Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/On the Flesh of Christ/XXIV

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, On the Flesh of Christ
by Tertullian, translated by Peter Holmes
155482Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, On the Flesh of Christ — XXIVPeter HolmesTertullian

Chapter XXIV.—Divine Strictures on Various Heretics Descried in Various Passages of Prophetical Scripture. Those Who Assail the True Doctrine of the One Lord Jesus Christ, Both God and Man, Thus Condemned.

For when Isaiah hurls denunciation against our very heretics, especially in his “Woe to them that call evil good, and put darkness for light,”[1] he of course sets his mark upon those amongst you[2] who preserve not in the words they employ the light of their true significance, (by taking care) that the soul should mean only that which is so called, and the flesh simply that which is confest to our view, and God none other than the One who is preached.[3] Having thus Marcion in his prophetic view, he says, “I am God, and there is none else; there is no God beside me.”[4] And when in another passage he says, in like manner, “Before me there was no God,”[5] he strikes at those inexplicable genealogies of the Valentinian Æons. Again, there is an answer to Ebion in the Scripture: “Born,[6] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In like manner, in the passage, “If even an angel of heaven preach unto you any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema,”[7] he calls attention to the artful influence of Philumene,[8] the virgin friend of Apelles. Surely he is antichrist who denies that Christ has come in the flesh.[9] By declaring that His flesh is simply and absolutely true, and taken in the plain sense of its own nature, the Scripture aims a blow at all who make distinctions in it.[10] In the same way, also, when it defines the very Christ to be but one, it shakes the fancies of those who exhibit a multiform Christ, who make Christ to be one being and Jesus another,—representing one as escaping out of the midst of the crowds, and the other as detained by them; one as appearing on a solitary mountain to three companions, clothed with glory in a cloud, the other as an ordinary man holding intercourse with all,[11] one as magnanimous, but the other as timid; lastly, one as suffering death, the other as risen again, by means of which event they maintain a resurrection of their own also, only in another flesh.  Happily, however, He who suffered “will come again from heaven,”[12] and by all shall He be seen, who rose again from the dead. They too who crucified Him shall see and acknowledge Him; that is to say, His very flesh, against which they spent their fury, and without which it would be impossible for Himself either to exist or to be seen; so that they must blush with shame who affirm that His flesh sits in heaven void of sensation, like a sheath only, Christ being withdrawn from it; as well as those who (maintain) that His flesh and soul are just the same thing,[13] or else that His soul is all that exists,[14] but that His flesh no longer lives.


  1. Isa. v. 20.
  2. Istos.
  3. Prædicatur.
  4. Isa. xlv. 5.
  5. Isa. xlvi. 9.
  6. John i. 13. Tertullian’s quotation is, as usual, in the singular, “natus.”
  7. Gal. i. 8.
  8. Comp. de Præscr. Hæret. c. xxx. p. 257, supra.
  9. 1 John iv. 3.
  10. Disceptatores ejus.
  11. Ceteris passivum.
  12. Acts i. 11.
  13. Tantundem.
  14. Tantummodo.