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Chapter XVII.—The Devil Has Not Equal Power with God.

And Simon said:  “If, then, he exists for ever, is not the fact of the sole government of God thus destroyed, since there is another power, namely, that concerned with matter, which rules along with Him?”  And Peter said:  “If they are different in their substances, they are different also in their powers, and the superior rules the inferior.  But if they are of the same substance, then they are equal in power, and they are in like manner good or bad.  But it is plain that they are not equal in power; for the Creator put matter into that shape of a world into which He willed to put it.  Is it then at all possible to maintain that it always existed, being a substance; and is not matter, as it were, the storehouse of God?  For it is not possible to maintain that there was a time14431443    This passage is supposed by most to be defective, and various words have been suggested to supply the lacuna. when God possessed nothing, but He always was the only ruler of it.  Wherefore also He is an eternal sole ruler;14441444    Or, “monarch.”  But only two letters of the word are in the ms.; the rest is filled in by conjecture. and on this account it would justly be said to belong to Him who exists, and rules, and is eternal.”14451445    Supplied by conjecture.  And Simon said:  “What then?  Did the wicked one make himself?  And was God good in such a way, that, knowing he would be the cause of evil, he yet did not destroy him at his origination, when he could have been destroyed, as not yet being perfectly made?  For if he came into being suddenly and complete, then on that account14461446    Three words are struck out of the text of the ms. by all editors, as being a repetition. he is at war with the Creator, as having come suddenly into being, possessed of equal power with him.”

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