The Opening of Genesis.

Preliminaries II: On the Hexaemeron
(c) 2013 Bart A. Mazzetti
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1. On the Work of the Six Days: Genesis 1-2:3.
The Holy Bible Douay-Rheims Translation Challoner Revision, 1749-1752 Douay-Rheims Translation the Challoner Revision - The Old Testament was first published by the English College at Douay A.D. 1609 & 1610. The New Testament was first published by the English College at Rheims A.D. 1582. The whole translation was revised and diligently compared with the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner A.D. 1749-1752. He is also credited with the annotations included in this revision. THE BOOK OF GENESIS This book is so called from its treating of the GENERATION, that is, of the creation and the beginning of the world. The Hebrews call it BERESITH, from the Word with which it begins. It contains not only the history of the Creation of the world; but also an account of its progress during the space of 2369 years, that is, until the death of JOSEPH. Genesis Chapter 1 God createth Heaven and Earth, and all things therein, in six days. 1:1. In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. 1:2. And the earth was void and empty [or “invisible and shapeless”, LXX], and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. 1:3. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. 1:4. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. 1:5. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. 1:6. And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. A firmament. . .By this name is here understood the whole space between the earth, and the highest stars. The lower part of which divideth the waters that are upon the earth, from those that are above in the clouds. 1:7. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. 1:8. And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. 1:9. God also said; Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done.

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1:10. And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 1:11. And he said: let the earth bring forth green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. 1:12. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 1:13. And the evening and the morning were the third day. 1:14. And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 1:15. To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth, and it was so done. 1:16. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. Two great lights. . .God created on the first day, light, which being moved from east to west, by its rising and setting, made morning and evening. But on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun, moon, and stars. The moon, though much less than the stars, is here called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to the earth than any of them. 1:17. And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. 1:18. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 1:19. And the evening and morning were the fourth day. 1:20. God also said: let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. 1:21. And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 1:22. And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. 1:23. And the evening and morning were the fifth day. 1:24. And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. 1:25. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good.

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is not in the body. “He still worketh”. And to all beasts of the earth. by conserving and governing all things. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. that they may have to feed upon. and to all that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth.17. which is a spiritual substance. and subdue it. and all the furniture of them. and the beasts. He rested. to insinuate the plurality of persons in the Deity.1:26. and the whole earth. and rule over the fishes of the sea. and the fowls of the air. as our Lord tells us. he ceased to make or create any new kinds of things. viz.This image of God in man. And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea. and they were very good. and wherein there is life. and creating souls. and all living creatures that move upon the earth. but in the soul. in which God placeth man. . endued with understanding and free will. and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind. 1:29. 2:1. God speaketh here in the plural number. So the heavens and the earth were finished. Increase and multiply. He commandeth him not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Though. And he blessed the seventh day.This is not a precept. for God had said the same words to the fishes. . to be your meat: 1:30. Genesis Chapter 2 God resteth on the seventh day and blesseth it. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 1:27. § 4 . And it was so done. and to every fowl of the air. as some Protestant controvertists would have it. saying: Increase and multiply. etc. Let us make man to our image. 2:2. 1:31. .That is. and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 1:28. rendering them fruitful. John 5. And God saw all the things that he had made. And the evening and morning were the sixth day. 2:3. . . . and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. and birds. And formeth a woman of his rib. And God blessed them. (ver. The earthly paradise.. and the fowls of the air. and fill the earth. 22) who were incapable of receiving a precept. but a blessing.

– Verse 9: God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven. having seed each one according to its kind. 5: And he called the light Day. v. “Hexaemeron”: Hexaemeron Hexaemeron signifies a term of six days. II. and the spirit of God moved over the waters. – Verse 3: And God said: Be light made. and such as may seed. TEXT OF THE HEXAEMERON The Hexaemeron proper deals with the six days of the earth’s formation. And it was so done. A. s. and earth. 2 belongs to the Second Creation.v. and he divided the light from the darkness. or. Second Creation (a) Work of Division First Day. 12: And the earth brought forth the green herb. – Verse 6: And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. [Actually. First Creation [According to St. and darkness was upon the face of the deep. technically. Second Day. and the gathering together of the waters. as contained in the first chapter of Genesis. he called Seas. 2: And the earth was void and empty. Some elaborations of the Work of the Six Days. and is followed by the mention of the seventh day. In its Biblical setting it is preceeded by the account of the First Creation. TEXT. MEANING . 5 . The Catholic Encyclopedia. 1910). The Hexaemeron in its technical sense – the Biblical Hexaemeron – is the subject of the present article. And light was made. (b) Work of Adornment Verse 11: And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb. being its starting point. 7: And God made a firmament. I. Third Day. Completeness and clearness render it advisable to give the text of both of these additions.] B. 4: And God saw the light that it was good. 13: And the evening and the morning were the third day. We shall consider: I. 10: And God called the dry land. from those that were above the firmament.2. or the so-called Second Creation. Earth. and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind. and the evening and morning were the second day. and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind. and the tree that beareth fruit. And God saw that it was good. Vol 7 (New York. or the Day of Rest. which may have seed in itself upon the earth. 8: And God called the firmament. And God saw that it was good. Cf. Thomas = the Work of Creation] Verse 1: In the beginning God created heaven. III. and there was evening and morning one day. and the darkness Night. and divided the waters that were under the firmament. be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. and it was so. SOURCE. And it was so done. the history of the six days’ work of creation. Heaven.

25: And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds. and the whole earth and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. and the fowls of the air. fills the waters with fishes. and rule over the fishes of the sea. – Verse 24: And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind. 19: And the evening and morning were the fourth day. cattle and creeping things. and to all that move upon the earth.Fourth Day. and the beasts. between the waters above and the waters below. saying: Increase and multiply. Day of Rest Chapter ii. and beasts of the earth. 27: And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God intervenes nine distinct times: (1) He creates matter [he creates corporeal creation the totality of which is comprehended by two parts. And God saw that it was good. 16: And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day. 17: And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. verse 1: So the heavens and the earth were finished. And it was so done. The work of division separates between light and darkness. and to give light upon the earth. while each of the other four days has only one production assigned to it. And God saw that it was good. according to their kinds. Fifth Day. – Verse 20: God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life. and for days and years. and every living and moving creature. And the evening and morning were the sixth day. and all the furniture of them. and the continents with animal life. 2: And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. Sixth Day. 23: And the evening and morning were the fifth day. which the waters brought forth. and wherein there is life. and cattle. according to their kinds. that they may have to feed upon. and for seasons. And God saw that it was good. 3: And he blessed the seventh day. to divide the day and the night [= a work of distinction]. and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. 21: And God created the great whales. beautifies the firmament with heavenly bodies. 26: And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea. and fill the earth. and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 18: And to rule the day and the night. and all living creatures that move upon the earth. heaven and earth]. C. and every winged fowl according to its kind. – Verse 14: And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven. to be your meat: 30: And to all beasts of the earth. 15: To shine in the firmament of heaven. and the fowls of the air. 28: And God blessed them. 29: And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth. The third day and the sixth are distinguished by a double work. 22: And he blessed them. and let them be for signs. and to every fowl of the air. and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. between the seas and the dry land: the work of adornment covers the earth with vegetation. and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind. and they were very good. 31: And God saw all the things that he had made. and to divide the light and the darkness. (3) He develops the firmament (the 6 . saying: Increase and multiply. and subdue it. And it was so done. (2) He produces light. And it was so done. Including the account of what is called the First Creation. and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. the air with birds.

Prescinding from minor variations. Apsu and Tiamtu. and then Anu. attempted in vain to overcome these foes. (9) finally. Ea. (4) He raises the continents [he gathers the waters into one place allowing the dry land to appear].atmosphere) [he produces the outermost sphere of the fixed stars]. the crashing thunder and the fierce tornado. reuniting at times the waters of heaven and earth. the personified ideas of the above and the below. the deity of the earthly waters. Ansar. the sun-god. and the water) sprang forth. For our present purpose it suffices to keep in mind a summary of the Babylonian traditions. II. Hence the suspicion arises that the division of God’s creative acts into six days is really a schematism employed to inculcate the importance and the sanctity of the seventh day. continued rains threatening to deluge the earth and again to convert the celestial and terrestrial waters into the one vast original ocean. (4) the Hexaemeron is derived from Divine Revelation. mixed into one. the earth. Tiamtu creates a set of monsters which endeavour to bring back the original chaos. but the god of the rising sun dispels the darkness. and the stars]. (1) Babylonian Source Professor J. A trace of schematism may also be detected in the grouping of the Hexaemeron into the works of division and the works of adornment. (5) He produces vegetation. is sent. and end with the Divine approval of the work. Marduk. (3) the Biblical cosmogony is the resultant of two elements: Divine inspiration and Hebrew folk-lore. subdues the tempest. (2) the Hebrew cosmogony is an independent development of a primitive Semitic myth. (6) He causes the heavenly bodies to be visible [he produces the sun. the lord of the comprehensive heavens. principle. A fearful storm ensues. Arendzen has treated of the various cosmogonic ideas of the principal ancient and modern nations in the article COSMOGONY. and He imparts His special blessing at the end of each of the last two days. lifts the vapours in masses on high. Another long interval intervened. He creates man and makes him ruler of the earth. or of heaven and earth in their most general acceptation. availed still less. and Ea (the sky. but whence the cosmogonic ideas expressed in the Old Testament have been derived. the rising sun. On each of the first three days the Creator gives a name to His new production. in the division of things immovable (first three days) and things that move (second three days). a battle between Marduk and Tiamtu. After this the differentiation of the watery All is seriously threatened. add in the second place the description of its fulfillment. too. the various views as to the source of the Hexaemeron may be reduced to four: (1) The Hebrews borrowed their ideas from others. were among the offspring and the abetters of Tiamtu in her bitter warfare against the established order. The universe begins with a double. Then Ea and his consort Dauke gave birth to Belos or Marduk. P. more probably the personifications of dawn and twilight than the monsters and demons with which popular mythology identified them. purely material. Who were these monsters? Nightly darkness obscuring and enveloping all nature in the primeval shroud. Finally. and even in the separate accounts of each day. After a long interval Ansar and Kisar were produced. Bel. (8) He calls into being the land animals. reopens 7 . male and female. From these sprang first Lalimu and Lahamu. the moon. probably personifying the mass of salt and sweet water. SOURCE OF THE HEXAEMERON The critics no longer ask whether the Biblical cosmogony taught by the Hexaemeron can be reconciled with the results of natural science. black mists and vapours of fantastic shape. (7) He produces aquatic and bird life. These latter begin with the respective Divine edict. The Babylonian account carries us back to a period prior to the existence of any god.

between good and evil. cleaves Tiamtu in twain. founds a place for Nibiru. the Hebrew writer might be thought to have borrowed his material from the Babylonian cosmogony. the Babylonian presentation amplifies the plain narrative of creation with the account of the choice and of the deeds of a demiurgus: it is highly figurative and anthropomorphic to the highest degree. The Babylonian stories taken together describe the primeval waters as spontaneously generative. Egyptian. and as not assuming order or becoming productive of life until the going forth of the Divine command. causes the moon to shine forth and establishes its laws. the inspired account opens with God’s creative act. on the contrary. but only to the formative work ascribed to Marduk. The Babylonian record starts with a double material principle. the following two modifications: (a) The Hebrew Hexaemeron does not correspond to the first part of the Babylonian account. i. if no other considerations prevented it. and Ea occupy their dwellings. and we must not refuse to take a passing glance at cosmogonies of less civilized peoples. of the impressive teaching concerning the development of the ordered universe from chaos.” 8 . according to the Hebrew conception there is no opposition to the power of the Divine command. the critics grant that “the cosmogony of Gen. as well as Babylonian influences. But we ask: can the Babylonian story claim to be the source of the Biblical account? Their difference in form is striking. and lets Amu. The Hexaemeron. in simple yet stately prose. Bel. Then he measures the watery abyss opposite the heavens and founds an edifice like Ishara.. sets the Zodiac. The Babylonian cosmogony knows nothing about the production of the original chaotic matter. “and let me [take my] bone. which he had built as heaven. we must allow for the possibility of Phœnecian. is fragmentary. priest of Bel. is the sober recital. But the discrepancy of ideas between the profane and the inspired writer prevents such an assumption. We do not here consider the question of some remote connexion between the Babylonian creation story and the Hexaemeron – which is of course possible. But Berosus. Any reference to man it may have contained is broken off. and with one half overshadows the heavens. they add. There is no idea of any creative action in the Babylonian tablets. it is hardly possible to consider the former the source of the latter. therefore. Then he embellishes the heavens. In the light of all these discrepancies between the Babylonian and the Hebrew cosmogonies. Again. “Let me gather my blood”. though not fully decisive. narrating only the creation of plants (possibly) and animals. prepares places for the great gods. According to the personifying ideas of the Babylonian records. Bel commanded one of the gods to remove his (Bel’s) head and mix the earth with the thenceflowing blood. The cuneiform record goes back to a time when the gods did not exist: the Hebrew account places God before all creation. says Marduk. supplies this deficiency.the space between heaven and earth. fixes the poles. the Hebrew account represents the material of the universe as lying waste and lifeless. Marduk slays Tiamtu. In reply. the Hebrew writer derives even the primeval matter from the action of God. let me set up man”. and to form men and beasts capable of enduring the light. opens the gates provided with locks on either side. The more recently recovered additional fragments of the Babylonian Creation Epos agree with Berosus. The remainder of the Babylonian tablet-series. According to the Babylonians the world arises out of a struggle between chaos and order. establishes the superiority of Ansar. and Persian. the Hebrew text knows only one God. makes the stars. the Hebrew Hexaemeron proceeds uninterruptedly from the less to the more perfect. whereas a division into six days forms the whole framework of the Hebrew account. (b) “Circumstanced as the Israelites were. cannot have been simply taken over from the Babylonians”. The Babylonian story knows nothing of a division into days. The Babylonian course of cosmic development is interrupted by the opposition of Tiamtu. This literary excellence of the Hebrew account might be due to the special capability of the inspired writer. as first known.

he is the immediate cause of life in this world. too. Finally. It is true that Marduk. (a) It is urged that in Marduk’s work the primeval light. was a god of light. but they merely suppose that this idea must have been prominent in the full Babylonian epic. and informed by the divine proto-soul. and Persian influences is of a rather elusive character. another account places first time. from these springs the cosmic egg. and under the influence of light and heat the cosmic development continues. the dawn and the twilight. of the sublime from the bizarre. The Egyptian cosmogony does not appear to contain any elements more fit to serve as the source of the Hexaemeron than are the Phœnician successive evolutions. It is hard to see which particular points of these various cosmogonies can be said to have influenced the Hebrew writer. To derive it from any of the profane cosmogonies implies a derivation of order from disorder. is imperfect”. Marduk has no connexion with the primeval waters in the Babylonian account. and dark chaos. the order of the creative acts. the production of heaven by the division of the primeval flood. the image of the future universe having formed itself in the eyes of Thot. being the sun-god. Ra. i. 940) writes: “Either the Hebrew and the Babylonian accounts are independent developments of a primitive Semitic 9 . a creature. art. (2) Primitive Semitic Myth Professor T. K. and as such does not resemble the Hebrew God. till the present universe is completed. The union of desire and darkness begets air (representing pure thought) and breath (the prototype of life). then darkness.. the Biblical Hexaemeron cannot be surpassed in grandeur. Cheyne (“Encyclopædia Biblica”. The great characteristic of Iranian thought is its dualism. moon. Marduk is only a demiurge. These cosmogonic gods transform the invisible divine will of Thot into a visible universe. and stars spring from the cosmic egg. the primeval flood. but in its present form is not earlier than the seventh century of the Christian Era. The Persian cosmogony is really the second phase of the Iranian concept of creation. But several of these points present a discrepancy rather than a harmony. and simplicity. In the beginning we find the primeval waters called Nun. First an egg is formed. dignity. The early Persian phase dates from the time of the Sassanids. The source of the Hexaemeron. of beauty from hideousness. is not the Babylonian record of Marduk’s work. male and female. Egyptian. Sun. the Divine admonitions addressed to men after their creation. which gradually tends towards monism. The Phœnicians begin with air moved by a breath of wind. At any rate it seems quite impossible that the well-ordered and clear account of the Hexaemeron should be the outcome of the complicated and obscure presentation of the Avesta and the Pahlavi literature. again. Variations of this cosmogony are found in the more popular accounts of creation. The critics themselves admit that the parallelism “in the present form of Gen. that the Babylonian record does not mention creation by a word. then desire. they admit. In the subsequent formation of the universe the great Ennead of gods concurs. containing the male and female germs. Moreover. out of which arises the god of light. it would be hard to imagine a greater discrepancy than is found between the Babylonian story of man’s creation and the Hebrew account of the event. The latter felt a desire (personified as the got Thot) for creative activity. (b) The appeal of the critics to Phœnician. but they are not such as might be regarded as the source of the Hebrew cosmogony. Thot causes a movement in the waters. “Creation”.Both of these modifications deserve a passing examination. He does not produce heaven. he is at best the restorer of the order destroyed by Tiamtu. but it is probable that the Babylonian primeval light is represented by Lahmu and Lahamu. and the creation by a word are so many points of contact between the Hebrew and the Babylonian cosmogony. but only reopens the space between heaven and earth. Generally speaking. and the latter differentiate themselves into four pairs of deities. therefore.

thus they burden themselves with all the difficulties which are encountered by the critics in their endeavours to explain the natural origin of the creation myths. Marduk. do not agree with the sandy and desert country of the Hebrews. but. as the human mind naturally pictures to itself the first rise of the world as it still arises every day and every year. Again. of the universe should be a picture of the early morning and the springtime in Palestine or the Syro-Arabian desert. and dividing the nightly mists and fogs of the plain. In itself. but it would be an infallible record of an ancient belief. and committed to writing in order to teach men that the whole universe is the creature of God. the foregoing data would agree with the phenomena of the Babylonian spring and the Babylonian morning.. purified and infallibly preserved to us by inspiration. Among the Hebrews similar traditions must have existed. Nor can it be urged that every sentence and every word of the Hebrew tradition concerning the origin of the universe. the first chapter of Genesis would not be supernaturally revealed in the strictest sense of the word. dividing the waters of Tiamtu. (3) Hebrew Folk-Lore Those who regard Hebrew folk-lore as the source of the Hexaemeron point out that each nation has its tradition concerning its early history. i. Their occasional recourse to figure and allegory only shows their conviction that the Hexaemeron contains not only inspired but also strictly revealed truth. are equivalent to the strictly revealed passages of Scripture. taking the Hexaemeron in the light of Christian tradition. then the god of the vernal sun. the Scholastics. a distinctively Hebrew myth of the first rise. or the creation. we may ask whether its text may not be a snatch of folk-lore.myth. And. The Fathers. brings forth the land anew. Tiamtu. In this case. dispelling the chaos of darkness. and sending them partly upwards as clouds. Owing to the heavy rains. its folk-lore theory of origin seems to be inadmissible. and the more recent commentators would have been wrong in their endeavours to explain each sentence and even every word of Gen. i. its division into the waters above and the waters below. every day conquers the cosmic sea. While the foregoing considerations are hardly conclusive against those who admit a supernatural element in the formation of the Hebrew cosmogony. Such an assumption concerning a profane ancient tradition implies the admission of a greater miracle than is demanded by a supernatural revelation in the strict sense of the word. and its separation between the waters and the dry land. The sacred writer would have left us an inspired report of a Hebrew tradition just as other inspired writers have left us inspired accounts of certain historical documents. Combining this fact with the Christian doctrine that the Biblical Hexaemeron is Divinely inspired. they are quite convincing against those who regard the Hebrew views on creation as a mere nature myth.” We have already excluded the second alternative. even including views as to the origin of the universe. A similar origin is quite impossible from a purely Hebrew point of view. A Catholic interpreter can hardly surrender such an uninterrupted Christian tradition in order to make room for a theory which sprang up only towards the end of the nineteenth century. in the same strict way in which they interpret the most sacred passages of Scripture. does not seem impossible. against Dillmann. by Divine influence purged of error and of all that is not in keeping with the sacred character of the word of God. the early ecclesiastical writers. as to the origin of the world. or rather concerning men who lived and events which happened before the properly historical age of the nation. Besides. A specifically Hebrew myth ought to be in keeping with the natural surroundings of the people. the existence of which they assume. Professor Cheyne himself proves. current among the Hebrews. that the first alternative is inadmissible.. If it could be established that the Babylonian cosmogony is a mere nature myth. or the Hebrew is borrowed directly or indirectly from the Babylonian. such a view of Gen. 10 . Marduk. The watery chaos of the Hexaemeron. the god of the rising sun. and that the seventh day must be sanctified. the Babylonian plain looks like the sea during the long winter. the patrons of the folk-lore theory must explain the origin or source of the sublime Hebrew tradition. partly downwards to the rivers and canals.

