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341Chapter VI.—God’s Power of Changing Himself.

When Peter heard this, he thought for a little, and said:  “I do not think that any one can converse about evil without doing the will of the evil one.  Therefore knowing this, I do not know what I shall do, whether I shall be silent or speak.  For if I be silent, I should incur the laughter of the multitude, because, professing to proclaim the truth, I am ignorant of the explanation of vice.  But if I should state my opinion, I am afraid lest it be not at all pleasing to God that we should seek after evil, for only seeking after good is pleasing to Him.  However, in my reply to the statements of Sophonias, I shall make my ideas more plain.  I then agree with him in thinking that we ought not to attribute to God all the qualities of men.  For instance, men not having bodies that are convertible are not converted; but they have a nature that admits of alteration by the lapse of time through the seasons of the year.  But this is not the case with God; for through His inborn14951495    ἐμφύτου. Spirit He becomes, by a power which cannot be described, whatever body He likes.  And one can the more easily believe this, as the air, which has received such a nature from Him, is converted into dew by the incorporeal mind permeating it, and being thickened becomes water, and water being compacted becomes stone and earth, and stones through collision light up fire.  According to such14961496    We have changed τοιοῦτον into τοιαύτην. a change and conversion, air becomes first water, and ends in being fire through conversions, and the moist is converted into its natural opposite.  Why?  Did not God convert the rod of Moses into an animal, making it a serpent,14971497    Ex. iv. 3, 4. which He reconverted into a rod?  And by means of this very converted rod he converted the water of the Nile14981498    Ex. vii. 19, 20. into blood, which again he reconverted into water.  Yea, even man, who is dust, He changed by the inbreathing of His breath14991499    Gen. ii. 7. into flesh, and changed him back again into dust.15001500    Eccles. iii. 20.  And was not Moses,15011501    Ex. xxxiv. 29. who himself was flesh, converted into the grandest light, so that the sons of Israel could not look him in the face?  Much more, then, is God completely able to convert Himself into whatsoever He wishes.

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