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ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
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Chapter XVIII.—An Eulogy on the Wisdom and Word of God, by Which God Made All Things of Nothing.

If any material was necessary to God in the creation of the world, as Hermogenes supposed, God had a far nobler and more suitable one in His own wisdom62916291    Sophiam suam scilicet.—one which was not to be gauged by the writings of62926292    Apud. philosophers, but to be learnt from the words or prophets. This alone, indeed, knew the mind of the Lord. For “who knoweth the things of God, and the things in God, but the Spirit, which is in Him?”62936293    1 Cor. ii. 11. Now His wisdom is that Spirit. This was His counsellor, the very way of His wisdom and knowledge.62946294    Isa. xl. 14. Of this He made all things, making them through It, and making them with It.  “When He prepared the heavens,” so says (the Scripture62956295    Or the “inquit” may indicate the very words of “Wisdom.”), “I was present with Him; and when He strengthened above the winds the lofty clouds, and when He secured the fountains62966296    Fontes. Although Oehler prefers Junius’ reading “montes,” he yet retains “fontes,” because Tertullian (in ch. xxxii. below) has the unmistakable reading “fontes” in a like connection. which are under the heaven, I was present, compacting these things62976297    Compingens. along with Him. I was He62986298    Ad quem: the expression is masculine. in whom He took delight; moreover, I daily rejoiced in His presence: for He rejoiced when He had finished the world, and amongst the sons of men did He show forth His pleasure.”62996299    Prov. viii. 27–31. Now, who would not rather approve of63006300    Commendet. this as the fountain and origin of all things—of this as, in very deed, the Matter of all Matter, not liable to any end,63016301    “Non fini subditam” is Oehler’s better reading than the old “sibi subditam.” not diverse in condition, not restless in motion, not ungraceful in form, but natural, and proper, and duly proportioned, and beautiful, such truly as even God might well have required, who requires His own and not another’s? Indeed, as soon as He perceived It to be necessary for His creation of the world, He immediately creates It, and generates It in Himself. “The Lord,” says the Scripture, “possessed63026302    Condidit: created. me, the beginning of His ways for the creation of His works. Before the worlds He founded me; before He made the earth, before the mountains were settled in their places; moreover, before the hills He generated me, and prior to the depths was I begotten.”63036303    See Prov. viii. Let Hermogenes then confess that the very Wisdom of God is declared to be born and created, for the especial reason that we should not suppose that there is any other being than God alone who is unbegotten and uncreated. For if that, which from its being inherent in the Lord63046304    Intra Dominum. was of Him and in Him, was yet not without a beginning,—I mean63056305    Scilicet. His wisdom, which was then born and created, when in the thought of God It began to assume motion63066306    Cœpti agitari. for the arrangement of His creative works,—how much more impossible63076307    Multo magis non capit. is it that anything should have been without a beginning which was extrinsic to the Lord!63086308    Extra Dominum. But if this same Wisdom is the Word of God, in the capacity63096309    Sensu. of Wisdom, and (as being He) without whom nothing was made, just as also (nothing) was set in order without Wisdom, how can it be that anything, except the Father, should be older, and on this account indeed nobler, than the Son of God, the only-begotten and first-begotten Word?  Not to say that63106310    Nedum. what is unbegotten is stronger than that which is born, and what is not made more powerful than that which is made.  Because that which did not require a Maker to give it existence, will be much more elevated in rank than that which had an author to bring it into being. On this principle, then,63116311    Proinde. if evil is indeed unbegotten, whilst the Son of God is begotten (“for,” says God, “my heart hath emitted my most excellent Word”63126312    On this version of Ps. xlv. 1., and its application by Tertullian, see our Anti-Marcion (p. 299, note 5).), I am not quite sure that evil may not be introduced by good, the stronger by the weak, in the same way as the unbegotten is by the begotten. Therefore on this ground Hermogenes puts Matter even before God, by putting it before the Son. Because the Son is the Word, and “the Word is God,”63136313    John i. 1. and “I and my Father are one.”63146314    John x. 30. But after all, perhaps,63156315    Nisi quod. the Son will patiently enough submit to having that preferred before Him which (by Hermogenes), is made equal to the Father!


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