Finally the Biblical Commission in a decree issued 30 June. xxiv. 14. The words of the woman recorded in II Mach. The commission bases its prohibition on the character and historical form of the Book of Genesis. transmitted by the people of Israel. denies the existence of any solid foundation for the various exegetical systems devised and defended with a show of science to exclude the literal. III. or by another more intellectual process. 9. (4) Revelation As no man witnessed the creation and formation of the universe.. we do not know. 28. they are not absolutely convincing. the full instruction as to the origin of the world may have been given at a later period. and the traditional sense which. give a poetical amplification of the Hexaemeron. i. perhaps immediately after man’s creation. xxxviii sq. not accounts of things which have really happened. Nor has the Church given us any official explanation of the Mosaic account of God’s creative work. exclude eternal creation. therefore. but either fables derived from mythologies and the cosmogonies of ancient peoples. All interpreters begin by feeling the need of an explanation of this passage of the Bible. Prov. during the time of the Patriarchs. If the revelation in question was granted at an earlier time. At any rate. whatever theories may be held as to its transmission. refer to the personal Divine Wisdom what the Hexaemeron attributes to the word of God. and by the sacred author expurgated of all error of polytheism and adapted to monotheistic doctrine. Prov.. Ps. to distinguish between literal and allegorical explanations. viii. or of Moses. It will be found convenient.. historical sense of the first three chapters of Genesis. or allegories and symbols destitute of any foundation of objective reality and proposed under the form of history to inculcate historical and philosophical truths.... though very plausible reasons may be advanced for the thesis that God granted such a revelation to the first man. Again. all human speculations concerning this subject present only conjectures and hypotheses. its ultimate source is Divine revelation. the special nexus of the first three chapters with one another and with those that follow. i. i. modified by their various natural surroundings.. 19 sq. the almost unanimous opinion of the Fathers. iii. it may be assumed that God partially or wholly repeated His primitive revelation. While the primitive doctrine degenerated among the races into their respective cosmogonies. in other parts of Scripture. ciii and Job. in particular. In this field we obtain certain knowledge only by Divine revelation. all of these methods are possible. ix. 11 . 23 sqq. the Church has ever held. vii. Ecclus. it forbids the teaching of the view that the said three chapters of Genesis contain. Wisd. its substance may have been preserved by the aid of a special providence among the ancestors of the Hebrews.. The history of its exegesis shows that even the greatest minds differ in their opinion as to its real meaning. We must... viii. inculcate a production out of nothing. 22 sq. for instance. and Ecclus.. Adam. perhaps only to the inspired writer of the Hexaemeron. xxiv. There are hints as to the meaning of Gen. and as such they may enter into the exegesis of Gen. MEANING OF THE HEXAEMERON The genuine meaning of the Hexaemeron is not self-evident. if such a purity of doctrine among the Hebrew ancestors appears to be incompatible with the vagaries of other Semitic cosmogonies. and all end by differing from all other interpreters. Whether God granted this revelation by way of language. or by vision. in our review of the pertinent exegetical work. Or.. one race may have kept alive the spark of Divine truth as it had been received from God in the cradle of humanity. or legends partly historical and partly fictitious freely composed for the instruction and edification of minds. 1909. hence. the attitude of Christian tradition towards the Hexaemeron implies its revealed character.. But these Biblical elucidations cannot claim to be a commentary on Gen. rely on the principles of Catholic hermeneutics and the writings of Catholic interpreters for our understanding of the Hexaemeron.

173). G. CLXXV. L.. the creation of all things by God at the beginning of time. XXXIII. without handing down anything as certain and defined. 116). G. 583 sqq. 67). for instance – His commands. L.).). XCI. the unity of the human race – the commission lays down several special principles as to the interpretation of the first part of Genesis: – (1) Where the Fathers and Doctors differ in their interpretation. Tertullian (“Adv. and discussion on this point among exegetes is legitimate. 17). Rabanus Maurus (“Comm. the special creation of man. Philoponus (“De mundi creatione”. 1737. G. L. presupposing the literal and historical sense. it is lawful. the formation of the first woman from the first man... (4) In interpreting the first chapter of Genesis we need not always look for the precision of scientific language. V. and Clement of Alexandria (“Strom. the literal interpretation of the Hexaemeron was the prevalent one. Diodorus of Tarsus (P. I). During the Scholastic age.. in P. 1909. we find patrons of the literal interpretation of Gen. X. and CLXXVI.. G. 10. understanding them as periods corresponding to our spaces of twenty-four hours.). Corderius. Basil (P. Albertus Mavgnus 12 . His blessings – are expressed in anthropomorphic language. After safeguarding the literal. (2) When the expressions themselves manifestly appear to be used improperly. 214 sqq.. Walafried (“Gloss ord. A. in pentateuch”. ed. 29.”. xl. Literal Explanations Literal explanations do not necessarily exclude the admission of any figurative language in the Hexaemeron. Theodore of Mopsuestia (P. Omitting the views of Theophilus of Antioch (“Ad Autol. LXVI.)..). 1730). who have dealt only cursorily with the Hexaemeron problem.. in P. in Gen. XCIII. II. (3) In the light of the example of the holy Fathers and of the Church herself. II). xiv. 636 sqq. Hugh of St. and when either reason prohibits our holding the proper sense..). L. xix sqq. as may be seen in the great works of Peter Lombard (Sent. or in an improper sense. Bl. for a period of time. in P.” in Job. Gregory the Great (“Mor. too. 129 sqq. (a) Non-Concordist Interpretations The author of IV Esdr.. (5) In the denomination and distinction of the six days mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis the word yôm (day) can be taken either in its proper sense. issued by the Biblical Commission. he also supplements the Biblical account of creation with profane Jewish traditions.”.). historical sense of the first three chapters of Genesis in as far as they bear on the facts touching the foundations of the Christian religion – e.. fidei” in P. St. II. 1561 sqq. “De sacram. i. but to give his people a proper notion according to the common mode of expression of the time.. the allegorical and prophetical interpretation of some parts of the said chapters may be wisely and usefully employed. 38 sqq.. XXIX.. G. G. as a natural day.. or necessity compels us to set it aside. ed. in P. XLIV. Hippolytus (fragm.The legitimate character of this method of proceeding will become clear in the light of the aforesaid decree of 30 June. L.. Hermog. since the sacred writer did not intend to teach in a scientific manner the intimate constitution of visible things and the complete order of creation. IX. saving the judgment of the Church and preserving the analogy of faith. VI.”. Gregory of Nyssa (“Hexaemeron” in P.. Victor (“Annot. in P. p. G. Vienna. CVII. the Venerable Bede (“Hexaemeron” in P.” in P. is excessive in the literalness of his interpretation. it is lawful to depart from the proper sense of the words and phrases in the above-mentioned chapters. His review of His work. and other authors of minor importance. 644 sqq. The various actions of God. in such writers as Ephraem (Opp. 1069 sqq.” in P. 439). either metaphorically or anthropomorphically.g.. Jacob of Edessa (ibid. But a literal explanation insists on the literal interpretation of the six days. for everybody to follow and defend his own prudently adopted opinion.. 10 sqq. 68). Rome.. vi. LXXVI.). L.

Chalmers (“Review of Cavier’s Theory of the Earth”. Berlin. N. 1834). G. P. 1776). Keil (“Biblischer Commentar”.Concordist. and others expressed their belief that the influence of fire and heat had been at least partial causes of the present conformation of the earth’s crust and surface.). E. 1861). Rosenmüller (“Antiquissima telluris historia”. 1866). G. W. they may be picked out from among the long geological periods to which they respectively belong in such a way as to illustrate. 1894). M. I.. were explained mainly by recourse to miracle. 1865. may not be continuous days. 1780). to the period preceding this destruction of the world. Hetzel (“Die Bibel. Buffon (1749) required a hundred thousand years for the Hexaemeron. 1877). 1894). Mainz. “Die Geologie und die Sündfluth”. i. I. A. and “Das biblische Sechstagewerk”. Among more recent writers the following are Diluvialists: C. Th. Wiseman (“Twelve Lectures”. L. Schmid (“Erklärung der hl. i. tract. Veith (“Die Anfänge der Menschenwelt”. The scientific difficulties implied in the literal interpretation of Gen. Laurent (“Etudes géologiques”. W. Moro (1740). but because they have no regard for the harmony between the inspired record and the laws of nature. González de Sala (1650).. as it were. F. it has been attempted to place the geological formations after the six days of creation. Leipzig. Schriften”. Wiston (1696) maintained that before the rotation of the earth around its axis a day lasted a year. therefore. etc. V. There was a great diversity of opinion as to the real length of time covered by the six days: G.(Summ. H. Sorignet (“La Cosmogonie de la Bible”. A. E. Thomas (Summa.”. Trier. nor does it satisfy the geologists. 1867). 1838). Most of the subsequent commentators urged the literal sense of the Hexaemeron. Westermayer (“Das Alte Testament und seine Bedeutung”. A. Ulm. 1894. a method occasionally employed even down to our own day by some theological writers. Ratisbon. etc. G. while I. (c) The Hexaemeron Posterior to the Geological Data Another class of writers. F. lxv sqq. Buckland (“Geology and Mineralogy”. Scheuchzer (1731). Burg (“Biblische Chronologie”. I. 1854). L. Schaffhausen. Altes und Neues Test. 1814. and St.. 1842). Mainz. (d) The Hexaemeron within the Geological Formations Father Pianciani has expressed the view that the six days of the Hexaemeron. fossils. Paris. I. A. 1863). London. this is true even of the early Protestant writers who were always insisting on the primitive text of Scripture. I. 1849). Edinburgh. Woodward (1659). 1865). Kurtz (“Bibel und Astronomie”. 2. Lemgo. Q. though natural days. London. Münster. Gatti (“Institutiones apologetico-polemicæ”. and others expressed the opinion that our present geological strata. The speculations implied in this theory are hardly upheld by Sacred Scripture. The geological data belong. Leibniz. G. A. We call these interpreters non. are of the opinion that the Hexaemeron gives the history of the restoration of the earth after it had been so utterly destroyed that its chaos is properly described in Gen. whom we may call Restitutionists. Silberschlag (1780) is content with six natural days. But this theory does not fully agree with the Biblical account of the Flood. Vienna. theol... and I. Paris. XI). (b) The Hexaemeron Prior to the Geological Strata In order to avoid any opposition between the Hexaemeron and the data of geology. are due to the waters of the Deluge. A. Bosizio (“Das Hexaemeron und die Geologie”. Edinburgh. etc. Among the patrons of this theory we may mention: I. not because they do not explain the difficulties in an absolutely possible way. “Evidence and Authority of the Divine Revelation”. The following interpreters identified the primeval destruction of the earth with the catastrophe brought on by the fall of the angels: L. 1814). Trisel (“Sündfluth oder Gletscher?” Munich. II. the work 13 .

Paulus (“Neues Repertorium”. 1879. 880 sqq. it can hardly be maintained that long ages intervened between the sixth and seventh day. XXII. 431). Gray Elmslie (“The First Chapter of Genesis” in “Contemporary Review”. Freiburg. lib. iii sq. I). 1877). Münster. XIV. dogm. 1870).. Moigno (“Les splendeurs de la foi”. Berlin. L. LXVIII. even the sequence of certain details may be different in nature from that in the vision. “Origines”.. on the one hand. II. 1884. and some anonymous authors (“The Mosaic Record in Harmony with the Geological”. Miller (“The Testimony of the Rocks”. 1878). Paris. a creation psalm. p. “The London Tablet”. the “Katholik”. 1857). Scheeben (“Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik”. Procopius (P. Ambrose (P. 1877. instead of future. a parable intended to teach the keeping of the Sabbath. this theory has been considered above. i. I. E. LXXXVII. Neuchâtel. LVI. F. London. It is urged that the idea of Adam’s learning the history of the origin of the world in a vision was suggested by Chrysostom (P.). F. XLIV.going on in the several formative ages. Reusch (“Bibel und Natur”. Becker (“Studien op godsdienstig. 498 sqq. 1881. Rorison (“Replies to Essays and Reviews”. Edinburgh. 1878). Paris. V. G. 1882. a Sabbath hymn. Eustathius (P. Still. Schäfer (“Bibel und Wissenschaft”. Kurtz (“Bibel und Astronomie”. 1895) feels convinced. W. “Stimmen aus Maria Laach”.. they urge that in other parts of the Bible the presence of a vision is always indicated. von Hummelauer (“Der biblische Schöpfungsbericht”.). F. Huxtable (The Sacred Record of Creation). 1790) calls Gen. B. events. I. H. G. 1865). H. The real length of time covered by the six visional days is not determined by Scripture. 1870).. 1889). Besides. Paris. XXIX. etc. L.-bibl. 1855. God showed Adam in a vision the general dependence of everything on His creative power. a scheme to consecrate 14 . for they taught that Moses learned the cosmogony by means of a prophetic light illuminating past. Similar views concerning the origin of the Biblical cosmogony are advanced by Basil (P. LIII. Brussels and Bar-le-Duc. L.. Lenormant. April to July). 869). M. G.. 1881. G. Gregory of Nyssa (P. while it safeguards the veracity of the inspired record. Freiburg. and other early writers. hence the Biblical Hexaemeron must be explained in the way in which other Scriptural visions are interpreted. it does not oppose the certain results of science. 1861). so as to make the six days cover the whole period of geological formation. Corlay (“Spicil. Gotha. 15 July. 131 sqq. so that this theory does not interfere with the data of geology. A vast space of time may intervene between every two consecutive days. 1881). Severianus Gabalitus (“Or. 28). Freiburg. wetenschappelik en letterkundig gebied”. W. In more recent times the vision theory has been explained and partly defended by such writers as I. 17). “La science catholique”. G. regularia”. (f) The Poetic Theory We omit here the view that the Hexaemeron is merely an inspired record of a Semitic myth or a profane tradition (cf. p. and Junilius Africanus (“Instit.. I. p.. 311 sqq. I. 1887). 250 sqq.. Instead of revealing the origin of the world in so many words. that such a practical precept as the observance of the Sabbath cannot be based on a mere vision. that the Hexaemeron speaks of six natural days. (e) The Hexaemeron is a Vision Father von Hummelauer (“Commentarius in Genesim”. H. and that. p. in P. 1842). In a modified form it has been adopted by those writers who consider the Biblical cosmogony as a poem incorporated by Moses in the Book of Genesis. E. Bougaud (“Le christianisme et les temps présents”. on the other hand. Jena. He believes that the vision theory will safeguard both these requirements. 65). Schultz (“Die Schöpfungsgeschichte nach Naturwissenschaft und Bibel”. de Rougemont (“Le surnaturel démontré par les sciences naturelles”. 97). Ghent. V”. G. 5). P.. 27). But this explanation is hardly in keeping with the Biblical account of the six days.”.. LIII. Bishop Clifford (“Dublin review”. 1879).I. there are other interpreters who take exception to the vision theory. I.

Manich. 1812) divided the ages of geological formation into six periods and separated one from the other by great catastrophes. in P. B. Athanasius (“Or. L. – (a) The Concordists I. the abyss is hell.. but is soon perplexed by the questions: Did God consume the whole day in creating the various works? – How could there be days before there were heavenly luminaries? – How could there be light before the existence of the sun and the stars? – This leads him to adopt simultaneous creation. Kant (1755) and P. assuming that they denote respectively the angelic vision of things in the Word of God. in Gen. Arian. in P. XXXIV. 276) also appears to maintain a simultaneous creation of the world. J. n. 1563). the poetic theory is at variance with this testimony. theol.” in P.. F.”. Cajetan and Melchior Cano adhered to the view of a simultaneous creation (cf. identified the light of the first day with the angels. 439). XII.. II. Laplace (1796) suggested that the stars were formed under the influence of the force of gravity by the rotation of the primitive body of matter around its own axis. i. indicating the order of created things. 1380). Cuvier (“Discours sur les révolutions du globe”. A. 145 sqq. et N. c. Origen. 376 sq. imperf.”.” in P.. et oper. He admits again a simultaneous formation of the world.. lib. 173) he arrived at the conclusion that the cosmogonic evening and morning denote the completion and the inception of each successive work. G. Isidore (“Quæst... 825). L. CXXII. B.” in P. in Gen. 221) the great African Doctor starts again with a literal explanation of Gen. c. Nicolas (“Etudes philosophiques sur le Christianisme”. G. XII sq. 60..” in P. But both the setting of the Hexaemeron in the Book of Genesis and the constant tradition concerning its literary character agree in proclaiming its historicity. G. D. and Abelard (“Expos. Rupertus (“De Trinit. lib. so as to do away with the previous consecration of the weekdays to the several heathen gods. Confess. In 393 (“De Gen. XXXIV. in Hex. 24. cf. L. ad lit. 2213). lib. n. L. Augustine attempted three different times to explain the Hexaemeron in a literal sense. the upper and lower waters are the good and bad angels.” in P. “Retract.”. Morning and evening he refers now to the knowledge of the angels. de Serres (De la cosmogonie de Moïse). et respons. the earth.” in P. L.” in P. L. Allegorical Explanations Philo maintained the eternity of matter. Alcuin (“Interr. so that the six days indicate an order of dignity – angels. In the following centuries this allegorical interpretation developed into two main branches.”. XXXIV.. de Frayssinous (“Défense du christianisme”. 1842). 731)..) regards the days of the Hexaemeron as purely ideal. 60. Scotus Eriugena (“De divis. CLXVII. natur. Salamanca. the firmament. In 401 Augustine began the third time to explain the Hexaemeron (“De Gen. “Loc. S. Cels. St. IV. ejus” in P. A... L.. and “C. and the vision of the objects themselves. and I.. etc. Paris. XII” in P. XXXV. and to explain the evening and morning by the limitation and the beauty of the various created objects. Quedlinburg and Leipzig. too.” in P. Krüger (“Geschichte der Urwelt”. XXVI. follows an allegorical explanation – the light of the first day denotes the angels. Procopius (“Comment. T. G. XI. libr. The world was created simultaneously. the sun and the moon are Christ and His Church. 245. too (“Hom. 515).. 1822). In the sixteenth century. 1825). etc. C.”. ad lit. 893). L. XXXII. to identify the light of the first day with the angels. L. in P. G. Paris. and gave a similar allegorical explanation of the other cosmogonic days. 16.. VI. but each time he ended with an allegorical exegesis. II. lib. He was followed in this by M. ex V.. Paris. CLXXVIII. the various days denote only the diversity of created objects.” in P.. L. but published his results only fifteen years later.”.each day of the week to a particular creative act of God. 199). “De princ. The opinion of Augustine was followed by pseudo-Eucherius (“Comm. in Hex. L. LXXXVII. Pianciani (“In historiam creationis mosaicam 15 . In 389 (“De Gen. 28 sqq.

000 species of animal life are found in the old palæozoic strata. 1870. Pozzy (“La terre et le récit biblique de la création”. as lawgiver. Paris. Augustine’s position. 237 sq. (b) The Idealists We have seen that St. though the sun appeared only in the period succeeding that of the palæozoic strata. Kiel. H. Naples. G. Bonn. 1833). Literatur-Blatt”. and regarded the division into six days only as a classification of the various things created. moreover. 1851). the first are characterized by their remains of carboniferous plants. B. to the third. therefore. On the other hand. Among the first to propose this theory was F. 1851). Gütler (“Naturforschung und Bibel”. 235 sqq. who had been a Concordist in the first editions of his great work. Münster. pp.. these scholars point out that the Hebrew word translated “day” does not necessarily mean a natural day. 3 rd ed. 1791). Augustine and a number of patristic writers maintained the simultaneity of creation. that the plants found in the palæozoic strata resemble the plants found in the more recent strata.) have written against Idealism either as a whole or in its various special forms. 232). 1855). Ebrard (“Der Glaube an die heilige Schrift und die Ergebnisse der Naturforschung”. Freiburg. 16 . 1889) endeavours to combine Concordism with Idealism. Münster. 4th ed. The cosmogonic days and their succession. so that the first six days must be indefinite periods of time rather than natural days. 1870). 344 sqq. pp. in the absence of the sun. Leipzig. 91 sqq. I. roughly speaking.. as father of a family. finally. London. Reusch. Moreover. and Schäfer (“Bibel und Wissenschaft”. i. 1877. I.. as exhibited in the Hexaemeron. The Idealists take their start from the second part of St. second. Paris. became an Idealist in the third edition (“Bibel und Natur”. and that therefore the second three days are not necessarily natural days.). Michelis (“Natur und Offenbarung”. Münster. C. pp. Molloy (“Geology and Revelation”. the work of each day of the Hexaemeron was complete before the next day commenced.commentatio”. 1881.. Arguments like these are urged by such writers as H. the mesozoic. that. according to the obvious sense of the text. the second by traces of amphibious and fish life. It is not surprising. as Christian. pp. and fourth days of Gen. that the so-called Concordists have found these six long periods in the six days of the Hexaemeron. while for the great African Doctor’s simultaneous creation they substitute the gradual development of the earth as demanded by the scientist. Freiburg. Among the writers who favour this theory we may name: C. Gützler (“Naturforschung und Bibel”. and have endeavoured to establish an identity between the product of each period and the work described in each day of Gen. so that they must have needed the light of the sun.. that. 1876. 1867. S.. Turner (“Sacred History of the World”. while the fruit-bearing plants are found only in the mesozoic strata. Freiburg. 1867). Königsberg. 101 sqq. Father Braun (“Ueber Kosmogonie vom Standpunkt christlicher Wissenschaft”. C. appear to lose all meaning in the Idealists’ theory. the first three days of the Hexaemeron cannot be natural days. Lyell (1836-38) denied the occurrence of the six great catastrophes. Baltzer (“Die biblische Schöpfungsgeschichte”. Edinburgh. there appear to be astronomical periods which correspond to the first. the third show remnants of mammals. Miller (“The Testimony of the Rocks”. therefore. Freiburg. Similarly. again. 1877. 3rd ed. Hensler (“Bemerkungen über Stellen aus den Psalmen und der Genesis”. and sixth days of the Hexaemeron. fifth. 1869). Still. p.) and C. it has been pointed out that more than 20. and the cenozoic strata. Mgr Meignan (“Le monde et l’homme primitif”. 1857). there remains the general division into the palæozoic. 1874). These periods correspond. London. 1870). M. pp. Reusch (“Theol.). Reusch (“Bibel und Natur”. substituting an imperceptibly slow process of geological formation in their place. G. He believes that Moses narrates the creation story as an historian might write the life of Charlemagne by considering him successively as king. i. that the seventh day is certainly not a natural day.

