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Chapter V.—The soul is not in its own nature immortal.

“ ‘These philosophers know nothing, then, about these things; for they cannot tell what a soul is.’

“ ‘It does not appear so.’

“ ‘Nor ought it to be called immortal; for if it is immortal, it is plainly unbegotten.’

“ ‘It is both unbegotten and immortal, according to some who are styled Platonists.’

“ ‘Do you say that the world is also unbegotten?’

“ ‘Some say so. I do not, however, agree with them.’

“ ‘You are right; for what reason has one for supposing that a body so solid, possessing resistance, composite, changeable, decaying, and renewed every day, has not arisen from some cause? But if the world is begotten, souls also are necessarily begotten; and perhaps at one time they were not in existence, for they were made on account of men and other living creatures, if you will say that they have been begotten wholly apart, and not along with their respective bodies.’

“ ‘This seems to be correct.’

“ ‘They are not, then, immortal?’

“ ‘No; since the world has appeared to us to be begotten.’

“ ‘But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that were truly a piece of good fortune to the evil. What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished.’

“ ‘Is what you say, then, of a like nature with that which Plato in Timæus hints about the world, when he says that it is indeed subject to decay, inasmuch as it has been created, but that it will neither be dissolved nor meet with the fate of death on account of the will of God? Does it seem to you the very same can be said of the soul, and generally of all things? For those things which exist after19621962    “Beside.” God, or shall at any time exist,19631963    Otto says: If the old man begins to speak here, then ἔχει must be read for ἔχειν. The received text makes it appear that Justin continues a quotation, or the substance of it, from Plato. these have the nature of decay, and are such as may be blotted out and cease to exist; for God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, and therefore He is God, but all other things after Him are created and corruptible. For this reason souls both die and are punished: since, if they were unbegotten, they would neither sin, nor be filled with folly, nor be cowardly, and again ferocious; nor would they willingly transform into swine, and serpents, and dogs; and it would not indeed be just to compel them, if they be unbegotten. For that which is unbegotten is similar to, equal to, and the same with that which is unbegotten; and neither in power nor in honour should the one be preferred to the other, and hence there are not many things which are unbegotten: for if there were some difference between them, you would not discover the cause of the difference, though you searched for it; but after letting the mind ever wander to infinity, you would at length, wearied out, take your stand on one Unbegotten, and say that this is the Cause of all. Did such escape the observation of Plato and Pythagoras, those wise men,’ 198 I said, ‘who have been as a wall and fortress of philosophy to us?’


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