Tertullian – Whose image is this?

Miniature clay tablets from Babylon, considere...

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From the DailyGospel.org:

At the beginning of the world all things were made by the Word of God «and without him nothing came to be» (Jn 1,3). Now man, too, had his existence from the Word of God because of the principle that there should be nothing without that Word. «Let us make man,» God said before he created him, and added, «with our hand» to express his pre-eminence so that he might not be compared to the rest of creation. «And God,» says Scripture, «formed man» (Gn 2,7)…

»And God formed man from the clay of the earth.» He now became man who was hitherto clay… That poor, paltry material, clay, found its way into the hands of God, happy enough at being merely touched by them. But why this honor? Was it that, without any further labor, the clay had instantly assumed its form at the touch of God? The truth is, a great matter was in progress out of which the creature  under consideration was being fashioned. It is honoured whenever it experiences the hands of God, when it is touched by them, and pulled, and drawn out, and moulded into shape. Imagine God wholly absorbed in it: in his hand, his eye, his labor, his purpose, his wisdom, his providence and, above all, in his love, which was dictating the lineaments of this creature. For whatever was the form and expression given to the clay, Christ was in God’s thoughts as one day to become man, because the Word, too, was to be both clay and flesh even as the earth was then.

This is the meaning of the Father’s first words to his Son: «Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness» (Gn 1,26). God made man, the creature which he moulded and fashioned, in the image of God, in other words of Christ… Thus, that clay that was even then putting on the image of Christ who was to come in the flesh, was not only the work but the pledge and surety given by God.


I dunno… Tertullian with all that talk of the progress of shaping a man and all…wonder what he would have thought of evolution…

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Tertullian – Pagan Philosophy the Parent of Heresies

Prescription Against Heretics VII —

These are “the doctrines” of men and “of demons” produced for itching ears of the spirit of this world’s wisdom: this the Lord called “foolishness,” and “chose the foolish things of the world” to confound even philosophy itself. For (philosophy) it is which is the material of the world’s wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and the dispensation of God. Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy. From this source came the Æons, and I known not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man12 in the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato’s school. From the same source came Marcion’s better god, with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics. Then, again, the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans; while the denial of the restoration of the body is taken from the aggregate school of all the philosophers; also, when matter is made equal to God, then you have the teaching of Zeno; and when any doctrine is alleged touching a god of fire, then Heraclitus comes in. The same subject-matter is discussed over and over again by the heretics and the philosophers; the same arguments are involved. Whence comes evil? Why is it permitted? What is the origin of man? and in what way does he come? Besides the question which Valentinus has very lately proposed—Whence comes God? Which he settles with the answer: From enthymesis and ectroma. Unhappy Aristotle! who invented for these men dialectics, the art of building up and pulling down; an art so evasive in its propositions, so far-fetched in its conjectures, so harsh, in its arguments, so productive of contentions—embarrassing even to itself, retracting everything, and really treating of nothing! Whence spring those “fables and endless genealogies,” and “unprofitable questions,” and “words which spread like a cancer?” From all these, when the apostle would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, “See that no one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost.” He had been at Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, whilst it only corrupts it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the variety of its mutually repugnant sects. What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from “the porch of Solomon,” who had himself taught that “the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart.” Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.

Tertullian – The Universalist?

It is therefore quite in keeping with this order of things, that that part of our nature should be the first to have the recompense and reward to which they are due on account of its priority. In short, inasmuch as we understand “the prison” pointed out in the Gospel to be Hades, and as we also interpret “the uttermost farthing” to mean the very smallest offence which has to be recompensed there before the resurrection,10 no one will hesitate to believe that the soul undergoes in Hades some compensatory discipline, without prejudice to the full process of the resurrection, when the recompense will be administered through the flesh besides.- Treatise of the Soul LVIII

Tertullian's Worshiping Community

Tertullian was perhaps one of the greatest minds in early Christendom – regardless of what you think about his doctrine or personal temperament. It is possible that Tertullian had a previous life as a famous Roman jurist, but only a possibility. Beyond that, he provides fine detail  about the early struggles – doctrinally, morally, and legally – in the Christian community. Here, we examine his community’s liturgy and practice of ‘church service.’

His Apology was written to effect the recognition of Christianity as a legal religion. Writing sometime between 198-204, Tertullian gives us supreme insight into the life of the early church, keeping in mind his rigorist notions of piety. This chapter centers on the charge that the Christian worship service is one of immoral practices, bankrupting the community, centered on self-gratification rather than the godliness of themselves. Tertullian shows that unlike other mystery cults of the Empire, the Christian congregations were pious, and centered on the community.

The text is from Schaff’s Church Fathers series, but I have separated it according to points which I wish to make.

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For all of you NASCAR fans, Football fanatics, Sports crazies…

Omne enim spectaculum sine concussione spiritus non est.

There is no public entertainment which does not inflict spiritual damage.

Text is Weeber, 1988. This English version is of unknown source (but found online).  From the other translations:
For the show always leads to spiritual agitation, … (Thelwall’s version, 1869)
There is no public spectacle without violence to the spirit. (Glover’s version, 1931)
There is no spectacle without violent agitation of the soul. (Arbesmann’s version, 1959).

From Tertullian.

(Thanks Rodney – posted on Facebook)

Tertullian on Environmentalism

Do I think Tertullian was what we could consider Green by today’s standards? I don’t know – who cares? He was advocating using nature for what God had intended – and not to worship false gods in false ways. Neither did he want people to use it to worship God in a false way.

As we join Tertullian, he is dismissing strongly the use of ‘crowns’ on Christian heads – material, not spiritual – because they are of pagan invention. For him, just leave the flowers in the field where they belong. (Take him in context)

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