XXXV. (176) These things, then, it was necessary to give an idea of beforehand; but for what reason this was necessary we must now say. The nature of animals was originally divided into the portion endowed with and into that devoid of reason, the two being at variance with one another. Again the rational division was subdivided into the perishable and imperishable species, the perishable species being the race of mankind, and the imperishable species being the company of incorporeal souls which revolve about the air and heaven. (177) But these have no participation in wickedness, having received from the very beginning an inheritance without stain and full of happiness; and not being bound up in the region of interminable calamities, that is to say, in the body. The divisions also of the irrational part are free from any participation in wickedness, inasmuch as, having no endowment of intellect, they are never convicted of those deliberate acts of wickedness which proceed upon consideration. (178) But man is almost the only one of all living things which, having a thorough knowledge of good and evil, often chooses that which is worst, and rejects those things which are worthy of earnest pursuit, so that he is often most justly condemned as being guilty of deliberate and studied crime. (179) Very appropriately therefore has God attributed the creation of this being, man, to his lieutenants, saying, “Let us make man,” in order that the successes of the intellect may be attributed to him alone, but the errors of the being thus created, to his subordinate power: for it did not appear to be suitable to the dignity of God, the ruler of the universe, to make the road to wickedness in a rational soul by his own agency; for which reason he has committed to those about him the creation of this portion of the universe; for it was necessary that the voluntary principle, as the counterpoise to the involuntary principle, should be established and made known, with a view to the completion and perfection of the universe.

XXXVI. (180) And this may be enough to say in this manner; and it is right that this point also should be considered, namely that God is the cause only of what is good but is absolutely the cause of no evil whatever, since he himself is the most ancient of all existing things, and the most perfect of all goods; and it is most natural and becoming that he should do what is most akin to his own nature, that is to say, that the best of all beings should be the cause of all the best things, but that the punishments appointed for the wicked are inflicted by the means of his subordinate ministers. (181) And there is an evidence in favour of this assertion of mine in this expression, which was uttered by the man who was made perfect by practice; “The God who nourished me from my youth up, the angel who defended me from all Evils;”{59}{#ge 48:16.} for by this words he already confesses that those genuine good things which nourish the souls which love virtue, are referred to God as their sole cause; but the fate of the wicked is, on the other hand, referred to the angels, and even they have not independent and absolute power of inflicting punishment, that this salutary nature may not afford an opportunity to any one of the things which tend to destruction. (182) For this reason God says, “Come, let us go down and confuse;” for the wicked, deserving to meet with such punishment as this, that the merciful, and beneficent, and bounteous, powers of God should become known to them chiefly by its inflictions. Knowing therefore that these powers are beneficial to the race of man, he has appointed the punishments to be inflicted by other beings; for it was expedient that he himself should be looked upon as the cause of well-doing, but in such a way that the fountains of his everlasting graces should be kept unmingled with any evils, not merely with those that are really evils, but even with those which are accounted such.