« Prev Chapter X Next »

Chapter X.

And if it be necessary for us to offer a defence of our refusal to recognise as gods, equally with angels, and sun, and moon, and stars, those who are called by the Greeks “manifest and visible” 547divinities, we shall answer that the law of Moses knows that these latter have been apportioned by God among all the nations under the heaven, but not amongst those who were selected by God as His chosen people above all the nations of the earth.  For it is written in the book of Deuteronomy:  “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldst be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations unto the whole heaven.  But the Lord hath taken us, and brought us forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.”40974097    Cf. Deut. iv. 19, 20.  The Hebrew people, then, being called by God a “chosen generation, and a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, and a purchased people,”40984098    Cf. 1 Pet. ii. 9. regarding whom it was foretold to Abraham by the voice of the Lord addressed to him, “Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them:  and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be;”40994099    Cf. Gen. xv. 5. and having thus a hope that they would become as the stars of heaven, were not likely to bow down to those objects which they were to resemble as a result of their understanding and observing the law of God.  For it was said to them:  “The Lord our God hath multiplied us; and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.”41004100    Cf. Deut. i. 10.  In the book of Daniel, also, the following prophecies are found relating to those who are to share in the resurrection:  “And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that has been written in the book.  And many of them that sleep in the dust41014101    χώματι. of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and (those) of the many righteous41024102    ἀπὸ τῶν δικαίων τῶν πολλῶν. as the stars for ever and ever,”41034103    Cf. Dan. xii. 1, 2, 3. etc.  And hence Paul, too, when speaking of the resurrection, says:  “And there are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial:  but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead.”41044104    Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 40–42.  It was not therefore consonant to reason that those who had been taught sublimely41054105    μεγαλοφυῶς. to ascend above all created things, and to hope for the enjoyment of the most glorious rewards with God on account of their virtuous lives, and who had heard the words, “Ye are the light of the world,”41064106    Matt. v. 14. and, “Let your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is in heaven,”41074107    Cf. Matt. v. 16. and who possessed through practice this brilliant and unfading wisdom, or who had secured even the “very reflection of everlasting light,”41084108    Cf. Origen, de Principiis, i. c. vii. should be so impressed with the (mere) visible light of sun, and moon, and stars, that, on account of that sensible light of theirs, they should deem themselves (although possessed of so great a rational light of knowledge, and of the true light, and the light of the world, and the light of men) to be somehow inferior to them, and to bow down to them; seeing they ought to be worshipped, if they are to receive worship at all, not for the sake of the sensible light which is admired by the multitude, but because of the rational and true light, if indeed the stars in heaven are rational and virtuous beings, and have been illuminated with the light of knowledge by that wisdom which is the “reflection of everlasting light.”  For that sensible light of theirs is the work of the Creator of all things, while that rational light is derived perhaps from the principle of free-will within them.41094109    ἐκ τοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς αὐτεξουσίου ἐληλυθός.


« Prev Chapter X Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |