Chapter LIII.—Simons Blasphemy.
Then says Simon: “Listen: it is manifest to all, and ascertained in a manner of which no account can be given, 663 that there is one God, who is better than all, from whom all that is took its beginning; whence also of necessity, all things that are after him are subject to him, as the chief p. 112 and most excellent of all. When, therefore, I had ascertained that the God who created the world, according to what the law teaches, is in many respects weak, whereas weakness is utterly incompatible with a perfect God, and I saw that he is not perfect, I necessarily concluded that there is another God who is perfect. 664 For this God, as I have said, according to what the writing of the law teaches, is shown to be weak in many things. In the first place, because the man whom he formed was not able to remain such as he had intended him to be; and because he cannot be good who gave a law to the first man, that he should eat of all the trees of paradise, but that he should not touch the tree of knowledge; and if he should eat of it, he should die. For why should he forbid him to eat, and to know what is good and what evil, that, knowing, he might shun the evil and choose the good? But this he did not permit; and because he did eat in violation of the commandment, and discovered what is good, and learned for the sake of honour to cover his nakedness (for he perceived it to be unseemly to stand naked before his Creator), he condemns to death him who had learned to do honour to God, and curses the serpent who had shown him these things. But truly, if man was to be injured by this means, why did he place the cause of injury in paradise at all? But if that which he placed in paradise was good, it is not the part of one that is good to restrain another from good.”
We render by a periphrasis the expression ineffabili quadam ratione compertum. The meaning seems to be, that the belief of the existence and unity of God is not the result of reasoning, but of intuition or instinct.112:664
[The argument of Simon here differs from that represented in Homilies XVII., XVIII. There Simon asserts that the Framer of the world is not the highest God, because He is not both just and good. Comp. also book iii. 37, 38.—R.]