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


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

826805 S


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

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

2. 1 See Appendix 2.


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


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


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

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


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

3. 1 i.e. IV. 14.


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


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


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

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

so that old things might pass away and new things might arise,
a new law out of Sion and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem,d

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

4. 1 Those on the evening before the sabbath.


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

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


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


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

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

5. 1 See Appendix 2.


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


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


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

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


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

826805 U


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


who marks out the limits set by God's law of conduct: for he says,
I will take away from Judaea, among other matters, even the wise
And was not that a presage of Paul himself, who
was destined to be taken away from Judaea, which means Judaism,
for the building up of Christendom? For he was to lay that one
and only foundation which is Christ. Indeed of this too the
Creator speaks, by the same prophet: Behold I insert into the founda-
tions of Sion a stone precious (and) honourable, and he that believeth in
it shall not be put to shame.i
Unless perhaps God was professing
himself the fabricator of some terrestrial work, so that it was not
his own Christ he indicated as the one who was to be the founda-
tion of those who believe in him. And upon this according as each
man builds, worthy or unworthy doctrine, if his work is to be
approved by fire, if his wages are to be paid to him by fire, it
belongs to the Creator: because the judgement by fire is of your
superstructure, which <is set> upon his foundation, which means,
his Christ. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the
Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If man is both the property and the
work and the image and the likeness of the Creator, and is flesh
by virtue of the Creator's earth, and soul by virtue of his breath-
ing, then Marcion's god is dwelling entirely on someone else's
property, if it is not the Creator whose temple we are. But if
anyone destroy the temple of God, he shall be destroyed:
by the God of
the temple. When you threaten him with an avenger, it is the
Creator you will be threatening him with. Become fools, that ye
may be wise.
Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with
Which god? If what has preceded does not constitute a
precedent judgement in favour of my interpretation, well it is
that here again he proceeds, For it is written, He that taketh the wise
in their own naughtiness: and again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of
the wise, that they are worse than vain.j
For in general we shall make
it a standing rule that <your god> could never have made use of
any sentence of that God whom it was his duty to destroy, with-
out thereby giving teaching in his favour. Therefore, he says, let
no man glory in a man.
And this too is in line with the Creator's
ruling: Wretched the man that hath hope in a man,k and, It is better to
trust in God than to trust in men,l
or, of course, to glory.

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

8. 1 i.e. at IV. 40.        2 On prophecy terminating in Christ, IV. 18. 4.


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

826805 X


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

826805 Y


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

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

11. 1 See Appendix 2.


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

13. 1 See Appendix 2.

826805 Z


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


heads, as one who while forbidding to steal gave command for
deception against the Egyptians in the matter of gold and silvera
for after this fashion they hurl back other complaints against him.
Do you think the apostle hesitated to cast open censure against
the God from whom <you allege> he had not hesitated to revolt?
No, his attack was as clearly against the Jews as was his introduc-
tion of the prophetic rebuke, For your sakes the name of God is
How preposterous then that he should himself
blaspheme the God whom he rebukes evil men for causing to
be blasphemed. He says also that circumcision of the heart is
better than uncircumcision: it was under the God of the law that
first appeared this circumcision of the heart, not of the flesh; in
the spirit, not in the letter. But if this is the circumcision Jeremiah
means,c And circumcise the foreskins of your heart—as also Moses said,d

Circumcise your hardness of heart—then the Spirit who circumcises
the heart will be his whose is the letter that slices off the flesh,
and the Jew who is in secret will be his whose is the Jew who is one
openly: because the apostle would not be disposed to give the
name of Jew to one who was not the servant of the Jews' God.
Of old there was the law, but now the righteousness of God by
the faith of Christ. What is this distinction? Was it that your god
did service to the Creator's design, granting him and his law
time <to come into action>? Or did it belong to the same God
then as now? The law belongs to him to whom belongs the faith
of Christ: the distinction is not between two gods but two courses
of divine action. He enjoins us who are justified, not by the law
but by the faith of Christ, to have peace towards God. Which
god? Him whose enemies we have never been, or him against
whose law and nature we have been in rebellion? For if the peace
needed is with him with whom there has been war, for him we
shall be justified; and Christ by whose faith we shall be justified,
will belong to him to whose peace it is needful that his enemies
should sometime be brought back. But the law, he says, entered
in besides, that the offence might abound.
Why? So that grace, he says,
might much more abound. Which god's grace, if not his whose is the
law? Unless you think the Creator with this intent interposed
the law, that he might provide business for the grace of that other
god who was even his enemy—not to mention, unknown to him—
so that as in his own days sin had reigned unto death, so also
grace should reign in righteousness unto life through Jesus Christ


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

826805 A a


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

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

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


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


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

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

17. 1 See Appendix 2.


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

826805 B b


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


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


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

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

19. 1 See Appendix 2.


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


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

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


verity is so far removed that it both fears to stir up the wrath of
God, and is assured that he has produced all things out of no-
thing, and professes that he will reconstitute this same flesh, and
is not ashamed that Christ was born of the womb of a virgin, in
spite of the mockery of philosophers and heretics and the heathen
as well. For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to
confound wise men—that God surely who out of regard for this
ordinance of his threatened long ago that he would destroy the
wisdom of the wise.c By this simplicity of the truth, the opposite of
subtle speech and philosophy, we are precluded from imagining
anything perverse. Again, as God quickeneth us together with
Christ, forgiving our trespasses, we cannot suppose that trespasses
are forgiven by him against whom they have not been committed
because he was at that time unknown. Come now: when he says,
Let no man judge you in meat and drink or in respect of an holy day or of
the new moon or the sabbath, which are the shadow of things to come,
but the body is of Christ,
what think you, Marcion? We are not now
discussing the law, except that here too he explains in what way
it is superseded, by being transferred out of shadow into body;
that is, from figures into the truth, and that is Christ. So then the
shadow belongs to him whose is the body; which means that
the law is his whose also is Christ. Separate them off, to one god
the law, to another god Christ, if indeed you can separate any
shadow from that body of which it is the shadow. Evidently Christ
belongs to the law, if he is the body of it, the shadow. Again if he
passes censure upon some who because of visions of angels pro-
fessed they must abstain from <certain> foods—touch not, taste not—
walking in voluntary humility of mind, not holding fast the Head,
he is not therefore charging the law, and Moses, with having
forbidden the use of certain foods because of superstition about
angels: for it is admitted that Moses received the law from God.
In fact this sort of conduct—according to the commandments, he says,
and doctrines of men—he has laid to the charge of those who were
not holding fast the Head; that is, him in whom all things are
being summed up, now that the absence of distinction of meats
has been referred back to its origin in Christ. As the rest of his
precepts are the same as elsewhere, let us be satisfied to have
explained in other places how they have derived from the Creator:
for when he foretold that old things were to pass away, as he was
to make all things new,d and added the commandment, Renew


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

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

20. 1 See Appendix 2.


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

826805 C C


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

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

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

826805 CC2

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Ernest Evans(ed), Tertullian: Adversus Marcionem. © Oxford University Press. 1972.  Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.

Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1972
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2002

Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press
SPIonic font, free from here.

This page has been online since 8th January 2002.

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