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Chapter XXIII.—Hermogenes Pursued to Another Passage of Scripture. The Absurdity of His Interpretation Exposed.

But he draws an argument from the following words, where it is written:  “And the earth was without form, and void.” 6349 For he resolves 6350 the word earth into Matter, because that which is made out of it is the earth.  And to the word was he gives the same direction, as if it pointed to what had always existed unbegotten and unmade. It was without form, moreover, and void, because he will have Matter to have existed shapeless and confused, and without the finish of a maker’s hand. 6351 Now these opinions of his I will refute singly; but first I wish to say to him, by way of general answer: We are of opinion that Matter is pointed at in these terms. But yet does the Scripture intimate that, because Matter was in existence before all, anything of like condition 6352 was even formed out of it? Nothing of the kind. Matter might have had existence, if it so pleased—or rather if Hermogenes so pleased. It might, I say, have existed, and yet God might not have made anything out of it, either as it was unsuitable to Him to have required the aid of anything, or at least because He is not shown to have made anything out of Matter. Its existence must therefore be without a cause, you will say. Oh, no! certainly 6353 not without cause. For even if the world were not made out of it, yet a heresy has been hatched there from; and a specially impudent one too, because it is not Matter which has produced the heresy, but the heresy has rather made Matter itself.



Gen. i. 2.


Redigit in.


Inconditam: we have combined the two senses of the word.


Tale aliquid.


Plane: ironical.

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