Info

the demiurge to preach the gospel. Nobody had known anything about the 'alien' Godbefore; andhe demanded nothing else but faith in Christ. Marcion's conception, that the good God saves the creatures of the demiurge without any previous connection, can be taken, as by Harnack,22 as the purest possible form of grace. But the price for this gift is high: it means that the supreme God is excluded totally from creation. He is literally an 'alien' in the world of the demiurge. The problem of divine omnipotence and unity cannot be solved on Marcion's assumptions.

In his first book against Marcion, Tertullian mainly deals with the Marcionite doctrine of God. One chapter is devoted to creation.23 From this text, full of ironical polemic, we learn that according to Marcion the demiurge made the world out ofprimordial matter.24 Moreover, Tertullian discusses the possibility of another creation of the supreme God: if he was a creator, after all, he had to bring forth his own heavenly world either from eternal matter or from nothing. It seems that Marcion might be referring to the classical opposition between making the world out of nothing or shaping it from matter. This would mean that he had a clear concept of creation out of nothing. However, what Tertullian reports are his own conclusions put into the mouth of Marcion. Tertullian, writing after 200, does have a clear idea of creation out of nothing, but this cannot be presupposed for Marcion, fifty years earlier.25 A last remark of Tertullian seems credible: Marcion imputes evil to matter.26 From these lines of Tertullian there emerges a triad of supreme God, demiurge and matter. Similar conceptions of the constitutive principles of being can be found in Neo-Pythagoreanism, Platonism and Gnosticism.

Harnack drew the attention of his readers to one of Marcion's famous 'antitheses', showing the difference between the two gods: Elisha, the creator's prophet, needs 'matter' - water - for the healing of the leper Naaman, and this seven times (2 Kgs 5:14); Christ healed a leper by his mere word (Luke 5:12-15).27 That Marcion deliberately used cosmological language when he described the different creative powers of his gods is possible. Perhaps Marcion envisioned two basic types of creation, each belonging to one of the two gods. The supreme God created the invisible heavenly world alone by his omnipotent

22 Harnack, Marcion, 121-43

25 Tert. Herm. 2 and throughout: the language on creation resembles that of Marc.

0 0

Post a comment