EARLY PATRISTIC CONCEPTS OF THE ORIGIN OF EVIL A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the School of Religion The University of Southern California In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Theology by Edward McNair June 1940 UMI Number: EP65107 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. Dissertation Publishing UMI EP65107 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P Q Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106- 1346 This thesis, written by ......... EDWARD.,J1GNAIR........ u n d e r the d i r e c t io n o f AjLs. F a c u l t y Com m ittee, a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l it s m e m b e r s , has been presented to a nd accepted by the F a c u l t y o f the S c h o o l o f R e l i g i o n in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the req ui re m en ts f o r the degree o f MASTER OF THEOLOGY *eati D a te .J.un.e...l9.4R F a c u lty Com m ittee Chairman TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE INTRODUCTION. Statement of Purpose and Background I. BIBLICAL VIEWS .... The Old Testament.......................... iv 1 1 Genesis narrative.. ......... 1 Later prophetic concepts....... 3 The New Testament.......................... II* GREEK AND GNOSTIC THEORIES............ Greek Philosophy...... Monism. ..... 5 9 9 9 Dualism.................................. 9 Gnosticism................................. 10 General Gnostic Theories................ 11 Cerinthus, Valentinus, Marcion........... 13 Hermogenes................... 14 III* APOSTOLIC FATHERS AND EARLY APOLOGISTS........ 16 Shepherd of Hermas........... 16 Justin Martyr 18 ...........*..... • ...... Tatian. ................ 19 Athenagoras .......................... 21 Theophilus 22 ...... IV. OLD CATHOLIC AGE............................. 24 Irenaeus ........ 24 Clement ................. 26 Hippolytus................................. 27 Tertullian.............................. 28 Origen.......................... 30 Miscellaneousauthors,....................... 32 V. AUGUSTINE.................................... 36 VI. PINAL DEVELOPMENT OFCATHOLIC DOCTRINE........ 43 BIBLIOGRAPHY...... .......................... 48 INTRODUCTION The purpose of this study is to consider the problem of the origin of evil as presented in the patristic period* The Catholic theory of creation which emerged with definite ness in the time of Augustine is that Cod created the world ex nihilo. Since man has been endowed with freedom of the will, evil is the result of rebellion. Such forms of apparent evil as are not directly attributable to rebellion or to man’s interference are in the realm of things not fully under stood. ftWe are never entitled to forget the warning of Bishop Butler--that from the point of view of our present experience the world presents to us, at the best, !a scheme imperfectly comprehended* • The early church arrived at this conviction somewhat slowly* Inasmuch as the Fathers must be studied against the background of the Old Testament, the teaching of Jesus, and Hellenistic philosophy, I shall attempt to outline the theory of the origin of evil in the Old Testament and the New Testament and relate it to the teaching of the early Fathers. Since it is also manifestly impossible to under stand the patristic point of view without some knowledge of the Creek and Cnostic theories which in some instances in spired the Fathers to discuss the question of creation and the beginning of evil, I shall outline the Greek conception 1. 1922), p. 160. Charles Core, Belief in God (New York; Scribners, V.. of creation and the Gnostic approach. There is no attempt on my part to discuss in detail the Christian doctrines of the fall of man and original sin. Both of these are pre dicated on the assumption of some pre-existent evil or rebellion^ particularly the "fall of angels". It is rather patristic conceptions of the primary evil or revolt with which I am concerned. It is necessary to take as a starting point the general acceptance of the creation of the world by God which was firmly established among the Hebrews, centuries before Christ and which was common, though by no means universal, among the Greeks and Romans. In the earliest Christian period it is not emphasized however. There is little evidence that the belief in divine creation responded to any particular need, religious or otherwise, on the part of the earliest Christians....it is only in the works of the theo logians of the second and following centuries that we find the matter discussed at length and argued about as if it were of importance.^ The primary importance of the creation story, McGiffert believed, lay in the idea that Christ had a part in creation. For example Theophilus spoke of "the Logos as a helper in the things that were created" or "He had this Word as a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by Him He made all things,"^ possibly, on John 1:3* statements based, But McGiffert himself pointed out 2. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, The God of the Early Christians (New York, Scribners, 1924) p. 148 3. To Autolycus II, 10. vi \ that the problem of the origin of evil, as a source of speculation, caught the imagination of the Fathers especial ly after the problem was forced to their attention by the dualism of the Gnostics* The inclusion of patristic conceptions of the creation in this study is justified on two grounds: (1 ) most of them involve the idea of evil and (2 ) where this is not the case, the very absence of any reference to evil suggests that the writers had no solution to offer* I am especially indebted to the chapter on MCreation, Providence, and Judgment11 in McGiffert*s ”God of the Early Christians” for my general approach to the whole subject* I have been unable to discover any work based on a thorough search of the Fathers which summarizes the Patristic ideas on this subject. The writers from whom I have quoted have been cited without reference to their usual classification as !fGreek11 or ftLatin” Fathers. CHAPTER I BIBLICAL VIEWS In the Genesis narrative there is reference to a pre-existent dark chaos* heaven and the earth. "in the beginning God created the And tho earth was without form* and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And the And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1: 1-3) Adam and Eve are represented as living in a state of innocence in a garden where sin had not entered. of one tree was forbidden them. The fruit The serpent seduced the woman and persuaded her to eat of this tree: she in turn tempted her husband to his fall. As a result sin entered into the consciousness of the pair and through them to the whole human race. Later theology did not accept this as an explanation of the origin of evil itself and the fall of man seems to have been attributed to the fall of the angels. "And the angels which kept not their first estate but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day". (Jude 6 ) The Genesis story implies the existence of an evil spirit quite distinct from man. The invitation to sin came from the serpent in the garden and it took the f o m of a suggest ed violation of a command known to be divine. Sin is not an indigenous product but it is brought in ab extra, some what as it has been suggested that life was first brought 2 to the earth in a meteoric stone* According to the Bible the origin of evil is to be sought outside human nature* nThe man was in a state of innocence and purity and the suggestion to sin came as a matter of fact, in the first in stance from a personal agency of evil outside the domain of his own will. „1 There was also belief in the existence of demons in early Jud&ism. fIAmong the Hebrews, both in pre- exilic and post-exilic times down to a comparatively late period of the Christian era, both moral and physical evil o were attributed to personal agencies. 11 It is more than possible that the original tradition regarded the tempting agency as one of testing. !Devil1 as a proper noun is not found in the Old Testament. *Satan1 is there but as a somewhat shadowy figure. But he is not there as in the New Testament the enemy of God and the enemy of Manfs soul. He is rather an agent of God, perhaps to be classed as one of the Tsons of God 1 (Job 1:6). He acts as accuser, not to get men convicted of sin, but rather to have them tested....The testing by the serpent (a simple literary device to provide the necessary agent) results in disobedience to the divine command. Inasmuch as in the writer1s own experience the inner struggle sometimes resulted in the wrong choice and he recognized himself as a sinner, the tester gradually acquired the function of tempter. So the tester, originally an agent of God, gradually became the tempter, and that on his own initiative. 3 The Old Testament view is obviously a changing and developing one. 1. Hastings, 2. p. 590. 3. The explicit affirmation of an absolute Bernard, J. H., !tPalltf, Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. I, p. 843 f. Whitehouse, 0. C., 11Demon11, Hastings, D.B., Vol. 1, Claude C. Douglas, Evil, (Unpublished Manuscript). 3 creation is not t o be found in the Old Testament, The classical passages of Genesis suggest the idea of a pre existing chaos into which the Divine Spirit brings order* This dualistic notion is not, however, the final or the highest development of Hebrew thought on the subjeot* In the later prophetic writings there are frequent examples of modes of expression which exclude any possibility of any kind of existence which is not the product of the crea tive activity of God. "I am Jehovah and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I am Jehovah that doeth all these things." (Isaiah 45:6,7). "Yet even here the conception of an ab solute creation is implicit. It has not reached the stage of clear definition."