. according to ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR. “What the Bible Teaches About Creation”: In sum (with my additions [in square braces]—B. and stars fill the firmament [or rather. Schneider. Manuel biblique (9th ed. Paris. 20:11) by weaving it into the very structure of creation.” and (3) [God separates the dry land from the seas. – Add all the authors and works cited in the body of the article. Chronicon. Robert J.] “bohu. MAAS Cf. 1900).” is filled: (4) the sun. In the latter three days “tohu. Mythen und Epen (Berlin.. ABYDENUS in EUSEBIUS. GUNKEL AND ZIMMERN. LAGRANGE.. or ornament. Armenian version. La cosmogonie mosaïque d’après les Pères in Les Mélanges bibliques (2nd ed.” i. 1905). MOTAIS. Moïse.Considering the foregoing theories without bias. so that] land emerges from the lower sea and is adorned with plant life. 1894).. Les Livres saints et la critique rationaliste (4th ed.” is given form: (1) light emerges from darkness. VIGOUROUX.).e. III.e. DAVIS. first there is the work of creation: the bringing into being of the all 2. 235 sqq. and human beings fill the earth (Hyers 67 —71). which consists in giving form to what is formless: this rationale applying to heaven as well as to earth (i. LOISY. moon.” i. Etudes sur les religions sémitiques (2nd ed. I. then there is the work of distinction. xli. Quæstiones de primis principiis. (5) fish and other sea creatures fill the lower sea and birds the sky. KOPF (1826). IX. Genesis and Semitic Tradition (London. 11 sqq. IDEM. and the stars) as well as to the earth These are like steps which an artisan would take in making a kosmos. IDEM. 499 sqq. it is wrong to speak of the work of the six days as if it applied only to the earth: the creation of the firmament is a determination of ‘heaven’) 3. the state of being “empty. a moderate form of Concordism or the theory of vision will be found to serve the Catholic interpreter most effectually both from a scientific and a critical point of view. BEROSUS in EUSEBIUS. and (6) wild and domestic beasts.e. DELITSCH.J.M. evang. then comes the work of adornment.). ed.): Many scholars have noted a pattern to the “six days”: in the first three [days. and in the light of both science and Revelation. 1905). Les mythes babyloniens (Paris. DAMASCUS.. the moon. 1896). other land creatures. la science et l’exégèse (Paris. 17 .A. Schöpfung und Chaos (Göttingen. A. 1895). which consists in filling up what is empty: which applies to both heaven (with the sun. The seventh day of rest hallows and validates the commandment of a Sabbath rest (Exod. “formlessness. [God creates light and separates it from the darkness] (2) [God creates the firmament and by its means] the waters are separated to form the lower and upper seas—the latter supported by the “firmament.). are set within it as adornment]. JENSEN. 1882). Præpar. I say: 1. Das babylonische Weltschöpfungsepos (Leipzig.

the separation of the waters above and below the firmament on day two with the creation of the birds of the air and the fishes of the sea on day five. and six Cf.1 The natural flow of Genesis 1-2 The flow of thought in Genesis 1-2 is as follows: a. and three (first part) (2) opus ornatus (the work of adornment): days.htm [accessed 12/1/06]) 18 . two. On the first day of the seven-day Creation week.. Review of Stanley L. five. coming as it does towards the end. Cf.X. blessing and sanctifying it as a memorial of creation (2:1-4).: The author identifies three themes in the discourse of Genesis 1: a) “a thematic emphasis (in two stages) on the totality of all things as wholly dependent on the Maker of all and on the consequent radical goodness of all things”. (Clifford and Vawter also align the creation of plants on the third day with the creation of man who feeds on plant life on the sixth day. verse 2). three (last part).) Cf. God is before all creation (verse 1). Richard Clifford in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary (p. four. c) man’s introduction as the purpose and steward of creation. but this is arbitrary. 173) align the separation of light from darkness on day one with the fixing of the lights in the firmament on day four. Fr. There is an absolute beginning of time with regard to this world and its surrounding heavenly spheres (verse 1).. McCarthy. God creates the heavens and earth (verse 1). ibid. the heavens and earth are finally finished (Genesis 2:1). March. b. Genesis 1 Through the Ages (Living Tradition No. g.” The theme of man’s introduction as the purpose and steward of creation “is the easiest to isolate. for instance. and the separation of the dry land from the oceans on day three with the creation of the land animals (and man) on day six. but they are at first different than now. 1994): Thus. At the end of creation week. “In the Beginning: How to Interpret Genesis 1”. 10) and Bruce Vawter in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. God begins to form and fill the tohu and bohu (verses 3 and following). Jaki. a facet already on hand in other ancient cultures” (290). b) the presentation of God the worker as a pattern for all human labor. d. What God began in verse 1 is now completed. Davidson. Richard M.In sum: (1) opus distinctionis (the work of distinction): days one. “a feature that goes far beyond a grouping of days into seven-day units.adventist. c.” The other two themes are “intertwined through the entire discourse or narrative. f. McCarthy. John F.> 1 (http://dialogue. they are “unformed” and “unfilled” (tohu and bohu.” Genesis 1 gave a “renewed emphasis” to an Old Testament injunction relating to the sacredness of the Sabbath. God rests on the seventh day. “Not the Real Genesis 1”. <. 51.org/articles/06_3_davidson_e. John F. The “forming and filling” creative activity of God is accomplished in six successive literal 24-hour days. e.

” The Vulgate uses the word creavit (created) in the Latin translation of three verses of Genesis 1: in verse 1 for the creation of the world. and the separation of the dry land from the oceans on day three with the creation of the land animals (and man) on day six. on the basis of his etymological claim regarding b r ‘. the separation of the waters above and below the firmament on day two with the creation of the birds of the air and the fishes of the sea on day five. but rather from a fuller understanding of its context in the verse. The first kind is creatio ex nihilo sui et subiecti (creation out of the nothingness of itself and of a subject). The usual parallel is between the opus distinctionis of days one. 19 . 10) and Bruce Vawter in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p.” or “In the beginning God slashed heaven and earth. To understand the context of these three uses of the word creavit.” This.. nor does he. This is the first act of creation recorded in verse 1 – the only place where the Fathers and other traditional exegetes have understood creation out of nothing in the strict sense. The assumption is that Moses used the special term b r ‘ for these three instances of creation out of nothing to emphasize also the fact that the living species of plants and animals and the rational species of man could not have come into existence from lower forms without the first production of these forms from the nothingness of themselves.. and three. and six. What else is to create out of nothing than to create with the greatest of ease and even with a flourish? Has anyone ever supposed that to create out of nothing involves some kind of a struggle? Moreover. that causes b r ‘ to mean “created out of nothing. it is necessary to recognize two kinds of creation out of nothing. but this is arbitrary.> To split or to create. In each case. Richard Clifford in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary (p. is no contribution to the meaning of the verse. the great exegetes of the past never took the meaning “to create out of nothing” from the mere use of the verb b r ‘.) The author over and over again berates the opus distinctionis / opus ornatus schema. and the opus ornatus of days four. however. (Clifford and Vawter also align the creation of plants on the third day with the creation of man who feeds on plant life on the sixth day.The parallelism of the days of creation has been much better illustrated by other writers. Logically. and he translates it as “made with the greatest ease. offer any arguments against it. five. for instance.” signifying at the beginning of time. Thus. <. . 173) align the separation of light from darkness on day one with the fixing of the lights in the firmament on day four. and in verse 27 for the creation of man..” but instead he begins to look at the context. It is the phrase “in the beginning.. the fact that it is the omnipotent God Who is acting. consequently. but he does not mention this standard alignment at all. even though it is by all means the most obvious one. This applies to the creation of plants and animals from pre-existing matter and the creation of man “from the slime of the earth” in the narrative of Genesis 1. The second kind of creation is creatio ex nihilo sui (creation out of the nothingness of itself) from a subject already existing.There are other problems also with the reasoning of the author. two. in verse 21 for the creation of life in biological beings. the translation of b r ‘ as created stems from its fuller meaning in the respective sentence. before which nothing in the universe existed. he should suggest as the translation of verse 1: “In the beginning God split heaven and earth.

Theopedia. God declared each day’s work to be “very good”. God created the heavens and the earth”. which overlies the interior waters of the ‘great deep’. Fourthly. in this context. All was declared good. The structure of Genesis: general considerations. in context. The earth’s waters were divided. means “to fashion something new. The opening words. since anything can be categorised as belonging to the heavens. it is good for us to consider all on which we are agreed. and in darkness. 2 (http://www. We see that “in the beginning. earth was covered by the primeval waters. The phrase “the heavens and the earth” is a Hebrew short-hand for “everything”. The first morning dawned with the appearance of the light. Firstly. when the universe was formed. The term for “to create” is a Hebrew word which. This was the formation of the rocky crust of the earth. The earth was “without form.3. Cf.theopedia. not earth (B.)] 2 Let there be a ‘solid layer’ in the midst of the waters. the ‘raqia’ was formed “in the midst of the waters”. Heaven The statement about God naming the ‘raqia’. and as the light penetrated the primeval darkness. tell us that “in the beginning. Everything he had made fulfilled its purpose completely. a selection of which is presented here below. “Interpretations of the creation account:”2 Genesis 1 in outline Before tackling the areas of discussion among Christians.com/Interpretations_of_the_creation_account [12/13/06]) 20 . redefining it as Heaven. that God created everything. The declaration that all was good is missing in the Hebrew and KJV. that God pre-exists everything in the universe. and void”. the firmament is the sky. or to the earth. but it occurs in the LXX. from nothing”. Thirdly. that it is God who created everything. Analysis of the Creation account of Genesis 1: D a y 1 What was named Day. every physical thing. Cf. What God said Let there be light. [actually.A.M. The account of creation in Genesis 1 teaches several such truths. But everything to follow is. precisely. indeed. Night What was added or changed Naming of “Day” and “Night”. What was made Heaven and earth. meaning that nothing was lacking. that God’s creation was exactly as he wanted it to be. Secondly. this refers to everything to follow. God created the heavens and earth”.

herbs. and told them to multiply. and subdue the earth. male and female. Great whales and all other sorts of sea creatures. and let dry land appear. Two lights were made. Beasts and cattle. and fill the waters. Cox All Rights Reserved. and let them have dominion over the created things. and to determine the seasons and years. and vegetation developed. Man was created. Let us make man in our image. The newly formed rocky crust of the earth was raised from the waters of the sea. § 21 . and blessed it. All was declared good. Statements that the luminaries were “set in the firmament”. sea creatures were to be fruitful and multiply. he sanctified the Sabbath day. and the possible addition of the words “and the stars.” The reference to the fowl flying in the “open firmament of Heaven”. and all creeping things. also birds. Sea Naming of Earth and Sea. Let the earth bring forth grass. On the 7th day God rested from all his work. They were blessed. the sun and the moon. Earth. God blessed man and gave them dominion. All was declared good. and water drained off the land. and fruit trees. All was declared good. and fowl that fly in the air. They were given all fruit and green herbs for food. 7 © Copyright 1996 by Douglas E. Let there be lights to divide day and night. Continents and oceans formed.3 Let the waters be gathered into one place. 4 5 Let the waters bring forth moving creatures. All was declared good. and fowl were to multiply in the earth. 6 Let the earth bring forth living creatures. and about their “ruling” of Day and Night. Because of this.

Michael Polanyi reminded us that taking a great many things on trust is the essential first step to knowledge. while not totally other than ours. and finally to use our reason to judge between hypotheses. This is both helpful and potentially misleading. This is not to be dismissed as a typical example of blind private faith versus well-attested public fact. and that tongue is not Hebrew. whether conservative or liberal. simply have to take a great deal on trust. This hardly bodes well for the unity of that new humanity that God is forming in Christ. whatever the technical merits or otherwise of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. This is hardly surprising for at least two reasons. I intend to take here. Interpreting Genesis 1 continues to be a controversial issue—and for all sorts of people. to the best of my ability. Bernard Lonergan rightly understood that the first step in knowing was to pay attention to all of the data. the importance of stories of origins cannot be overestimated. then to apply our intelligence in seeking to understand. On another level. Watts Regent College Used by Permission. If in the end we find that Genesis 1 ought to be read “literally”.org/ASA/topics/Bible-Science/6-02Watts. it is important regularly to reassess those assumptions in the light of our growing knowledge and in doing so to recognize that truth in this kind of historical and literary endeavour is much more a matter of coherence than of certainty. It is an inescapable part of being human. In my experience most Christians and readers of the Bible come to Genesis 1 with many of their beliefs already in hand.html [12/13/06]) 22 . science. And this in terms of both the objective—what happened—and the subjective—what it means. if we are ever to get started on the path to knowing.asa3. and rather more provocatively. without assuming something no one shall know anything. Consequently. This is the advice. was both different and very differently understood. All of us. Hold the “wrong” view and one is either a dupe of secular critical theory or a troglodyte literalist. as Bertrand Russell so gloriously misconstrued things. and the eugenic theory inherent in. For Christians such an alternative must include Genesis 1 and that necessarily involves the question of how it is to be read. to assume much. it is hard to imagine the modern North-American trade in aborted baby body parts or the horrors of Holocaust and Gulag were it not for the stark materialism of. The help is obvious. the more work I do on the world out of which this account emerged. a very long time ago. The fact remains that this story was originally written in another language. Christians and scientists together. the potential harm less so. its widespread acceptance has gone a long way toward discrediting a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 and with it the standing of Christianity and its vision of humanity. However. which. But having said that. They define us. the more imperialist and triumphalist forms of twentieth-century Darwinism. In one sense they no doubt looked 3 (http://www. In terms of our topic. On one level. then so be it. Making Sense of Genesis 1:3 Rikki E. the more I am led to question whether the “literalist” reading is in fact truly faithful to the text.Cf. even and perhaps especially in that highest and holiest of all modern callings. and in a culture whose world. Reading Ancient Documents Our problems begin in that most of us read Genesis 1 in our mother tongue. 2002. They tell us who we are and what it means to be human. how one reads Genesis 1 has in some circles become a litmus test of Christian orthodoxy. On the other hand. it must be recognized that it will be difficult if not impossible to reverse these trends if resistance is not undergirded by a more convincing and coherent alternative view of human origins than Darwinism can offer. The saying is sure.

whether simplification or hyperbole.” designed by the writer to communicate what he intended to the competent reader. the less we “modernize” Shakespeare the more foreign he appears and the less likely the error of anachronism.” is another case in point. Tigers do not in our experience habitually explode whilst wandering in dark forests. The assumptions that they once brought and we now bring to the text—Gadamer’s horizons—are very likely to be rather different. as we would expect it to. just as much a mistake as reading Shakespeare as though he was writing in twenty-first-century Vancouver or Hong Kong. The same ink spots generate some very different understandings. Ask yourself. if not downright and culpable stupidity. “Tiger. The question arises: but even so. Genre as Reading Contract: Form and Content Literary genre is communicated to the reader through form and content. The terms of those marching orders are indicated by the genre. We also consider the content. These two considerations—form and content—help us understand what it is that Blake is trying to say. This is really nothing new since we all get along very well every day on this basis. These ink spots are not merely signs. the contract made between writer and reader as to how the signs are to be read. And protesting with increasingly agitated vigor “Blake says it. They are particular signs in a particular order. There is no need. burning bright. That means we need to be alert to metaphor. When a good preacher or exegete does word studies he or she is not confined only to the biblical texts as though they were written in an hermetically sealed environment. The same surely applies here. to remember that Genesis 1 was originally written in Hebrew. The central truth claims of Genesis 1 can be very different from the origins stories of the surrounding cultures even if it uses. but as Lonergan also reminded us: seeing is not the same as knowing. They are the readers’ “marching orders. It is useful. then. Not surprisingly. to demand technical precision from poetry. there is not in fact a canine whose philosophizing rivals Plato) and The Vancouver Sun (but how we wish that some of our politicians were more like Snoopy!). the language and imagery of the day. almost unconsciously using genre to distinguish between the truth claims of Peanuts (no. This is. We recognize the form: poetry. whose understanding is correct? Do not our individual perspectives mire us in a hopeless relativism? Not at all. The upshot is that if we are not attentive. yes. They also consider how the language functioned in the broader cultural context of the day. The trick is to do as much work as we can in determining the genre and in seeking to understand the worldview out of which Genesis 1 emerged. <…> William Blake’s famous couplet. and even better to read it in the same. This will involve not only looking at Genesis 1 in detail but also paying attention to similar stories elsewhere in order to get a feel for the kinds of issues with which the ancients were concerned and the language they used in dealing with them. It would be folly. I believe it. and poetic license. what gives a better 23 . The last sentence might generate some anxiety. What Blake actually says is a matter of genre. It is true? Not if one reads it “literally” as a description of the propensity of feral cats to ignite spontaneously during their nocturnal wanderings.out on the same physically constituted landscape. and that settles it” does not help much. That this is so can hardly be contested as the divergent interpretations of Genesis 1 even in our own day bear witness. of form and content. But bear in mind the distinction: we are not talking about borrowing or dependence but rather about the use of common motifs and ideas to deal with common concerns. of course. that is. image. tiger. in the forests of the night. the fact that Genesis 1 is in our own language can lull us into assuming that familiar words and phrases are intended to invoke the understandings and assumptions of our twenty-first-century world. So is his description true? In one very real sense.

some form of naming or blessing (vv. or legend as viable genre options. 24. 7. 20. for instance. 9. form overrides the content consideration. The same applies to the biblical text. 11. 12. But we have examples of ancient Hebrew poetry (e. in part. 23. At this point. 13. 6. That modern translators and the vast majority of commentators recognize the poetic character of Genesis 1 is indicated by the printed format used in nearly all modern versions of the Bible. “and God saw that ‘x’ was good” (vv. novel. it seems clear to me that the form of the gospels will not allow myth. content is only half the story. 21. Judg 5). 13. 3. 11.understanding of the essence of tigerness: Blake’s simple and stylized couplet or a fifty-fivevolume DNA map of tiger genes? Two important considerations emerge. regarded these stories as myths. There is also form. and Genesis 1 is clearly not the same thing. Now. But equally. if not more so. 31). 7. 26. (vv. There are other indications that this text is highly stylized. vv. 6. 18. 24. as a quick glance at even Genesis 2 or 1 Samuel will reveal. 3. Deut 33. We have never seen such things and we ought to be amazed and sceptical. 29). 16. Although there is some debate. 31. With this in mind. 14. 5. 31). I am not attempting to stack the deck for a particular reading of Genesis 1. 2 and 5. 27). in our scientific world it is easy to forget that there are ways of telling the truth other than algebraic formulae or Western-style history. In ancient writing it is not uncommon to find the opening sentences offering clues to the structure of what follows —something like their version of a table of contents. fairy tale. 4. and 3 and 6 concerning the same elements of creation: 24 . And they are. with most of these occurring seven times. 19. 10. 8. 26). 4. large slabs of which are not in plodding prose. like Schweitzer before him. First. “and God made” (or similar action. to the best of our present knowledge the form of their stories indicates that they are convinced that these things really happened. So with all this in view. 24. Bultmann. But in order to make their message more memorable and compelling. 28). Exod 15. But remember. 2. and then a designation of the day as first. “and it was so” (vv. “let there be” (or some form thereof. largely on the grounds that people do not do this kind of thing.. where will it all end? What is to prevent everything solid from wilting into some kind of metaphorical jelly? The answer is again genre. 21. 9. 28. In my experience this immediately gives rise to a second question: but if we read Genesis 1 like this.2). Genesis 1:2 tells us that the earth was without structure (formless) and empty. Num 23-24.g. 22. vv. 23. 3. 14. Listen to the top 40 and see how often lyrics such as E=mc2 dominate the charts. 8. what can we say about the genre and consequently the truth claims of Genesis 1? Genesis 1: Form and Content Turning first to the form. right. 25. even a cursory reading of Genesis 1 reveals a great deal of repetition: “and God said” (vv. 15. Most of the prophets preferred poetry. Furthermore. 9. Usually we associate this kind of repetition with poetry. with days 1 and 4. This does not mean that what they say is not true. 12. I am only trying to establish the fact that some of us have a subconscious suspicion of anything other than one particular kind of truth-telling genre to which certain parts of our culture or our upbringing have accustomed us. 5. it has long been recognized that days 1-3 and 4-6 are correlated. 30). Jesus’ walking on the water. etc. 11. 8. some of the most important and meaningful things in our lives are best shared using metaphor and poetic image. “there was evening and there was morning” (vv. neither is this repetition characteristic of straight narrative. second. 10. 5. 20. 19. Take. they use a genre best suited to that task. Whatever else the gospel writers were trying to do. 25.

