I affirm and intersect with the following historians, all who wrote against Marcion in one way or another:
Irenaeus of Lyons thought that the crown of creation is humanity, and is a free and responsible being. The purpose of our lives is to enjoy an ever-growing communion with our creator, but on the other hand, the human creature is not made from the beginning in is final perfection. Instead, we are guided by God to become the perfect human which is found in Jesus Christ. God's purpose is to make us ever more like the divine, and thus Genesis was no the goal of creation, just it's beginning. so for Irenaeus, there is a fall, but it is a fall upwards.
Clement of Alexandria steps up and mixes the Jewish Law with Gentile Philosophy. he is convinced that there is only one truth since God is one and thus would be the truth and the classical philosophers and prophets were one in the same and were pointing to the ultimate truth of God. the texts have more than one meaning and the literal sense, while important, isn't the only way as the meanings beyond the texts that the truly wise must discover. God cannot be described in human words, only in metaphor and in negative terms, and human language can do no more than point to a reality that is beyond its grasp. pretty post-modern for a dude living around 215 CE huh?
Then up steps Tertullian of Carthage, the heretic hunter and bane of Marcion. he's legalistic and rigid and sets up inflexible doctrines. Anglican Boy would really get a thrill out of this guy's writing cause he's a lawyer, and a really good one at that. so much so that Tertullian despises speculation as he states:
Seek until you find, but once you find, you are to believe. Thereafter, all you have to do is hold to what you have believed. Besides this, you are to believe that there is nothing further to be believed, nor anything else to be sought.Tertullian and i would not have gotten along. however, he's overwhelming in his case the incarnation stating how a suffering God is one unique to the Judeo-Christian scriptures. we are to seek what God as done and not speculate on what God could do or has in store and we can only do this through the use of the Gospel's and what the Gospels rest on, namely the prophets and the OT. he writes that Jesus and the God of Israel are not only one and the same, but the Christian God is the Jewish God and then resorts to saying how Christians now "own" the OT. i don't like that step, but i do like how informed and knowledgeable Tertullian is of midrash, the Talmud, and the rabbinic literature; not something i see too many church father's having, Marcion included.
In writing against Marcion he askes what good is Marcion's god. The God of the church and the OT made the entire world and all its wonders, whereas Marcion's god has not created a single vegetable.what was Marcion's god doing before the last revelation? Is this love just a quick affair?
thus it is with this type of inflexible logic and mordant irony that Tertullian writes against Marcion, Praxeas, and Demetritus and becomes the "champion of orthodoxy."
then up steps Origen of Alexandria who notes that there are more than one creation story in the bible. he focuses specifically on the two in Genesis, which wasn't really a big deal because the Jewish scholars were writing about this long before Origen gets around to it. the spin he puts on it was that the first creation was purely spiritual, and the second physical. Origen found a God who wants us to return to our spiritual home but yet know the pain and joy of a physical life. in the end, we'll all be reunited in universal reconciliation, since God is love. he even goes as far as to state that even Satan will be saved. there will be judgment, but more in the fact that we must admit that we haven't lived up to our higher ideals, that our potential wasn't fully reached. afterall, Jesus' first call was for us to "repent and believe the kingdom was close at hand." he expounds beautifully on that, where as Marcion had no judgment at all in his theology.
whereas Marcion had a profound dislike towards both Judaism and the material world and thus developed an understanding of Christianity that was both anti-Jewish and anti-material (Gonzalez 61). Jesus had some hidden knowledge or revelation that showed that his God was a God of love whereas the Jewish God was a God of Justice-and arbitrary justice at that. He sought to establish a benevolent God where no acts of genocide, war, or choosing one group over another are attributed to him. just as the fundamentalists decry today, you can't pick and choose, and thus the OT was the word of an inferior god and should not be read nor used as the basis for Christian instruction. Paul and Luke became the core message of Jesus' life; yet even then Marcion rejected or radically reinterpreted the doctrines of creation, incarnation and resurrection; namely Jesus appeared as a grown man during the reign of Tiberius, there is no judgement in his message, and God is absolutely loving and offers free grace. sounds an awful lot like J. Denny Weaver, James Allison, and other adherents to nonviolent atonement.
Marcion may have been onto something, but questions of theodicy are never so easily solved. he seems to miss the "more-than-literal" readings that both Origen and Clement spoke about. he dismisses the incarnation with a docetic model. he is anti-semetic (not that Tertullian or many of the church fathers weren't) but worse, he's anti-material. no love of human emotions or urges has he, he makes Augustine look like a hedonist.
what i read in Beo's writings as well as other "reconstructionist" movements like the Toltec, Gnostic, and Hellenistic writings is a desire to do away with the bad parts of history, and pick out only the good. to say "that wasn't me" and not allow oneself to be implicated in history. but you are. like it or not, if you're white in the US, you're condemned for slavery. if you're male, sexism. if Christian, crusades and "slash-and-burn" fundamentalism. we're not pure. not ever.
it's no secret that people use all sorts of crap to justify their bad behavior or exploitive practices. God and reason, religion and science are all co-opted to betray our best intentions.
this is humanity. it's flawed. we're strange and dangerous and we hurt each other. but this is our doing. the desire to hide the nakedness of our greed and our natures in "polite" society on serves to veil the brutal facts of human life from itself. the inevitable hypocrisy which is associated with all collective activities of the human race, springs chiefly from this source: that individuals have a moral code which makes the actions of collective humanity an outrage to their conscience.
i think it's in the OT that we get the best insights into the outrage of the human character as well as our surprising redemptive and altruistic intentions. we get stories of resistance and subversive communal living within the limitations of all that it means to be human. of which, Jesus is grounded in and exemplifies. one without the other doesn't work, IMO.