The Judges Said: we Desire to have Information from You on this Point...
The judges said: We desire to have information from you on this point, Manichæus, to wit, to what effect you have affirmed him to be evil. Do you mean that he has been so from the time when men were made, or before that period? For it is necessary that you should give some proof of his wickedness from the very time from which you declare him to have been evil. Be assured [1602] that the quality of a wine cannot be ascertained unless one first tastes it; and understand that, in like manner, every tree is known by its fruit. What say you, then? From what time has this personality been evil? For an explanation of this problem seems to us to be necessary. Manes said: He has always been so. Archelaus said: Well, then, I shall also show from this, most excellent friends, and most judicious auditors, that his statement is by no means correct. For iron, to take an example, has not been an evil thing always, but only from the period of man's existence, and since his art turned it to evil by applying it to false uses; and every sin has come into existence since the period of man's being. Even that great serpent himself was not evil previous to man, but only after man, in whom he displayed the fruit of his wickedness, because he willed it himself. If, then, the father of wickedness makes his appearance to us after man has come into being, according to the Scriptures, how can he be unbegotten who has thus been constituted evil subsequently to man, who is himself a production? But, again, why should he exhibit himself as evil just from the period when, on your supposition, he did himself create man? [1603] What did he desire in him? If man's whole body was his own workmanship, what did he ardently affect in him? For one who ardently affects or desires, desires something which is different and better. If, indeed, man takes his origin from him in respect of the evil nature, we see how man was his own, as I have frequently shown. [1604] For if man was his own, he was also evil himself, just as it holds with our illustration of the like tree and the like fruit; for an evil tree, as you say, produces evil fruit. And seeing that all were evil, what did he desiderate, or in what could he show the beginning of his wickedness, if from the time of man's formation man was the cause of his wickedness? Moreover, the law and precept having been given to the man himself, the man had not by any means the power to yield obedience to the serpent, and to the statements which were made by him; and had the man then yielded no obedience to him, what occasion would there have been for him to be evil? But, again, if evil is unbegotten, how does it happen that man is sometimes found to be stronger than it? For, by obeying the law of God, he will often overcome every root of wickedness; and it would be a ridiculous thing if he, who is but the production, should be found to be stronger than the unbegotten. Moreover, whose is that law with its commandment -- that commandment, I mean, which has been given to man? Without doubt it will be acknowledged to be God's. And how, then, can the law be given to an alien? or who can give his commandment to an enemy? Or, to speak of him who receives the commandment, how can he contend against the devil? that is to say, on this supposition, how can he contend against his own creator, as if the son, while he is a debtor to him for deeds of kindness, were to choose to inflict injuries on the father? Thus you but mark out the profitlessness [1605] of man on this side, if you suppose him to be contradicting by the law and commandment him who has made him, and to be making the effort to get the better of him. Yea, we shall have to fancy the devil himself to have gone to such an excess of folly, as not to have perceived that in making man he made an adversary for himself, and neither to have considered what might be his future, nor to have foreseen the actual consequence of his act; whereas even in ourselves. who are but productions, there are at least some small gifts of knowledge, and a measure of prudence, and a moderate degree of consideration, which is sometimes of a very trustworthy nature. And how, then, can we believe that in the unbegotten there is not some little portion of prudence, or consideration, or intelligence? Or how can we make the contrary supposition, according to your assertion, namely, that he is discovered to be of the most senseless apprehension, and the dullest heart and in short rather like the brutes in his natural constitution? But if the case stands thus, again, how is it that man, who is possessed of no insignificant power in mental capacity and knowledge, could have received his substance from one who thus is, of all beings, the most ignorant and the bluntest in apprehension? How shall any one be rash enough to profess that man is the workmanship of an author of this character? But, again, if man consists both of soul and of body, and not merely of body without soul, and if the one cannot subsist apart from the other, why will you assert that these two are antagonistic and contrary to each other? For our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed, seems to me to have spoken of these in His parables, when He said: "No man can put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles will break, and the wine run out." [1606] But new wine is to be put into new bottles, as there is indeed one and the same Lord for the bottle and for the wine. For although the substance may be different, yet by these two substances, in their due powers, and in the maintenance of their proper mutual relations, [1607] the one person of man subsists. We do not say, indeed, that the soul is of one substance with the body, but we aver that they have each their own characteristic qualities; and as the bottle and the wine are applied in the similitude to one race and one species of men, so truth's reckoning requires us to grant that man was produced complete by the one God: for the soul rejoices in the body, and loves and cherishes it; and none the less does the body rejoice that it is quickened by the soul. But if, on the other hand, a person maintains that the body is the work of the wicked one, inasmuch as it is so corruptible, and antiquated, and worthless, it would follow then that it is incapable of sustaining the virtue of the spirit or the movement of the soul, and the most splendid creation of the same. For just as, when a person puts a piece of new cloth into an old garment, the rent is made worse; [1608] so also the body would perish if it were to be associated, under such conditions, with that most brilliant production the soul. Or, to use another illustration: just as, when a man carries the light of a lamp into a dark place the darkness is forthwith put to flight and makes no appearance; so we ought to understand that, on the soul's introduction into the body the darkness is straightway banished, and one nature at once effected, and one man constituted in one species. And thus, agreeably therewith, it will be allowed that the new wine is put into new bottles, and that the piece of new cloth is not put into the old garment. But from this we are able to show that there is a unison of powers in these two substances, that is to say, in that of the body and in that of the soul; of which unison that greatest teacher in the Scriptures, Paul, speaks, when he tells us, that "God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him." [1609]


[1602] Routh, however, points differently, so that the sense is: Be assured that it is necessary to give some proof, etc....For the quality of a wine, etc.

[1603] The text is, "ex hominis tempore a se creati cur malus ostendatur," which is taken to be equivalent to, "ex tempore quo hominem ipse creavit," etc.

[1604] The reading adopted by Migne is, "si ergo ex eo homo est, mala natura, demonstratur quomodo suus fuit, ut frequenter ostendi." Others put the sentence interrogatively = If man takes his origin from him, (and) the evil nature is thus demonstrated, in what sense was man his own, etc.? Routh suggests ex quo for ex eo = If the evil nature is demonstrated just from the time of man's existence, how was man, etc.?

[1605] The reading is inutilitatem. But Routh points that this is probably the translation of ten euteleian, vilitatem, meanness.

[1606] Matthew 9:17.

[1607] Dominatione et observantiæ usu.

[1608] Matthew 9:16.

[1609] 1 Corinthians 12:18.

17 manes said let it
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