The following extracts follow the previous discussion on Justin’s work. Full text is available at http://


[Justin’s account of his conversion: His dialogue with a Christian:]

… “And do all the souls of all living beings comprehend Him?” he asked; “or are the souls of men of one kind and the souls of horses and of asses of another kind?”

“No; but the souls which are in all are similar,” I answered.

“Then,” says he, “shall both horses and asses see, or have they seen at some time or other, God?”

“No,” I said; “for the majority of men will not, saving such as shall live justly, purified by righteousness, and by every other virtue.”

“It is not, therefore,” said he, “on account of his affinity, that a man sees God, nor because he has a mind, but because he is temperate and righteous?”

“Yes,” said I; “and because he has that whereby he perceives God.”

“What then? Do goats or sheep injure any one?”

“No one in any respect,” I said.

“Therefore these animals will see [God] according to your account,” says he.

“No; for their body being of such a nature, is an obstacle to them.”

He rejoined, “If these animals could assume speech, be well assured that they would with greater reason ridicule our body; but let us now dismiss this subject, and let it be conceded to you as you say. Tell me, however, this: Does the soul see [God] so long as it is in the body, or after it has been removed from it?”

“So long as it is in the form of a man, it is possible for it,” I continue, “to attain to this by means of the mind; but especially when it has been set free from the body, and being apart by itself, it gets possession of that which it was wont continually and wholly to love.”

“Does it remember this, then [the sight of God], when it is again in the man?”

“It does not appear to me so,” I said.

“What, then, is the advantage to those who have seen [God]? or what has he who has seen more than he who has not seen, unless he remember this fact, that he has seen?”

“I cannot tell,” I answered.

“And what do those suffer who are judged to be unworthy of this spectacle?” said he.

“They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment.”

“Do they know, then, that it is for this reason they are in such forms, and that they have committed some sin?”

“I do not think so.”

“Then these reap no advantage from their punishment, as it seems: moreover, I would say that they are not punished unless they are conscious of the punishment.”

“No indeed.”

“Therefore souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies; for they would know that so they are punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards. But that they can perceive that God exists, and that righteousness and piety are honourable, I also quite agree with you,” said he.

“You are right,” I replied.


… But these filthy garments, which have been put by you on all who have become Christians by the name of Jesus, God shows shall be taken away from us, when He shall raise all men from the dead, and appoint some to be incorruptible, immortal, and free from sorrow in the everlasting and imperishable kingdom; but shall send others away to the everlasting punishment of fire…