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Chapter LXXV.

For, in the first place, he is of opinion that “thunders, and lightnings, and rains are not the works of God,”—thus showing more clearly at last his Epicurean leanings; and in the second place, that “even if one were to grant that these were the works of God, they are brought into existence not more for the support of us who are human beings, than for that of plants, and trees, and herbs, and thorns,”—maintaining, like a true Epicurean, that these things are the product of chance, and not the work of Providence.  For if these things are of no more use to us than to plants, and trees, and herbs, and thorns, it is evident either that they do not proceed from Providence at all, or from a providence which does not provide for us in a greater degree than for trees, and herbs, and thorns.  Now, either of these suppositions is impious in itself, and it would be foolish to refute such statements by answering any one who brought against us the charge of impiety; for it is manifest to every one, from what has been said, who is the person guilty of impiety.  In the next place, he adds:  “Although you may say that these things, viz., plants, and trees, and 531herbs, and thorns, grow for the use of men, why will you maintain that they grow for the use of men rather than for that of the most savage of irrational animals?”  Let Celsus then say distinctly that the great diversity among the products of the earth is not the work of Providence, but that a certain fortuitous concurrence of atoms39943994    συντυχία τις ἀτόμων. gave birth to qualities so diverse, and that it was owing to chance that so many kinds of plants, and trees, and herbs resemble one another, and that no disposing reason gave existence to them,39953995    οὐδεὶς λόγος τεχνικὸς ὑπέστησεν αὐτά. and that they do not derive their origin from an understanding that is beyond all admiration.  We Christians, however, who are devoted to the worship of the only God, who created these things, feel grateful for them to Him who made them, because not only for us, but also (on our account) for the animals which are subject to us, He has prepared such a home,39963996    ἑστίαν. seeing “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man, that He may bring forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.”39973997    Cf. Ps. civ. 14, 15.  But that He should have provided food even for the most savage animals is not matter of surprise, for these very animals are said by some who have philosophized (upon the subject) to have been created for the purpose of affording exercise to the rational creature.  And one of our own wise men says somewhere:  “Do not say, What is this? or Wherefore is that? for all things have been made for their uses.  And do not say, What is this? or Wherefore is that? for everything shall be sought out in its season.”39983998    Cf. Ecclus. xxxix. 21, and 16, 17.


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