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Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:
The Confessions: Chapter XII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XII.—From the Formless Earth God Created Another Heaven and a Visible and Formed Earth.

15. Which things considered as much as Thou givest, O my God, as much as Thou excitest me to “knock,” and as much as Thou openest unto me when I knock, 1099 two things I find which Thou hast made, not within the compass of time, since neither is co-eternal with Thee. One, which is so formed that, without any failing of contemplation, without any interval of change, although changeable, yet not changed, it may fully enjoy Thy eternity and unchangeableness; the other, which was so formless, that it had not that by which it could be changed from one form into another, either of motion or of repose, whereby it might be subject unto time. But this Thou didst not leave to be formless, since before all days, in the beginning Thou createdst heaven and earth,—these two things of which I spoke. But the earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep. 1100 By which words its shapelessness is conveyed unto us, that by degrees those minds may be drawn on which cannot wholly conceive the privation of all form without coming to nothing,—whence another heaven might be created, and another earth visible and well-formed, and water beautifully ordered, and whatever besides is, in the formation of this world, recorded to have been, not without days, created; because such things are so that in them the vicissitudes of times may take place, on account of the appointed changes of motions and of forms. 1101


Footnotes

179:1099

Matt. 7.7.

179:1100

Gen. 1.2.

179:1101

See end of sec. 40, below.


Next: Chapter XIII

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