The Creation of Heaven and Earth: Re-Interpretation of Genesis I in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics

By George H. Van Kooten | Go to book overview

THE HISTORY-OF-RELIGIOUS
BACKGROUND OF ITIMOTHY 4:4:
'EVERYTHING THAT GOD HAS CREATED IS GOOD'

BOUDEWIJN DEHANDSCHUTTER


Introduction

The student of early Christianity is, generally, familiar with the story of the Martyrs of Lyon and Vienne. This story is known to us through the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea who quotes it at length in the first and second chapters of the fifth book.1 What tends, again generally, to be less well known is that the 'Father of Church History' returns to the story of the Lyonese martyrs, even immediately afterwards in the third chapter of the fifth book! The text there runs as follows:

Now the same document of the aforesaid martyrs contains also another
story which deserves to be remembered, nor can there be any objection
to my bringing it before the knowledge of my readers. It runs thus. There
was one of them, a certain Alcibiades, who lived in absolute squalor,
partaking formerly of nothing whatever save bread and water only; and
he essayed to continue this mode of existence in prison also. But it was
revealed to Attalus, after his first conflict in the amphitheatre was com-
pleted, that Alcibiades was not doing well in refusing the creatures of
God and leaving an example whereat others might stumble. So Alcib-
iades was persuaded, and began to receive all things freely and give
thanks to God. For they were not unvisited by the grace of God, but
had the Holy Spirit for their Counsellor.2

There is no doubt that in the reaction of Attalus to the attitude of Alcibiades,' and in the conclusion of the passage, a reference can be

1 Edition by E. Schwartz, Eusebius Werke: Die Kirchengeschichte, vol. i, Berlin 1999 (2nd
edn by F. Winkelmann).

2 Translation by H.J. Lawlor and J.E.L. Oulton, Eusebius: The Ecclesiastical History and
the Martyrs of Palestine
, vol. 1, London 1927, 149.

3 Alcibiades is mentioned only here in the quotations of Eusebius; Attalus appears
more than once in the narrative, so that it is difficult to locate the passage from book
V.3.

-211-

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