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ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second
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Chapter IV.—The Objection is Raised, Why, Then, Was the Limit of Lawful Food Extended After the Flood?  The Answer to It.

This rationale was constantly kept in the eye of the providence of God—modulating all things, as He does, to suit the exigencies of the times—lest any from the opposite side, with the view of demolishing our proposition, should say:  “Why, in that case, did not God forthwith institute some definite restriction upon food? nay, rather, why did He withal enlarge His permission?  For, at the beginning indeed, it had only been the food of herbs and trees which He had assigned to man:  ‘Behold, I have given you all grass fit for sowing, seeding seed, which is upon the earth; and every tree which hath in itself the fruit of seed fit for sowing shall be to you for food.’10221022    Gen. i. 29.  Afterwards, however, after enumerating to Noah the subjection (to him) of ‘all beasts of the earth, and fowls of the heaven, and things moving on earth, and the fish of the sea, and every creeping thing,’ He says, ‘They shall be to you for food:  just like grassy vegetables have I given (them) you universally:  but flesh in the blood of its own soul shall ye not eat.’10231023    See Gen. ix. 2–5 (in LXX.).  For even by this very fact, that He exempts from eating that flesh only the ‘soul’ of which is not out-shed through ‘blood,’ it is manifest that He has conceded the use of all other flesh.”  To this we reply, that it was not suitable for man to be burdened with any further special law of abstinence, who so recently showed himself unable to tolerate so light an interdiction—of one single fruit, to wit; that, accordingly, having had the rein relaxed, he was to be strengthened by his very liberty; that equally after the deluge, in the reformation of the human race, (as before it), one law—of abstaining from blood—was sufficient, the use of all things else being allowed.  For the Lord had already shown His judgment through the deluge; had, moreover, likewise issued a comminatory warning through the “requisition of blood from the hand of a brother, and from the hand of every beast.”10241024    See Gen. ix. 5, 6.  And thus, preministering the justice of judgment, He issued the materials of liberty; preparing through allowance an undergrowth of discipline; permitting all things, with a view to take some away; meaning to “exact more” if He had “committed more;”10251025    See Luke xii. 48. to command abstinence since He had foresent indulgence:  in order that (as we have said) the primordial sin might be the more expiated by the operation of a greater abstinence in the (midst of the) opportunity of a greater licence.


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