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Chapter XII.—God Produced the Wicked One, But Not Evil.

And Simon said:  “If, then, God is the cause only of what is good, what else can we think than that some other principle begot the evil one; 1427 or is evil unbegotten?”  And Peter said:  “No other power begot the wicked one, nor is evil unbegotten, as I shall show in the conclusion; for now my object is to prove, as I promised in the commencement, that God is blameless in every 1428 respect.  We have granted, then, that God possesses in an incomparable way the better attributes that belong to men.  Wherefore also it is possible for Him to have been the producer of the four substances,—heat, I mean, and cold, moist and dry.  These, as being at first simple and unmixed, were naturally indifferent in their desire; 1429 but being produced by God, and mixed externally, they would naturally become a living being, possessing the free choice to destroy those who are evil.  And thus, since all things have been begotten from Him, the wicked one is from no other source.  Nor has he derived his evil from the God who has created all things (with whom it is impossible that evil should exist), because the substances were produced by Him in a state of indifference, and carefully separated from each other; and when they were externally blended through his art, there arose through volition the desire for the destruction of the evil ones.  But the good cannot be destroyed by the evil that arose, even though it should wish to do so:  for it exercises its power only 1430 against those who sin.  Ignorant, then, of the character of each, 1431 he makes his attempt against him, and convicting him, he punishes him.”  And Simon said:  “God being able to mingle the elements, and to make His mixtures so as to produce any dispositions that He may wish, why did He not make the composition of each such as that it would prefer what is good?”



“Evil” is not in the mss.  It is inserted from the next sentence.


“Every” is inserted by a conjecture of Schwegler’s.


Lit., “naturally had their desire towards neither.”


The mss. have “by law.”  We have changed νόμῳ into μόνον.


The devil is plainly meant by the “he.”

Next: Chapter XIII