Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tertullian Criticizes the Marcionites For Thinking God is Too Human

"[Marcionites] will suppose that at every point things human can be compared with things divine. Now if admission be granted to this supposition, what is to prevent the introduction, I say not of a third god and a fourth, but of as many gods as there are kings of the nations? The subject of our discussion is God, whose primary characteristic it is to exclude comparison with any similitude whatsoever. Nature itself will tell of this, not to mention such a one as Isaiah, or rather God, who asks by Isaiah, To whom will ye liken me? Human attributes may perchance be comparable with divine, but not with God: for God is one thing, his attributes another. Again, when you make use of this example of the king as supremely great, you may perhaps be at fault: for though a king is the supremely great on his own throne, next after God, yet is he inferior to God, and when brought into comparison with God must be deposed from his supreme greatness, as that is trans- ferred back to God. This being so, how can you use, for comparison with God, the example of a fact which, as soon as it comes into comparison, escapes away from you?" [Tertullian Adv Marc. 1.4]

An odd line of reasoning considering the same Tertullian criticizes the Marcionites for rejecting the title 'Son of Man' because Christ wasn't born of a human being. 

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.