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Chapter XXXIX.—Argument for Polytheism.

Then Simon said:  “I shall make use of assertions from the law of the Jews only.  For it is manifest to all who take interest in religion, that this law is of universal authority, yet that every one receives the understanding of this law according to his own judgment.  For it has so been written by Him who created the world, that the faith of things is made to depend upon it.  Whence, whether any one wishes to bring forward truth, or any one to bring forward falsehood, no assertion will be received without this law.  Inasmuch, therefore, as my knowledge is most fully in accordance with the law, I rightly declared that there are many gods, of whom one is more eminent than the rest, and incomprehensible, even He who is God of gods.  But that there are many gods, the law itself informs me.  For, in the first place, it says this in the passage where one in the figure of a serpent speaks to Eve, the first woman, ‘On the day ye eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ye shall be as gods,’631631    Gen. iii. 5. that is, as those who made man; and after they have tasted of the tree, God Himself testifies, saying to the rest of the gods, ‘Behold, Adam is become as one of us;’632632    Gen. iii. 22. thus, therefore, it is manifest that there were many gods engaged in the making of man.  Also, whereas at the first God said to the other gods, ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness;’633633    Gen. i. 26. also His saying, ‘Let us drive him out;’634634    Gen. iii. 22. and again, ‘Come, let us go down, and confound their language;’635635    Gen. xi. 7. all these things indicate that there are many gods.  But this also is written, ‘Thou shalt not curse the gods, nor curse the chief of thy people;’636636    Exod. xxii. 28. and again this writing, ‘God alone led them, and there was no strange god with them,’637637    Deut. xxxii. 12. shows that there are many gods.  There are also many other testimonies which might be adduced from the law, not only obscure, but plain, by which it is taught that there are many gods.638638    [Compare Homily XVI. 6.—R.]  One of these was chosen by lot, that he might be the god of the Jews.  But it is not of him that I speak, but of that God who is also his God, whom even the Jews themselves did not know.  For he is not their God, but the God of those who know him.”


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