts one of another: and if they are not parts one of another, they will not be parts of the same matter: nay more, they will not themselves he matter, because, according to the adversary's argument, no existing thing is destructive of itself.
'For nothing is contrary to itself; because it is the nature of contraries to be contrary to others. As for example white is not contrary to itself, but is said to be the contrary of black: and light is shown in like manner not to be contrary to itself, but appears to have that relation to darkness, and very many other things of course in the same way.
'If therefore there were also one kind of matter only, it would not be contrary to itself: but since such is the nature of contraries, it is proved that the one only kind of matter has no existence.'
So far the author before mentioned. And since the discourse has now been sufficiently extended, we will pass on to the eighth book of the Preparation for the Gospel; and after invoking the help of God, will fill up what is wanting to the preceding speculation.
[Footnotes moved to end and numbered]
1. 300 b 9 Rom. i. 26, 27
2. d 7 Wisdom xiv. 12
3. 303 b 6 i Pet. ii. 9
4. 306 d 2 Gen. iv. 26
5. 308 a 10 Gen. v. 24
6. c 6 Gen. vi. 9
7. 309 a 8 Gen. xiv. 18-20
8. 309 d 3 Gen. xv. 6
9. d 5-7 Cf. Gen. xvii. 5; xviii. 18; xii. 2
10. 310 d 1 Gen. xxxii. 28
11. 311 a 5 Job i. 1
12. 312 a 4 Gen. xxxix. 8
13. 315 b 4 Gen. i. 11
14. c 1 ibid. 20
15. c 8 ibid. 14
16. 316 a 5 Gen. ii. 8
17. 317 a 6 Gen. iii. 1
18. d 2 Gen. i. 1
19. d 4 ibid. 3
20. d 5 Gen. i. 6
21. d 6 ibid. 11
22. d 9 ibid. 14
23. 318 a 1 ibid. 20
24. a 4 ibid. 24
25. a 11 Gen. ii. 4
26. 318 c 7 Jer. xxiii. 23, 24
27. d 1 Is. xl. 12, 13
28. d 6 ibid. 23
29. d 7 ibid. 26
30. d 8 Is. xlii. 5, 6
31. d 12 Is. xliv. 24
32. 319 a 1 Is. xlv. 5, 6
33. a 3 Jer. x. 11-14
34. b 1 Ps. cxxxix. 7
35. c 4 Gen. xiv. 22
36. c 8 ibid. 19
37. d 2 Gen. xxiv. 2
38. d 4 ibid. 7
39. d 9 Ex. iii. 14
40. 320 d 2 i Cor. i. 24
41. d 3 Job xxviii. 12
42. d 6 ibid. 22
43. d 9 Ps. xxxiii. 6
44. 321 a 1 Prov. viii. 12
45. a 3 ibid. 15
46. a 4 Prov. viii. 22
47. a 6 ibid. 25
48. a 7 ibid. 27
49. a 8 ibid. 28
50. a 9 ibid. 30
51. b 6 Wisd. of Sol. vi. 22
52. b 9 ibid. vii. 22
53. c 9 ibid. viii. 1
54. 321 d 13 Ps. cvii. 20
55. d 15 Ps. cxlvii. 15
56. d 19 John i. 1
57. 322 b 1 Gen. i. 26
58. b 4 Ps. xxxiii. 9, cxlviii. 5
59. c 3 Gen. xix. 24
60. c 7 Ps. cx. 1
61. d 1 Ps. cx. 3
62. d 11 Philo Iudaeus, a Fragment preserved by Eusebius alone
63. d 11 Gen. ix. 6
64. 323 b 3 Phil. i. Noah's husbandry, bk. 1.
65. 823 b 9 Phil. i. Noah's husbandry, bk. ii.
66. 324 a 1 Aristobulus. Cf. 375 d, 663 c
67. d 5 Joshua v. 14
68. d 6 Isa. ix. 6
69. 325 a 5 i Cor. xv. 41
70. 325 b 3 John i. 9
71. b 4 Mal. iv. 2
72. 326 b 1 i Cor. xv. 41
73. b 6 Ps. cxlvii. 4
74. c 4 Dan. vii. 10
75. 826 d 1 Ps. civ. 1
76. 327 a 6 Cf. Col. i. 16
77. b 1 Mal. iv. 3
78. c 3 Ps. cxlviii. 1
79. 328 a 4 Heb. i. 14
80. b 6 Mal. iv. 2
81. 328 d 7 Isa. xiv. 12
82. 329 a 2 Ezek. xxviii. 2
83. a 4 ibid. 12
84. a 8 ibid. 14
85. b 1 ibid. 17
86. d 5 Eph. vi. 12
87. d 8 Ps. xci. 13
88. 330 a 7 Ps, xcvi. 5
89. 330 d 12 Gen. i. 26
90. 331 a 1 Gen. ii. 7
91. b 1 Philo Iud. tom. i. p. 332 M
92. b 6 Gen. ii. 7
93. 333 c 6 Dionysius of Alexandria, Against Sabellius, a Fragment preserved by Eusebius only
94. 334 d 1 Origen, Commentary on Genesis, a Fragment preserved by Eusebius alone
95. 336 a 8 Gen. i. 2
96. b 5 Philo Iud. On Providence, tom. ii. p. 625 M. Fragment preserved by Eusebius alone
97. 337 b 3 Maximus: cf. Origen, Philocalia, c. 24; Methodius, On Free Will I, 5. 1
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
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