The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/theophilus-of-antioch-on-politics/
Theophilus gives an account of his conversion and calls upon his friend to likewise convert. It interesting in this short passage how he easily holds together matters which latter Christians have divided.
First consider the matter of apologetics: Does one believe as the result of evidence or does one believe as the result of being confronted by God in the Scripture and irresistibly believing (evidence then coming second as confirmation). Theophilus holds both positions:
Therefore, do not be sceptical, but believe; for I myself also used to disbelieve that this would take place, but now, having taken these things into consideration, I believe. At the same time, I met with the sacred Scriptures of the holy prophets, who also by the Spirit of God foretold the things that have already happened, just as they came to pass, and the things now occurring as they are now happening, and things future in the order in which they shall be accomplished.
Second, Theophilus does not divide faith & obedience; nor does he find obedience meritorious. Faith & obedience are inseparable responses to disclosure of God to his soul.
Admitting, therefore, the proof which events happening as predicted afford, I do not disbelieve, but I believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also submit to, believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, “We have not heard, neither have we known.” But do you also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each.
To those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek immortality, He will give life everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither hath eye seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and at the last everlasting fire shall possess such men. Since you said, “Show me thy God,” this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and to trust Him.
Three additional observations on the text.
First, Theophilus has an unflinching confidence in the “prophetic Scriptures” (the language sounds similar to Second Peter’s “prophecy of Scripture”). It is stated, it is true, you had best believe.
Second, Theophilus sees the future judgment and eternal punishment as an apologetic, a “witness” to God. The warning of God having been incomprehensible and denied; the judgment of God will give final and eternal proof of God’s existence and authority:
when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, “We have not heard, neither have we known.”
Third, he continues the idea of Justin that the Greek philosophers followed the Hebrew prophets.