^ The later Old Testament prophetic view like the Genesis story seems to regard physical evil as something inflicted directly by God* One emphasis made it primarily punitive*. In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:29-30). Later it was regarded as corrective. An authoritative Jewish writer summarizes as follows: The implication of this is that good and evil, light and darkness emanate alike from the creator. Mankind therefore needs the help of the living God— 4 Matthews, W. R., Studies in Christian Philosophy. Boyle Lectures of 1920, (London, Macmillan, 1921) p . 194 4 5 only through him can evil be transformed into good. nThe soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the ■ father bear the iniquity of the son: the right eousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the• Y/ickedness of the Y/icked shall be upon him.11 (Ezekiel, 18:20). It should be pointed out that Job is an apparent exception to the traditional vievif. fortune Job was righteous. charged God foolishly” . 11In In the midst of mis all this Job sinned not nor (Job 1:22). There is a widespread opinion that later Judaism was profoundly influenced by contact with Persian beliefs. If this is so the demonology of later Judaism may have been definitely affected. Zoroastrian dualism would un doubtedly have made an appeal to the Jews. ever, seems to be somewhat in doubt. The matter how- Moulton states It is obvious that if Judaism owed any of its eschatalogy or its doctrines of angels and demons to this former influence, Zorastrianism must have been firmly established in Babylonia or Media before the book of Daniel was written and presumably gen erations before. (Harris, Diet, of the Bible. Vol. IV, p. 988). Later he continues, The Semites had demons enough of their ov/n and the Satan doctrines in Parsism and in Judaism de veloped in very different ways. We may still be lieve that the ranking of demons and the elevation of one spirit to their head may have been stimulat ed by Parsism....The very corruptions of later Parsism must have helped recommend it to the popular Jewish mind, which was equally in bondage 5 Kohler, K, Jewish Theology (New York, Macmillan, 1925), PP. 177-178. 5 to the fear of evil spirits and the foolish ritual that pretended to control them. (Ibid., P. 991-992) The implication of Moulton’s article is that there is a de cided Persian element in the demonology of the New Testament. "The doctrine of the New Testament might be broadly enun ciated in terms which would accurately describe Zoroaster’s own teaching11. (Ibid., p. 992) In the New Testament physical evil is mainly the work of the devil. God tolerates, permits, and over-rules, rather than directly inflicts it. Pain and disease and death belong to the Devil’s kingdom, not God’s: and their universal prevelance is a sign of the unsurped authority over the human race of the .’prince of this world’. 6 it came to pass when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake. XLuke 11:14) There is an acceptance of the older demonology stripped of its creaser elements. Evil demons hover about the world under the direction of Satan. "But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.” (Matt. 9:34). "And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils". (Mark 3:32) "But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils." (Luke 11:15). There are numerous accounts of demonic possession in the Gospel narrative. "And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth 6 Harris, Vol. I, p. 551. Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. 6 again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.1* (Luke 9:39). "When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him and enter no more into him11. (Mark 9:25). Jesus in his healing miracles seemed to assume the existence of demons whose activity was subject to his power and person. "By whom do your children cast them out?" (Matt. 12:27, also Mark 9:25). Observation had revealed the truth of the book of Job that misfortune is not alv/ays the result of sin. Said Jesus, "Those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silom fell and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay:" (Luke 13:4). "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)* Jesus accordingly attributed the origin of evil not to the will of God, but to the perversity of God*s creatures. Mankind, according to Him, is in rebellion against God; but the whole guilt of rebellion is not his. Before man existed, there were myriads of finite spirits, higher in the order of creation,than he, and of these some fell from their original in nocence and became devils.' Man has a responsibility for his choices, "it is that Y/hich cometh out of a man that defileth a man". (Mark 7:20). "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God". (Luke 12:31). With the crucifixion of Jesus came a final refutation of the theory 7 Harris, Vol. 1, p. 552. Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. 7 that suffering is a proof of sin* The spectacle of the ideally good man brought to an ideally bad end, as a consequence of his selfdevotion to moral and religious reform, raises the problem of evil in its acutest form* The career of Jesus is a test case. Indeed, for all who ask the meaning of the Universe it is the test case. The Cross of Christ must be, either the darkest spot of all in the mystery of existence, or a searchlight by the aid of which we may penetrate the surrounding gloom.® St. Paul taught that all men sin and must be saved from (1) wicked Demons, (1 Cor* 10:20), (2) curse of the law, (Rom. 4:15), (3) enslavement of sin, (Rom. 6 :6 ), (4) weakness of the flesh, (Rom* 8:3), (5) wages of sin— v 9 death. (Rom. 6:23). To Paul, not only is the flesh weak, but it is the source of passions and impulses which result in sinful choices and actions. Hence his dualism of flesh and spirit, which is quite different, however, from Creek dualism. Paul was a Jewish dualist whose dualism was rendered thoroughly ethical by his intense sense and experience of sin. His dualism was not based upon the idea of the inherent evil of matter, but upon the fact of ex perience that out of man’s sensuous nature arise potent enticements to sin and that, in actual sinful humanity, the flesh is a powerful ally of evil.-^ The dualism of Paul was not concerned with the be ginnings of evil. Sin is a perversion of the human will and originates primarily in the will* Nevertheless as 8 Burnett Hillman Streeter, Reality (New York, Macmillan, 1927), p. 63 9 J. G. Hill, Unpublished Lecture delivered April 10 George Barker Stevens, The Theology of the New Testament (New York, Scribners, 1936) p . 342. 8 , 1940. Hill points out there is on Faul!s part, an acceptance of the idea of demons who are presumably fallen angels. The epistle of James speaks of the fire of the tongue as kindled from hell or ‘devilish* (James 3:6). Here he is probably reflecting the common belief of later Judaism which, as defined by Gore is that the source and home of evil is to be found beyond the circle of human nature in an unseen world of free spirits. 11 11 Charles Gore, Belief in God (Hew York, Scribners, 1922) p. 125. CHAPTER II GREEK AND GNOSTIC THEORIES The Greek conceptions of creation were (1) monistic, or (2) dualistic* The monistic theory conceived of both reason and force as inherent in matter* and force are external to matter* through all Greek philosophy**** In dualism reason These two theories run Stoicism was the chief philosophical expression of monism* Stoics believed that the world consisted of a single substance* Platonism was the chief philosophical expression of dualism* Plato followed Anaxagoras in believing that mind is separate from matter and acts upon it, and went further by predicating a'-dis tinction between God and the world. ing outside the world* God was regarded as be Matthews^quoting Sindleband,says, “the notion of absolute creation is unknown to Plato as it is to all Grecian and Roman antiquity.t! The point at which these two theories seem to approach each other is in the concept of variety. In Stoicism was the theory of the one law, or Logos, expressing itself in an infinite variety of material forms. In Platonism there was the theory of the one God shaping matter according to •Z an infinite variety of patterns.0 The important fact to 1~ Edv/in Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Ghurch (London, Williams and Norgate, 1890), P. 175. 2 I* R* Matthews, Studies in Christian Philosophy (Boyle Lectures of 1920),(London,, Macmillan, 1921) p. 195* 3 Hatch, Op* cit* p. 180. 10 remember- in connection with the Greek background is that the idea of absolute creation or creation ex nihilo does not exist in Greek philosophy. The dualistic character of Platonism appears most clearly in its view of evil* To a much greater degree than in Hebrew thought, evil is to the Greek a cos mological conception. It has its origin in matter, the resisting raw material of things, which, as the essentially non-rational and non-spiritual, the Logos is not able perfectly to control.... This realistic conception of evil has exercised a profound influence upon Christian theology. Here is the root of the asceticism which is so marked a feature of early Christian ethics, and which lives on today both in the theory and practice of Catholicism ....The idea of sin as corruption rather than guilt is traceable to the same source. ^ But it should be pointed out that Greek monism also passed over into Ohristian tradition in the assumption that evil is not a positive but.a negative conception. Evil is pri marily ignorance, delusion, and the true remedy for it is knowledge. Gnosticism has been called "the boldest and grandest syncretism the world has ever beheld"* It was especially concerned with the origin of the world and of evil. It borrowed its theory of the worldTs origin from paganism and s> the idea of redemption from Christianity. In nearly all of the Gnostic systems there lies the dualism of God and 4''Wm• Adams Brown, Christian Theology in Outline, (He?/ York, Scribners, 1906) pp. 175, 176. 5 Professor Kurtz, Church History (New York, Punk and Wagnalls, 1889) Vol. I, p. 99. 6 Ibid, p. 100. 