The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian
Chapter XXVIII.--The Tables Turned Upon Marcion, by Contrasts, in Favour of the True God.
Now, touching the weaknesses and malignities, and the other (alleged), notes (of the Creator), I too shall advance antitheses in rivalry to Marcion's. If my God knew not of any other superior to Himself, your god also was utterly unaware that there was any beneath himself. It is just what Heraclitus |the obscure| said; whether it be up or down, it comes to the same thing. If, indeed, he was not ignorant (of his position), it must have occurred to Him from the beginning. Sin and death, and the author of sin too -- the devil -- and all the evil which my God permitted to be, this also, did your god permit; for he allowed Him to permit it. Our God changed His purposes; in like manner yours did also. For he who cast his look so late in the human race, changed that purpose, which for so long a period had refused to cast that look. Our God repented Him of the evil in a given case; so also did yours. For by the fact that he at last had regard to the salvation of man, he showed such a repentance of his previous disregard as was due for a wrong deed. But neglect of man's salvation will be accounted a wrong deed, simply because it has been remedied by his repentance in the conduct of your god. Our God you say commanded a fraudulent act, but in a matter of gold and silver. Now, inasmuch as man is more precious than gold and silver, in so far is your god more fraudulent still, because he robs man of his Lord and Creator. Eye for eye does our God require; but your god does even a greater injury, (in your ideas,) when he prevents an act of retaliation. For what man will not return a blow, without waiting to be struck a second time. Our God (you say) knows not whom He ought to choose. Nor does your god, for if he had foreknown the issue, he would not have chosen the traitor Judas. If you allege that the Creator practised deception in any instance, there was a far greater mendacity in your Christ, whose very body was unreal. Many were consumed by the severity of my God. Those also who were not saved by your god are verily disposed by him to ruin. My God ordered a man to be slain. Your god willed himself to be put to death; not less a homicide against himself than in respect of him by whom he meant to be slain. I will moreover prove to Marcion that they were many who were slain by his god; for he made every one a homicide: in other words, he doomed him to perish, except when people failed in no duty towards Christ. But the straightforward virtue of truth is contented with few resources. Many things will be necessary for falsehood.