It seems to me that unless we have a previous agenda this kind of detailed and highly stylized literary patterning strongly cautions against taking this account too concretely. more on this below) makes it all but undeniable that twenty-four hour periods are in view. And why exactly twelve hours and not two or forty-seven and a quarter? Why should it take God any time to do anything? Why should he work only in daylight hours? Surely he does not need to rest at night. and stars with all their mind-numbing extent throughout our vast universe would require considerably more time than creating birds and fish. Exod 20:11. with the preparation of the land and the formation of humanity respecttively as the climactic moment. It is. None of this is intended to be taking cheap shots. We also note that there is no mention of any ending of the seventh day. it seems to me that the use of evening/morning terminology and Yahweh’s rest on the seventh day (in the light of the Sabbath commandment. to be more precise. days 2 and 5 one creative act of two parts. While it is true that “day” (yom) can elsewhere mean a longer period (e. intended to suggest something about the genre. This is not to say it is not true. Furthermore. only that its truth claims may not be of the kind we associate with “literal” reading . moon. our customary response is to recognize that whatever the truth claims of the account might be. Based at this point solely on the text itself and applying the same standards we use 25 . More to the point perhaps is the question: why did the various creative acts of the six days take the same amount of time? One would have thought that creating the sun. This is probably because the narrative has arrived at Yahweh’s rest in his completed creation. and thus about the kind of truth communicated in Genesis 1. But in Genesis 1 plants are created several days beforehand. Ps 90:4). When we ask questions and get answers like these. in both sets there is a progression from heaven to earth. we have two sets of three days: the first concerning giving form to or structuring what was formless and the second concerning filling the newly created but empty forms.g.. What about the content? The first thing we note is the twenty-four hour period—or. and the idea that it was too dark for him to see is ludicrous. So much for formal indications. and there is no need to go further. One cannot help but wonder if there is some other agenda at work. Days 1 and 4 have a single act. however. Strangely. some readers of Genesis at this point suddenly decide to ignore the genre contract between writer and reader which they customarily and everywhere else observe. And what about the flightless land birds and the amphibians which seem not to fit any of the categories? Then we notice that Genesis 2:4-7 suggests that the creation of plants was delayed until apparently the creation of humanity to work the fields. a working period of twelve hours from morning to evening (the day ending with evening and the following announcement of morning indicating the beginning of a new day). it is not what we normally call “literal” history.Day 3 2 1 Structuring water / land waters above waters below day / night (sky) / Filling land animals / humans birds / fish sun / moon and stars Day 6 5 4 Entirely in keeping with Genesis 1:2. and finally days 3 and 6 consist of two creative acts. This progression is further highlighted by the nature of Yahweh’s creative acts. And why would separating the waters above and below take as long as creating all of the land-dwelling creatures? Even the notion of a firmament in which the heavenly bodies are placed is hardly in keeping with what we now understand. It is hard to understand how three days without tillage could be such a problem.

everywhere else for assessing genre, that is, to consider form and content, it appears that Genesis 1 is not intended to be read “literally,” at least in the popular usage where it usually means “concretely” or strictly and without the possibility of metaphor, hyperbole, or symbol. This does not mean Genesis 1 is not true. It does, however, mean that its truth claims are of a different nature.

Genesis 1 in Its Ancient Near Eastern Environment
How then are we to approach our reading of Genesis 1? As in the reading of any document, it helps to have some familiarity with comparable materials, in this case other ancient creation stories. What we are after, in dealing with the ancients’ view of origins, is some idea of the kinds of questions they asked and how they answered them. Again, this is not to assume that Genesis 1 is identical to, or of the same genre as, these other stories or has borrowed from them. We are simply interested in trying to understand what issues a secondmillennium B.C. culture might have been interested in. I am, however, assuming that they were not trying to do modern science nor attempting to show that Darwin was wrong— hardly likely since neither was around at the time. It is impossible here to carry out a thorough comparison of ancient creation stories, but a cursory overview will be helpful in giving us a feel for the kinds of concerns that the first audience of Genesis 1 might have brought to the text. (1) Sumerian — We have very little from the Sumerians of the third millennium B.C. They have no epic origins poem, and instead all we have are some brief indications in introductions legitimating their social order. One story describes a very early division between heaven and earth where Enlil, god of the air, separates An and Ki (heaven and earth). Another begins with Nammu, a watery goddess, who then becomes mother of heaven and earth and all the gods. As increasing order emerges from an amorphous whole, humans, who had previously been animals, become a special kind of creature. (2) “Babylonian” — Although often regarded as “Babylonian,” the Atrahasis and Enuma Elish myths are probably of more complex origins. Not only had Babylonian culture inherited materials from the Sumerians, but it was also influenced by a mid-third-millennium incursion of Semites and a late-third-millennium takeover by the Amorites. Although most of our sources derive from the Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian period, the traditions themselves are probably more ancient. The Atrahasis myth, whose earlier form is found in the Sumerian account of Enki and Ninmakh, was probably the standard Babylonian version of the creation of humanity. At first the gods and humans were not differentiated. The weaker gods, the Igigi, performed irrigation and drainage, but growing tired, they threatened rebellion. Humans were then created, by mixing clay with the blood of a god, to take over these tasks. Our earliest records of the Enuma Elish have been dated from the 1300s, although they too are probably derived from earlier sources. More recently this account has been regarded as a late and sectarian story concerned with the localized elevation of Babylon and her god Marduk as both rose to prominence around 1500 B.C. In any case, Tiamat, the seawater, and her husband, Apsu, the fresh groundwaters, are the first to rise from primeval chaos, and their intermingling engenders other generations of gods. Apsu, seeking rest in his maturity, becomes agitated at the increasing activity and noise of the younger deities and plots their extermination. He is thwarted, however, by Ea, the god of the heavens, who casts a sleeping spell upon him, murders him, and builds his palace upon Apsu’s water-corpse. Ea and his wife, Damkina, have their first son, the precocious Marduk, who is twice as strong, wise, and glorious as any other god. In time, the younger deities seek to avenge Apsu’s murder, and Kingu, new consort of

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Tiamat, is chosen as their leader. The other gods, terrified, choose Marduk, son of the usurper Ea. As battle is joined, Kingu is cowed by Marduk’s magnificent appearance, but Tiamat with an accompanying host of serpent monsters is undeterred. However, with the help of the mighty north wind that distends Tiamat’s watery body, Marduk shoots an arrow down her gullet. He celebrates his victory by dividing her watery carcass in two, creating heaven and earth, then the stars, plants, and other living things. After the battle, Kingu and his host are reduced to servitude but soon complain that this role is not fit for deities. Kingu is slain and his blood mixed with earth to create humans who are now to perform forced labour for the gods. They are particularly to provide for Marduk in his Temple at Babylon, which is then established. There is no mention of humans being made in the image of the deities, although the reference to the Lamga gods may imply some sense of humans reflecting divine statuary. It should be noted, however, that this story is not primarily an explanation of creation, but is rather an aetiology to elevate Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon, showing how he attained his supremacy in cosmological terms and to explain why Babylon (with its Temple) is the chief city. Some fifty names celebrate Marduk as the sustainer of life on earth and in heaven. His glorification undergirds and legitimates both divine and human institutions of governance, namely, the Temple and the kingship, which are the sine qua non of great Babylon’s existence. (3) Egyptian – Surprisingly, although Israel had just spent 400 years in Egypt, relatively little attention has been given to Egyptian creation accounts which one might otherwise expect to provide the dominant background against which Genesis 1 was heard or read. And considering that Genesis is traditionally described as one of the books of Moses, from a literary standpoint it seems right to read it in the light of Israel’s exodus. At the outset, it should be noted that there is no unitary or common Egyptian creation story but rather a range of variations depending on which deity is in view. Egyptians apparently accepted a variety of myths and rejected none with the result that the often meagre data derives from a range of diverse texts. Nevertheless, some characteristic themes emerge. Unlike the Mesopotamians who believed in a number of creator gods, the Egyptians held only one deity responsible for their universe—referred to as “heaven and earth”—whether in the New Kingdom or in Memphite theology. The act of creation is described in various ways. In the Pyramid texts (c. 2350-2176 B.C.) there is a sudden emergence of a primordial mound(s) or hillock(s) (which the Pyramids symbolized) out of the watery void of Nun, upon which Atum materialized in an act of self-creation. These became the sites—the Holy Places of creation—upon which Temples were built. Atum then creates the lesser gods, all of whom are personifications of various elements of the natural world. In the Memphite texts (Old Kingdom, c. 2500-2200 B.C.) which polemicize against Atum theology, Ptah not only creates all, he is also the primeval waters that begat Atum. In the little known stela of Ptah and Sekhmet we find the idea of creation through lordly speech where Ptah’s tongue commands what his mind thinks—”One says in his mind (heart) ‘Look, may they come into being’”—no preexistent material is used (cf. Ps 33:6). This idea of creation by fiat is also found in a Coffin Text, where life is created “according to the word of Nun in Nu…” and Atum creates animal life through his command. Similarly, Genesis 1 is thoroughly, even characteristically, permeated by the idea of Yahweh speaking creation into being. Creation emerges from the deep, the darkness, the formlessness and emptiness, and the wind. The Coffin texts mention the Hermopolitan Ogdoad (also known as the Octead, see below) who are eight primordial beings—four pairs of cosmic forces and their consorts with

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the four males being toads and the four females snakes—who inhabited the primeval slime from which creation emerges. There is some debate over their identification. On one view, Nun is a formless deep, Keku is darkness, Amun is a breath, and Hehu (the least clear) is some kind of illimitable chaos. On another reading, these eight consist of Nun and Naunet, representing primordial matter and space, Kuk and Kauket, the idea of the illimitable and the boundless, Huh and Hauhet, for darkness and obscurity, and Amon and Amaunet, representing the hidden and concealed. In Memphite theology these arise from Ptah, and out of them emerges the sun. Interestingly, the biblical record begins with Elohim and then speaks of a formlessness and emptiness, a deep, a darkness, and a hovering wind (Gen 1:12). In terms of the order of creation, the god Re first creates light out of darkness, and only after this the sun-god. This resembles Genesis 1 where Elohim creates light before the creation of the sun. Separation is also a key idea with Ptah separating earth and sky and Atum separating Geb (earth-god) from Nut (sky-goddess). In the Hermopolitan story the primordial hill becomes the firmament which divides the upper and lower waters. Given that the biblical idea of the “firmament” has connotations of beaten metal, it is interesting that another Egyptian tradition describes the resurrected king as taking possession of the sky and then splitting or separating its metal. In the Hymn to Khnum, we are told that the god “made plants in the field, he dotted shores with flowers; he made fruit trees bear their fruit,” and this apparently precedes the creation of human beings. A similar sequence is found in the Great Hymn to Amon, who puts the stars in his path, and creates fish to live in the rivers and birds to live in the sky, while Atum forms the Nile and calls it “the lord of fish and rich in birds.” One notes here the similar sequence of Genesis 1, beginning with the sun, moon, stars, and then fish and birds, with the latter together in the one set and even in the same order (Gen 1:20-21). The fashioning of the animals and humanity is also linked in the Egyptian accounts, as it is in day six in Genesis 1:24-26. Unlike the Babylonian traditions, the Egyptians grant a special role to humans. According to the Great Hymn to Atum, the god “created mankind and distinguished their nature and made their life.” We also find the making of man from clay with either Khnum being seen as a potter molding humanity on his wheel (Great Hymn to Khnum) or Ptah molding humanity with his hands. In the Instruction of Amenemope, “Man is clay and straw, and God is his potter” and in a few texts there is even the idea that humanity is made in the image of the god, as per the Instruction of King Merikare: “They are his [Re] own images proceeding from his flesh.” The Egyptian word used here ( snnw) is often written with a determinative in the shape of a statue. This is similar to Genesis 1’s notion of humanity being made from the dust of the earth in Elohim’s image ( tselem), a word which initially meant a piece cut from an object and which would be entirely appropriate for a piece of clay cut for a sculpture. As far as I can ascertain there is no notion in Mesopotamian stories of humanity being imparted breath by the gods. But in the Instruction of King Merikare—“[A]nd he (Re) made the air to give life to their (men) nostrils”—the impartation of life occurs through the breath of the creator-deity. On the other hand, the reason for the creation of humanity is unclear, though it seems a possibility that it was to carry out the creator-god’s purposes. Finally, the idea of the deity as craftsman is implied by the use of words that describe the metal worker who hammers and casts, or the master potter who molds, which would fit with the concept of a hammered firmament and with humans being fashioned from the earth.

Comparisons between Genesis 1 and Ancient Near Eastern Creation Myths 28

Apart from the single creator and creation by speech alone. for the ancients the primary concern is with the earth as the setting for the appearance of a fully formed human community and culture. In the Babylonian materials humans are created to undertake menial labour for Babylon’s gods who are now free to take their ease. and particularly in the defeat of the chaos-storm-monster (cf. seven years for Solomon’s temple. cf. The Egyptian sources by way of contrast are unclear as to humanity’s purpose. none of these features is found in Genesis 1. Isa. Genesis 1 is unlikely to offer much succour for those who want to argue against Darwin. begin with either an amorphous mass or primeval chaos. The idea of warfare. Certainly Yahweh’s lordship is assumed as the fundamental datum of all existence. It was never designed to do so. however. In the latter. and formlessness are common. that is. Ps 89:10. and. there is only one creator god who creates and this by fiat through divine speech. 11)—is there mention of a seven-day program to build Baal’s palace-temple (cf. There is not a hint of the idea that the ordered world emerged from chaos by purely natural means. In terms of the starting points. being considered in only the most primitive form. In the Egyptian stories. their stories are still theogonic. The notion of humans bearing the deity’s image is found only in Egypt and Genesis 1. son of Amon-re. For the ancients the very order and coherence of the natural world implied some kind of personal agency. Babylonian stories also involved the use of magic on the part of the deities. And then at the Reed Sea (Exod 14:19-31) they had witnessed Yahweh cause light to shine in the 29 . though in the larger context of the Torah one might perhaps be expected to understand as much. one also finds the primeval darkness. the god of the Fathers. ancient stories—with the notable exception of Genesis—simply assumed a continuity between personified “nature” and the appearance of humanity.Some significant contours should be evident. is prominent in the “Babylonian” stories. They had just seen Yahweh. act as Elohim’s vice regents superintending his creation. Genesis 1 is unusual in that although it begins with the same basic elements it is more universal and seems less interested in legitimating a specifically Israelite social order. Apart from Genesis 1 there appears to be no concern with duration or a literary framework wherein time is broken into a series of consecutive days. not just a single individual. though absent from Egyptian or Sumerian accounts. wind/storm. 1 Kgs 6:37-38). That much was simply assumed. out of which through increasing differentiation heaven and earth are separated and ultimately a particularly social order emerges. If one might be permitted the aside: it seems that the Genesis account manages to hold together the tension between nature and personhood in ways that neither the ancients nor modern materialism can. in the Egyptian Coffin Texts. including in part Genesis 1. More probably it was designed to answer the question: which god/s ordered and filled the heavens and the earth? Whereas for moderns the process of creation is thoroughly materialistic with the earth emerging merely as part of a larger solar system and life. Thus most stories. the allusions in Job 26:12. if discussed at all. In contrast to modern origins stories which utterly reject any psychologizing of what is seen as a purely “objective” materialist account. 51:9). uncreate Egypt by overturning the rule of Pharaoh. concerned with the emergence of the gods as personifications of aspects of nature. Here cosmogony was essentially a conflict of wills from which one party emerged victorious (so Ea/Apsu. Baal and Yam/Mot). Marduk/Tiamat. with the ten plagues that effectively dissolved the boundaries that gave the land of Egypt its order and form. all humanity. My point here is that no one wrote these texts to argue for the existence of the gods. the motifs of water/watery deep. Only in the Baal palace-building story—and again there is debate over whether this is a creation narrative (fn. it is worth recalling Israel’s exodus experience. Before considering this temple connection further. But even so. On this basis.

as it were. what do we do with the order of the parallel three days? It seems to me that they are designed to reflect the same emergence of increasing order—form and fullness—we have seen elsewhere in the ancient world and particularly Egypt. or any other of Egypt’s failed deities. the sea of reeds. This is always a possibility. probably not by accident that one can hear echoes of light in the darkness. These three days together delineate the fundamental structure of the ancient world as the ancients experienced it. The fundamental given of human existence is the experience of night and day. of Mesopotamia? Might not a better explanation be the exact opposite? Namely. but Pharaoh’s crown carried a Urea. that the sight of the Egyptians’ dead bodies on the shore of the Yam Suph (cf. on the below. Atum. the division between land and sea. or on sea or land. would descend into the watery underworld of the dead. But as with Moses’ first sign—the transformation of his judicial staff and symbol of his authority into a serpent that swallows those of Pharaoh’s magicians—so too with the last. that it was the details of the varied Egyptian accounts that have influenced the language of Israel’s creation story precisely to make it all the more effective against the gods of Egypt? Might it not be that Genesis 1 was written with a particular concern to declare that it was Israel’s god. and then finally. then. One can understand why Pharaoh. an enraged female cobra. namely Genesis 1. the place where Israel has just spent 400 years and which stories antedate considerably Israel’s stay in Egypt. whose scattered details on the whole bear a greater resemblance to Genesis 1 than those. and the appearance of dry land in Genesis 1: they had seen Yahweh do this when he delivered them at the Yam Suph. therefore.darkness and a divine wind to drive back the deep of the Yam Suph (a sea that the Egyptians also regarded as the being at the edge of the world and the abode of Apophis the chaos serpent) and so to reveal dry land. (In Hebrew “palace” and “temple” are represented by the same word. Escorted by two fire-breathing cobras he would do battle with Apophis the chaos serpent and emerge victorious each morning to bring life to Egypt. How does one explain that it happens to be Egyptian stories. having defeated the chaos monster. and not Ptah. their rulers (cf.” the sun-god Re. Like father like son. which functioned both as a symbol and the actual repository of Egypt’s power. This considerable similarity with the Egyptian accounts raises a very interesting question. the Sea of Reeds and Pool of the Dead) had a considerable impact on Israel (Exod 15). The next level of complexity is above and below. thought he too could send his armies into the watery deep of the Yam Suph and emerge victorious. Not only so. the wind over the deep. To return to the temple motif noted earlier. a key feature in a number of the stories is that the gods. But then one is left with a strange fact. as Amon-Re’s son. which in certain circumstances is 30 . But why “three” days? I suggest it comes from the ancients’ perception of the basic structures of their reality. and that at Yahweh’s command. see below). for example. after traveling through the heavens. If so. It is. Pharaoh’s “father. but now at Yahweh’s command. Gen 1:16) up through finally the appearance of the image-bearer (Gen 1:26-27. construct their palace-temples. Pharaoh was to bring order and justice to Egypt by restraining the chaos of lawlessness. Yahweh. who was alone responsible for the good and perfect order of creation? It might also be that the clear literary art and architectonic patterning of Genesis 1 is a deliberate artistic device intended to underline the good order and patterning of Yahweh’s creational activity. It is sometimes suggested that the other ancient creation stories are distorted echoes of the original creation story. no matter whether one is above or below. and so on the second set of three days Yahweh fills each of the realms with. It is hardly surprising. But the structure was not created to remain void or empty. when Pharaoh’s Urea-led armies are engulfed by the unrestrained sea.

itself a microcosm. etc. be one human or divine. a house (temple) is constructed for him (as already noted opinions are divided over whether this is an account of creation but my interest here is the form of conceptualization). and has established one’s realm. apparently forming the earth from the remainder. But is there any evidence of this notion in the Bible? The data is overwhelming. In the “Babylonian” Enuma Elish. If kings do this on a micro scale. Egyptian sources contain hints of this. or flood. and temple-building all belong together. after Baal gains dominion. though the text is unclear at this point. one builds a palace or temple. If the biggest threat to a settled agricultural existence was chaos. having entered into their rest.synonymous with “house”—e. or who laid its cornerstone …. In fact. However. house of Yahweh—the idea going back to the Sumerians.” One notes especially Job 38:4ff: Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …. This might also explain the Egyptian practice of building Temples at various sites associated with the Holy Place/s of creation. When I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place …. and the foundations of the land tremble. it is in recognition of this connection that victorious kings. it was the great king who defeated the enemy. built temples for their deities. In Psalm 104:2-3 we are told that Yahweh “wraps himself in light as with a garment. then this act of temple-building could perhaps correspond to creation such that creation. if Baal’s temple is a microcosm as it seems to be.g. he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. then who was it that established order and security? Naturally.. At the same time.. the answer seems to be as a palace-temple. Creation as God’s Palace-Temple I want to pick up for a moment on the palace-temple image. after Marduk’s defeat of Tiamat he divides her corpse and stretches out one half like a roof to form the heavens.” Isaiah 24:18 declares that “ the windows of heaven are opened. then surely the gods do it at a cosmic one. Who shut up the sea behind doors …. Likewise. As Arvid Kapelrud has argued. the outcome of Ea’s victory over the watery god Apsu is not creation but the building of a palace-temple on the body of his foe. Similarly in the Canaanite story of Baal’s victory over Yam. with its lake of reeds and stately temple. kingship. with several traditions mentioning some poles that lift the heaven over the earth and which are oriented toward the cardinal points. in seven years (1 Kgs 6:37-38). such that creation becomes an act of palace-temple building. where the word for temple is “big house”). and who supervised and orchestrated the building of dykes. when one has defeated one’s foes. Interestingly Baal’s temple is created in seven days and Yahweh’s Jerusalem Temple. who promulgated and upheld the law (his word). the Egyptian cultic complex of the exodus period was a model of cosmic origins. usually through war. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set. Have you entered the storehouses of the snow 31 . lawlessness. to restrain the devastating floods. If we ask how ancient peoples might have conceptualized their world. Having established his realm he would then build his palace. The “creation as temple-palace” metaphor is hardly surprising if one reflects for a moment on the realities of the ancient world.