11 matter* God was derived from a long series of aeons who are intermediaries in the creation, development and redemption of the world* There was a first aeon, the First Father, together with Thought, Silence, Mind, Truth, the Word, Life and others including the Demiurge;apparently identified with 7 the God of the Old Testament* The Demiurge was the creator: “Having formed the world he created also the earth ly man***.and into this earthly man as they carefully distinguish, he breathed the animal man” . step towards redemption* aeon appears as redeemer* however. This is the first Then in the fulness of God a higher His appearance is only illusory, “Seeing that matter is derived from the Evil, he appears in a seeming body or at baptism identified himself with the messiah sent by the Demiurge” .^ “This was he who passed through many as water passes through a pipe” The essential fact for our purpose is that the Gnostics were dualists. The dualism of the Gnostics was not a side issue with them but a fundamental tenet of their philosophy* Interpreting the Platonic contrast between matter and spirit, the visible and the invisible, in the light of the radical Oriental dualism of the good and the bad, they regarded spirit and matter not simply as higher and lower orders of existence but as always and necessarily enemies. The whole material universe they condemned as essentially and irremedially b a d. H 7 Ireneus, Against Heresies, I, 1:1. Ibid., I, V:5. 9 Kur.tz., op ,cit *, Vp 1”;11 j-p. 100. 10 Ireneaus, op,cit., I, VII:2. 1 1 A. C. McGiffert, God of the Early Christians (New York, Scribners, 1924), p. 107. 8 12 Gnosticism was the result of the attempt to blend with Christianity the religious notions of pagan mythology, theosophy, and philosophy* It was especially concerned with the origin of the world and of evil. It borrowed largely from paganism its theory of the world*3 origin# In nearly all of the Gnostic systems there is taught a dualism of God and matter* Matter is sometimes regarded in the Platonic sense as non-essential and non-substantial and hence not opposed to God and sometimes in the Parsee sense as inspired and dominated by an evil principle and hence in violent opposition to the good God. 12 Some Gnostics thought the world created by an evil God* Their proof of it was that the world was evil. Hence the Old Testament was rejected because it v/as inspired by Jehovah who must have been evil since the work of his hands was evil* Christ was the son, not of Jehovah, but of the supreme God. Jehovah was the Demiurge. The great difficulty that faced believers in a good and perfect God was the fact of the failures and imperfec tions of the present world. To those who held the mon istic theory of creation the natural explanation was the hypothesis of a lapse. The *fall from original righteousness1 was carried back from the earthly paradise to the sphere of divinity itself. The theory was shaped in various ways, some of which are expressed by almost unin12 Kurtz, op.cit., Vol. I, pp. 98-100. 13 telligible symbols. That of the widely-spread school of Valentinus was that the Divine wisdom herself had become subject to passion, and that having both ambition and desire, she had produced from herself a shapeless mass, in ignorance that the Unbegotten One alone, can, without the aid of another produce what is perfect* Out of this shapeless mass, and the passions that come forth from her, arose the material world and the Dcmiurgu3 who fashioned it* Another theory was that of revolt and insurrection among the supernal powers. ™ It was undoubtedly second century Gnosticism that forced the Church to face the question of evil and creation* One of the first of the Gnostics was Cerinthus a younger contemporary of the Apostle John in Asia minor. There is a tradition that the apostle meeting Cerinthus in a bath hastened out of the building lest it should fall upon the enemy of truth. 14 Irenaeus describes him as follows: And a certain Cerinthus too in Asia taught that the world was not made by the First God, but by a certain power far separated and distant from the Royalty which is above all, and which knows not the God who is over all* 15 For the most part the Gnostics fell into the error of supposing that all evil in the world was caused by an inferior God who created the world, while the supreme God was a remote spiritual being who was the author of all 16 spiritual life. According to Valentinus the Demiurge 13 Hatch, op* cit., p* 193 14 Kurtz, op*cit♦, Vol. I, p. 104. 15 Irenaeus, op *cit *, I, XXVI, 1. 16 Leighton Pullan, The Church of the Fathers (London, Rivingtons, 1912), p* 46. 14 made the world. The creation of the world is thus accounted for by the fall of divine being who first becomes emptied of her divine nature by bringing forth Christ. If as is probable Valentinus considered the aeons merely to be thoughts of God, the fall from original righteousness began 17 in God*s own mind itself. About 140 A.D. lived Marcion who tried to find a metaphysical explanation for these antagonisms and found it in the Gnostic theory of a supreme God and an inferior God. !rHe held that it wou3.d be blas phemy to suppose that the supreme God created the world, 18 thus is the 1BLASPHEMIA CREATORIS'". Hermogenes, a painter of North Africa who lived about 200 A.D., opposed the Catholic doctrine of creation as well as the Gnostic theory of emanation because it made God the author of evil. He assumed an eternal chaos from whose striving against the creative and formative influence of God 19 he explained the origin of everything evil and vile. There is no extant writing of Hermogenes but his position that God in creation used pre-existent matter re sulted In Tertullian^ discussion on the subject of creation ex nihilo. Hermogenes begins, so Tertullian says, with laying down the premiss (sic), that the Lord made all things either out of Himself, or out of 17 Ibid., P. 54. 18 Ibid., p. 59. 19 Kurtz, op.cit., Vol. I, p. 119. 15 nothing, or out of something; in order that, after he has shown that it was impossible for Him to have made them either out of Himself or out of nothing, he might thence affirm the residuary proposition that He made them out of something, and therefore that that something was Matter. He could not have made all things, he says, of Himself; because whatever things the Lord made of Himself would have been parts of Himself; but He is not dissoluble into parts, be cause, being the Lord, He is indivisible, and unchange able, and always the same....he contends that He could not have made all things out of nothing— thus: He de fines the Lord as a being who is good, nay, very good, who must will to make things as good and excellent as He is Himself; indeed it were impossible for Him either to will or to make anything which was not good, nay, very good itself. Therefore, all things ought to have been made good and excellent by Him, after His own condition. Experience shows, however, that things which are even evil were made by Him: not, of course, of His own will and pleasure; be cause, if it had been of His own will and pleasure, He would be sure to have made nothing unfitting or unworthy of Himself. That, therefore, which He made not of His own will must be understood to have been made from the fault of something, and that is from Matter, without a doubt. The large following gained by Gnosticism explains in part the large volume of literature that grew up to oppose it* and Gnosticism attracted the crowd by its mysterious rites ceremonies* It took possession of the whole pagan world by the mystic charms and by its claim to satisfy at once the mind and the heart; while at the same time in most Gnostic systems, it emphasized a stern and uncompromising morality. 21 20 Tertullian, Against Hermogenes, II. 21 Rudolf Sohm, Outlines of Church History (London, Macmillan, 1921) P. 30. CHAPTER III APOSTOLIC FATHERS AND EARLY APOLOGISTS It may be said that the very early church was not primarily interested in the idea of evil. That fact ex plains the lack of any definite early form of the Atonement, During the formation (that is, during the patristic period) of *orthodox* Christian theology, the eluci dation and definition of the first two of the funda mental doctrines, namely, those of the Trinity and Incarnation, absorbed most of the time and energy of Christian thinkers, and comparatively little effort was made to impose a clear cut philosophic form on the idea of the Atonement. By the second century the early fathers were greatly con cerned with the relation of evil to creation. For a time there v/as a difference of opinion as to whether God created the world ex nihi1o or out of pre-existent materials. There was the later prophetic suggestion of creation out of nothing and an apparent common Jewish belief that God created it from nothing. "Look up into the heavens and the earth and see all things that are therein, and know that God made them out of things that were not . 11 (II Maccabbees, 7:28) ature, This view found its way into early Christian liter The earliest expression of this is found in a document of the early second century, the "Shepherd of Hennas” "First of all believe that God is one: who made all things and perfected them and made all things to be out of that tt P which was not” . 1 K. E. Kirk, Study of Theology (New York, Harpers, 1939) p. 53. 2 Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate ,1. 17 There was little New Testament evidence to support this theory. In Hebrews 11:3 appear the words !,by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things whiGh do appear,K but as . .. Hall points out* "things which do not appear are not by the very meaning of terms necessarily equivalent to nothing". of There, seems to be amongsome the early fathers a general acceptance of the theory that the world was created out of pre-existent matter of one sort or another* The creation story suggests a dark and watery chaos existing before God began to create. Justin Martyr clearly accepts the view of pre-existing matter. We are taught, and most firmly believe and know, that they only are the accepted worshippers and believers of God who form their minds by the mind eternal, and express it in temperance, justice, humanity, and such other virtues as are the essential excellences of the divine nature, of the more proper utmost perfection of him who is a God unnameable: And this almighty being, so good in Himself, made all things in the beginning for the good ofunan out of the chaos of rude, illfavored matter. It should be pointed out that there is a possibility that the thought of Justin Martyr was that the chaos of rude ill-favored matter was the earth which was without form and void after the beginning. If, however, it means what it appears to mean, it has a Greek background. 