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ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
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Chapter XI.—Hermogenes Makes Great Efforts to Remove Evil from God to Matter. How He Fails to Do This Consistently with His Own Argument.

But, after all,62276227    Et tamen. by what proofs does Hermogenes persuade us that Matter is evil? For it will be impossible for him not to call that evil to which he imputes evil. Now we lay down this principle,62286228    Definimus. that what is eternal cannot possibly admit of diminution and subjection, so as to be considered inferior to another co-eternal Being. So that we now affirm that evil is not even compatible with it,62296229    Competere illi. since it is incapable of subjection, from the fact that it cannot in any wise be subject to any, because it is eternal.  But inasmuch as, on other grounds,62306230    Alias. it is evident what is eternal as God is the highest good, whereby also He alone is good—as being eternal, and therefore good—as being God, how can evil be inherent in Matter, which (since it is eternal) must needs be believed to be the highest good? Else if that which is eternal prove to be also capable of evil, this (evil) will be able to be also believed of God to His prejudice;62316231    Et in Deum credi. so that it is without adequate reason that he has been so anxious62326232    Gestivit. to remove evil from God; since evil must be compatible with an eternal Being, even by being made compatible with Matter, as Hermogenes makes it. But, as the argument now stands,62336233    Jam vero. since what is eternal can be deemed evil, the evil must prove to be invincible and insuperable, as being eternal; and in that case62346234    Tum. it will be in vain that we labour “to put away evil from the midst of us;”62356235    1 Cor. v. 13. in that case, moreover, God vainly gives us such a command and precept; nay more, in vain has God appointed any judgment at all, when He means, indeed,62366236    Utique: with a touch of irony, in the argumentum ad hominem. to inflict punishment with injustice.  But if, on the other hand, there is to be an end of evil, when the chief thereof, the devil, shall “go away into the fire which God hath prepared for him and his angels”62376237    Matt. xxv. 41.—having been first “cast into the bottomless pit;”62386238    Rev. xx. 3. when likewise “the manifestation of the children of God”62396239    Rom. viii. 19. shall have “delivered the creature”62406240    Rom. viii. 21. from evil, which had been “made subject to vanity;”62416241    Rom. viii. 20. when the cattle restored in the innocence and integrity of their nature62426242    Conditionis: “creation.” shall be at peace62436243    Condixerint. with the beasts of the field, when also little children shall play with serpents;62446244    Isa. xi. 6. when the Father shall have put beneath the feet of His Son His enemies,62456245    Ps. cx. 1. as being the workers of evil,—if in this way an end is compatible with evil, it must follow of necessity that a beginning is also compatible with it; and Matter will turn out to have a beginning, by virtue of its having also an end. For whatever things are set to the account of evil,62466246    Male deputantur. have a compatibility with the condition of evil.


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