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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 L.

In the next place, Celsus, after heaping together, simply as mere assertions, the varying opinions of some of the ancients regarding the world, and the origin of man, alleges that “Moses and the prophets, who have left to us our books, not knowing at all what the nature of the world is, and of man, have woven together a web of sheer nonsense.”45334533    συνθεῖναι ληρον βαθύν.  If he had shown, now, how it appeared to him that the holy Scriptures contained “sheer nonsense,” we should have tried to demolish the arguments which appeared to him to establish their nonsensical character; but on the present occasion, following his own example, we also sportively give it as our opinion that Celsus, knowing nothing at all about the nature of the meaning and language of the prophets,45344534    ὅτι τίς ποτέ ἐστιν ἡ φύσις τοῦ νοῦ, καὶ τοῦ ἐν τοῖς προφήταις λόγου. composed a work which contained “sheer nonsense,” and boastfully gave it the title of a “true discourse.”  And since he makes the statements about the “days of creation” ground of accusation,—as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, and sun, and moon, and stars, and some of them after the creation of these,—we shall only make this observation, that Moses must then have forgotten that he had said a little before, “that in six days the creation of the world had been finished,” and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following:  “This is the book of the creation of man, in the day when God made the heaven and the earth!”  But it is not in the least credible, that after what he had said respecting the six days, Moses should immediately add, without a special meaning, the words, “in the day that God made the heavens and the earth;” and if any one thinks that these words may be referred to the statement, “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,” let him observe that before the words, “Let there be light, and there was light,” and these, “God called the light day,” it has been stated that “in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.”


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