3 P. J. Hall, Creation and Man (New York, Longmans Green Inc. 1912), p. 51 4 I Apology, 1:10. 18 . McGiffert has said that ffThis was a common Greek idea, the notion that something could be made out of nothing being regarded as wholly irrational: and it is very likely under Greek influence that it was shared by certain Jews and Christians.11^ And according to Pullan, tfThe Apologists were too sure of the spiritual being of God to confuse Him with nature* They were, therefore, in clined to present Christianity to their readers in a Pla tt 6 tonic form . As more fully representing the view of Justin Martyr I have chosen the following passage: We are also taught, that He in His goodness created all things in the beginning from shapeless matter, for the sake of men, ?/ho, if by their works they approve themselves worthy of His design, shall, we believe, be thought worthy of a dwelling with Him, there to reign with Him free henceforth from corruption and suffering* For as He created us at first when we were not, so also we believe that He will hold those who choose what is pleasing to Him worthy, because of their choice, of immortality and of dwelling with Himself* For though our birth was not originally our own doing, yet in order that we may choose to follow what is pleasing to Him, He, by the reasonable faculties which He has bestowed on us, both persuades us, and leads us, to faith; and we think that it is to the benefit of all men that they are not prohibited from the knowledge of these things, but are even urged to turn their attention to them; for what human laws were incapable of doing, that the Word, which is Divine, would effect, were it not that the evil demons, aided by the wicked and varied inclination to evil, which is in the nature of every man, have 5 A. C* McGiffert, God of the Early Christians. York, Scribners, 1924) p. 157 (New 6 Leighton Pullan, The Church of the Fathers (London, Rivingtons, 1912) p* 82 19 scattered about so many false and godless accusations, of which none apply to us*1? The Pastor of Hermas was one of the most popular books, if not the most popular book, in the Christian Church during the second, third, and fourth centuries* It is isaid to have been written by Hermas of Rome about 160 A*D* The more common title tfShepherd of Hermasn, derives from an incident in the book where an angel appears in the form of a shepherd instructing Hermas. The book, written in Greek, was recognized by Irenaeus as Scripture and by Clemens Alexandrinus and Origen, as divinely inspired. It is especially important as reflecting the tone and style of books which interested and instructed the Christians of the second and third centuries. 0 Pool, senseless and doubting, do you not perceive how great is the glory of God, and how strong and marvelous, in that He created the world for the sake of man, and subjected all creation to him, and gave him power to rule over everything under heaven?” God, who dwells in the heavens, and made out of nothing the things that e x i s t ^ Tatian, an Assyrian Greek, was converted to Christ ianity in Rome by Justin Martyr about 150 A*D* In his later years by reason of his exaggeration of the Pauline antithesis of flesh and spirit he was led to propound a theory of dualistic opposition between the God of the law, 7 I Apology,10. 8 Hermas, Comxnandments, II, 12, 4. 9 Hermas, Vis * I, 1. 20 the demiurge, and the God of the Gospel. The only extant work of Tatian is his !lAddress to the Greeks” although several other works are said to have "been composed by him; of these, a Diatessaron, or Harmony of the Pour Gospels, is specially mentioned. ”And as the Logos, begotten in the beginning, begat in turn our world, having first created for Him self the necessary matter.... ”For matter is not, like God, without beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God; it is begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought 11 into existence by the Framer of all things alone.” For the heavenly Logos, a spirit emanating from the Father and a Logos from the Logos-power, in imitation of the Father who begat Him made man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle also* The Logos, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice, in order that the bad man may be justly punished, having become depraved through his own fault, but the just man be deservedly praised for his virtuous deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice he refrained from transgressing the will of God*12 We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold 10 Tatian to the Greeks, IV. 11 Ibid, IV. 12 Ibid, VII. 21 through sin* Nothing evil has "been created "by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; hut we, who have manifested it, are able again to re ject it *13 Athenagoras was an Athenian philsopher who em braced Christianity and presented his Apology to the Emperors Aurelius and Commodus about 177 A.D* nHe is by far the most elegant, and certainly at the same time one of the ablest, of the,early Christian Apologists11 When a tender and susceptible soul, which has no knowledge or experience of sounder doctrines, and is unaccustomed to contemplate truth, and to consider thoughtfully the Father and Maker of all things, gets impressed with false opinions respecting itself, then the demons who hover about matter, greedy of sacrificial odours and the blood of victims, and ever ready to lead men into error, av&il themselves of these delusive movements of the souls of the multitude; and, taking possession of their thoughts, cause to flow into the mind empty visions as if coming from the idols and the statues; and when, too, a soul of itself, as being immortal, moves conformably to reason, either pre dicting the future or healing the present, the demons claim the glory for themselves*15 For as is the potter and the clay (matter being the clay, and the artist the potter), so is God, the Framer of the world, and matter, which is subservient to Him for the purposes of His art* But as the clay cannot become vessels of itself without art, so neither did matter, which is capable of taking,all forms, receive, apart from 13 Tatian to the Greeks, X I . 14 A* Roberts and J* Donaldsen, Editors, The Ante Mc e n e Fathers, (Buffalo, C.L.P*C., 1885) II P. 127 15 Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians, XV, II. " 22 God the Framer, distinction and shape and order* 16 But to us, who distinguish God from matter, and teach that matter in one thing and God another, and that they are separated by a wide interval (for that the Deity is uncreated and eternal, to be beheld by the understanding and reason alone, while matter is created and perishable), is it not absurd to apply the name of atheism?!’? Theophilus, born a pagan, was converted to Christianity about the middle of the second century. He owed his conversion to a careful study of the Holy Scrip tures. He was bishop of Antioch from 168 until his death in 181 or 186 A.D. The three books addressed to Autolycus are the only remaining specimens of his writings. He is closely allied in spirit with Justin and Irenaeus. 18 Theophilus reiterates time and again the principle of creation ex nihilo. 11And he is called God on account of His having placed all things on security afforded by „ 19 ,, Himself”; "He is Lord, because He rules over the uni verse; Father, because he is before all things; Fashioner and Maker, because He is creator and maker of the universe; u nAnd all things God has made out of things that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His p-j greatness may be known and understood.11 16 17 18 19 20 2! Ibid* XV Ibid., IV A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, Editors, op.cit., II,p.87 To Autolycus I, IV. Ibid.,I, IV Ibid.,I, IV 23 “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved upon the water11. This, sacred Scripture teaches at the outset, to show that matter, from which God made and fashioned the world, was in some manner created, being produced by God.22 Theophilus, therefore, understands that when in the first verse it is said that God created the earth, it is meant that He created the matter of which the earth is formed* “But the power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are made. n 23 But when a law has commanded abstinence from anything, and someone has not obeyed, it is obvious ly not the law which causes punishment, but the disobedience and transgression;....Not, therefore, as if there were any evil in the tree of knowledge; but from his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labour, pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to death.24 “For God made man free, and with power over himself“ 22 IbicLjII, X. 23 To Autolycus, II, XIII. 24 To Autolycus, II, XXV. 25 To Autolycus.II. XXVII. CHAPTER IV OLD CATHOLIC ACE Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp, was a. native of Asia Minor* He is said to have lived in Rome, at the time of Polycarp*s death, as a teacher. Later he settled in Gaul and held the office of presbyter in Lyons and became Bishop of Lyons in 178. In his writing he was a determined and successful opponent of heretical Gnosticism* controversialist but a restrained one. He was a Kurtz speaks of His tfgentleness and moderation, combined with earnestness and decision, as well as the most lively interest in the catholicity of the Church and the purity of its Doctrine. « 1 Pour quotations will serve to present his view of creation and his treatment of Gnosticism. The main position of Irenaeus was that God created matter, and that he molded it into form by his Logos. God is creator and all things are formed through the Logos. All things moreover which were made, He made by His unweariable Word. For this is proper to the transcendent excellency of God, not to need other instruments for the creation of the things which are made; and His.own Word is meet and able to form all things: as John also the Lordfs Disciple saith of Him; All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made. Ditheism is not to be endured: For who that hath understanding, and that touches 1. Kurtz, Church History (Funk and Wagnalls, N.Y., 1889) Vol. I, 31:2. £ Against Heresies, II, 2,4-5. 