Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tertullian against Marcion, on evil

Enjoy the metaphor of this passionate lawyer advocating for the Christian faith. This was written around the year 208.

Now then, ye dogs, whom the apostle puts outside, and who yelp at the God of truth, let us come to your various questions. These are the bones of contention, which you are perpetually gnawing! If God is good, and prescient of the future, and able to avert evil, why did He permit man, the very image and likeness of Himself, and, by the origin of his soul, His own substance too, to be deceived by the devil, and fall from obedience of the law into death? For if He had been good, and so unwilling that such a catastrophe should happen, and prescient, so as not to be ignorant of what was to come to pass, and powerful enough to hinder its occurrence, that issue would never have come about . . . . Since, however, it has occurred, the contrary proposition is most certainly true, that God must be deemed neither good, nor prescient, nor powerful (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, Tertullian I,II,III, Against Marcion, book II, chapt V, p 300; 1995 reprint edition of Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA).

For further remarks of Tertullian, resolving this question, check out Sunday's message notes.

No comments: