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Chapter XXVIII.—A Curious Inconsistency in Hermogenes Exposed.  Certain Expressions in The History of Creation Vindicated in The True Sense.

But we shall show not only that this condition63926392    Habitum. agreed with this earth of ours, but that 493it did not agree with that other (insisted on by Hermogenes). For, inasmuch as pure Matter was thus subsistent with God,63936393    Deo subjacebat. without the interposition indeed of any element at all (because as yet there existed nothing but itself and God), it could not of course have been invisible. Because, although Hermogenes contends that darkness was inherent in the substance of Matter, a position which we shall have to meet in its proper place,63946394    See below, ch. xxx. p. 494. yet darkness is visible even to a human being (for the very fact that there is the darkness is an evident one), much more is it so to God. If indeed it63956395    Matter. had been invisible, its quality would not have been by any means discoverable. How, then, did Hermogenes find out63966396    “Compertus est” is here a deponent verb. that that substance was “without form,” and confused and disordered, which, as being invisible, was not palpable to his senses? If this mystery was revealed to him by God, he ought to give us his proof. I want to know also, whether (the substance in question) could have been described as “void.” That certainly is “void” which is imperfect. Equally certain is it, that nothing can be imperfect but that which is made; it is imperfect when it is not fully made.63976397    Minus factum. Certainly, you admit. Matter, therefore, which was not made at all, could not have been imperfect; and what was not imperfect was not “void.” Having no beginning, because it was not made, it was also unsusceptible of any void-condition.63986398    Rudimento. Tertullian uses the word “rudis” (unformed) for the scriptural term (“void”); of this word “rudimentum” is the abstract. For this void-condition is an accident of beginning. The earth, on the contrary, which was made, was deservedly called “void.”  For as soon as it was made, it had the condition of being imperfect, previous to its completion.


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