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Chapter III.—An Argument of Hermogenes. The Answer:  While God is a Title Eternally Applicable to the Divine Being, Lord and Father are Only Relative Appellations, Not Eternally Applicable. An Inconsistency in the Argument of Hermogenes Pointed Out.

He adds also another point: that as God was always God, there was never a time when God was not also Lord.  But61516151    Porro. it was in no way possible for Him to be regarded as always Lord, in the same manner as He had been always God, if there had not been always, in the previous eternity,61526152    Retro. a something of which He could be regarded as evermore the Lord. So he concludes61536153    Itaque. that God always had Matter co-existent with Himself as the Lord thereof. Now, this tissue61546154    Conjecturam. of his I shall at once hasten to pull abroad.  I have been willing to set it out in form to this length, for the information of those who are unacquainted with the subject, that they may know that his other arguments likewise need only be61556155    Tam…quam. understood to be refuted. We affirm, then, that the name of God always existed with Himself and in Himself—but not eternally so the Lord.  Because the condition of the one is not the same as that of the other. God is the designation of the substance itself, that is, of the Divinity; but Lord is (the name) not of substance, but of power. I maintain that the substance existed always with its own name, which is God; the title Lord was afterwards added, as the indication indeed61566156    Scilicet. of something accruing. For from the moment when those things began to exist, over which the power of a Lord was to act, God, by the accession of that power, both became Lord and received the name thereof. Because God is in like manner a Father, and He is also a Judge; but He has not always been Father and Judge, merely on the ground of His having always been God.  For He could not have been the Father previous to the Son, nor a Judge previous to sin. There was, however, a time when neither sin existed with Him, nor the Son; the former of which was to constitute the Lord a Judge, and the latter a Father. In this way He was not Lord previous to those things of which He was to be the Lord.  But He was only to become Lord at some future time: just as He became the Father by the Son, and a Judge by sin, so also did He become Lord by means of those things which He had made, in order that they might serve Him.  Do I seem to you to be weaving arguments,61576157    Argumentari: in the sense of argutari. Hermogenes? How neatly does Scripture lend us its aid,61586158    Naviter nobis patrocinatur. when it applies the two titles to Him with a distinction, and reveals them each at its proper time! For (the title) God, indeed, which 479always belonged to Him, it names at the very first: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;”61596159    Gen. i. 1. and as long as He continued making, one after the other, those things of which He was to be the Lord, it merely mentions God.  “And God said,” “and God made,” “and God saw;”61606160    Gen. i. 3, etc. but nowhere do we yet find the Lord. But when He completed the whole creation, and especially man himself, who was destined to understand His sovereignty in a way of special propriety, He then is designated61616161    Cognominatur: as if by way of surname, Deus Dominus. Lord. Then also the Scripture added the name Lord: “And the Lord God, Deus Dominus, took the man, whom He had formed;”61626162    Gen. ii. 15. “And the Lord God commanded Adam.”61636163    Gen. ii. 16. Thenceforth He, who was previously God only, is the Lord, from the time of His having something of which He might be the Lord.  For to Himself He was always God, but to all things was He only then God, when He became also Lord. Therefore, in as far as (Hermogenes) shall suppose that Matter was eternal, on the ground that the Lord was eternal, in so far will it be evident that nothing existed, because it is plain that the Lord as such did not always exist. Now I mean also, on my own part,61646164    Et ego. to add a remark for the sake of ignorant persons, of whom Hermogenes is an extreme instance,61656165    Extrema linea. Rhenanus sees in this phrase a slur against Hermogenes, who was an artist.  Tertullian, I suppose, meant that Hermogenes was extremely ignorant. and actually to retort against him his own arguments.61666166    Experimenta. For when he denies that Matter was born or made, I find that, even on these terms, the title Lord is unsuitable to God in respect of Matter, because it must have been free,61676167    Libera: and so not a possible subject for the Lordship of God. when by not having a beginning it had not an author. The fact of its past existence it owed to no one, so that it could be a subject to no one.  Therefore ever since God exercised His power over it, by creating (all things) out of Matter, although it had all along experienced God as its Lord, yet Matter does, after all, demonstrate that God did not exist in the relation of Lord to it,61686168    Matter having, by the hypothesis, been independent of God, and so incapable of giving Him any title to Lordship. although all the while He was really so.61696169    Fuit hoc utique. In Hermogenes’ own opinion, which is thus shown to have been contradictory to itself, and so absurd.


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