The odd cube shape of the city might explain this. 8:2. Genesis 1 does not explicitly describe Yahweh as actually rolling up his sleeves and “building”—why should it when a truly Lordly Yahweh would merely have to give the word? But given the rather widespread Ancient Near Eastern notion linking creation. 102:25. Job 38:22). 82:5. Job 9:8. 44:24. the image of God language makes a great deal of sense within the palace-temple context. 50:25. Amos 9:6. 2 Kgs 7:2. Jer 10:13. then. In this sense. 42:5. but instead the coming of Yahweh himself to the earth to dwell among us. As the Great King. Ps 93). the stretching out of the heavens like a canopy/tent (Isa 40:12. Jer 10:12. 1 Kgs 6:20. 45:12. and temple-building. 2 Chr 3:8. Zech 12:1. and hence the reason for his Jerusalem temple itself being a microcosm. defeat-of-chaos. Prov 8:29. In other words. cf. Ezek 42:16-20. After all.16. having ordered his realm.500 miles) along each axis? The significance of these dimensions might lie in the observation that the size of the city corresponds to that of the then-known Greek world. while the height emphasizes the co-mingling of heaven and earth.Or seen the storehouses of the hail? In fact. 32:17. Further support for this palace-temple conceptualization is found in the final act of creation: the forming of humanity. This might also explain some elements of John’s Revelation where he describes the New Jerusalem as coming down out of the heavens to earth (Rev 21). 2 Sam 22:8. and what is the palace of Yahweh if not a temple? And note too the image of resting in his house (= Temple) in the light of Yahweh’s resting in his completed abode on the seventh day of Genesis 1. Ps 75:3. sitting in the great pavilion of his cosmos-palace-temple (cf. as Shelley’s poem Ozymandias so evocatively 32 . the Hebrew Bible is awash with architectural imagery when describing creation. the heavens’ windows (Gen 7:11. Yahweh fashions his own image and places it in his palace-temple. is the climax of Genesis 1’s six-fold affirmation of the goodness of creation with its progression in both sets of days from heaven to earth. Job 9:6. Elohim naturally creates realms for the lesser rulers (cf. if not his image? So here in Genesis 1 on the last creative day. the climax of the new creation is not the abandonment of the earth. it would be very odd if Genesis 1 were not to be understood along the lines of cosmic palace-temple building. 31:37. Ps 104:2). Gen 1:16) as he forms his palace-temple out of the deep and gives order to and fills it. also Ezek 45:2-3). Isa 24:18. the Holy Place in Ezekiel’s temple.000 stadia (approximately 1. but the very Holy of Holies (cf. and the earth is my footstool. the whole of creation is seen as Yahweh’s palace-temple. he now rules over all in “Sabbath” rest (see Exod 20). 51:15. 51:13. but rather the unification of heaven and earth such that the renewed earth itself now becomes Yahweh’s very throne room. Job 26:11). 104:5. But what about the surprising size of the city: 12. Ps 33:7. not just the Temple.22. 500 cubits square.16. The final goal is not the destruction of creation. a mini universe: it serves to remind Israel that the whole world is Yahweh’s. in the image of Elohim. and storehouses (Deut 28:12. 51:16. cf. what is the last thing placed inside the deity’s house. cf. probably) and Solomon’s temple (20 cubits. 48:13. It speaks of the foundations of the earth (Ps 18:15. the pillars of the earth and of the heavens (1 Sam 2:8. The only other biblical objects in a similar setting that are cube-shaped are the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (10 cubits. Here. At the same time. Ps 102:25). Long the subject of debate. And as the Great King. then this suggests that the reason there is no temple in the New Jerusalem is because the city itself has become. One striking feature is the absence of any Temple (Rev 21:22). and the thorough-going architectural imagery which characterizes the biblical conceptualizing of creation. “Heaven is my throne. 2 Sam 22:8). 45:2). male and female. Mal 3:10. Zech 12:1. But what kind of building is this? As Isaiah 66:1 makes clear. If so. Isa 51:13. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?” Where does one find a throne and a footstool if not in a palace. Granted. 135:7.

it uses the language and imagery to which that world. Our chronos-fixated age measures things in nanoseconds and smaller—but not theirs. and land/sea—this being conceptualized in terms of the deity’s construction of his palace-temple as he gives it form and fills it. it seems to me. The fundamental issue is that it is Yahweh. above/below. who brought order to the world. Consequently. the injunction to keep Sabbath is less intent on imitating six literal twentyfour-hour days of creation than it is a summons for Israel to live out her creation story— structured as it is in the nature of the case by six days with a seventh to rest—and so to declare herself to be Yahweh’s “son. how does it translate into our modern world? In what sense can this be meaningful for us? The answer is surprisingly modern. And Genesis 1’s answer.” namely. This is hardly suprising. So in what sense is this true? If this kind of metaphor. Israel’s God. or more accurately dawn-to-dusk days. is not so much concerned with the “how” in the technical or mechanical sense as it is with the “who. Rather. the mixed multitude who are also delivered from Pharaoh’s genocidal proclivities. which in its various forms reflects the fact that the fundamental structures of this world.describes. humanity. and even non-Israelites (cf. symbol. Thus. or antiquated way of seeing the world is all that is intended. Israel’s god. chronologically accurate. the pattern of days probably derives from the ancients’ understanding of the structure of their world—day/night. Yahweh has designed this palace-temple. this pavilion. No one in the ancient world. namely. his imagebearer. And in doing so. society.” imitating him in continuing his creation work of bringing order with the ultimate goal of Sabbath rest. and humanity will never truly know what it means to be human until we learn to reflect his image. seems particularly concerned with these kinds of questions. as his vice regent. his palace-temple. Yahweh. account of creation. was accustomed. Yahweh is the builder. not the failed deities of oppressive Egypt nor. appear to have been fine-tuned with human existence in view. From this perspective. non-entities. probably reflect the notion of the customary daily periods of work. to be the habitation of his image-bearer. It is he who by the fiat of his kingly command provided the fundamental structures of ancient human experience and who filled these sub-realms with their rulers. This. and each day he speaks and thus by divine fiat builds or fills a discrete part of his realm. but 33 . that is. It is highly likely that in the biblical account humanity serves the same function. There is truth here. apart from the isolated account of the time taken to build Baal’s palace. to a lesser degree. those of Canaan or Mesopotamia. It is Israel’s God who has created this world. ancient kings frequently placed images of themselves throughout their realms as signs of their power and sovereign authority. it seems to me. On this reading the twenty-four hour periods. and culture. We recall that for the ancients the fundamental concern of their stories was the emergence of humanity. both Israel (Exod 4:22) and her king (Ps 2:8) are called to be God’s son in the sense of being faithful bearers of his image. and particularly Egypt. Conclusions What might we conclude about the truth claims and significance of Genesis 1? Given its genre—a highly stylized form and unrealistic content—I would suggest that it is not to be taken “literally” in the popular modern Western sense as a blow-by-blow. the observed values of its cosmological and physical quantities. It was the same for Israel. is nothing other than the ancient version of the recently formulated Anthropic Principle. Genesis 1 is a “poetic” account in which Yahweh. to reflect his character and act as his vice-regents as they live in his palace-temple. To observers both then and now there are strong hints that this creation was designed for us. over all of which he has placed humanity. a God who cares for slaves. is proclaimed the builder of creation. Exod 12:38).

If we take the Genesis 1 account seriously. In the ancient world. over the length of the days and instead to recall what Genesis 1 is more likely about. Preston (Leicester: InterVarsity. We would never tolerate toxic waste or unbridled pollution in our living rooms. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Beale. “Cosmogonies in the Ugaritic Texts and in the Bible.” in Demythisation et idéologie. whereas he is committed to renewing it. 1988). and yet we seem happy to do so when it comes to God’s palace-temple. Given that it is his palace-temple. whether women. but every human being is made in God’s image. Two final observations. 1991). R. 1973): 335-54. Far too many of us treat our homes far better than we treat this creation.. With these truths firmly in mind and heart. but puts the emphasis back where it belongs.J. David G. In the Beginning. While some have mistakenly read the apocalyptic language of purging fire as a carte blanche to do whatever they will to this present earth. etc.” Orientalia 53 (1984): 183-201. but also to restore our image—opening blind eyes. then we need to know that any act of abuse against another human being is an act of high treason against the God whose image we bear and to whose kingship and sovereignty we therefore inherently bear witness.. The Book of Revelation. “Creation at Ugarit and in the Old Testament. raising the dead. 1988). 1999). Tiger” than the serried ranks of mathematically precise gene maps. Batto. we might do well to remember the warning in Revelation 11:18: God will destroy those who destroy his earth. deaf ears. The Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem (London: SPCK. Clifford. Jacques. 1997). John D. it would be difficult for Christians not to change the world. From this perspective. “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” Biblical Archeology Review 10 (1984): 57-63. it is not hard to comprehend why Jews and Christians have historically put such a high value on human life. Second. Sources: Allen. and that far from people going to heaven. Enrico Castelli (Paris: Aubier. heaven is coming here (at least if Revelation 21 is to be believed). Bernard F. God’s anger against violators of the earth is perfectly understandable. James P. Henri.it is more like the pungent and memorable truth of Blake’s “Tiger. ed. Barker. Genesis in Egypt: The Philosophy of Ancient Egyptian Creation Accounts (New Haven: Yale Egyptological Seminar. then neither should we. slaves. Tipler. trans. Perhaps it is time to stop warring. it makes a great deal of sense for Jesus as God’s son among us not only to cleanse Israel’s microcosmic temple. John D. namely. Loren R. It seems to me that this kind of reading of Genesis not only makes good sense of the text within its cultural horizons. for example.. Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker. that could be arranged. gladiators. If one did not want to live in his realm or under his kingship. either by exile or death... then the repercussions are serious indeed. If we are truly to bear his image. Barrow.K.. Currid. G. to deface the image of the king or deity was tantamount to high treason. This world is God’s temple-palace and he has not abandoned it. then we had best take good care of it.” Vetus Testamentum 15 34 . “Le rôle médiateur de l’idéologie. It is his palace-temple they are defiling. and Frank J. With this in mind. 1984). newly born. that every human being is made in God’s image. New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.. Not only so. If this creation is Yahweh’s palace-temple. Fisher. Blocher. Ellul. Margaret. if humans are made in God’s image. Little wonder Paul speaks of a new creation. or even unborn children.

2001). The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation .” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Studies 15 (1983): 39-49. J. John F. Lambert.. Reymond. Susan..” in Christus Faber: The MasterBuilder and the House of God. Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 8. 1994). Religions in the Ancient Near East .. Harvard Semitic Monographs 10 (Missoula: Scholars. Niditch.” Journal of Theological Studies 16 (1965): 287-300.. Hoffmeier. ed. Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel.” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 92 (1980): 325-32. J. 1992): 217-79. “The Sea of Reeds as Sheol. J. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 59 (Freiburg: Universitäts Verlag. Reality and Illusion in New Testament Scholarship: A Primer in Critical Realist Hermeneutics (Collegeville. 1983). James K. 2nd ed. Hoffmeier. Kutsko. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. “The Temple at the Navel of the Earth. Ben F. a Task for Gods and Kings. 1993).(1965): 313-24. 1951)..R. Wifall. “The Theology of the Ugaritic Baal Cycle. R.L. Levenson.” Studia Biblicus et Orientalis 3 (1959): 205-15.A. “Ezekiel 40-48 in a Visionary Context. Meyer.C. Helmer.G. C. Walter. “Les origines et la formation de la terre dans le poeme babylonien de la creation. Heidel.. Ben F. Alexander. 1969). 1976).” Orientalia 32 (1966): 5662. § 35 .. Kapelrud. Ricoeur. trans. In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and Origins of Biblical History (New Haven: Yale University Press. “The Function of Fiction in Shaping Reality. James K.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 48 (1986): 208-48. Meredith.E. MA: privately published by GordonConwell Theological Seminary. Evans (Sheffield: Academic.” Man and World 12 (1979): 12341. Towers.. W. (Allison Park: Pickwick. Wayne.” Orientalia 53 (1984): 203-19. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Leicester: InterVarsity. Arvid. Biblical and Judaic Studies 7 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. 1973). Labat. Kingdom Prologue (South Hamilton.. “Some Thoughts on Genesis 1 & 2 and Egyptian Cosmology. Kline. Grudem.A. Gibson. “The Babylonian Background of Genesis. ‘Sacred’ in the Vocabulary of Ancient Egypt. 1994). “The Red Sea. E. The Mythological Origin of the Egyptian Temple (Manchester: University Press. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. Paul. Ringgren. “Temple Building. “The Temple Cosmology of P and Theological Anthropology in the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira. van Seters. Fletcher-Louis. MN: Liturgical. John Sturdy (Philadelphia: Westminster. Crispin.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 18 (1959) 150-53.” in Of Scribes and Sages: Studies in Early Jewish Interpretation and Transmission of Scripture.. John D.. Meyer. 2000). The Theology of the Program of Restoration of Ezekiel 40-48 . 1985): 171-77..

e. The seventh day of rest hallows and validates the commandment of a Sabbath rest (Exod. translated in the KJV as “without form and void” (Heb.” in a state of “utter chaos” (Wenham I. moon.” i. Many scholars have noted a pattern to the “six days”: in the first three [days.” is filled: (4) the sun.edu/scienceandfaith/essay01. the separation of the waters above and below the firmament on day two with the creation of the birds of the air and the fishes of the sea on day five. “What the Bible Teaches About Creation”:5 It might seem redundant to those of you who are Christians if I should summarize the content of Genesis 1. for instance. Richard Clifford in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary (p. Schneider. ibid. here spoken of as “the earth” but including “the Deep. 51. March.On the correspondences among days.” i. then what sort of revelation can we expect to find in it? Genesis 1 teaches what is the common faith of all Christians (and also Jews and Muslims): that there is one God. The creation is called forth by this one God in a placid and orderly manner and given structure. and human beings fill the earth (Hyers 67—71). 20:11) by weaving it into the very structure of creation.e. Jaki. and the solution is to differentiate matter through separation and to fill it with both inanimate and animate creatures. and the separation of the dry land from the oceans on day three with the creation of the land animals (and man) on day six. The “utter chaos.asp [12/12/06]) 36 . John F. and (6) wild and domestic beasts.) 4 (emphasis added) Cf. but there is a pattern in this creation narrative that is often not recognized. 39-40). 173) align the separation of light from darkness on day one with the fixing of the lights in the firmament on day four. not the many. If we read and interpret Genesis 1 theologically rather than scientifically. is a “problem” God moves immediately to solve. 10) and Bruce Vawter in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p.. combative divinities Israel’s Semitic neighbors believed in and made actors in their creation myths. also the overview provided by Robert J. 15—16). (2) the waters are separated to form the lower and upper seas— the latter supported by the “firmament.berea..” and (3) land emerges from the lower sea and is adorned with plant life. Wenham I. the state of being “empty. Genesis 1 Through the Ages (Living Tradition No. The account begins with that part of the creation that is other than the heavens.” is given form: (1) light emerges from darkness. with the domain of earth. but this is arbitrary. Genesis 1 provides a theological declaration of God’s creativity rather than a scientific description of events (Hyer. (Clifford and Vawter also align the creation of plants on the third day with the creation of man who feeds on plant life on the sixth day. cf. (5) fish and other sea creatures fill the lower sea and birds the sky. “Not the Real Genesis 1”. one should align the establishment of the creatures of earth. animals and man. Review of Stanley L. 1994): Thus. and stars fill the firmament.] “bohu. “tohuwabohu”). Seen in the light of this hypothesis. and it is worthwhile to point it out. “formlessness. it is not the expression of contending divine forces that Israel’s neighbors believed accounted for the 4 Actually. many evangelical biblical scholars have been drawn to some version of a “framework hypothesis”: the six days are to be seen not as a chronological account of the steps of creation but as a framework in which the various categories of “creature”—the word refers to both inanimate and living things—are laid out in a logical order that in itself declares that creation in the beginning involves the bringing of order out of chaos. 5 (http://community. Because of this pattern. Fr.” the “formless and empty” undifferentiated mass of the beginning of creation. other land creatures. In the latter three days “tohu. McCarthy.

the fulfillment. The “utter chaos” of undifferentiated matter God marshals and makes fertile by simple but powerful and royal declarations of “Let there be!” God does not have to battle other forces in order to bring cosmos (order) to creation. and that looking upon the whole of creation God declares that it is very good. 1902: A Literature Search”:6 The natural tendency with Genesis One is to follow one’s first impression and assume that each creation fiat was miraculously fulfilled immediately. wholly dependent upon its Creator for its very being and continuing existence and for all of the forms. and still the fiat itself is the input work that brings about each step. So Exodus 20:11 is also literal with “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth.B. it is not composed of divine beings. Capron is breaking new ground in showing that the ful-fillment sections of Genesis One are explanatory or parenthetical. allows overlapping of the fulfillments. which allows the separ-ation of the fulfillment from the day. 2. capacities. Dallas E. and potentialities it possesses—all of its elements. 3. the post-fulfillment activity and the day) and our first impressions see the day as encompassing everything. 4. While it is sacred because it is the product of the Holy One.org/RRs/RR027/27creation. c.changes and upheavals they experienced within nature. this creation is entirely natural. Capron discovers that the structure of the record permits the fulfillment to come after the day. and all that is in them. (emphasis added) Cf. each element of the creation is essentially good. the fulfillment. Even the sea monsters are not divinities (as in the creation myths of Israel’s neighbors) but products of God’s creative word (Gen. (the fiat. § 6 (http://www. “Creation and Capron’s Explanatory Interpretation. and the naming of what was done.ibri.html [12/15/06]) 37 . this majestic narrative proclaims that in the eyes of its Maker. This separation. allows indefinite time for everything. There are four parts to the record of each step in creation (the fiat. and to take a long time for completion. no portion of it is to be understood as divine. capabilities. living and non-living—and that it is given all these solely by the will of its Author. Cain. while retaining the literalness of the days. Further.” (emphasis added) “There are four parts to the record of each step in creation 1. Genesis 1 also implies that the entire creation is contingent. 1:21). the post-fulfillment activity and the day)” N. allows processes to have a prominent place. the sea. Thus. with indefinite time spans. a fulfillment may extend to the point of overlapping successive fulfillments. The structure of a given day also includes the declaration of the goodness of what was created. Finally.

