The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian
Chapter XXXVIII.--Christ's Refutations of the Pharisees Rendering Dues to Cæsar and to God. Next of the Sadducees, Respecting Marriage in the Resurrection. These Prove Him Not to Be Marcion's But the Creator's Christ. Marcion's Tamperings in Order t
Christ knew |the baptism of John, whence it was.| Then why did He ask them, as if He knew not? He knew that the Pharisees would not give Him an answer; then why did He ask in vain? Was it that He might judge them out of their own mouth, or their own heart? Suppose you refer these points to an excuse of the Creator, or to His comparison with Christ; then consider what would have happened if the Pharisees had replied to His question. Suppose their answer to have been, that John's baptism was |of men,| they would have been immediately stoned to death. Some Marcion, in rivalry to Marcion, would have stood up and said: O most excellent God; how different are his ways from the Creator's! Knowing that men would rush down headlong over it, He placed them actually on the very precipice. For thus do men treat of the Creator respecting His law of the tree. But John's baptism was |from heaven.| |Why, therefore,| asks Christ, |did ye not believe him?| He therefore who had wished men to believe John, purposing to censure them because they had not believed him, belonged to Him whose sacrament John was administering. But, at any rate, when He actually met their refusal to say what they thought, with such reprisals as, |Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things,| He returned evil for evil! |Render unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar's, and unto God the things which be God's.| What will be |the things which are God's?| Such things as are like Cæsar's denarius -- that is to say, His image and similitude. That, therefore, which he commands to be |rendered unto God,| the Creator, is man, who has been stamped with His image, likeness, name, and substance. Let Marcion's god look after his own mint. Christ bids the denarius of man's imprint to be rendered to His Cæsar, (His Cæsar I say,) not the Cæsar of a strange god. The truth, however, must be confessed, this god has not a denarius to call his own! In every question the just and proper rule is, that the meaning of the answer ought to be adapted to the proposed inquiry. But it is nothing short of madness to return an answer altogether different from the question submitted to you. God forbid, then, that we should expect from Christ conduct which would be unfit even to an ordinary man! The Sadducees, who said there was no resurrection, in a discussion on that subject, had proposed to the Lord a case of law touching a certain woman, who, in accordance with the legal prescription, had been married to seven brothers who had died one after the other. The question therefore was, to which husband must she be reckoned to belong in the resurrection? This, (observe,) was the gist of the inquiry, this was the sum and substance of the dispute. And to it Christ was obliged to return a direct answer. He had nobody to fear; that it should seem advisable for Him either to evade their questions, or to make them the occasion of indirectly mooting a subject which He was not in the habit of teaching publicly at any other time. He therefore gave His answer, that |the children of this world marry.| You see how pertinent it was to the case in point. Because the question concerned the next world, and He was going to declare that no one marries there, He opens the way by laying down the principles that here, where there is death, there is also marriage. |But they whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; forasmuch as they cannot die any more, since they become equal to the angels, being made the children of God and of the resurrection.| If, then, the meaning of the answer must not turn on any other point than on the proposed question, and since the question proposed is fully understood from this sense of the answer, then the Lord's reply admits of no other interpretation than that by which the question is clearly understood. You have both the time in which marriage is permitted, and the time in which it is said to be unsuitable, laid before you, not on their own account, but in consequence of an inquiry about the resurrection. You have likewise a confirmation of the resurrection itself, and the whole question which the Sadducees mooted, who asked no question about another god, nor inquired about the proper law of marriage. Now, if you make Christ answer questions which were not submitted to Him, you, in fact, represent Him as having been unable to solve the points on which He was really consulted, and entrapped of course by the cunning of the Sadducees. I shall now proceed, by way of supererogation, and after the rule (I have laid down about questions and answers), to deal with the arguments which have any consistency in them. They procured then a copy of the Scripture, and made short work with its text, by reading it thus: |Those whom the god of that world shall account worthy.| They add the phrase |of that world| to the word |god,| whereby they make another god |the god of that world;| whereas the passage ought to be read thus: |Those whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world| (removing the distinguishing phrase |of this world| to the end of the clause, in other words, |Those whom God shall account worthy of obtaining and rising to that world.| For the question submitted to Christ had nothing to do with the god, but only with the state, of that world. It was: |Whose wife should this woman be in that world after the resurrection?| They thus subvert His answer respecting the essential question of marriage, and apply His words, |The children of this world marry and are given in marriage,| as if they referred to the Creator's men, and His permission to them to marry; whilst they themselves whom the god of that world -- that is, the rival god -- accounted worthy of the resurrection, do not marry even here, because they are not children of this world. But the fact is, that, having been consulted about marriage in that world, not in this present one, He had simply declared the non-existence of that to which the question related. They, indeed, who had caught the very force of His voice, and pronunciation, and expression, discovered no other sense than what had reference to the matter of the question. Accordingly, the Scribes exclaimed, |Master, Thou hast well said.| For He had affirmed the resurrection, by describing the form thereof in opposition to the opinion of the Sadducees. Now, He did not reject the attestation of those who had assumed His answer to bear this meaning. If, however, the Scribes thought Christ was David's Son, whereas (David) himself calls Him Lord, what relation has this to Christ? David did not literally confute an error of the Scribes, yet David asserted the honour of Christ, when he more prominently affirmed that He was his Lord than his Son, -- an attribute which was hardly suitable to the destroyer of the Creator. But how consistent is the interpretation on our side of the question! For He, who had been a little while ago invoked by the blind man as |the Son of David,| then made no remark on the subject, not having the Scribes in His presence; whereas He now purposely moots the point before them, and that of His own accord, in order that He might show Himself whom the blind man, following the doctrine of the Scribes, had simply declared to be the Son of David, to be also his Lord. He thus honoured the blind man's faith which had acknowledged His Sonship to David; but at the same time He struck a blow at the tradition of the Scribes, which prevented them from knowing that He was also (David's) Lord. Whatever had relation to the glory of the Creator's Christ, no other would thus guard and maintain but Himself the Creator's Christ.