« Prev Chapter XLII Next »

Chapter XLII.

After these matters, Celsus brings the following charges against us from another quarter:  “Certain most impious errors,” he says, “are committed by them, due to their extreme ignorance, in which they have wandered away from the meaning of the divine enigmas, creating an adversary to God, the devil, and naming him in the Hebrew tongue, Satan.  Now, of a truth, such statements are altogether of mortal invention, 44834483     θνητά.  Instead of this reading, Guietus conjectures πτηκτά, which is approved of by Ruæus. and not even proper to be repeated, viz., that the mighty God, in His desire to confer good upon men, has yet one counterworking Him, and is helpless.  The Son of God, it follows, is vanquished by the devil; and being punished by him, teaches us also to despise the punishments which he inflicts, telling us beforehand that Satan, after appearing to men as He Himself had done, will exhibit great and marvellous works, claiming for himself the glory of God, but that those who wish to keep him at a distance ought to pay no attention to these works of Satan, but to place their faith in Him alone.  Such statements are manifestly the words of a 592deluder, planning and manœuvring against those who are opposed to his views, and who rank themselves against them.”  In the next place, desiring to point out the “enigmas,” our mistakes regarding which lead to the introduction of our views concerning Satan, he continues:  “The ancients allude obscurely to a certain war among the gods, Heraclitus speaking thus of it:  ‘If one must say that there is a general war and discord, and that all things are done and administered in strife.’  Pherecydes, again, who is much older than Heraclitus, relates a myth of one army drawn up in hostile array against another, and names Kronos as the leader of the one, and Ophioneus of the other, and recounts their challenges and struggles, and mentions that agreements were entered into between them, to the end that whichever party should fall into the ocean 44844484     ᾽Ωγηνόν, i.e., in Oceanum, Hesych.; ᾽Ωγήν, ὠκεανός, Suid. should be held as vanquished, while those who had expelled and conquered them should have possession of heaven.  The mysteries relating to the Titans and Giants also had some such (symbolical) meaning, as well as the Egyptian mysteries of Typhon, and Horus, and Osiris.”  After having made such statements, and not having got over the difficulty 44854485     καὶ μὴ παραμυθησάμενος. as to the way in which these accounts contain a higher view of things, while our accounts are erroneous copies of them, he continues his abuse of us, remarking that “these are not like the stories which are related of a devil, or demon, or, as he remarks with more truth, of a man who is an impostor, who wishes to establish an opposite doctrine.”  And in the same way he understands Homer, as if he referred obscurely to matters similar to those mentioned by Heraclitus, and Pherecydes, and the originators of the mysteries about the Titans and Giants, in those words which Hephæstus addresses to Hera as follows:—

“Once in your cause I felt his matchless might,

Hurled headlong downward from the ethereal height.” 44864486     Cf. Iliad, i. 590 (Pope’s translation).

And in those of Zeus to Hera:—

“Hast thou forgot, when, bound and fix’d on high,

From the vast concave of the spangled sky,

I hung thee trembling in a golden chain,

And all the raging gods opposed in vain?

Headlong I hurled them from the Olympian hall,

Stunn’d in the whirl, and breathless with the fall.” 44874487     Cf. Iliad, xv. 18–24 (Pope’s translation).

Interpreting, moreover, the words of Homer, he adds:  “The words of Zeus addressed to Hera are the words of God addressed to matter; and the words addressed to matter obscurely signify that the matter which at the beginning was in a state of discord (with God), was taken by Him, and bound together and arranged under laws, which may be analogically compared to chains; 44884488     ἀναλογίαις τισὶ συνέδησε καὶ ἐκόσμησεν ὁ Θεός. and that by way of chastising the demons who create disorder in it, he hurls them down headlong to this lower world.”  These words of Homer, he alleges, were so understood by Pherecydes, when he said that beneath that region is the region of Tartarus, which is guarded by the Harpies and Tempest, daughters of Boreas, and to which Zeus banishes any one of the gods who becomes disorderly.  With the same ideas also are closely connected the peplos of Athena, which is beheld by all in the procession of the Panathenæa.  For it is manifest from this, he continues, that a motherless and unsullied demon 44894489     ἀμήτωρ τις καὶ ἄχραντος δαίμων. has the mastery over the daring of the Giants.  While accepting, moreover, the fictions of the Greeks, he continues to heap against us such accusations as the following, viz., that “the Son of God is punished by the devil, and teaches us that we also, when punished by him, ought to endure it.  Now these statements are altogether ridiculous.  For it is the devil, I think, who ought rather to be punished, and those human beings who are calumniated by him ought not to be threatened with chastisement.”

« Prev Chapter XLII Next »


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