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Chapter XII.—Impossibility of Acknowledging God Without This External Evidence24612461    The word cause throughout this chapter is used in the popular, inaccurate sense, which almost confounds it with effect, the “causa cognoscendi,” as distinguished from the “causa essendi,” the strict cause. Of His Existence. Marcion’s Rejection of Such Evidence for His God Savours of Impudence and Malignity.

But even if we were able to allow that he exists, we should yet be bound to argue that he is without a cause.24622462    The word cause throughout this chapter is used in the popular, inaccurate sense, which almost confounds it with effect, the “causa cognoscendi,” as distinguished from the “causa essendi,” the strict cause. For he who had nothing (to show for himself as proof of his existence), would be without a cause, since (such) proof24632463    The word “res” is throughout this argument used strictly by Tertullian; it refers to “the thing” made by God—that product of His creative energy which affords to us evidence of His existence. We have translated it “proof” for want of a better word. is the whole cause that there exists 280some person to whom the proof belongs. Now, in as far as nothing ought to be without a cause, that is, without a proof (because if it be without a cause, it is all one as if it be not, not having the very proof which is the cause of a thing), in so far shall I more worthily believe that God does not exist, than that He exists without a cause. For he is without a cause who has not a cause by reason of not having a proof. God, however, ought not to be without a cause, that is to say, without a proof. Thus, as often as I show that He exists without a cause, although (I allow24642464    The “tanquam sit,” in its subjunctive form, seems to refer to the concession indicated at the outset of the chapter. that) He exists, I do really determine this, that He does not exist; because, if He had existed, He could not have existed altogether without a cause.24652465    Omnino sine causa. So, too, even in regard to faith itself, I say that he24662466    Illum, i.e., Marcion’s god. seeks to obtain it24672467    Captare. without cause from man, who is otherwise accustomed to believe in God from the idea he gets of Him from the testimony of His works:24682468    Deum ex operum auctoritate formatum. (without cause, I repeat,) because he has provided no such proof as that whereby man has acquired the knowledge of God. For although most persons believe in Him, they do not believe at once by unaided reason,24692469    Non statim ratione, on a priori grounds. without having some token of Deity in works worthy of God. And so upon this ground of inactivity and lack of works he24702470    i.e., Marcion’s god. is guilty both of impudence and malignity:  of impudence, in aspiring after a belief which is not due to him, and for which he has provided no foundation;24712471    Compare Rom. i. 20, a passage which is quite subversive of Marcion’s theory. of malignity, in having brought many persons under the charge of unbelief by furnishing to them no groundwork for their faith.


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