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Image Map : Christian Books : Chapter VII.--St. Paul's Phraseology Often Suggested by the Jewish Scriptures Christ Our Passover--A Phrase Which Introduces Us to the Very Heart of the Ancient Dispensation. Christ's True Corporeity. Married and Unmarried States. Meaning of the Time is S

The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian

Chapter VII.--St. Paul's Phraseology Often Suggested by the Jewish Scriptures Christ Our Passover--A Phrase Which Introduces Us to the Very Heart of the Ancient Dispensation. Christ's True Corporeity. Married and Unmarried States. Meaning of the Time is S

|And the hidden things of darkness He will Himself bring to light,| even by Christ; for He has promised Christ to be a Light, and Himself He has declared to be a lamp, |searching the hearts and reins.| From Him also shall |praise be had by every man,| from whom proceeds, as from a judge, the opposite also of praise. But here, at least, you say he interprets the world to be the God thereof, when he says: |We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.| For if by world he had meant the people thereof, he would not have afterwards specially mentioned |men.| To prevent, however, your using such an argument as this, the Holy Ghost has providentially explained the meaning of the passage thus: |We are made a spectacle to the world,| i.e. |both to angels,| who minister therein, |and to men,| who are the objects of their ministration. Of course, a man of the noble courage of our apostle (to say nothing of the Holy Ghost) was afraid, when writing to the children whom he had begotten in the gospel, to speak freely of the God of the world; for against Him he could not possibly seem to have a word to say, except only in a straightforward manner! I quite admit, that, according to the Creator's law, the man was an offender |who had his father's wife.| He followed, no doubt, the principles of natural and public law. When, however, he condemns the man |to be delivered unto Satan,| he becomes the herald of an avenging God. It does not matter that he also said, |For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord,| since both in the destruction of the flesh and in the saving of the spirit there is, on His part, judicial process; and when he bade |the wicked person be put away from the midst of them,| he only mentioned what is a very frequently recurring sentence of the Creator. |Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.| The unleavened bread was therefore, in the Creator's ordinance, a figure of us (Christians). |For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.| But why is Christ our passover, if the passover be not a type of Christ, in the similitude of the blood which saves, and of the Lamb, which is Christ? Why does (the apostle) clothe us and Christ with symbols of the Creator's solemn rites, unless they had relation to ourselves? When, again, he warns us against fornication, he reveals the resurrection of the flesh. |The body,| says he, |is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body,| just as the temple is for God, and God for the temple. A temple will therefore pass away with its god, and its god with the temple. You see, then, how that |He who raised up the Lord will also raise us up.| In the body will He raise us, because the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And suitably does he add the question: |Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?| What has the heretic to say? That these members of Christ will not rise again, for they are no longer our own? |For,| he says, |ye are bought with a price.| A price! surely none at all was paid, since Christ was a phantom, nor had He any corporeal substance which He could pay for our bodies! But, in truth, Christ had wherewithal to redeem us; and since He has redeemed, at a great price, these bodies of ours, against which fornication must not be committed (because they are now members of Christ, and not our own), surely He will secure, on His own account, the safety of those whom He made His own at so much cost! Now, how shall we glorify, how shall we exalt, God in our body, which is doomed to perish? We must now encounter the subject of marriage, which Marcion, more continent than the apostle, prohibits. For the apostle, although preferring the grace of continence, yet permits the contraction of marriage and the enjoyment of it, and advises the continuance therein rather than the dissolution thereof. Christ plainly forbids divorce, Moses unquestionably permits it.

