Tertullian on the Gospels
(latter portion of Chapter XXVI of Book IV of Tertullian
against Marcion in Vol. III, ANF)
latter portion of Chapter XXVI.-From St. Luke's Eleventh
Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from the Creator. The Lord's Prayer
and Other Words of Christ. The Dumb Spirit and Christ's Discourse on Occasion
of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the Woman in the Crowd.
In like manner, it is He who will give the Holy Spirit, at whose command1074
is also the unholy spirit. When He cast out the "demon which was dumb"1075
(and by a cure of this sort verified Isaiah),1076
and having been charged with casting out demons by Beelzebub, He said,
"If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?
"1077 By such a question what does He otherwise mean,
than that He ejects the spirits by the same power by which their sons also
did-that is, by the power of the Creator? For if you suppose the meaning
to be, "If I by Beelzebub, etc., by whom your sons? "-as if He would reproach
them with having the power of Beelzebub,-you are met at once by the preceding
sentence, that "Satan cannot be divided against himself."1078
So that it was not by Beelzebub that even they were casting out demons,
but (as we have said) by the power of the Creator; and that He might make
this understood, He adds: "But if I with the finger of God cast out demons,
is not the kingdom of God come near unto you? "1079
For the magicians who stood before Pharaoh and resisted Moses called the
power of the Creator"the finger of God."1080 It was
the finger of God, because it was a sign1081 that
even a thing of weakness was yet abundant in strength. This Christ also
showed, when, recalling to notice (and not obliterating) those ancient
wonders which were really His own,1082 He said that
the power of God must be understood to be the finger of none other God
than Him, under1083 whom it had received this appellation.
His kingdom, therefore, was come near to them, whose power was called His
"finger." Well, therefore, did He connect1084 with
the parable of "the strong man armed," whom "a stronger man still overcame,"1085
the prince of the demons, whom He had already called Beelzebub and Satan;
signifying that it was he who was overcome by the finger of God, and not
that the Creator had been subdued by another god. Besides,1086
how could His kingdom be still standing, with its boundaries, and
laws, and functions, whom, even if the whole world were left entire to
Him, Marcion's god could possibly seem to have overcome as "the stronger
than He," if it were not in consequence of His law that even Marcionites
were constantly dying, by returning in their dissolution1087
to the ground, and were so often admonished by even a scorpion, that the
Creator had by no means been overcome?1088 "A (certain)
mother of the company exclaims, `Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and
the paps which Thou hast sucked; 'but the Lord said, `Yea, rather, blessed
are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.'"1089
Now He had in precisely similar terms rejected His mother or His brethren,
whilst preferring those who heard and obeyed God.1090 His
mother, however, was not here present with Him. On that former occasion,
therefore, He had not denied that He was her son by birth.1091
On hearing this (salutation) the second time, He the second time transferred,
as He had done before,1092 the "blessedness" to His
disciples from the womb and the paps of His mother, from whom, however,
unless He had in her (a real mother) He could not have transferred it.
1074 Apud quem.
1075 Luke xi. 14.
1076 Isa. xxix. 18.
1077 Luke xi. 19.
1078 Luke xi. 18.
1079 Luke xi. 20.
1080 Ex. viii. 19.
1082 Vetustatum scilicet suarum.
1085 Luke xi. 21,22.
1088 The scorpion here represents any class of the lowest
animals, especially such as stung. The Marcionites impiously made it a
reproach to the Creator, that He had formed such worthless and offensive
creatures. Compare book i. chap. 17, note 5. p. 283.
1089 Luke xi. 27,28.
1090 See above, on Luke viii. 21.