Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter IV.—In Opposition to Plato, the Soul Was Created and Originated at Birth.

After settling the origin of the soul, its condition or state comes up next.  For when we acknowledge that the soul originates in the breath of God, it follows that we attribute a beginning to it.  This Plato, indeed, refuses to assign to it, for he will have the soul to be unborn and unmade. 1522 We, however, from the very fact of its having had a beginning, as well as from the nature thereof, teach that it had both birth and creation. And when we ascribe both birth and creation to it, we have made no mistake: for being born, indeed, is one thing, and being made is another,—the former being the term which is best suited to living beings. When distinctions, however, have places and times of their own, they occasionally possess also reciprocity of application among themselves. Thus, the being made admits of being taken in the sense of being brought forth; 1523 inasmuch as everything which receives being or existence, in any way whatever, is in fact generated. For the maker may really be called the parent of the thing that is made: in this sense Plato also uses the phraseology. So far, therefore, as concerns our belief in the souls being made or born, the opinion of the philosopher is overthrown by the authority of prophecy 1524 even.



See his Phædrus, c. xxiv.


Capit itaque et facturam provenisse poni.


Or, “inspiration.”

Next: Probable View of the Stoics, that the Soul Has a Corporeal Nature.