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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
THEOPHILUS: Chapter XIII.—Remarks on the Creation of the World.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIII.—Remarks on the Creation of the World.

Moreover, his [Hesiod’s] human, and mean, and very weak conception, so far as regards God, is discovered in his beginning to relate the creation of all things from the earthly things here below. For man, being below, begins to build from the earth, and cannot in order make the roof, unless he has first laid the foundation. But the power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are made. “For the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” 573 Wherefore, also, the prophet mentioned that the creation of the heavens first of all took place, as a kind of roof, saying: “At the first God created the heavens”—that is, that by means of the “first” principle the heavens were made, as we have already shown. And by “earth” he means the ground and foundation, as by “the deep” he means the multitude of waters; and “darkness” he speaks of, on account of the heaven which God made covering the waters and the earth like a lid. And by the Spirit which is borne above the waters, p. 100 he means that which God gave for animating the creation, as he gave life to man, 574 mixing what is fine with what is fine. For the Spirit is fine, and the water is fine, that the Spirit may nourish the water, and the water penetrating everywhere along with the Spirit, may nourish creation. For the Spirit being one, and holding the place of light, 575 was between the water and the heaven, in order that the darkness might not in any way communicate with the heaven, which was nearer God, before God said, “Let there be light.” The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod. And so another prophet, Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: “It is God who made the heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in.” 576 The command, then, of God, that is, His Word, shining as a lamp in an enclosed chamber, lit up all that was under heaven, when He had made light apart from the world. 577 And the light God called Day, and the darkness Night. Since man would not have been able to call the light Day, or the darkness Night, nor, indeed, to have given names to the other things, had not he received the nomenclature from God, who made the things themselves. In the very beginning, therefore, of the history and genesis of the world, the holy Scripture spoke not concerning this firmament [which we see], but concerning another heaven, which is to us invisible, after which this heaven which we see has been called “firmament,” and to which half the water was taken up that it might serve for rains, and showers, and dews to mankind. And half the water was left on earth for rivers, and fountains, and seas. The water, then, covering all the earth, and specially its hollow places, God, through His Word, next caused the waters to be collected into one collection, and the dry land to become visible, which formerly had been invisible. The earth thus becoming visible, was yet without form. God therefore formed and adorned it 578 with all kinds of herbs, and seeds and plants.


Footnotes

99:573

Luke xviii. 27.

100:574

[See book i. cap. v., supra, note 4; also, the important remark of Kaye, Justin Martyr, p. 179.]

100:575

This follows the Benedicting reading. Other editors, as Humphrey, read [φωτὸς] τὼπον, “resembling light.”

100:576

Isa. xl. 22.

100:577

Following Wolf’s rendering.

100:578

Or, suitably arranged and appointed it.


Next: Chapter XIV.—The World Compared to the Sea.

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