12-15). Gregory shows that man was made “with circumspection. by the experience given to us of like events in particular cases. and its relation to the body is discussed at some length (chs. actually at the moment when each individual man comes into being by generation (chs. we know nothing: but that it will end is inferred from the noneternity of matter (chs. The argument that such a restoration is impossible is met by an appeal to the unlimited character of the Divine power. 21-24). Basil. The narrative of the creation of the world is not discussed in detail: it is referred to. On the Making of Man: Note This work was intended to supplement and complete the Hexaëmeron of S. and especially in His own resurrection.” fitted by nature for rule over the other creatures. and maintaining that the body and the soul come into existence together. and in the possession of reason. in conclusion. 25-27). having made mention of the Fall of man.” And thus. in some way unknown to us. The connection between mind and body is ineffable: it is not to be accounted for by supposing that the mind resides in any particular part of the body: the mind acts upon and is acted upon by the whole body. in his view. 28-29).” and that the power of the soul is gradually manifested in. The declension of man from his first estate made succession by generation necessary: and it was because this declension and its consequences were present to the Divine mind that God “created them male and female. and by means of. The doctrine of the Resurrection is supported by our knowledge of the accuracy with which other events have been predicted in Scripture. According to a Father of the Church: Cf. that man “is generated as a living and animated being. and in respect of the need of nourishment by food. the material substratum of the body. and by inferences from parallels observed in nature (chs. in those whom our Lord raised to life.4. rejecting that opinion. Gregory then proceeds to deal with the question of the pre-existence of the soul. man is not “in the image of God. The body is fitted to be the instrument of the mind. according to the Divine foreknowledge: “our whole nature extending from the first to the last” is “one image of Him Who is. so 38 . On the other hand. the increase of the human race would have taken place as the increase of the angelic race takes place. depending on the corporeal and material nature for one element of perception. he goes on to speak of his Restoration. but chiefly in order to insist on the idea that the world was prepared to be the sphere of man’s sovereignty. and presupposes an acquaintance with that treatise. 16-18).” But for the Fall. follows from the finite nature of evil: it is deferred until the sum of humanity is complete. so that perception requires both body and mind. made in the likeness of God in respect of various moral attributes. and of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At the same time. In the first creation of man all humanity is included. In the course of his argument on this last point. to his main position. the structure of the human body: but he returns once more. while differing from the Divine nature in that the human mind receives its information by means of the senses and is dependent on them for its perception of external things. But it is to the rational element that the name of “soul“ properly belongs: the nutritive and sensible faculties only borrow the name from that which is higher than themselves. potentially in the Divine will. 19-20) of the food of man in Paradise. Man was first made “in the image of God:” and this conception excludes the idea of distinction of sex. This. that man differs from the lower animals. adapted to the use of a reasonable being: and it is by the possession of the “rational soul. in the last chapter.” but shows his kindred with the lower creation. Gregory of Nyssa.” as well as of the “natural” or “vegetative” and the “sensible” soul. he turns aside to discuss at some length. As to the mode in which the present state of things will end. But these necessities are not permanent: they will end with the restoration of man to his former excellence (chs.” In this respect. his mind works by means of the senses: it is incomprehensible in its nature (resembling in this the Divine nature of which it is the image). Here Gregory is led to speak (chs.

yet seemed not unfitting. and the holy Eastertide demands the accustomed gift of love.—of what we believe to have taken place previously. the debt of gratitude due to your Reverence is greater than can be valued in money. because no other existing thing. For if. yet not falling short of the extent of our power. of what we now see. by a kind of necessary sequence. I suppose. however. according to the explanation of Scripture and to that derived from reasoning. on the ground that he had not cared to produce in his hearers any habit of intelligence. yet intend to add to the great writer’s speculations that which is lacking in them. even if our discourse is far behind the merits of the subject. For he alone has worthily considered the creation of God who truly was created after God. while it will perhaps be generally thought audacious. we must fit together. which will ultimately be “put away. so that our whole subject may be consistent in train of thought and in order. but so that the glory of the teacher may not seem to be failing among his disciples.” but in the higher attributes which constitute for man “the image of God. and of the results which are expected afterwards to appear (for surely our effort would be convicted of failing of its promise. But now that we venture according to our powers upon the exposition of what was lacking. a gift too small indeed to be worthy of presentation to you. if. has been made like to God: thus we shall readily find that allowance will be made for what we say by kindly readers.that man is brought to perfection by the aid of the lower attributes of the soul. the whole world of money. not so as to interpolate his work by insertion (for it is not to be thought of that that lofty mouth should suffer the insult of being given as authority for our discourses). as the statements that seem to be contrary are brought (if the Divine power so discovers a hope for what is beyond hope. none of those who had been his disciples contributed any earnest effort to supply the defect. save the human creation. that you may be able briefly to know the force of the several arguments of the whole work. and whose soul was fashioned in the image of Him Who created him. we offer to your greatness of mind. the servant of God. our common father and teacher.” Introduction Gregory. If we had to honour with rewards of money those who excel in virtue. making the world as established by God in the true Wisdom known to those who by means of his understanding are led to such contemplation: but we. to leave nothing unexamined of all that concerns man. like a mean garment. woven not without toil from our poor wit. But the true perfection of the soul is not in these. For it is our business. O man of God. moreover. if anything should be found in our work such as to be not unworthy of his teaching.—who by his own speculation made the sublime ordering of the universe generally intelligible. he will be free from this charge and escape the blame of seeming not to wish that his disciples should have any skill at all. The scope of our proposed enquiry is not small: it is second to none of the wonders of the world. and the subject of the discourse. as Solomon says. when man is proposed for contemplation. to his brother Peter. The gift is a discourse.—Basil. would seem but small to be made equal to your virtue in the balance. 39 . those statements concerning him which seem. Since. and. the consideration of man being lacking in his Hexaëmeron. who fall short even of worthily admiring him. Bishop of Nyssa. the scoffer would perhaps have had a handle against his great fame.—perhaps even greater than any of those known to us. it will surely be referred to our teacher: while if our discourse does not reach the height of his sublime speculation. and a way for what is inextricable) to one and the same end: and for clearness’ sake I think it well to set forth to you the discourse by chapters. to be opposed. though we perhaps may be answerable to our censurers as being unable to contain in the littleness of our heart the wisdom of our instructor. any of the questions which bear upon the subject were to be omitted).

and on the other hand the immovable nature does not admit motion by way of alteration. while. the exceedingly rapid motion of the sphere. the earth and the water. Now the heaven and the earth being diametrically opposed to each other in their operations. the wisdom of God has transposed these properties. took the middle place of the universe. it may be. like a wheel. moreover. weight being transferred to motion. though discovered in properties of contrary natures. and by means of this also there is effected a kind of mixture and concurrence of the opposites.” says the Scripture. by a providential 40 . is yet at union with itself. for it is no more in a state of continual flux and dispersion than in a permanent state of immobility. in the stationary nature.I. to be as it were a beginning of the whole machine. as about some fixed path. and a more minute exposition of the things which preceded the genesis of man 1. as the circling substance by its rapid motion compresses the compact body of the earth round about. liquid substance also is attached by double qualities to each of the opposites. each with the other. when all that is seen was finished. for air in a manner imitates the perpetual motion and subtlety of the fiery substance. and intensity is produced in equal measure in each of the natures which thus differ in their operation. and wrought unchangeableness in that which is ever moving. These. according to the Divine wisdom. the great Moses indicating. and preserving the indissolubility of both by their mutual action. continually augments the whirling motion of those things which revolve round it. while that which is firm and unyielding. In the same way. or slacken its motion. a kind of borderland of the opposition between operations. but becomes. by reason of its unchanging fixedness. as I think. and the continuance of the things that are). yet it is not such as to be alienated from the solid substance. “This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth. one should rather say that the very nature of the contraries themselves is not entirely without mixture of properties. driving around. nor does the heaven ever relax in its vehemence. guiding all things with the reins of a double operation (for it was by rest and motion that it devised the genesis of the things that were not. and each of the things that are betook itself to its own separate place. when the body of heaven compassed all things round. for in so far as it is heavy and of downward tendency it is closely akin to the earthy. and has in part a share in what is adjacent to it. I suppose. 4. and change in that which is immovable. the Divine power and skill was implanted in the growth of things. Wherein is a partial inquiry into the nature of the world. for neither is the earth shifted from its own base. all that we see in the world mutually agree. so that there is manifestly a mutual contact of the opposites through the mean. but in so far as it partakes of a certain fluid and mobile energy it is not altogether alien from the nature which is in motion. 2. both in the lightness of its nature. at once uniting in itself and dividing things which are naturally distinct. in its affinity to each. itself acts as a mean between the extremes. But to speak strictly. For as motion is not conceived merely as local shifting. and motion finding no hindrance in weight. and in the mobile revolution. doing this. as a sort of bond and stability for the things that were made. but is also contemplated in change and alteration. 3. I mean. and those bodies which are heavy and of downward tendency. and in its suitableness for motion. brought into being by the Divine will. holding each other in. and are mutually joined by those which act as means between them. where he says that the heaven and the earth were made by God “in the beginning Genesis 1:1” that all things that are seen in the creation are the offspring of rest and motion. so that things most extremely opposite in nature combine with one another. so that. the creation which lies between the opposites. about the heavy and changeless element contributed by the creation that does not move. and the creation. were first framed before other things.

and with the varied produce of the trees. that the Divine power. 5. and all the mountain ridges. rippling delicately with light and harmless breezes that skimmed the surface. as gold and silver. and the gentle motion of the waves vied in beauty with the meadows. and decked with their proper adornments his house. so that that property of nature which constitutes its immutability and immobility might not. man. and all that has sense. but as one whom it behoved to be king over his subjects at his very birth. come into the world of being. to be the beholder of some of the wonders therein. the earth was full. when he has made all due preparation. for that which may happen to move or change would cease to admit of the conception of Godhead. neither of these (neither that which is unstable.—in the same manner the rich and munificent Entertainer of our 41 . as it were. after the creation 1. we may suppose. running to and fro in the thickets in herds according to their kind.” and all things that lie between them. and sea. as it has no mutability. that by his enjoyment he might have knowledge of the Giver. and islands. at once join them both closely to each other. II. 2. but. “were finished. and breath. for as has been said. and all the beasts that had come into life at God’s command were rejoicing. and the substances of your jewels which men delight in—having concealed. Hence the earth is stable without being immutable. the Maker of all had prepared beforehand. and slope. it gave birth together. and skipping about. and life. the heaven with the rays of the stars. and the lord of others. by the interchange of attributes. but when his dominion was prepared. and every hillside. and when all kinds of wealth had been stored in this palace (and by wealth I mean the whole creation. too. yet shot up at once into their perfect beauty. might. and the earth with all varieties of plants and animals. it was not to be looked for that the ruler should appear before the subjects of his rule. were crowned with young grass. of her produce. I say. and summits.dispensation. not being rejected to the last as worthless. so has not stability either. Now all things were already arrived at their own end: “the heaven and the earth Genesis 2:1. when viewed in any created object. nor that which is mutable) can be considered to belong to the more Divine nature. and none was there to share it. his table. then. while every sheltered and shady spot was ringing with the chants of the songbirds. the sight to be seen was of the like kind. just risen from the ground. all that is in plants and trees. and—if we are to account materials also as wealth—all that for their beauty are reckoned precious in the eyes of men. and the particular things were adorned with their appropriate beauty. And at sea. and the heaven arching like a roof over them). a royal lodging for the future king (and this was the land. For this reason man was brought into the world last after the creation. to all which. as it had just settled to quiet and calm in the gathering together of its depths. by interweaving change in the stable nature and motion with that which is not subject to change. the sea and air with the living creatures that swim and fly. And as a good host does not bring his guest to his house before the preparation of his feast. Why man appeared last. brings his guest home when things suitable for his refreshment are in readiness. abundance of all these also in the bosom of the earth as in a royal treasure-house). For not as yet had that great and precious thing.” as Moses says. while the heaven. where havens and harbours spontaneously hollowed out on the coasts made the sea reconciled with the land. the meadows were full of all that grows therein. and all the wealth of creation by land and sea was ready. we may suppose. and make them alien from the conception of Deity. on the contrary. and by the beauty and majesty of the things he saw might trace out that power of the Maker which is beyond speech and language. cause the creature to be accounted as God. empowered by the Divine will. the next step was that the king should be manifested. and hollow. his couches. he thus manifests man in the world. bringing forth fruits at the same time with flowers. When.

Concerning that he wrote: I know the laws of allegory. astronomy.nature. in a fish. Let us understand that by water. and together with his friend. who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures. which did not imply to Basil that the heavens could speak. There are those. Instead he turned to a life of asceticism. but some other nature. Of particular interest is his work Hexameron or On the Six Days of the Creation.a fact deduced from the lack of Latin sources quoted in his writings. which has led some writers to claim that he actually practised it. Basil maintained that he interpreted the Bible literally. Basil mocks and rejects the theories of the Greek Atomists. Macrina. was converted through the ministry of Gregory the Wonderworker (a disciple of Origen). rather than allegorically as Origen had done.[4] studying the classics.[7] In 360 he was ordained as a reader. mathematics and medicine. though less by myself than from the works of others.[5] Basil never learned Latin . then introduced man. Cf. Constantinople and Athens. blending the Divine with the earthy. and his sister (Macrina) a nun. such as “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).[3] He received a Greek education at Caesarea. for the dividing of the waters by the firmament let us accept the reason that has been given to us. and two of his brothers (Gregory of Nyssa and Peter of Sebaste) also became bishops. for whom water is not water.[12] His interpretation of Genesis is illustrated by examples from contemporary ‘science’. the capital of Cappadocia. in 362 as a presbyter. what their fancy wishes. Basil’s deep love for nature of evident throughout this work. arguing that the Greek philosophers were wrong because they did not 42 .[2] His grandmother. who see in a plant.[13] which while often being remarkably accurate from our modern perspective also contained elements of folklore.”[11] He was also careful to distinguish between literal statements and poetic imagery. but the enjoyment of the things which were there.[1] one of nine children. water is meant. founded a small monastic community.[10] A good example of Basil’s literalism is he refutation of Origen’s identification of the waters mentioned in Genesis 1 with spiritual and incorporeal powers. like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own end. enjoying God by means of his more divine nature. and in 370 as bishop of Caesarea. assigning to him as his task not the acquiring of what was not there. He declares: “Let us reject these theories as dreams and old wives tales. and for this reason He gives him as foundations the instincts of a twofold organization. when He had decked the habitation with beauties of every kind. Gregory of Nazianxus. truly. that by means of both he may be naturally and properly disposed to each enjoyment.[8] Many of Basil’s writings have survived. geometry.[9] The most significant influence on his thinking was probably that of Aristotle.[6] Basil initially intended to take up a career as a lawyer when he returned from five years at the university in Athens in 355. He drew extensively from the works of the classical writers. and prepared this great and varied banquet. and the good things of earth by the sense that is akin to them. Medicine seems to have held a special fascination for him. also the following: Basil of Caesarea (from André Thevet) Click on thumbnail for information on how to purchase a larger version of this image (see copyright information) Synopsis Basil was born in Caesarea. who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories. which was originally delivered as a series of nine sermons during Lent.

I say.H. Hesiod..”[19] Rob Bradshaw. Basil the Great.9 (NPNF. 3.. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press.9 (NPNF. 1997). Plutarch. Theophrastus. Cross & E. Hexameron. have discovered all except one thing: the fact that God is the Creator of the universe. Hexameron. “Basil. 2nd series. [7] W. 139. 12. [12] Basil. astronomy and natural history. editor. [17] Basil. Frend. (New York: Garland. meteorology. Homer. Hippias.L. [2] Frederick W. Hexameron. 1. 2nd series. Vol. St. Webmaster References [1] Not to be confused with Caesarea the seaport in Palestine. [4] Cross & Livingstone.[18] Before the creation of this world there existed another world. because if it were uncreated it would mean that the universe is the result of the action of two beings. 70-71). Vol. botany. 3. [10] Basil. 71). Norris. [5] Robert Travers Smith. § 43 . 59). the invisible and intellectual world equivalent to Plato’s world of forms. 17. Vol. Encylopedia of Early Christianity. Plotinus. Hexameron. Livingstone. and the just judge who rewards all the actions of life according to their merit. 8. [9] Including Aristotle. 2nd series. Vol. Vol. 432: “. [16] Armstrong. (London: SPCK. [11] Basil.. Solon. 8. [8] Norris.2 (NPNF. 8.4 (NPNF. 54). Hexameron. 1.” Everett Ferguson. Thrasmachus. (Oxford: OUP. Vol. 8.[16] Matter is created.5 (NPNF. 8. 59). 199.” [14] Basil. 630-631. 1. The Rise of Christianity.2 (NPNF. [13] Sheldon-Williams..A. Pericles.know the Creator:[14] “. 9. 8. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church . 1990). Vol. 139. cf. 71). 2nd series. editors. 8. Protagorus. the one who made the matter and the one who shaped it. 3rd edn. Hexameron. Aelian. [6] Smith. 2.C. Basil. Pliny the Elder.5. 1.he drew chiefly on the current cosmology. 3. 54.2 (NPNF. 54). Hexameron. [19] Basil. Vol.”[15] The influence of Platonism is evident when Basil equates Yahweh with the Demiurge. 1879).9 (NPNF. 2. Hexameron. Afterwards this world was made as a “school and training place where the souls of men should be taught and a home for beings destined to be born and to die. [15] Basil. [18] Basil. 8.[17] God is both the Creator and the Demiurge (shaper) of the universe. Basil. [3] F. 2nd series. 8. Plato. 1984). 2nd series. 2nd series.” 140. 432. 53). Vol. Hexameron. “Basil of Caesarea. 139. Socrates and Diogenes Laertus. 2nd series. 102). 2nd series.these men.2 (NPNF.

art. three works are found. as Holy Scripture makes mention. Summa Theol. Thomas Aquinas. etc. The work of distinction in sum: (a) tohuwabohu: the earth was without form (= lacking substantial and accidental form. in the production of which. Cf. the work of distinction as given in the words. Overview of St. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”. The earth was in a chaotic state. 74.. 65. and the waters that are above the firmament from the waters that are under the firmament”. as given in the words. Thomas Aquinas on the Hexaemeron. bordering on nothingness. English Dominican Fathers): Whether the cleansing of the world will be effected by fire? 44 .” 6. as the potter first divides his clay. i.e. expressed thus. Summa Theol. and the work of adornment. ‘a barren landscape’): (b) darkness was on the face of the deep: everything was unapparent (1) the formless is given form (the work of separation. “He divided the light from the darkness. St. q. In sum: • • the consideration of corporeal creatures in the production of which three works are found: a) the work of creation b) the work of distinction (1) “He divided the light from the darkness. Cf.): the imparting of accidental form and (2) the empty or void is given adornment: the imparting of accidental form: adorning (the category of habitus) (3) the unapparent is given appearance Hence on the first day of creation all is unapparent or invisible. the work of creation. namely. and (2) the waters that are above the firmament from the waters that are under the firmament” c) the work of adornment 7.. St. “Let there be lights in the firmament. the latter being figure) and void or empty (= unadorned. Ia. 2 (tr.5. prologue: TREATISE ON THE WORK OF THE SIX DAYS (Questions 65-74) THE WORK OF CREATION OF CORPOREAL CREATURES (FOUR ARTICLES) From the consideration of spiritual creatures we proceed to that of corporeal creatures. IIIa q. Thomas Aquinas.

on account of the efficacy of its active virtue. 49:4): “He shall call heaven from above. Objection 2: Further. 49:3): “A fire shall burn before Him. and this is not unreasonable. it is most efficacious in cleansing and in separating by a process of rarefaction. because the sphere of fire is far removed from our abode. “the charity of many shall grow cold. for the work of distinction was carried out by that power: wherefore Anaxagoras asserted that the separation was effected by the act of the intellect which moves all things (cf.” Therefore this cleansing will be effected by fire. For the power of water tends to unite rather than to separate. and in respect of both it is more fitting for it to be effected by fire than by water. it is written (2 Pet. and the impurity resulting from mixture. As stated above (A[1]) this cleansing of the world will remove from it the stain contracted from sin. its natural properties are more like the properties of glory. Moreover. Now. Moreover. Aristotle. because since fire is the most noble of the elements. and will be a disposition to the perfection of glory. it needs to be cleansed like the other parts. and consequently it was fitting that the cleansing should be by means of its contrary. Therefore it would seem that the cleansing will not be by fire. But in so far as it has an admixture of some foreign matter it will be possible for it to be cleansed. so that it is not so liable to depreciation. Therefore it would seem that at the end of the world the cleansing will be done immediately by God and not by fire. viii. Now the separation of the parts of the world from one another at the world’s beginning was effected by God’s power alone. Reply to Objection 2: The first cleansing of the world by the deluge regarded only the stain of sin. 9). cannot be cleansed by fire without being 45 . according to Mat.” and consequently the cleansing will then be fittingly effected by fire. 24:12. this cleansing would seem to consist in purifying the parts of the world by separating them from one another. Secondly. just as fire has a cleansing virtue so has water. and thus it will be cleanser and cleansed under different aspects. It is written (Ps. because fire.” Therefore it would seem that the final cleansing of the world will be by means of fire. For since fire is a part of the world. because then. is not as susceptible as the other elements to the admixture of a foreign matter. and a mighty tempest shall be around Him”. however. Nor is there any thing that cannot in some way be cleansed by fire: some things. and this is especially clear in regard to light. and the earth to judge His people. and afterwards in reference to the judgment (Ps. and consequently in this threefold respect it will be most fitting for it to be effected by fire.Objection 1: It would seem that this cleansing will not be effected by fire. and some need to be cleansed by water---which distinction is moreover observed by the Old Law---it would seem that fire will not at any rate cleanse all things. the same thing should not be both cleanser and cleansed. Objection 3: Further. and air. Thirdly. water. but only in a foreign matter: and in this respect it will be possible for the world to be cleansed by fire as existing in its pure state. wherefore the natural impurity of the elements could not be removed by water as by fire. namely water. at the end of the world the prevalent sin will be that of tepidity. 3:12): “The heavens being on fire will be dissolved. Phys. Further. nor are we so familiar with the use of fire as with that of earth. Now the sin which was most prevalent then was the sin of concupiscence. First. On the contrary. But the second cleansing regards both the stain of sin and the impurity of mixture. I answer that. and the elements shall melt with the burning heat. Reply to Objection 1: Fire is not employed by us in its proper matter (since thus it is far removed from us). as though the world were already growing old. Since then all things are not capable of being cleansed by fire.

