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

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Chapter XXVII.—The Christ of the Demiurge, Sent into the World by the Virgin. Not of Her. He Found in Her, Not a Mother, But Only a Passage or Channel. Jesus Descended Upon Christ, at His Baptism, Like a Dove; But, Being Incapable of Suffering, He Left Christ to Die on the Cross Alone.

I now adduce[1] (what they say) concerning Christ, upon whom some of them engraft Jesus with so much licence, that they foist into Him a spiritual seed together with an animal inflatus. Indeed, I will not undertake to describe[2] these incongruous crammings,[3] which they have contrived in relation both to their men and their gods. Even the Demiurge has a Christ of His own—His natural Son. An animal, in short, produced by Himself, proclaimed by the prophets—His position being one which must be decided by prepositions; in other words, He was produced by means of a virgin, rather than of a virgin! On the ground that, having descended into the virgin rather in the manner of a passage through her than of a birth by her, He came into existence through her, not of her—not experiencing a mother in her, but nothing more than a way. Upon this same Christ, therefore (so they say), Jesus descended in the sacrament of baptism, in the likeness of a dove.  Moreover, there was even in Christ accruing from Achamoth the condiment of a spiritual seed, in order of course to prevent the corruption of all the other stuffing.[4] For after the precedent of the principal Tetrad, they guard him with four substances—the spiritual one of Achamoth, the animal one of the Demiurge, the corporeal one, which cannot be described, and that of Soter, or, in other phrase, the columbine.[5] As for Soter (Jesus), he remained in Christ to the last, impassible, incapable of injury, incapable of apprehension. By and by, when it came to a question of capture, he departed from him during the examination before Pilate. In like manner, his mother’s seed did not admit of being injured, being equally exempt from all manner of outrage,[6] and being undiscovered even by the Demiurge himself. The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion[7] of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable[8] form. In this manner do they reduce all things to mere images—Christians themselves being indeed nothing but imaginary beings!


  1. Reddo.
  2. Nescio quæ.
  3. Fartilia.
  4. Farsura.
  5. That which descended like a dove.
  6. Æque insubditivam.
  7. In delineationem.
  8. Agnitionali.