25 the truth ever so littie, will endure them saying, that there is another Father above God the Framer of the world: and that there is both another Only Begotten, and another Word of God, whom also they affirm to have been produced in inferiority; and another Ghrist, who they say was made, with the Holy Ghost, later than the other aeons; and another Saviour who is not even of the Father of all, but is contributed to and put together by those Aeons who were made in inferiority, and was produced by a kind of fatality, because of their low estate; so that had the Aeons not been in ignorance and in feriority, by their account neither would Christ have emanated, nor the Holy Ghost, nor the Power of Order, nor the Saviour, nor the Angels, nor their Mother, nor her seed, nor the rest of the framing of the world, but all had been deserted and destitute of so many blessings*3 Ditheism defeats its own purposes: And all this suits equally well for a reply to Marcionfs sect also* For his two Gods also will be comprehended and circumscribed by an indefinite in terval, separating them one from another: And in this way we must needs imagine in every direction many Gods parted by an indefinite interval, having as towards each other both beginnings and terminations; and by the argument by which they try to shew that there is some Pleroma or God above the Framer of Heaven and Earth, by use of that same argument one may make out, that above the Pleroma there is another Pleroma, and above that again another, and above the Deep another ocean of Godhead, and that the same exist on the several sides of them in like manner: and so their view will lose itself in infinity, i*e*, they will be forced continually to be imagining other Pleromata and other Deeps, and nowhere at any time to stay themselves, ever seeking fresh ones be sides those which have been mentioned* And it will be uncertain, whether these parts, whereabouts we are, are below, or whether the same be the higher regions, the parts which they call Above, whether they be above or below: so will there be nothing stationary nor fixed to limit our conception, but it will be forced to go forth among immense worlds and in definite Gods*4 3 Against Heresies, II, 19:9 4 Ibid*, II, 1:4* The assertion of creation by inferior gods is sin: But they who say that the world was framed by Angels, or by some other fabricator thereof contrary to His mind Who is Father above all: sin first in the mere circumstance of affirming such and so great a creation to have been wrought by Angels, contrary to the will of the First God, As though Angels were more powerful than God, or again as though He were negligent, or defective, or without care of what is done in His own dominions, whether it be done ill or well, to scatter and restrain the one, the other to approve with joy: now this no one would attribute even to a man of any skill: how much less to God I ® Titus Flavius Clement, born about the middle of the second century, was originally a pagan philosopher but later became the illustrious head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria. Hippolytus. Among his pupils were Origen and Forced to retire from Alexandria in 202 A.D. he spent his remaining days teaching in Jerusalem and Antioch. He died about 220 A.D. The Stromata, originally in eight volumes, is a work the aim of which, in opposition to Gnosticism, is to fur nish the materials for the construction of a true gnosis, a Christian philosophy, on the basis of faith, and to lead on to this higher knowledge those who, by the discipline of the paedagogus, had been trained for it. 6 fIWhat is voluntary is either what is by desire, or what is by choice, or what is of intention. For neither did the Lord suffer by the will1 of. the 5 Against Herasies, II, 2:1. 6 Roberts and Donaldson, Editor^ The Ante-Nicene Fathers, (Buffalo, C.I.P.C., 1885) I I P . T 6 8 7 Stromata. II, xv 27 Father, nor are those who are persecuted persecuted by the will of God;...*But nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe. It remains to say that such things happen without the prevention of God; for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God. 8 Assuredly sin is an activity, not an existence: and therefore is not a work of God. Now sinners are called enemies of God--enemies that is, of the commands which they do not obey, as those who obey become friends, the one names so from their fellowship, the others from their estrangement, which is the result of free choice. 9 So in no respect is God the author of evil. But since free choice and inclination originate sins, and a mistaken judgment sometimes prevails, from which, since it is ignorance and stupidity, we do not take pains to recede, punishments are right ly inflicted. For to take fever Is involuntary; but when one takes fever through his own fault, from excess, we blame him. 10 The followers of Basilides say that faith as well as choice is proper according to every interval; and that in consequence of the supremundance se lection mundane faith accompanies all nature, and that the free gift of faith is comformable to the hope of each. Faith, then, is no longer the direct result of free choice, if it is a natural advan tage. Hippolytus (170-235), a presbyter and afterwards schismatical bishop at Rome, was a great advocate of the Logos Christology. He was the most learned Christian writer then in the city, and the last considerable theologian there to use Greek rather than Latin as his 8 Stromata, IV, XII 9 Stromata, IV, XIII 10 BinomaJia, I, XVII 11 Stromata, II, III 28 vehicle of expression* As a commentator, chronicler, calculator of Easter dates, Apologist, and opponent of heretics, he was held in such high repute that his follov/ers erected after his death the earliest Christian portrait statue knownm ip He taught that the Logos was the Perfect Son from eternity* He was a disciple of Irenaeus, and the spirit of his life-work reflects that of his master* 13 The first and only (one God), both creator and Lord of all, had nothing coeval with Himself, not infinite chaos, nor measureless water, nor solid earth, nor dense air, not warm fire, nor refined spirit, nor the azure canopy of the stupendous firmament* But He was one, alone in Himself* By an exercise of His will He created things that are, which antecedently _ had no existence, except that He willed to make them. ^ Cerinthus, however, himself having been trained in Egypt, determined that the world was not made by the first God, but by a certain angelic power* And this power was far separated and distant from that sovereignty which is above the entire circle of existence, and it knows not the God (that is) above all things* And he says that Jesus was not born of a virgin, but that He sprang from Joseph and Mary as their son, similar to the rest of men; and that He excelled in justice, and prudence* and understanding above all the rest of mankind. Tertullian was the son of a heathen centurion of Carthage converted to Christianity somewhat late in life* about 190 A*D. In his works we find full discussions 12 W. Walker, A History of the Christian Church (Hew York, Scribners, 1937) p* 74* 13 Roberts and Donaldson, op.cit♦, V, p. 3. 14 Refutation of all Heresies,X , 28. 15 Ibid*,X, 17. 29 of creation with the assumption that G-od is creator ex nihilo and the implication of a pre-creation fall of angels* All things formed by God are good* Man is °the author of all crimes0 . Tertullian was a zealous opponent of Gnosticism* The following quotations may be considered as representative of his general point of view: But besides there is not a man who putteth not forth this pretence likewise: ’that all things were formed by God and given unto man, (as we teach), and so are good, as coming all from a good Author: that among such are to be reckoned all those by which the public shows are furnished, the horse for instance, and the lion, and the powers of the body, and the sweet music of the voice’: that therefore nothing can be deemed foreign from nor hateful to God, which is a part of His own creation, and that that must not be reckoned as a sin, which is not hateful to God, because not foreign from Him. ° Ho one denieth, because no one is ignorant of that which nature of herself teacheth, that God is the Maker of the whole world, and that that world _ is both good, and placed under the dominion of man* We must therefore consider not only by Whom all things were made, but from what they are turned away; for ,so will it be seen to what use they Y/ere, if it be seen to what they were not, made. 18 What is there that offendeth God which is not of God? but when it offendeth, it hath ceased to be of God, and Y/hen it hath ceased, it offendeth. Man himself, the author of all crimes, is not only the work, but also the image of God, and yet both in body, and spirit, he hath fallen away from his Maker. 19 We therefore who, knowing God, have seen also 16* Of Public Shows, II • koc* cit* 18. hoc.cit. 19. hoc, cit. 30 His ..adversary, who having found out the Maker have found at the same time the corrupter likewise, ought not to wonder nor doubt in this matter. When the power of that corrupting and adverse angel in the beginning cast down from his irmocency man himself, the ?