. art. and for this reason is a creature employed as a minister. Phys. viii. ad 1 (tr. wherefore created nature will be able to minister to its Creator to this effect. § 46 . and for this reason is a creature employed as a minister. this cleansing would seem to consist in purifying the parts of the world by separating them from one another. But by the final cleansing things will be restored to the purity wherein they were created. Reply to Objection 3: By the work of distinction things received different forms whereby they are distinct from one another: and consequently this could only be done by Him Who is the author of nature. Aristotle. Now the separation of the parts of the world from one another at the world’s beginning was effected by God’s power alone. Reply to Objection 3: By the work of distinction things received different forms whereby they are distinct from one another: and consequently this could only be done by Him Who is the author of nature.destroyed themselves. wherefore created nature will be able to minister to its Creator to this effect. Cf. and these the Law ordered to be cleansed with water. for the work of distinction was carried out by that power: wherefore Anaxagoras asserted that the separation was effected by the act of the intellect which moves all things (cf. 9). Therefore it would seem that at the end of the world the cleansing will be done immediately by God and not by fire. yet all these things will be finally destroyed by fire. St. But by the final cleansing things will be restored to the purity wherein they were created. 2. 2. 74. Summa Theol. that it is ennobled thereby. that it is ennobled thereby. IIIa q.obj. English Dominican Fathers): Objection 3: Further. Thomas Aquinas. such as cloths and wooden vessels.

On the contrary. the work of distinction. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”. as given in the words. are not from God. if things that differ agree in some point.” First. what is from God does not withdraw us from God. Hence 47 . Certain heretics maintain that visible things are not created by the good God.” I answer that.” But corporeal creatures are evil. but the things which are not seen are eternal. Objection 3: Further. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 65 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether corporeal creatures are from God? Objection 1: It would seem that corporeal creatures are not from God.” Corporeal creatures. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers. secondly. For. the work of creation. for it is said (2 Cor. but by an evil principle.” But this position is altogether untenable. Now a thing is called evil. and other things. Objection 2: Further. It is said (Ps. Hence the Apostle (2 Cor. there must be some cause for that agreement. “He divided the light from the darkness. since things diverse in nature cannot be united of themselves. 4:18): “While we look not at the things which are seen. For it is said (Eccles. and thirdly. in the sun’s heat. in so far as it is harmful. expressed thus. the sea. then. continue for ever.8. therefore.” Therefore God did not make visible bodies. But corporeal creatures withdraw us from God. and allege in proof of their error the words of the Apostle (2 Cor. but leads us to Him. 4:18): “The things which are seen are temporal. as Holy Scripture makes mention.” But visible bodies do not continue for ever. Treatise on the Work of the Six Days (St. since we find them harmful in many ways. the work of distinction as given in the words. therefore. 1:31): “God saw all things that He had made. we must consider the work of creation. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether corporeal creatures are from God? (2) Whether they were created on account of God’s goodness? (3) Whether they were created by God through the medium of the angels? (4) Whether the forms of bodies are from the angels or immediately from God. three works are found. namely. in the production of which. and the work of adornment. as may be seen in serpents. Thomas Aquinas): TREATISE ON THE WORK OF THE SIX DAYS (Questions 65-74) THE WORK OF CREATION OF CORPOREAL CREATURES (FOUR ARTICLES) From the consideration of spiritual creatures we proceed to that of corporeal creatures. the work of adornment. 145:6): “Who made heaven and earth. and all things that are in them. are not from God. 4:4). it is said (Gn. “Let there be lights in the firmament. 3:14): “I have learned that all the works which God hath made. and they were very good. and the waters that are above the firmament from the waters that are under the firmament”. Corporeal creatures.

Who is immovable. it is the fault of those who use them foolishly. as spiritual creatures. Reply to Objection 3: Creatures of themselves do not withdraw us from God. since what is created will never be annihilated. There must. not as having created it. it must be that these different things receive that one thing from some one cause. 48 . are temporal. or visible and corporeal. who estimate things. if bodies were essentially evil and harmful. 4:17): “It worketh for us . be one principle of being from which all things in whatever way existing have their being. either as to being or as to movement). 1:14) that God “created all things that they might be. or the affections. To those. Thus it is said (Wis. for instance.” Therefore all things were created for their own being’s sake. even though it be corruptible. 3:19). . but lead us to Him. while those that are invisible endure for ever. For corruptible creatures endure for ever as regards their matter. however otherwise different. being understood by the things that are made” (Rm. And the nearer a creature approaches God. as different bodies that are hot receive their heat from fire. but by the good they themselves can derive therefrom. at least as to matter. but partial and limited. but because worldlings serve him. but good in others. Hence he said before (2 Cor. “Whose god is their belly” (Phil. though this good is not universal. And this could not be. as consist in these visible things. “The things which are seen are temporal. not by the nature thereof.” Reply to Objection 2: Corporeal creatures according to their nature are good. though they change as regards their substantial form. whether they are invisible and spiritual. 14:11): “Creatures are turned into a snare to the feet of the unwise. 1:20). But the devil is called the god of this world. . Reply to Objection 1: All the creatures of God in some respects continue for ever.whenever in different things some one thing common to all is found. of whom also the Apostle says. speaking in the same sense.” And the very fact that they can thus withdraw us from God proves that they came from Him. an eternal weight of glory. the more it also is immovable. to another is beneficial. But being is found to be common to all things. and not on account of God’s goodness. therefore. however. the heavenly bodies. But the Apostle’s words. though they are mutable in other respects. though each quality is good in itself. the consequence of which is a certain opposition of contrary qualities. such as place. everything which is harmful to themselves seems simply evil. for they cannot lead the foolish away from God except by the allurements of some good that they have from Him. for “the invisible things of God are clearly seen. For it is said (Wis. and that even to themselves the same thing may be evil in some respects. For such rewards. If. are intended to apply to visible things in so far as they are offered to man as rewards. they withdraw men from God.” though true even as regards such things considered in themselves (in so far as every visible creature is subject to time. then. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 65 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether corporeal things were made on account of God’s goodness? Objection 1: It would seem that corporeal creatures were not made on account of God’s goodness. But incorruptible creatures endure with respect to their substance. For they do not reflect that what is in some way injurious to one person.

retaining their simplicity. But such a consequence is altogether inadmissible. In the first place. first. For it the sun’s body was made what it is. So. therefore. as the eye for the act of seeing. therefore. therefore the greater good in things is the end of the lesser good. and consider that the entire universe is constituted by all creatures. and became bound to different kinds of bodies according to the degree of their turning away. the matter of the whole. and not on account of God’s goodness. secondly. good has the nature of an end. as it were. and. On the contrary. For he maintained that God in the beginning made spiritual creatures only. Now if we wish to assign an end to any whole. 16:4): “The Lord hath made all things for Himself. 49 . Now. which now exists. But this position is erroneous. that it might serve for a punishment suitable to some sin of a spiritual creature. and all of equal nature. Furthermore. it would follow. and to the parts of that whole. which. because it would follow that the arrangement. we shall find. that all parts are for the perfection of the whole. the corporeal creature was made. that each and every part exists for the sake of its proper act. justice does not give unequal things except to the unequal. But according to Origen’s opinion. are created for the sake of spiritual creatures. the lungs for the heart. Secondly. subjoins.Objection 2: Further. after narrating the production of each kind of corporeal creatures. Therefore the former were made on account of movements of free-will. whilst each and every creature exists for the perfection of the entire universe. of the corporeal world would arise from mere chance.” I answer that. and. It is said (Prov. and so of other things. “God saw that it was good” (Gn. according to the measure of their conversion. in the parts of the universe also every creature exists for its own proper act and perfection. as the senses for the intellect. Origen laid down [*Peri Archon ii. because it is contrary to Scripture. were given an higher or a lower rank. thirdly. as if to say that everything was brought into being for the reason that it was good for it to be. the whole man is on account of an extrinsic end. while others turned from God. But spiritual creatures are related to corporeal creatures. as those creatures that are less noble than man exist for the sake of man. But an inequality not created by God can only arise from free-will. if other spiritual creatures had sinned in the same way as the one to punish whom the sun had been created. that many suns would exist in the world. but that the evil in another might be punished. and the less noble for the nobler. since the parts are. as a whole consists of its parts. Now God is just: therefore inequality not created by God must precede all inequality created by Him. that less honorable parts exist for the more honorable. Hence we must set aside this theory as false. Objection 3: Further. Corporeal creatures. but that of these by the use of free-will some turned to God. corporeal creatures are unequal to spiritual creatures. but in punishment of the sin of spiritual creatures.] that corporeal creatures were not made according to God’s original purpose. 1). as the greater good to the lesser. that end being the fruition of God. as the matter for the form. and consequently all inequality results from the different movements of free-will. not because it was good that it should be. and not on account of God’s goodness.

does not prevent their being made on account of God’s goodness. Objection 3: Further. et Corrup. It then all creatures. infinite power is not required to produce a finite effect. made for the sake of the spiritual. but with a view to securing that perfection of the entire building. it represents the Divine being and Its goodness.Furthermore. diversity of effects shows diversity of causes. were produced immediately by God. has set therein creatures of various and unequal natures. Therefore in the production of things it was ordained that the corporeal should be produced by the spiritual. Objection 2: Further. have in some special and higher manner God as their end. does not exclude that He created them for His own goodness. according to His wisdom.” But “it belongs to wisdom to ordain. places stones of the same kind in different parts of a building. Thus it is plain that the Divine goodness is the end of all corporeal things. 103:24 “Thou hast made all things in wisdom. since equal rewards or punishments are due to equal merit or demerit. the entire universe. For just as an architect. Reasonable creatures.” as stated in the beginning of the Metaphysics (i. for the Philosopher says that some things are corruptible because they are far removed from God (De Gen. These. as the lower by the higher. 1:1): “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”. But this is clearly false. Therefore. both spiritual and corporeal. For. inasmuch as it imitates. with all its parts. God from the beginning. there would be no diversity in creatures. and shows forth the Divine goodness. Reply to Objection 3: Equality of justice has its place in retribution. But every corporeal thing is finite. ii. since no diversity of merit is presupposed. in a manner. even so. Reply to Objection 2: The proximate end does not exclude the ultimate end. according to Ps. text. Reply to Objection 1: In the very fact of any creature possessing being. 4). however. produced by the finite power of spiritual creatures: for in suchlike beings there is no distinction between what is and what is possible: especially as no dignity befitting a nature is denied to that nature. without injustice. so by it were all things made. it could be. since like always produces like. not on account of any antecedent difference in the stones. Hence in the government of things the lower is ruled by the higher in a certain fitting order. unless it be in punishment of a fault. and without injustice. since they can attain to Him by their own operations. for one would not be further removed from God than another. that God created all things. by knowing and loving Him. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 65 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether corporeal creatures were produced by God through the medium of the angels? Objection 1: It would seem that corporeal creatures were produced by God through the medium of the angels. And. which could not be obtained except by the different positions of the stones. as it were. therefore. therefore. On the contrary. Therefore that corporeal creatures were. that they might have being. is ordained towards God as its end. as Augustine says (De Trin. to the glory of God. But this does not apply to things as at first instituted. 59). by which are understood corporeal creatures. 2). to secure perfection in the universe. and was. were produced immediately by God. iii. It is said (Gn. 50 . as all things are governed by the Divine wisdom.

save by God alone. Therefore. nothing being presupposed either uncreated or created. is the work of infinite power. the forms of bodies are from spiritual substances. But the production of finite things. in another by a lower. where nothing is presupposed as existing. and forms that are in matter are the forms of bodies. i): “From forms that are without matter come the forms that are in matter. thus. then. even as an artificer. in such a way that the first creature proceeded from Him immediately. belongs properly to the causality of the supreme cause. as has been shown above ( Question [15]. But this position is untenable.” Reply to Objection 1: In the production of things an order exists. being is more universal than living. Moses said: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. the more numerous the objects to which its causation extends. by apprehending diverse forms. so that by His wisdom He is the cause of diverse things as known by Him. though one. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 65 [<< | >>] Article: 4 [<< | >>] Whether the forms of bodies are from the angels? Objection 1: It would seem that the forms of bodies come from the angels. as such. since the first production of corporeal creatures is by creation.I answer that. the more directly does that thing proceed from a higher cause. But creation is the production of a thing in its entire substance. for one and the same thing is made in one way by a higher power. but rather such that by the Divine wisdom diverse grades are constituted in creatures. and in its turn produced another. Hence it remains that nothing can create except God alone. For Boethius says (De Trin. Therefore no secondary cause can produce anything. and so on until the production of corporeal creatures. can belong to no creature. Therefore. Objection 2: Further. produces diverse works of art. Some have maintained that creatures proceeded from God by degrees. Reply to Objection 2: God Himself. unless there is presupposed in the thing produced something that is caused by a higher cause. for that is impossible. Therefore the forms of corporeal things are derived from spiritual substances. But spiritual substances are forms essentially. matter than form. The more widely. Article [2]). but not such that one creature is created by another. all that is such by participation is reduced to that which is such by its essence. In proof whereof it must be borne in mind that the higher the cause. living than understanding. and. whereas corporeal creatures have forms by participation. has knowledge of many and different things without detriment to the simplicity of His nature. Thus the thing that underlies primarily all things. one thing underlies others. Now the underlying principle in things is always more universal than that which informs and restricts it. 51 . Who is the first cause. Reply to Objection 3: The amount of the power of an agent is measured not only by the thing made. in order to show that all bodies were created immediately by God. by which matter itself is produced: for in the act of coming into being the imperfect must be made before the perfect: and it is impossible that anything should be created. but also by the manner of making it.” But forms that are without matter are spiritual substances.

On the contrary. text. But in the first production of corporeal creatures no transmutation from potentiality to act can have taken place.” 52 . further still. therefore. that there is a single separate substance.27. Avicenna. I answer that. but by matter being brought from potentiality into act by some composite agent. whose bidding alone matter obeys. iii. as Augustine says (De Trin. according to the Platonists. in Joan.” or “that. however. 8): “We must not suppose that this corporeal matter serves the angels at their nod.28). It was the opinion of some that all corporeal forms are derived from spiritual substances. as this fire is generated by that fire. as Aristotle (Metaph. therefore. is the “composite. the corporeal forms that bodies had when first produced came immediately from God. “participation” (Phaedo xlix). but from God. and so forth. have maintained that the forms of corporeal things do not subsist “per se” in matter. sought for a cause of forms as though the form were of itself brought into being. And. but as the term of their movement. what is. Thus he held that there exists an immaterial man. But the heavenly bodies give form to things here below. but that the devil formed corporeal matter. in fact. as its own proper cause. they all.5). then. properly speaking. ad lit. Corporeal forms. and accordingly. Corporeal forms. in so far as in corporeal matter there abides the impression received from these separate forms. and that above this again is that which they call being itself. is moved by a created spiritual substance. not emanating from them. Since. To signify this. Augustine says (De Trin. and differentiated it into species. as it were. i. Moses prefaces each work with the words. by a kind of participation. and formed by. which is horse and the cause of all horses. Thus they say that from forms existing in the intellect of spiritual creatures (called “intelligences” by them. but composites have being through forms: for. then. from Whom. and an immaterial horse. are not from the angels. by a kind of assimilation. or “per se” life. as the form of his handiwork proceeds from the forms in the mind of the craftsman. according to a thing’s mode of being. according to Augustine [*Tract. whilst above this is separate life. the order of forms corresponds to the order of those separate substances. we must not look for the cause of corporeal forms in any immaterial form.” But corporeal matter may be said thus to serve that from which it receives its form. such are the forms of corruptible things that at one time they exist and at another exist not. the seminal types of corporeal forms. which are. and Gen. is “all form and fitness and concord of parts. like is produced from like. which is a body. since even forms have not being. And there are two ways in which this has been stated. which we call the angels. for example. but in something that is composite. For Plato held that the forms of corporeal matter are derived from. and that from such the individual sensible things that we see are constituted.” to denote the formation of all things by the Word of God. and certain others. as they term it. 26. the species of the angelic intellect. for which reason they are said to cause generation and corruption. iii. without being themselves generated or corrupted. Let this thing be. is the mode in which it is brought into being. not as emanations from some immaterial form. but rather that it obeys God thus. are caused. who say that God indeed created all things. i. which is the cause of all being.Objection 3: Further. 4]. made.” Now. This theory seems to be the same as that of certain heretics of modern times. but “angels” by us) proceed all the forms of corporeal matter. which is the cause of all life. are material forms derived from spiritual substances. Much more. “God said. spiritual substances have more power of causation than the heavenly bodies. but in the intellect only. 4. And. proves. or as he calls it. must be referred to God as the first cause. it follows further that even corporeal forms are derived from spiritual substances. vii. forms immaterially subsisting. Whereas. But all these opinions seem to have a common origin. But since the composite agent. but by reason of the generation or corruption of the “composite”.

not by emanation. Reply to Objection 2: Forms received into matter are to be referred. § 53 . not to self-subsisting forms of the same type. as the Platonists held. but either to intelligible forms of the angelic intellect.Reply to Objection 1: By immaterial forms Boethius understands the types of things in the mind of God. to the types in the Divine intellect. 11:3): “By faith we understand that the world was framed by the Word of God. but by motion. we say that from them come material forms. Thus the Apostle says (Heb. by which the seeds of forms are implanted in created things. or.” But if by immaterial forms he understands the angels. that from invisible things visible things might be made. that they may be able to be brought by movement into act. not by emanation. still higher. Reply to Objection 3: The heavenly bodies inform earthly ones by movement. from which they proceed by movement.

secundum aliam litteram. Ambrose (In Hexaem. whereas others. 54 .). in reality they differ but little. nature in its working imitates the working of God.7 by which is understood the formlessness of matter. 15). Objection 2: Further.” or “invisible and shapeless. Augustine for instance (Gen. therefore. existed in the corporeal creation. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether formlessness of created matter preceded in time its formation? (2) Whether the matter of all corporeal things is the same? (3) Whether the empyrean heaven was created contemporaneously with formless matter? (4) Whether time was created simultaneously with it? Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 66 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether formlessness of created matter preceded in time its formation? Objection 1: It would seem that formlessness of matter preceded in time its formation.” according to another version [*Septuagint]. per quod designatur informitas materiae. secondly. as in the Sacrament of the Altar. cause matter to exist without form. 1:2): “The earth was void and empty. He could. But confusion is opposed to distinction. for Augustine takes the formlessness of matter in a different sense from the others. therefore. terra erat inanis et vacua. And although these opinions seem mutually contradictory. therefore. the formation of corporeal creatures was effected by the work of distinction. as formlessness to form. For it is said (Gn. I answer that. 32:4): “The works of God are perfect. It does so. i). ii In Gen. In his sense it means the absence of all form . i. ad lit. ut Augustinus dicit. believes that the formlessness of matter was not prior in time to its formation.” Therefore the work of His creation was at no time formless. as Augustine says (Confess. the ordering of creation towards distinction. On the contrary. But God is an agent absolutely perfect. wherefore it is said of Him (Dt. and Chrysostom (Hom. the distinction itself. Objection 3: Further. formlessness preceded in time the formation of matter. But in the working of nature formlessness precedes form in time. first. 7 Dicitur enim Gen. xii. as a secondary cause imitates a first cause. But God can effect that accident exist without substance. for matter is part of substance. An imperfect effect proves imperfection in the agent. matter is higher than accident. 12). sive invisibilis et incomposita. called by the ancients chaos. in the Divine working. and if we thus understand it we cannot say that the formlessness of matter was prior in time either to its formation or to its distinction. it follows that at the beginning confusion. Therefore matter was formless until it received its form. If.ON THE ORDER OF CREATION TOWARDS DISTINCTION (FOUR ARTICLES) We must next consider the work of distinction. 1. hold that formlessness of matter preceded in time its formation. On this point holy men differ in opinion. ii In Hexaem. but only in origin or the order of nature.). Further. as Basil ( Hom.

or some intermediate substance. as will be shown later (Question [69]. And so. but without form. for which reason it is called “empty.” or “invisible. Thus the consequent forms would be merely accidents.” or. and in others disagrees. Accordingly they say that the formlessness of corporeal matter preceded its form in duration. that which it derives from being adorned by herbs and plants. yet without act. (B. Article [2]). Question [74]. not the exclusion of all form.As to formation. according to another reading [*Septuagint]. and the part to the whole. which is a contradiction in terms. it would result that the supervening form would not simply make an actual being. as fire. nor under any one common form. since the end of creation is being in act: and act itself is a form. in the same way as potentiality is prior to act. Thus after mention of two created natures. and so we read that “the earth was void. Hence. unadorned. by the words. but under distinct forms. which in itself is formless. but alteration. on which afterwards supervened the different forms that distinguish it. for which reason they are said to be without form. air. and the formlessness of the earth. as Augustine says. if the formlessness of matter be taken as referring to the condition of primary matter. it followed that to be made means merely to be changed. Nor can it be said that it possessed some common form. For this would be to hold the opinion of the ancient natural philosophers.” 55 . the production of the firmament. is to say that being existed actually. for this is implied by duration. secondly. it appears that Augustine agrees with them in some respects. but the absence of that beauty and comeliness which are now apparent in the corporeal creation. which was taken away by second work of distinction. but only in origin and nature. “shapeless”—that is. that matter preceded. To say. who maintained that primary matter was some corporeal thing in act. and made some particular thing to be.” since the air is included under heaven. for since that preceding form bestowed actual substantial being. the formlessness of the heaven is indicated by the words. “darkness was upon the face of the deep. it already existed. water.” [Missing: the second way in which the heavens lacked beauty.A. “the earth was void and empty. And so.)] And the earth lacked beauty in two ways: first.M. For if formless matter preceded in duration. the heaven and the earth. Article [1].” inasmuch as the waters covered and concealed it from view. For the beauty of light was wanting to all that transparent body which we call the heavens. that beauty which it acquired when its watery veil was withdrawn. which is the proper effect of an accidental form. then. whence it is said that “darkness was upon the fact of the deep. As far as may be gathered from the text of Genesis a threefold beauty was wanting to corporeal creatures. but ‘this’ actual being. when this is considered. this formlessness did not precede in time its formation or distinction. Hence we must assert that primary matter was not created altogether formless. But the other holy writers understand by formlessness. implying not generation. the argument is clear.

