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Chapter XXXVIII.—Christ’s Refutations of the Pharisees. Rendering Dues to Cæsar and to God. Next of the Sadducees, Respecting Marriage in the Resurrection. These Prove Him Not to Be Marcion’s But the Creator’s Christ.  Marcion’s Tamperings in Order to Make Room for His Second God, Exposed and Confuted.

Christ knew “the baptism of John, whence it was.” 4981 Then why did He ask them, as if He knew not? He knew that the Pharisees would not give Him an answer; then why did He ask in vain? Was it that He might judge them out of their own mouth, or their own heart? Suppose you refer these points to an excuse of the Creator, or to His comparison with Christ; then consider what would have happened if the Pharisees had replied to His question.  Suppose their answer to have been, that John’s baptism was “of men,” they would have been immediately stoned to death. 4982 Some Marcion, in rivalry to Marcion, would have stood up 4983 and said: O most excellent God; how different are his ways from the Creator’s!  Knowing that men would rush down headlong over it, He placed them p. 413 actually 4984 on the very precipice. For thus do men treat of the Creator respecting His law of the tree. 4985 But John’s baptism was “from heaven.” “Why, therefore,” asks Christ, “did ye not believe him?” 4986 He therefore who had wished men to believe John, purposing to censure 4987 them because they had not believed him, belonged to Him whose sacrament John was administering. But, at any rate, 4988 when He actually met their refusal to say what they thought, with such reprisals as, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things,” 4989 He returned evil for evil! “Render unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” 4990 What will be “the things which are God’s?” Such things as are like Cæsar’s denarius—that is to say, His image and similitude. That, therefore, which he commands to be “rendered unto God,” the Creator, is man, who has been stamped with His image, likeness, name, and substance. 4991 Let Marcion’s god look after his own mint. 4992 Christ bids the denarius of man’s imprint to be rendered to His Cæsar, (His Cæsar I say,) not the Cæsar of a strange god. 4993 The truth, however, must be confessed, this god has not a denarius to call his own! In every question the just and proper rule is, that the meaning of the answer ought to be adapted to the proposed inquiry. But it is nothing short of madness to return an answer altogether different from the question submitted to you. God forbid, then, that we should expect from Christ 4994 conduct which would be unfit even to an ordinary man! The Sadducees, who said there was no resurrection, in a discussion on that subject, had proposed to the Lord a case of law touching a certain woman, who, in accordance with the legal prescription, had been married to seven brothers who had died one after the other. The question therefore was, to which husband must she be reckoned to belong in the resurrection? 4995 This, (observe,) was the gist of the inquiry, this was the sum and substance of the dispute.  And to it Christ was obliged to return a direct answer. He had nobody to fear; that it should seem advisable 4996 for Him either to evade their questions, or to make them the occasion of indirectly mooting 4997 a subject which He was not in the habit of teaching publicly at any other time. He therefore gave His answer, that “the children of this world marry.” 4998 You see how pertinent it was to the case in point. Because the question concerned the next world, and He was going to declare that no one marries there, He opens the way by laying down the principles that here, where there is death, there is also marriage. “But they whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; forasmuch as they cannot die any more, since they become equal to the angels, being made the children of God and of the resurrection.” 4999 If, then, the meaning of the answer must not turn on any other point than on the proposed question, and since the question proposed is fully understood from this sense of the answer, 5000 then the Lord’s reply admits of no other interpretation than that by which the question is clearly understood. 5001 You have both the time in which marriage is permitted, and the time in which it is said to be unsuitable, laid before you, not on their own account, but in consequence of an inquiry about the resurrection. You have likewise a confirmation of the resurrection itself, and the whole question which the Sadducees mooted, who asked no question about another god, nor inquired about the proper law of marriage. Now, if you make Christ answer questions which were not submitted to Him, you, in fact, represent Him as having been unable to solve the points on which He was really consulted, and entrapped of course by the cunning of the Sadducees. I shall now proceed, by way of supererogation, 5002 and after the rule (I have laid down about questions and answers), 5003 to deal with the arguments which have any consistency in them. 5004 They procured then a copy of the Scripture, and made short work with its text, by reading it thus: 5005 “Those whom the god of that world shall account worthy.” They p. 414 add the phrase “of that world” to the word “god,” whereby they make another god “the god of that world;” whereas the passage ought to be read thus: “Those whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world” (removing the distinguishing phrase “of this world” to the end of the clause, 5006 in other words, “Those whom God shall account worthy of obtaining and rising to that world.” For the question submitted to Christ had nothing to do with the god, but only with the state, of that world. It was: “Whose wife should this woman be in that world after the resurrection?” 5007 They thus subvert His answer respecting the essential question of marriage, and apply His words, “The children of this world marry and are given in marriage,” as if they referred to the Creator’s men, and His permission to them to marry; whilst they themselves whom the god of that world—that is, the rival god—accounted worthy of the resurrection, do not marry even here, because they are not children of this world. But the fact is, that, having been consulted about marriage in that world, not in this present one, He had simply declared the non-existence of that to which the question related. They, indeed, who had caught the very force of His voice, and pronunciation, and expression, discovered no other sense than what had reference to the matter of the question. Accordingly, the Scribes exclaimed, “Master, Thou hast well said.” 5008 For He had affirmed the resurrection, by describing the form 5009 thereof in opposition to the opinion of the Sadducees. Now, He did not reject the attestation of those who had assumed His answer to bear this meaning. If, however, the Scribes thought Christ was David’s Son, whereas (David) himself calls Him Lord, 5010 what relation has this to Christ? David did not literally confute 5011 an error of the Scribes, yet David asserted the honour of Christ, when he more prominently affirmed that He was his Lord than his Son,—an attribute which was hardly suitable to the destroyer of the Creator. But how consistent is the interpretation on our side of the question! For He, who had been a little while ago invoked by the blind man as “the Son of David,” 5012 then made no remark on the subject, not having the Scribes in His presence; whereas He now purposely moots the point before them, and that of His own accord, 5013 in order that He might show Himself whom the blind man, following the doctrine of the Scribes, had simply declared to be the Son of David, to be also his Lord. He thus honoured the blind man’s faith which had acknowledged His Sonship to David; but at the same time He struck a blow at the tradition of the Scribes, which prevented them from knowing that He was also (David’s) Lord.  Whatever had relation to the glory of the Creator’s Christ, no other would thus guard and maintain 5014 but Himself the Creator’s Christ.



