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Chapter XIV.

But let us look at what Celsus next with great ostentation announces in the following fashion:  “And again,” he says, “let us resume the subject from the beginning, with a larger array of proofs.  And I make no new statement, but say what has been long settled.  God is good, and beautiful, and blessed, and that in the best and most beautiful degree.37363736    ῾Ο Θεὸς ἀγαθός ἐστι, καὶ καλὸς, καὶ εὐδαίμων, καὶ ἐν τῷ καλλίστῳ καὶ ἀρίστῳ.  But if he come down among men, he must undergo a change, and a change from good to evil, from virtue to vice, from happiness to misery, and from best to worst.  Who, then, would make choice of such a change?  It is the nature of a mortal, indeed, to undergo change and remoulding, but of an immortal to remain the same and unaltered.  God, then, could not admit of such a change.”  Now it appears to me that the fitting answer has been returned to these objections, when I have related what is called in Scripture the “condescension”37373737    κατάβασιν. of God to human affairs; for which purpose He did not need to undergo a transformation, as Celsus thinks we assert, nor a change from good to evil, nor from virtue to vice, nor from happiness to misery, nor from best to worst.  For, continuing unchangeable in His essence, He condescends to human affairs by the economy of His providence.37383738    τῆ προνοίᾳ καὶ τῇ οἰκονομίᾳ.  We show, accordingly, that the holy Scriptures represent God as unchangeable, both by such words as “Thou art the same,”37393739    Ps. cii. 27. and” I change not;”37403740    Mal. iii. 6. whereas the gods of Epicurus, being composed of atoms, and, so far as their structure is concerned, capable of dissolution, endeavour to throw off the atoms which contain the elements of destruction.  Nay, even the god of the Stoics, as being corporeal, at one time has his whole essence composed of the guiding principle37413741    ἡγεμονικόν. when the conflagration (of the 503world) takes place; and at another, when a rearrangement of things occurs, he again becomes partly material.37423742    The reading in the text is, ἐπὶ μέρους γίνεται αὐτῆς, which is thus corrected by Guietus:  ἐπιμερὴς γίνεται αὐτὸς.  For even the Stoics were unable distinctly to comprehend the natural idea of God, as of a being altogether incorruptible and simple, and uncompounded and indivisible.


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