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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: The foundation (καταβολή) of the world explained by Jerome as a casting down.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

25. But now let us go on to discuss what he writes further as to God’s judgment, 2865 for this too is a matter of the faith. We shall find that as he alters the faith about the resurrection of the flesh in other points, so he does in reference to God’s judgment. In the first book of the Commentaries on the Ep. of Paul to the Ephesians, he deals with that passage in which the Apostle says: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before him.” On this he says:

“For the foundation of the world the Greek has καταβολῆς κόσμου. The word καταβολή does not mean the same which we understand by foundation. We, therefore, shall not attempt to render a word for a word, which is here impossible on account of the poverty of our language and also the novelty of the sense, and because, as some one has said, the Greeks have a larger discourse and a happier tongue than ours. We must explain the force of the word by some sort of periphrasis. καταβολή is properly used when something is thrown down and is cast from a higher into a lower place, or else when anything is taking its beginning. Hence those who lay the first foundations of future houses are said καταβεβληκέναι, that is to have thrown down the first foundations. Paul thus used the word to show that God framed all things out of nothing: he assigned to Him not a creation nor a building up, nor a making but a καταβολή, that is, a beginning of a foundation. He wishes to show that there was not some other thing antecedent to creatures, and out of which creatures were formed, as is held by the Manichæans and other heretics, who begin with a maker and a material, but that all things were made out of nothing. But, as to our election to be holy and without blemish before him, that is, before God, previously to the making of the world, of which the Apostle speaks, this belongs to the foreknowledge of God, to whom all future things are as if they were already done, and all things are known before they come into being: as Paul is predestinated in the womb of his mother, and Jeremiah before his birth is sanctified, chosen, and confirmed, and, as it type of Christ, is sent to be a prophet of the nations.”



Quæstiones. Examinations or inquisitions. It seems here to mean the method which God follows in distinguishing between individuals.

Next: Jerome, under the name of “another,” gives his own views.

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