Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/Against Hermogenes/XXX

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, Against Hermogenes by Tertullian, translated by Peter Holmes
XXX

Chapter XXX.—Another Passage in the Sacred History of the Creation, Released from the Mishandling of Hermogenes.

The following words will in like manner apparently corroborate the conjecture of Hermogenes, “And darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water;”[1] as if these blended[2] substances, presented us with arguments for his massive pile of Matter.[3] Now, so discriminating an enumeration of certain and distinct elements (as we have in this passage), which severally designates “darkness,” “the deep,” “the Spirit of God,” “the waters,” forbids the inference that anything confused or (from such confusion) uncertain is meant. Still more, when He ascribed to them their own places,[4] “darkness on the face of the deep,” “the Spirit upon the face of the waters,” He repudiated all confusion in the substances; and by demonstrating their separate position,[5] He demonstrated also their distinction.  Most absurd, indeed, would it be that Matter, which is introduced to our view as “without form,” should have its “formless” condition maintained by so many words indicative of form,[6] without any intimation of what that confused body[7] is, which must of course be supposed to be unique,[8] since it is without form.[9] For that which is without form is uniform; but even[10] that which is without form, when it is blended together[11] from various component parts,[12] must necessarily have one outward appearance;[13] and it has not any appearance, until it has the one appearance (which comes) from many parts combined.[14] Now Matter either had those specific parts[15] within itself, from the words indicative of which it had to be understood—I mean “darkness,” and “the deep,” and “the Spirit,” and “the waters”—or it had them not. If it had them, how is it introduced as being “without form?”[16] If it had them not, how does it become known?[17]


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Gen. i. 2.
  2. Confusæ.
  3. Massalis illius molis.
  4. Situs.
  5. Dispositionem.
  6. Tot formarum vocabulis.
  7. Corpus confusionis.
  8. Unicum.
  9. Informe.
  10. Autem.
  11. Confusum.
  12. Ex varietate.
  13. Unam speciem.
  14. Unam ex multis speciem.
  15. Istas species.
  16. Non habens formas.
  17. Agnoscitur.