/ork and the image of God, the Lord of the whole world, he changed like himself, into perverseness against his Maker, the whole substance of man, made, like himself, for innocency: so that in that very thing, which it had grieved him should be granted to man and not to himself, he might make man guilty before God, and establish his own dominion.20 Origen, born of Christian parents of Alexandria about 185 A#D., was considered a miracle of scholarship* By posterity he has been honored as the actual founder of an ecclesiastical and scientific theology and re proached, as the originator of many heresies* He believed in timeless creation and ante-temporal fall of human souls, their imprisonment in earthly bodies, and in the restora tion of all spirits to their original ante-temporal bless edness and holiness* Origen placed the beginning of sin both in demons and men before the creation of the world* As far as the sins of individuals were concerned he distinguishes be tween those that, could be accounted for by the instigation of demons and others that were due to man’s natural de sires innocent in themselves but running to excess*21 evils relatively few and unimportant have resulted from 20 Of Public Shows, II* — — — ■— — — — — # 21 De Principes, II, 9,6 and III 2. nSome 31 His principle works?1 *^ n8ome porphorio or external evils were sent by God for discipline# «23 Before the middle of the third century Origen teaches that creation ex nihilo is a part of the teaching of the apostles and the creed of the church* The particular points clearly delivered in the teaching of the apostles are as follov/:- First, that there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being*... ^ Among the spiritual beings created in eternity, there were some who fell from their high estate into sin* For the sake of their redemption the world was created that it might be a place of discipline for them. The will is free and man has the power of choice. This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the Church,, that every rational soul is possess ed of free will and volition; that it has a struggle to maintain with the devil and his angels, and opposing influences, because they strive to burden it with sins. 25 His theory of the origin of the devil is vague but consistent with the contemporary opinion. Regarding the devil and his angels, and the opposing influences, the teaching of the Church has laid down that these beings exist indeed; but What they are, or how they exist, it has not been explained with sufficient clearness. This 22 Against Celsus,6, 55. 23 Ibid., 6, 56. 24 De Principes, Fref. 4. 25 De Princioes, Preface 5. 32 opinion, however, is held, by most, that the devil was an angel, and that, having become an apostate, he induced as many of the angels as possible to fall away with himself, and these up to the present time are called his angels.26 It is almost impossible to say precisely who of three or four hamed Theodotus (all ’’heretics”), may have compiled ’’Excerpts of Theodotus1’. The work is valuable chiefly as illustrating certain heresies of the second century. It is also of considerable importance as con firming the orthodox writers in those books and doctrines to which it bears witness in coincidence with them.^ ’’Wherefore God has endowed the world with free choice, that He may show it its duty, and that it choosing, may rei • t! ^ 8 ceive and retain. js Bardesan, or Bardesanes, was born at Edessa in 154 A.D. and died sometime between 224 and 230. Christian with some Zoroastrian ideas. He was a He at first be longed to the Gnostic sect of the Valentinians but abandon ing it, he seemed to come nearer the orthodox beliefs* In ’’The Book of the Laws of Divers Countries” astrology and fatalism are combated from a Christian standpoint. It will therefore be manifest to you, that the goodness of God is great toward man, and that freedom has been given to him in greater measure than to any of those elemental bodies of which we have 26 Preface^ 6 27 Roberts and Donaldson, Op,cit., VII>p. 41. 28 Excerpts of Theodotus, xxii. 33 spoken, in order that by this freedom he may justify himself, and order his conduct in a godlike manner, and be copartner with angels, who are likewise possessed of personal freedom* For we are sure that, if the angels likewise had not been possessed of personal freedom, they would not have consorted with the daughters of men, and sinned, and fallen from their places. In like manner, too, those other angels, who did the will of their Lord, were, by reason of their self-control, raised to higher rank, and sanctified, and received noble gifts. ^9 Archelaus, Bishop of Charra or Haran in Mesopotamia, is said to have written his disputation in 277 A.D. after a discussion with Manes who had fled into Mesopotamia. For all the creatures that God made, He made very good; and He gave to every individual the sense of free-will, in accordance with which standard He also instituted the law of judgment. To sin is ours, and that we sin not is God!s gift, as our will is constituted to choose either to sin or not to s i n . 3 0 Hence also certain of the angels, refusing to sub mit themselves to the commandment of God, resisted His will; and one of them indeed fell like a flash of lightning upon the earth, while others, harassed by the dragon, sought their felicity in intercourse with the daughters of men, and thus brought on them selves the merited award of the punishment of eternal fire. And that angel who v/as cast down to earth, finding no further admittance into any of the re gions of heaven, now flaunts about among men, de ceiving them, and luring them to become transgressors like himself, and even to this day he is an adversary to the commandments of God.31 Arnobius was traditionally a teacher of rhetoric at Sicca, in Africa, about 300 A.D. He is supposed to 29 Bardesan, The Book of the Laws of Divers Countries. 30 Archelaus, The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes, 32. 31 Loc. cit. have published hh seven books against the heathen in order to convince the bishop of Sicca of his sincerity to ward Christianity. He was the teacher of Lactantius who was appointed tutor of Constantine1s son Crispus and who achieved eminence among the Fathers by his writings. ••.nothing proceeds from God Supreme which is hurtful and pernicious. This we are assured of, this we know, on this one truth of knowledge and science we take our stand,--that nothing is made by Him except that which is for the well-being of all, which is agreeable, which is very full of love and joy and gladness, which has unbounded and imperishable pleasures, which every one may ask in all his prayers to befall him, and think that otherwise life is pernicious and fatal*32 Lactantius (260-330) was converted to Christianity about 301 A.D* The purity of his style and eloquence of composition have won for him the name Hthe Christian Cicero,f* His principal work is nThe Christian Institu- tionsff, in seven books, designed to supplement the less complete treatises of Minucius Felix, Tertullian, and Cy prian* His claims as a theologian are open to question; for he holds peculiar opinions on many points, and he appears more successful as an opponent of error than as a maintainer of the truth. I have already in a former place explained, that God at the same time set before him good and evil, and that He loves the good, and hates the evil which is contrary to this; but that He per mitted the evil on account, that the good also might shine forth, since, as I have often taught, 32 Arnobius against the Heathen, II, 55* 35 we understand that the one cannot exist without the other; in short, that the world itself is made up of two elements opposing and connected with one another, of fire and moisture, and that light could not have been made unless there has also been darkness*33 Athanasius (296-373) while apparently not concerned with the origin of evil emphasized the Stoic principle of the D ivine immane nc e * For' the world itself may be thought of as one great body in which God indwells; and if He is in the whole, He is also in the parts. It is no more unworthy of God that He should incarnate Him self in one man, than it is that He should dwell in the world. Since He abides in humanity, which is a part of the universe, it is not unreasonable that He should take up His abode in a man who should thus become the organ by which God acts on the universal life.34 He also asserts creation ex nihilo# uFor God creates, in that He calls what is not into being, needing nothing thereunto.” 33 Lactantius treatise on the anger of God Addressed to Donatus, XV . 34 Athanasius, De Incar.,c.41. cited by Alexander V.G.Allen, The continuity of Chr* Thought. (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., 18871 p. S3 35 Epistle of A* Athanasius, In Defence of the Nicene Definition, III, 9. CHAPTER V AUGUSTINE Of the Latin fathers Augustine is chosen as typical because in him the theories of the early fathers pertaining to creation and froe-will found their fuller expression* Augustine was born in 354 at Tagaste in Numidia. As a youth he gave himself to the pursuit of worldly pleasures and sensuality. At about the age of 20 he became a cate chumen of the Manichaens. Disillusioned he went to Milan and became a teacher of rhetoric. Under the influence of Ambrose and a Christian mother he began to study the scriptures and at Easter in 387 A.D. he was baptized by Ambrose. In 396 he was made Bishop of Hippo and from that date he became the center of all ecclesiastical and theo logical life throughout the whole western world. McGiffert contrasts Augustine*s interpretation of creation with that of Origen. eternal process. Origen made creation an ffAs a spirit God is necessarily active therefore creative and there can never therefore hahe been a time when He was not creating. Had there been such a time, He therefore would have never been a God.” With Augustine, however, creation implies change and change implies time. !,Creation therefore took place not in time but with time”.2 Augustine as well as Origen taught that 1 A. C. McGiffert, God of the Early Christians, (New York, Scribners, 1924) p. 174 2 Loc.cit. 37 creation is continuous and not instantaneous. nGod creat ed at the beginning of time and continues to create out of nothing.11 It is worthy of note that this theory has come down from Augustine through the middle ages to the present. Hall, who may be considered typical of orthodox Anglican theologians, says Yet, if the universe of creatures began to be in the beginning of time, it is everlasting* There never was a time when it was not. The Divine act of creation, being eternal never began; but its substantial effect having a temporal nature, did begin to be, and is everlasting only in the sense of coinciding in duration with the duration of time.4 This was a reversal of the earlier Patristic theory. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus seemed to assume that after six days work creation came to an end* 5 Augustine!s philosophy of evil is clearly set forth in his tfGonf ess ionsw • 11And I sought, *whence is evilf, and sought in an evil way; and saw not the evil in my very search11.® Where is evil then, and whence, and how crept it in hither? What is its root, and what its seed? Or hath it no being? Why then fear we and avoid what is not? Or if we fear it idly, then is that very fear evil, whereby the soul is thus idly goaded and racked. Yea, and so much a greater 3 De G-enesia ad Litteran, IV, 12. 4 P. J. Hall, Being and Attributes of God (New York, Longmans Green IncT, 1912) pp 273-274* 5 McGiffert, op.cit., p. 174 loc.cit. 6 Confessions, VII, V. 38 evil, as we have nothing to fear, and yet do fear. Therefore either is that evil which we fear, or else evil is', that we fear. Whence is it then? Seeing God, the Good, hath created all these things good.7 I sought anxiously rwhence was evil?* What were the pangs of my teeming heart, what groans, 0 my God 1 yet even there were Thine ears open, and I knew it not: and when in silence I vehemently sought, those"silent contritions of my soul were strong cries unto Thy mercy. Thou knewest what I suffered, and no m a n . S And it was manifested unto me, that those things be good, which yet are corrupted; which neither were they sovereignly good, nor unless they were good, could be corrupted; for if sovereignly good, they were incorruptible, if not good at all, there were nothing in them to be corrupted. For corruption injures, but unless it diminished goodness, it could not injure. Either then corruption injures not, which cannot be; or which-is most certain, all which is corrupted is deprived of good. But if they be deprived of all good, they shall cease to be. For if they shall be, and can now no longer be corrupted, they shall be better than before, because they shall abide incorruptibly. And what more monstrous, than to affirm things to become better by losing all their good? Therefore, if they shall be deprived of all good, they shall no longer be. So long therefore as they are, they are good: therefore what soever is, is good. That evil then which I sought, whence it is, is not any substance: for were it a substance, it should be good. For either it should be an incorruptible substance, and so a chief good: or a corruptible substance; which unless it were good, could not be corrupted. I perceived therefore, and it was manifested to me, that Thou madest all things good, nor is there any substance at all, which Thou madest not; and for that Thou madest not all things equal, therefore are all things; be cause each is good, and altogether very good, be cause God made all things very good.9 7 Loc.cit. 8 Ibid., VII, VII. 9 Ibid., VII, XII. 39 The search for the source of evil became an ab sorbing question to Augustine but it is apparent that he was conscious of the difficulty of coming to grips with its ultimate cause. And to Thee is nothing whatsoever evil: yes, not only to Thee, but also to Thy creation as a whole, because there is nothing without, which may break in, and corrupt that order which Thou hast appointed it. But in'the parts thereof some things, because unharmonizing with other some, are accounted evil: whereas those very things harmonize with others, and are good; and in themselves are good.l° It seems strange that Augustine, so near to the problem, of the ultimate origin, does not grapple with it at its base. And I enquired what iniquity was, and found it to be no substance, but the perversion of the will, turned aside from Thee, 0 God, the Supreme, toy/ards these lov/er things, and casting out its bowels, and puffed up outwardly.il But he will not answer why and how the will is perverted* Creation ex-nihilo is definitely and fully insisted upon. For certain have endeavored to persuade that GOD THE FATHER IS MOT ALMIGHTY; not that they have dared to assert this, but in their own traditions are convicted of thus holding and believing. For wherein they assert that there is a nature which God Almighty created not, out of which nature however He framed this world, which they grant hath been beautifully set in order; they so deny God to be Almighty, as not to believe that He could have created the world, unless for the framing of it He should make use of another nature, which was al ready in existence, and which Himself had not created; forsooth from their carnal use of seeing 10 Ibid., VII, XIII. 11 Ibid., VII, XVI. 40 smiths, and house-builders, and workmen of all kinds, who, unless they be aided by materials already pre pared, are unable to arrive at the effect of their own art. For in this way they understand the Framer of the world not to be Almighty, if He were unable to frame the world, unless these should aid Him, after the manner of materials, some na ture not framed by Him. Or if they allow that God the Framer of the world is Almighty, they must of necessity confess that He made of nothing those things which He made. For there cannot exist any thing, whereof He were not Creator, being Almighty.12 God is all good and incapable of corruption. There are also they who extend their defence of self unto an accusation of God, wretched by the divine judgment, but blasphemers by their own mad ness. For against Him they bring in from a con trary principle a substance of evil rebelling, which He could not have resisted, had He not blended with that same that was rebelling a portion of His own Substance and Nature, for it to con taminate and corrupt; and they say that they then sin when the nature of evil prevails over the nature of God. This is that most unclean madness of the Manichaeans, whose devilish devices the un doubted truth most easily overthrows; which con fesses that the nature of God is incapable of con tamination and corruption. But what wicked con tamination and corruption do they not deserve to have believed of them, by whom God, Who is good in the very highest degree, and in a way that admits not of comparison, is believed to be capable of con tamination and corruption?-*-*^ The responsibility for the first wrong choice is fixed on angels. For He Who gave to men freedom of choice, that they might serve God, not, as slaves, of compulsion, but, as free men,, voluntarily, gave it also to Angels, and therefore neither did that Angel, who with other spirits his followers in his pride, deserted the service of God, and became a devil, 12 Of Faith, and of the Greeds, 2. 13 Of Continence, 14. 41 in any sort harm God, but himself. For God knew how to correct the souls which deserted Him, and out of their just misery to furnish the inferior parts of His creation with most fitting and suitable laws in His marvellous dispensation. Therefore neither did the devil in any sort harm God, either in that he fell himself, or in that he seduced man to his death; nor did man himself in any sort take away from the truth, or power, or blessedness of his Creator, in that, when his wife had been seduced by the devil, he of his own will consented unto her to do that which God had forbidden* For by the most just laws of God all were condemned, God shewing Himself glorious in the justice of His retribution, they being put to shame by the disgrace of their punishment, that so both man turning away from his Creator might be subdued and made subject to the devil, and the devil might be set forth for man hereafter returning to his Creator to overcome; in order that whosoever should continue with the devil even to the end, might with him go into eternal punishment and, on the other hand, whosoever should humble themselves be fore God, and. by His grace overcome the devil, might merit eternal rewards. Certain angels therefore through impious pride deserting God, and being cast down from their high heavenly habitation into the lowest darkness of this air, that number of angels which was left con tinued in eternal blessedness with God, and in holiness* For the rest of the angels were not descended from one who fell and was condemned, that so original evil should bind them, as in the case of man, with the chains of succession subject to it, and draw down all to deserved punishments; but when he, who became the devil, had become lifted up together with the partners in his impiety, and, by being thus lifted up, with them overthrown, the rest with pious obedience clove to the Lord, re ceiving also, what the others had not, a certain knowledge, to assure them of their eternal and un failing stedfastness• It therefore pleased God,....* that, seeing that not the whole multitude of angels had perished by deserting God, the part which had perished should remain in eternal perdition; whilst the part which had continued firm with God, when 14 Of the Catechizing of the Unlearned, 30. 42 tlie other forsook Him, should rejoice in the full and certain knowledge of the eternity of its future happiness: tout that, in that the other rational creature which was in man, had perished entire through sins and punishments tooth original and actual, our of the renewal of a part of it should toe supplied whatever loss that fall of the devil to.ad drought on the fellowship of the A n g e l s ,15 •♦•(the cause) of things evil is the will of a toeing mutatoly good falling away from immutable good, first that of an angel, then of man# This is the first evil of a rational creature, that is, the first withdrawing of good; then after this there found way, now even against their will, ignorance of things necessary to toe done, and desire of things hurt£;ul; in company with which are drought in error and pain: which two evils when they are perceived to be hanging over us, the emotion of the mind en deavoring to flee from them is called fe a r , The Augustinian point of view may toe regarded as the crystallization and elaboration of the earlier fathers, God is good. He has created all things from nothing# Sin is a perversion of the will and rebellion against the purpose of God which rebellion v/as primarily the act of an angel and later that of man. 15 Enchirdion to Laurentius on Faith, Hope and Charity, 9. 