Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/Against the Valentinians/XXVI

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chapter XXVI.—The Three Several Natures—The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and Their Several Destinations.  The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the Structure of Soter’s Nature.

In like manner they assign to each of them a separate end.[1] To the material, that is to say the carnal (nature), which they also call “the left-handed,” they assign undoubted destruction; to the animal (nature), which they also call “the right-handed,” a doubtful issue, inasmuch as it oscillates between the material and the spiritual, and is sure to fall at last on the side to which it has mainly gravitated. As regards the spiritual, however, (they say) that it enters into the formation of the animal, in order that it may be educated in company with it and be disciplined by repeated intercourse with it. For the animal (nature) was in want of training even by the senses: for this purpose, accordingly, was the whole structure of the world provided; for this purpose also did Soter (the Saviour) present Himself in the world—even for the salvation of the animal (nature). By yet another arrangement they will have it that He, in some prodigious way,[2] clothed Himself with the primary portions[3] of those substances, the whole of which He was going to restore to salvation; in such wise that He assumed the spiritual nature from Achamoth, whilst He derived the animal (being), Christ, afterwards from the Demiurge; His corporal substance, however, which was constructed of an animal nature (only with wonderful and indescribable skill), He wore for a dispensational purpose, in order that He might, in spite of His own unwillingness,[4] be capable of meeting persons, and of being seen and touched by them, and even of dying. But there was nothing material assumed by Him, inasmuch as that was incapable of salvation. As if He could possibly have been more required by any others than by those who were in want of salvation! And all this, in order that by severing the condition of our flesh from Christ they may also deprive it of the hope of salvation!


  1. Exitum.
  2. Monstruosum illum.
  3. Prosicias induisse. Irenæus says, “Assumed the first-fruits,” τὰς ἀπαρχάς.
  4. Ingratis.