Now, when Marcion wholly prohibits all carnal intercourse to the faithful (for we will say nothing about his catechumens), and when he prescribes repudiation of all engagements before marriage, whose teaching does he follow, that of Moses or of Christ? Even Christ, however, when He here commands |the wife not to depart from her husband, or if she depart, to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband,| both permitted divorce, which indeed He never absolutely prohibited, and confirmed (the sanctity) of marriage, by first forbidding its dissolution; and, if separation had taken place, by wishing the nuptial bond to be resumed by reconciliation. But what reasons does (the apostle) allege for continence? Because |the time is short.| I had almost thought it was because in Christ there was another god! And yet He from whom emanates this shortness of the time, will also send what suits the said brevity. No one makes provision for the time which is another's. You degrade your god, O Marcion, when you make him circumscribed at all by the Creator's time. Assuredly also, when (the apostle) rules that marriage should be |only in the Lord,| that no Christian should intermarry with a heathen, he maintains a law of the Creator, who everywhere prohibits marriage with strangers. But when he says, |although there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth,| the meaning of his words is clear -- not as if there were gods in reality, but as if there were some who are called gods, without being truly so. He introduces his discussion about meats offered to idols with a statement concerning idols (themselves): |We know that an idol is nothing in the world.| Marcion, however, does not say that the Creator is not God; so that the apostle can hardly be thought to have ranked the Creator amongst those who are called gods, without being so; since, even if they had been gods, |to us there is but one God, the Father.| Now, from whom do all things come to us, but from Him to whom all things belong? And pray, what things are these? You have them in a preceding part of the epistle: |All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come.| He makes the Creator, then the God of all things, from whom proceed both the world and life and death, which cannot possibly belong to the other god. From Him, therefore, amongst the |all things| comes also Christ. When he teaches that every man ought to live of his own industry, he begins with a copious induction of examples -- of soldiers, and shepherds, and husbandmen. But he wanted divine authority. What was the use, however, of adducing the Creator's, which he was destroying? It was vain to do so; for his god had no such authority! (The apostle) says: |Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn,| and adds: |Doth God take care of oxen?| Yes, of oxen, for the sake of men! For, says he, |it is written for our sakes.| Thus he showed that the law had a symbolic reference to ourselves, and that it gives its sanction in favour of those who live of the gospel. (He showed) also, that those who preach the gospel are on this account sent by no other god but Him to whom belongs the law, which made provision for them, when he says: |For our sakes was this written.| Still he declined to use this power which the law gave him, because he preferred working without any restraint. Of this he boasted, and suffered no man to rob him of such glory -- certainly with no view of destroying the law, which he proved that another man might use. For behold Marcion, in his blindness, stumbled at the rock whereof our fathers drank in the wilderness. For since |that rock was Christ,| it was, of course, the Creator's, to whom also belonged the people. But why resort to the figure of a sacred sign given by an extraneous god? Was it to teach the very truth, that ancient things prefigured the Christ who was to be educed out of them? For, being about to take a cursory view of what befell the people (of Israel) he begins with saying: |Now these things happened as examples for us.| Now, tell me, were these examples given by the Creator to men belonging to a rival god? Or did one god borrow examples from another, and a hostile one too? He withdraws me to himself in alarm from Him from whom he transfers my allegiance. Will his antagonist make me better disposed to him? Should I now commit the same sins as the people, shall I have to suffer the same penalties, or not? But if not the same, how vainly does he propose to me terrors which I shall not have to endure! From whom, again, shall I have to endure them? If from the Creator, What evils does it appertain to Him to inflict? And how will it happen that, jealous God as He is, He shall punish the man who offends His rival, instead of rather encouraging him. If, however, from the other god -- but he knows not how to punish. So that the whole declaration of the apostle lacks a reasonable basis, if it is not meant to relate to the Creator's discipline. But the fact is, the apostle's conclusion corresponds to the beginning: |Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.| What a Creator! how prescient already, and considerate in warning Christians who belong to another god! Whenever cavils occur the like to those which have been already dealt with, I pass them by; certain others I despatch briefly. A great argument for another god is the permission to eat of all kinds of meats, contrary to the law. Just as if we did not ourselves allow that the burdensome ordinances of the law were abrogated -- but by Him who imposed them, who also promised the new condition of things. The same, therefore, who prohibited meats, also restored the use of them, just as He had indeed allowed them from the beginning. If, however, some strange god had come to destroy our God, his foremost prohibition would certainly have been, that his own votaries should abstain from supporting their lives on the resources of his adversary.

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