16 Ibid,, 8, CHAPTER VI PINAL. DEVELOPMENT OP CATHOLIC DOCTRINE There can be no question that the modern Catholic doctrine of evil derives directly from St. Aughstine. Evil is a perversion of will* tlThe Evil is not any substance; for were it a substance, it would be good....Thou madest all things good, nor is there any substance at all which thou madest not.” !fI enquired what iniquity was and found it to be no substance but the perversion of the will, turned aside from thee 0 God*tf^ Evil is the result of the misuse of free will in beings who were originally created good* A typical and traditional Catholic interpretation of the Anglican school puts it thus: In creating the universe, God might, had it please.d him, have refrained from giving existence to responsible creatures. He might have made nothing higher in the scale of created life than the animals now subject to man, giving the whole universe a *law that which shall/not be broken1. But God de sired something greater than such a constrained servel as this. He desired a free obedience and a willing love, which nothing thus made could have given Him. In His desire to secure such an un forced obedience and generous love, He created angels and men endowing them with a gift which He bestowed upon no other of his creatures. This gift is that of moral freedom or free will. But if the will is to be really free, it must be capable of choosing evil as well as good*...The possession of a free will implies the possible choice of evil as well as good* Hence as far as we can see, the possibility of doing evil is an unavoidable con dition of our trial here on earth. 3 1 Augustine, Confessions, VII, XII. 2 Ibid., VII, XVI. 3 Staley, The Catholic Religion (London, Mobray, 1908) p. 164. 44 Traditional theology is not willing to leave it at that however* Staley continues: In the case of man, the temptation to do wrong came from without* Man was tempted by the devil the chief of the fallen angels. Thus as far as our earth is concerned evil came from the devil. Bishop Forbes, in summing up the question we are considering says, fThe Catholic Christian enlighten ed by the Spirit, and overcome by a sense of his own feebleness of intellect, traces the origin of evil to the fall of the angels, and leaves it there.1 He believes evil to be no part of God*s original creation, which was pronounced by God himself to be very good."* Thus the Augustinian point of view prevails even to the theory of fallen angels which, incidentally, fails to explain,evil* The existence of a devil who is chief of the fallen angels is predicated only on the choice of the non-good. Nevertheless by the sixth century sin was con ceived as something which could be resolved into cate gories of acts that were inherently evil. The sins listed by the fathers became npenitentials” for guidance of the clergy and were very real. Fastoral theology has subsequent ly developed a complete catalogue and classification of acts against God. It is to be noted that modern theology places a high moral significance in the doctrine of creation. the Fathers it was more peculiarly philosophical. With tfAll through, the philosophical character of.the patristic doctrine of creation is abundantly manifest. 4 Ibid., p. 164-165. There is little 45 evidence that it had religious or ethical value to those •who accepted it, such as it has had to many modern theologians. ff5 Nevertheless, it may be said that the develop ment of study of the problem of evil affords a study of man’s progress from a dualistic to a monistic point of view# The early philosophies and extra-Christian theol ogies generally explained the problem of evil by the doctrine of a good and an evil principle in cease less conflict* In accordance with the moral and rational instincts of the soul, the good principle was always viewed as sure of ultimate triumph; but thus far, the evil principle has opposed a success ful resistance to its universal sway* But in general, Christian monotheism has overturned this view, except so far as a rebellious will in a creat ed being is a dualism. The record of patristic opinion on the origin of evil is the record of man’s desire to answer the question as to how a beneficent God could create a world that con tains imperfections and evils. Gnosticism posited as its answer to the question the idea of two Gods— ditheism* Christianity rejected this. It pointed out that by divid ing God in two it put an end to God. It chose to believe that evil is necessary for the production of moral virtue, that where there is no choice there is no virtue. chose the doctrine of free will* It As far as moral evil can be explained it is the result of wrong choices. The devil 5 A. C. McGiffert, God of the Early Christians (New York, Scribners, 1924) p. 176. 6 Borden P. Bowne, Studies in Theism, (New York, Phillips and Hunt, 1879) p. 356. 46 and his angels are those whose resistence to good is complete. The dilemma of modern orthodox theology is in knowing what to do with the Devil. Augustinianism makes evil that which is not a substance and yet the positing of a Devil and fallen angels implies a way of life that is in eternal opposition to the will of God. The only answer is to admit that the theory of fallen angels gets us no where in the search for the primary evil. Man must admit the responsibility that inheres in the freedom of the will. He is capable of producing good or its opposite and God 11cannot prevent evil so long as there are free moral agents who have even limited power of control and manipulation of power.ft^ For the modern man the Devil becomes the re bellious will. However, since it is not the scope of this paper to discuss the whole question of original sin as such, no attempt is made to continue the discussion to include questions of moral theology. What has been shown is the growth of the opinion of the Fathers regarding the beliefs (1) that God created the world ex nihilo, (2) that “angels” disobeyed God and “fell”, (3) that “fallen angels” and Satan were sources of temptation, (4) that God gave to man the gift of free-will (5) that man can therefore choose the antithesis of good and can yield to temptation and (6‘) that 7 Claude C. Douglas, Evil, Unpublished manuscript. 47 he can foe redeemed. It will foe seen that the Fathers were particularly; interested in the problem of evil on purely speculative or philosophical grounds* Their treatment of the question was forced by apologetic considerations and the necessity of establishing the unity of God* The metaphysical difficulties involved were not squarely faced by them* Even Augustine who saw the problem more clearly than his predecessors, failed to develop answers to such inevitable questions as to why free agents choose evil: or why and how angels sinned and fell* The answer that angels were created all good and chose to do wrong is too easy an answer. What then may be said as to the Fathers apparent satisfaction with this explanation? Did any of them suspect that they had reached a cul-de-sac and could go no farther? Probably not, since their ultimate aim was to relieve God >of the responsibility of evil* Although they might believe that some external evils were sent by God as punishment, the extreme blasphemy was to think of Him as the author of evil itself. Belief in God*s control of the world became a fundamental tenet of orthodoxy as expressed in the Nicene symbol MI believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible15. BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY IB Allen, A, V. G., C o n t i n u i t y of Christian Thought. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1887* Boston; Bowne, Borden P*, Studies in Theism. New York; Phillips and Hunt, 1887• Brown, Wm. Adams, Christian Theology in Outline. Scribners, 1906* New York: Douglas, Claude C., Evil. Unpublished Manuscript. Gore, Charles, Belief in Christ. Gore, Charles, Belief in God. New York: Scribners, 1922. New York: Scribners,' 1922. Hall, F. J., Being and Attributes 0f God. Longmans Green IncV, 1912. Hall, F. J., Creation and Man* Inc., 1912. New York: New York: Longmans Green Hall, F. J*, Theological Outlines. Milwaukee: Morehouse, 1933. Hastings, James, Dictionary of the Bible. Scribners, 1904. New York: Hastings, James, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. New York: Scribners, 1907. Hatch, Edwin, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church. London: Williams and Norgate, 1890. Hill, J. G., Unpublished lecture, delivered April 8, 1940. Illingworth, J. R., Divine Transcendence. millan, 1901. Kirk, K. E., Study of Theology. Kohler, K., Jewish Theology. New York: Harper, 1939. New York: Macmillan, 1923. Kurtz, Professor, Church History. W agna11s, 1889. Library of the Fathers. London: Mac New York: Funk and London: Parker, 1872. Matthews, W. R., Studies in Christian Philosophy. Boyle Lectures of 1920. London: Macmillan, 1921. McGiffert, A. D., God of the Early Christians. Scribners, 1924. New York: 49* Pullan, Leighton, The Church of the Fathers. Rivingtons, 1912, London: Roberts, A., and Donaldson, J#, Editors, The Ante-Nicene Fathers. (11 Vols.) Buffalo: C. L* P# G*, 18857 Sohm, Rudolf, Outlines of Church History. Macmillan, 1921# Staley, Vernon, The Gathdlic Religion* London: London: Mowbray, 1908. Stevens, George Barker, The Theology of the Hew Testament. New York, Scribners, 1922. Streeter, B. H., Reality. New York: Macmillan, 1927. Walker, Williston, A History of the Christian Church. New York: Scribners, 1937.