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

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

Chapter XLIII.—Other Discrepancies Exposed and Refuted Respecting the Evil in Matter Being Changed to Good.

On the subject of motion I would make this further remark.  Following the simile of the boiling caldron, you say that motion in Matter, before it was regulated, was confused,[1] restless, incomprehensible by reason of excess in the commotion.[2] Then again you go on to say, “But it waited for the regulation[3] of God, and kept its irregular motion incomprehensible, owing to the tardiness of its irregular motion.” Just before you ascribe commotion, here tardiness, to motion. Now observe how many slips you make respecting the nature of Matter. In a former passage[4] you say, “If Matter were naturally evil, it would not have admitted of a change for the better; nor would God have ever applied to it any attempt at arrangement, for His labour would have been in vain.” You therefore concluded your two opinions, that Matter was not by nature evil, and that its nature was incapable of being changed by God; and then, forgetting them, you afterwards drew this inference: “But when it received adjustment from God, and was reduced to order,[5] it relinquished its nature.” Now, inasmuch as it was transformed to good, it was of course transformed from evil; and if by God’s setting it in order it relinquished[6] the nature of evil, it follows that its nature came to an end;[7] now its nature was evil before the adjustment, but after the transformation it might have relinquished that nature.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Concretus.
  2. Certaminis.
  3. Compositionem: “arrangement.”
  4. See above, ch. xxxvii. p. 498.
  5. Ornata.
  6. Cessavit a.
  7. Cessavit.