Luke xx. 4.


Luke xx. 6.






“Of knowledge of good and evil.” The “law” thereof occurs in Gen. iii. 3.


Luke xx. 5.




Certe. [The word sacrament not technical here.]


Luke xx. 8.


Luke xx. 25.






Non alieno.


Quo magis absit a Christo.


Luke xx. 27-33.


Ut videatur.




Luke xx. 34.


Luke 20:35, 36.


Surely Oehler’s responsio ought to be responsionis, as the older books have it.




Ex abundanti.


We have translated here, post præscriptionem, according to the more frequent sense of the word, præscriptio. But there is another meaning of the word, which is not unknown to our author, equivalent to our objection or demurrer, or (to quote Oehler’s definition) “clausula qua reus adversarii intentionem oppugnat—the form by which the defendant rebuts the plaintiff’s charge.” According to this sense, we read: “I shall now proceed…and after putting in a demurrer (or taking exception) against the tactics of my opponent.”




Decucurrerunt in legendo: or, “they ran through it, by thus reading.”


We have adapted, rather than translated, Tertullian’s words in this parenthesis.  His words of course suit the order of the Latin, which differs from the English. The sentence in Latin is, “Quos autem dignatus est Deus illius ævi possessione et resurrectione a mortuis.” The phrase in question is illius ævi.  Where shall it stand? The Marcionites placed it after “Deus” in government, but Tertullian (following the undoubted meaning of the sentence) says it depends on “possessione et resurrectione,” i.e., “worthy of the possession, etc., of that world.” To effect this construction, he says, “Ut facta hic distinctione post deum ad sequentia pertineat illius ævi;” i.e., he requests that a stop be placed after the word “deus,” whereby the phrase “illius ævi” will belong to the words which follow—“possessione et resurrectione a mortuis.”


Luke xx. 33.


Luke xx. 39.


Formam: “its conditions” or “process.”


Luke xx. 41-44.


Non obtundebat.


Luke xviii. 38.


Luke xx. 41.



Next: Concerning Those Who Come in the Name of Christ. The Terrible Signs of His Coming. He Whose Coming is So Grandly Described Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, is None Other Than the Christ of the Creator. This Proof Enhanced by the Parable of the Fig-Tree and All the Trees.  Parallel Passages of Prophecy.