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  • Chapter LXX

    Chapter LXX.

    If Celsus, indeed, had understood our teaching regarding the Spirit of God, and had known that “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God,”4640

    4640 Rom. viii. 14.

    he would not have returned to himself the answer which he represents as coming from us, that “God put His own Spirit into a body, and sent it down to us;” for God is perpetually bestowing of His own Spirit to those who are capable of receiving it, although it is not by way of division and separation that He dwells in (the hearts of) the deserving.  Nor is the Spirit, in our opinion, a “body,” any more than fire is a “body,” which God is said to be in the passage, “Our God is a consuming fire.”4641

    4641 Cf. Heb. xii. 29.

      For all these are figurative expressions, employed to denote the nature of “intelligent beings” by means of familiar and corporeal terms.  In the same way, too, if sins are called “wood, and straw, and stubble,” we shall not maintain that sins are corporeal; and if blessings are termed “gold, and silver, and precious stones,”4642

    4642 Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 12.

    we shall not maintain that blessings are “corporeal;” so also, if God be said to be a fire that consumes wood, and straw, and stubble, and all substance4643

    4643 πᾶσαν οὐσίαν.

    of sin, we shall not understand Him to be a “body,” so neither do we understand Him to be a body if He should be called “fire.”  In this way, if God be called “spirit,”4644

    4644 πνεῦμα.  There is an allusion to the two meanings of πνεῦμα, “wind” and “spirit.”

    we do not mean that He is a “body.”  For it is the custom of Scripture to give to “intelligent beings” the names of “spirits” and “spiritual things,” by way of distinction from those which are the objects of “sense;” as when Paul says, “But our sufficiency is of God; who hath also made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,”4645

    4645 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6.

    where by the “letter” he means that “exposition of Scripture which is apparent to the senses,”4646

    4646 τὴν αἰσθητὴν ἐκδοχήν.

    while by the “spirit” that which is the object of the “understanding.”  It is the same, too, with the expression, “God is a Spirit.”  And because the prescriptions of the law were obeyed both by Samaritans and Jews in a corporeal and literal4647

    4647 τυπικῶς here evidently must have the above meaning.

    manner, our Saviour said to the Samaritan woman, “The hour is coming, when neither in Jerusalem, nor in this mountain, shall ye worship the FatherGod is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”4648

    4648 Cf. John iv. 21; 24.

      And by these words He taught men that God must be worshipped not in the flesh, and with fleshly sacrifices, but in the spirit.  And He will be understood to be a Spirit in proportion as the worship rendered to Him is rendered in spirit, and with understanding.  It is not, however, with images4649

    4649 ἐν τύποις.

    that we are to worship the Father, but “in truth,” which “came by Jesus Christ,” after the giving of the law by Moses.  For when we turn to the Lord (and the Lord is a Spirit4650

    4650 Cf. 2 Cor. iii. 17.

    ), He takes away the veil which lies upon the heart when Moses is read.


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