Article [1]). The third distinction is that of place.” in this passage primary matter itself is signified on account of its being impossible for Moses to make the idea of such matter intelligible to an ignorant people. iv. 11). calling it not water only. inasmuch as it is a form. considered in itself. fire does not shine in its own sphere. lest they should think it to be in very truth water or earth. since. That air and fire are not mentioned by name is due to the fact that the corporeal nature of these would not be so evident as that of earth and water. Hence it is more repugnant that matter should be in act without form. we say that if. Reply to Objection 3: Accident. nor earth only. ii). as will be shown later (Article [3]. the subject of darkness. “Spirit of God. quoted by Aristotle. therefore. Plato (Timaeus xxvi). Dei viii. than for accident to be without subject. the first being that of the heaven from the earth. in bodily shape. because by the words “Spirit of God” Scripture usually means the Holy Ghost. and formlessness precede form. but from His wisdom. for he held heaven to be composed of fire. thus Plato says that matter is “place” [* Timaeus.” The second distinction mentioned is that of the elements according to their forms. But previous to the work of distinction Holy Scripture enumerates several kinds of differentiation. since the earth is said to be under the waters that rendered it invisible. the earth is said to be “void and empty. Question [68]. is a kind of act. is described as being above the 56 . nevertheless. in that it is susceptible of form. Who is said to “move over the waters. we say that certain of the ancient natural philosophers maintained confusion devoid of all distinction. 15]. Hence he uses a variety of figures in speaking of it.” since spirit is another name for air. it is called “invisible” or “void. not from want of power on God’s part. but as the craftsman’s will may be said to move over the material to which he intends to give a form. in this sense. Reply to Objection 2: Nature produces an effect in act from being in potentiality. to the ignorant people to whom Moses spoke. said he. this arose. is essentially being in potentiality. In reply to the second argument. and by other writers. and we have said (Article [1]) how. says that fire is signified by the word darkness. though otherwise agreeing with Plato. except Anaxagoras. the earth was. This is signified by the words. and considered that by the word heaven is meant fire.” or “invisible and shapeless. as such. since both earth and water are named. produce a perfect thing in an instant. in which even a material distinction is expressed. Phys. according to them. who taught that the intellect alone was distinct and without admixture. and to water in its adaptability to a variety of forms. it seems more reasonable to hold to what we stated above. Hence. as Augustine relates (De Civ. Augustine holds that by the words “earth” and “water. text. without form. except under the similitude of wellknown objects. whilst the air. according to the greatness of His power. and from the design of preserving due order in the disposition of creatures by developing perfection from imperfection. whereas matter. and can. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. But Rabbi Moses ( Perplex. But God produces being in act out of nothing. and consequently in the operations of nature potentiality must precede act in time. according to some holy writers.” not. formlessness was prior in time to the informing of matter.Reply to Objection 1: The word earth is taken differently in this passage by Augustine. In reply to the first argument in the contrary sense. understood air to be signified by the words.” and its potentiality is completed by form. In this respect. However. But other holy writers understand by earth the element of earth. indeed. then. At the same time it has so far a likeness to earth.” that matter is known by means of form.

had to be disposed and ordered in the appropriate ways the work of adornment. ‘Inasmuch as there are three kinds of work. as to an existing subject understood to exist with a certain indisposition and lack of ordination. namely. would be: • the work of creation. as elsewhere explained.” The remaining distinctions will appear from what follows (Question [71]). matter had to be created at the same time as the form.waters. in the words: “Darkness was upon the face of the deep. (emphasis added) I say: This article asks the wrong question and so does not arrive at a satisfactory answer. had to be taken away by the earth and heaven being ‘filled’ § • • 57 . involving the being void or empty of the heaven and the earth. the right question to ask would have been. of distinction. being the bringing into being out of nothing composites of matter and form. then. what sort of formlessness (if any) belonged to them?’ The right answer. which is evident from the fact that the instances of formlessness considered belong to all three of the species of works. and of adornment. but the inquiry is not organized according to this order. of creation. involving the imparting of form to what was only relatively formless. since first matter could not have existed without form the work of distinction. But that being the case.

But supposing that no form exists in corruptible bodies which remains 58 . For since. Objection 2: Further. he says. as is said (De Gener. it follows that. for this form of corporeity would inhere in matter immutably and so far all bodies would be incorruptible. Therefore all bodies have the same matter. it follows that they have a different nature from them. Hence because the four elements have one common matter. v. arguing from their unity of form. But heavenly and earthly bodies do not act upon each other mutually.” and he says that the latter was the earth invisible and shapeless.” But this theory Aristotle (De Caelo i. on which the other forms that distinguish bodies from each other supervene. indeed.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 66 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether the formless matter of all corporeal things is the same? Objection 1: It would seem that the formless matter of all corporeal things is the same. such as air or fire. one formed. Avicebron taught unity of matter in all bodies. Things of which the matter is the same are mutually interchangeable and mutually active or passive. since a being in act would subsist under the transient form. corporeity. but by My will you are indissoluble. the heavenly bodies have a natural movement. On this question the opinions of philosophers have differed. Therefore the matter of all bodies is the same. But corruption would then be merely accidental through the disappearance of successive forms–-that is to say. text. I answer that. And. different from that of the elements. 5) disproves by the natural movements of bodies. which is proper to the heavenly bodies. xii. whereby. And as generation and corruption are from contraries. the matter of all corporeal things is designated. 12): “I find two things Thou hast made. different acts befit different potentialities. the other formless. Objection 4: Further. i. if corporeity were one form in itself. On the contrary. For Augustine says (Confess. God. not pure and simple. but partial. another downwards: so. for My will is more powerful than the link that binds you together. whereas the elemental bodies have contrariety in their nature. Therefore the matter of all corporeal things is the same. the Philosopher says (Metaph. is not by contraries. he says. text. the heavenly bodies are incorruptible. whereas the movements of the elements are mutually opposite. it followed that the matter of all bodies is the same. For movement in a circle. it would be corruption. But the fact of the incorruptibility of some bodies was ascribed by Plato. is only in potentiality. considered in itself. not to the condition of matter. Whom he represents as saying to the heavenly bodies: “By your own nature you are subject to dissolution. But all bodies have the same form. as their mutual generation and corruption prove. text. the heavenly body is without contrariety. Plato and all who preceded Aristotle held that all bodies are of the nature of the four elements. Thus the ancient natural philosophers taught that the substratum of bodies was some actual being. therefore. Therefore matter considered in itself is the same in all corporeal things. and the same act befits the same potentiality. 10): “Things that are one in genus are one in matter. this argument would necessarily be true. Objection 3: Further. But distinction is due to form. 50). but to the will of the artificer. whereas the elements are corruptible. Therefore their matter is not the same. But in spite of this difference of natural corruption and incorruption. one tending upwards.” But all corporeal things are in the same genus of body. matter.

potential beings are differentiated by their different acts. But this condition implies corruptibility. It is therefore impossible that bodies by nature corruptible. as is said in Metaph. as sight is by color. as all bodies are one in the order of corporeal creatures. but only to place. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 66 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] 59 . who does not admit a fifth essence. something composed of a form and the subject of that form–it follows that in its totality it is form and act. should possess the same matter. for want of a form in that which is in potentiality thereto is privation. 20] says. the matter of the heavenly bodies and of the elements is not the same. text. because the matter of the celestial is not in potentiality to an elemental form. Hence this form perfects this matter in such a way that there remains in it no potentiality with respect to being. if the heavenly body is not something having form–that is. and contain these others virtually in themselves. which the heavenly bodies are not. is in potentiality to form. and those by nature incorruptible. it is in potentiality in respect to all those forms to which it is common. For matter. the separate substance stated to be endowed with motive power. as stated above. hearing by sound. however. though not to being. except by analogy. x. Reply to Objection 2: If genus is taken in a physical sense.” Matter. since they are all included in the one notion of corporeity. that a heavenly body itself is the matter of the heaven–-beings in potentiality with regard to place. Therefore for this reason the matter of the celestial bodies is different from that of the elemental. would be in potentiality to the form of a corruptible body. And this is the case even where some forms are more perfect than others. and that its form is a separate substance united to it as its motive force. and “vice versa. Nor does it concern the point at issue to inquire whether this is a soul or any other thing. in so far as they agree in the character of potentiality. considered in itself. is in potentiality to that form alone which it actually possesses. unless in its totality it be act and form. But every such thing is something actually understood. Hence it remains in potentiality to all other forms. It follows. being sensible. then. on account of their different modes of potentiality. Considered in itself. For potentiality in itself is indifferent with respect to perfection and imperfection. that the matter of the heavenly bodies. Reply to Objection 1: Augustine follows in this the opinion of Plato. therefore. For it is impossible to suppose any being in act. it follows necessarily that the matter of corruptible and incorruptible bodies is not the same. being no other than the various forms by which bodies are distinguished. or be something which has act or form. 26. Setting aside. corruptible and incorruptible things are not in the same genus. and in receiving any one form it is in act only as regards that form. So. as it is in itself. then. so that under an imperfect form it is in potentiality to a perfect form. text. in thought. Reply to Objection 4: As potentiality is directed towards act. it has both form and the privation of form. then. Neither can we say. Or we may say that formless matter is one with the unity of order.] imagines. Logically considered. as Averroes [*De Substantia Orbis ii. there is but one genus of all bodies. whilst existing under the form of an incorruptible body. Reply to Objection 3: The form of corporeity is not one and the same in all bodies.subsisting beneath generation and corruption. as Aristotle [*De Coelo i. and as it does not actually possess the latter. then.

it is a proof of Divine wisdom. For the question of the firmament. and Basil [*Hom. i. especially as it is presumed to be without movement. when they call the God of the Old Testament the God of darkness. which they take to mean the sidereal heaven. But the question of the darkness is explained according to Augustine [*Gen. 20): “In so far as we mentally apprehend eternal things. Augustine says (De Trin. if it is anything at all. I answer that. On the contrary. The empyrean heaven. But a better reason can be drawn from the state of glory itself. vii. iii. Augustine says ( De Trin. The empyrean heaven rests only on the authority of Strabus and Bede. Now the spiritual glory began with the beginning of the world. is said to have been made. For the empyrean. then. the empyrean heaven is the highest of bodies. there exists a still higher heaven. because the firmament. Strabus and Bede teach that there is an empyrean heaven. Therefore the empyrean heaven was not created together with formless matter. then. signified by darkness. and not ordained to natural effects. There exists also a heaven wholly transparent. Objection 3: Further. for one body cannot move another unless itself also be moved. and there would be no night. from which it is clear that contemplation lifts the mind above the things of this world. for then the air would be constantly illuminated. Objection 2: Further. and the empyrean heaven is not movable. For in the reward to come a twofold glory is looked for. called by some the aqueous or crystalline heaven. If. not only in the human body to be glorified. must be a sensible body . said to have been made on the second day. ii. all of whom agree in one respect.]. Strabus says that in the passage. which we call the sidereal heaven. if it is held that the empyrean heaven is the place of contemplation. spiritual and corporeal. These reasons.’ heaven denotes not the visible firmament. but a privation of light. as the Manicheans falsely assert. namely. is solved in one way by Augustine. so far are we not of this world”. cannot be the seat of contemplation. it must necessarily exercise some influence on bodies below it. in Hexaem. partly transparent and partly luminous. and in another by other holy writers. it must be wholly luminous. and also of Basil. therefore. among the heavenly bodies exists a body.] says: “Just as the lost are driven into the lowest darkness. not in the beginning. But all sensible bodies are movable. in holding it to be the place of the blessed. however. but the empyrean or fiery heaven. but by origin. was not created contemporaneously with formless matter.” But they differ in the reasons on which they base their statement. For if it were so. 4) that “the lower bodies are governed by the higher in a certain order. Objection 4: Further. preceded form not by duration. its movement would be ascertained by the movement of some visible body. Strabus and Bede say that as soon as created it was filled with angels. since darkness is no creature.Whether the empyrean heaven was created at the same time as formless matter? Objection 1: It would seem that the empyrean heaven was not created at the same time as formless matter. however. in 60 . where the just shall obtain the abode of rest. on the contrary. Corporeal place. According to others. But this cannot be. but on the second day: whereas the reason given by Basil is that otherwise God would seem to have made darkness His first work. and afterwards brought them to perfection. by supposing that formlessness. that the things it created from nothing it produced first of all in an imperfect state. ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” If. therefore. But this does not seem to be the case. which is not the case. ad lit. Therefore the empyrean heaven was not created together with formless matter. iv. are not very cogent. but in the whole world which is to be made new. so the reward for worthy deeds is laid up in the light beyond this world.

then. though itself motionless. but of a more subtle nature. text. not as necessary. though they themselves are not sent. but as congruous. to be fiery. On this account it darkens the region external to it. and is moved. Question [112]. produces therein not something that comes and goes as a result of movement. Article [3]]. Hier.e. is expected to be. that are directed only to natural ends. Reply to Objection 2: It is sufficiently probable.” Reply to Objection 4: As Basil says (Hom. just as angels of the highest rank. i. as the power of conservation or causation. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 66 [<< | >>] Article: 4 [<< | >>] Whether time was created simultaneously with formless matter? Objection 1: It would seem that time was not created simultaneously with formless matter. not condensed so as to emit rays. and wholly luminous. the latter the ether. the movement of bodies will cease. ii in Hexaem.27) says that Porphyry sets the demons apart from the angels by supposing that the former inhabit the air. as some assert. fiery. there should be made some beginning of bodily glory in something corporeal. 12): “I find two things that Thou didst create before time 61 . is transparent. known as sidereal. but something of a fixed and stable nature. But Porphyry. as Dionysius teaches (Coel. influence those of lower degree who act as messengers. but from its brightness. as a Platonist. xii). not from its heat. Hence Basil (Hom. that the empyrean heaven. i. held the heaven. or something of the kind pertaining to dignity. having the state of glory for its ordained end. who assist [*Infra. and not as Aristotle understands it. equality with whom is promised to the saints.): “It is certain that the heaven was created spherical in shape. Reply to Objection 3: Corporeal place is assigned to contemplation. But when glory is finally consummated. does not influence inferior bodies of another order—those. that Augustine (De Civ. It is to be noticed. however. that heaven is called the empyrean. Or it may have the brightness of glory which differs from mere natural brightness. 9.” But since the body of the firmament. 22). namely. and therefore called it empyrean or ethereal. even as the whole bodily creation. as the sun does. It was fitting. after the Resurrection. So. Reply to Objection 1: Sensible corporeal things are movable in the present state of the world. that the splendor without may correspond to that which is within. taking ethereal to denote the burning of flame. of dense body. swiftness of movement (De Coel. we may also say that the empyrean has light. for by the movement of corporeal creatures is secured by the multiplication of the elements. that even from the beginning.) says: “The ministering spirit could not live in darkness. And such must have been from the beginning the condition of the empyrean. For this reason it may be said that the influence of the empyrean upon that which is called the first heaven. the light by which itself is lit up being shut out from that region. For Augustine says (Confess. though solid. and sufficiently strong to separate what is outside it from what it encloses. free at the very outset from the servitude of corruption and change. Dei x. ii in Hexaem. but made his habitual dwelling in light and joy. or empyrean. This much has been said to prevent anyone from supposing that Augustine maintained an empyrean heaven in the sense understood by modern writers. Yet it seems still more probable that it does influence bodies that are moved.the blessedness of the angels. then. xii. for that it does not exclude light (as is clear from the fact that we can see the stars through the intervening heavens).

3): “Both spiritual and corporeal creatures were created at the beginning of time. But the enumeration above given is that of other holy writers.” Therefore in the beginning time was not. And. so do they precede movement and time. the angelic nature and formless matter. among these time must be included.” Reply to Objection 4: Among the first created things are to be reckoned those which have a general relationship to things. time is the measure of the firmament’s movement. so is place. for everything is measured by the first of its kind. Reply to Objection 3: If the movement of the firmament did not begin immediately from the beginning. and not by duration. then. Objection 3: Further. precede the formation. For he (Confess. who hold that the formlessness of matter preceded by duration its form. must be reckoned among the things first created.” I answer that. But if the first movement was another than this. rather than time. Reply to Objection 2: As in the opinion of some holy writers matter was in some measure formless before it received its full form. but of the first movement of whatsoever kind. and therefore should be reckoned among the first things created. namely. For it is accidental to time to be the measure of the firmament’s movement. since time is nothing else than “the measure of priority and succession in movement. Time. Objection 5: Further. “Therefore time was not created with formless matter. time is divided by day and night. therefore. that this is not the opinion of Augustine. not of the firmament’s movement. formless corporeal matter. however. there was movement of some kind. cannot be included among them. which is related only to the movable subject. Therefore in the beginning time was not. and the angelic nature. Objection 4: Further. 62 .was. It must be observed. But these two. i. 12) specifies only two things as first created—the angelic nature and corporeal matter—making no mention of the empyrean heaven. as having the nature of a common measure. as they precede formation. at least in the succession of concepts and affections in the angelic mind: while movement without time cannot be conceived. Reply to Objection 1: The teaching of Augustine rests on the opinion that the angelic nature and formless matter precede time by origin or nature. time would have been its measure. Augustine says (Gen. the empyrean heaven. as truly as time. so time was in a manner formless before it was fully formed and distinguished into day and night. xii. But in the beginning there was neither day nor night. by nature only. ad lit. then the time that preceded was the measure. as time is the extrinsic measure of created things. and the firmament is said to have been made on the second day. but not movement. the primary corporeal matter. in so far as this is the first movement. therefore. And it must be granted that forthwith from the beginning. and this view postulates the existence of time as the measure of duration: for otherwise there would be no such measure. for these began when “God divided the light from the darkness. and therefore. Place. It is commonly said that the first things created were these four–-the angelic nature. Objection 2: Further. On the contrary. movement precedes time. and time.

it was created at once in its totality. But time. was created in its beginning: even as actually we cannot lay hold of any part of time save the “now. as not being permanent. And since place has reference to things permanent. this being the boundary of the universe.Reply to Objection 5: Place is implied as existing in the empyrean heaven.” § 63 .

and the latter metaphorically. 28) that “in spiritual things light is better and surer: and that Christ is not called Light in the same sense as He is called the Stone. as sight is the noblest and most trustworthy of the senses. For Augustine says (Gen. Therefore light is used in its proper sense in spiritual matters. But if taken in its common and extended use.” But to be made manifest belongs more properly to spiritual things than to corporeal. it may properly be applied to spiritual things. Therefore also does light. the word is taken in its strict and primary meaning. But such names are used in their proper sense in spiritual things. In its primary meaning it signifies that which makes manifest to the sense of sight. secondly. Nom. as Ambrose says (De Fide ii). the Apostle says (Eph. Ambrose says (De Fide ii) that “Splendor” is among those things which are said of God metaphorically. 5:13): “All that is made manifest is light.” Objection 2: Further. “Seeing how it tastes.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 67 [<< | >>] ON THE WORK OF DISTINCTION IN ITSELF (FOUR ARTICLES) We must consider next the work of distinction in itself. “Further. thirdly the work of the third day. On the contrary.” or “smells. First. and then. Thus we say. the work of the first day. it is to be understood metaphorically when applied to spiritual things. the work of the second day. Dionysius (Div. either in its original application or in its more extended meaning. sight is applied to knowledge obtained through the intellect.” originally applied to the act of the sense. in corporeal things. This is clearly shown in the word “sight. 64 . the former is to be taken literally. afterwards it was extended to that which makes manifest to cognition of any kind. And thus it is with the word light. If. is itself corporeal? (3) Whether light is a quality? (4) Whether light was fittingly made on the first day? Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 67 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether the word “light” is used in its proper sense in speaking of spiritual things? Objection 1: It would seem that “light” is used in its proper sense in spiritual things. Any word may be used in two ways—that is to say. I answer that. as applied to manifestation of every kind. then. iv) includes Light among the intellectual names of God. 5:8).” or “burns”. for they shall see God” (Mt. Objection 3: Further. ad lit. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether the word light is used in its proper sense in speaking of spiritual things? (2) Whether light. as in those words: “Blessed are the clean of heart. iv. extended in common speech to all knowledge obtained through the other senses.

The second reason is from movement. 65 . belong properly to bodies. Nom. working equally in a circle as in a straight line. and its matter would receive a new form. v. the powers of movement. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 67 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether light is a body? Objection 1: It would seem that light is a body. Yet as soon as the sun is at the horizon. which seems impossible unless they are bodies. Now no local movement of a body can be instantaneous. Light cannot be a body. and therefore so is light. and all these are attributes of light and its rays. 5) that “light takes the first place among bodies. I answer that. Neither does it appear from what matter a body can be daily generated large enough to fill the intervening hemisphere. Nor can it be argued that the time required is too short to be perceived. for three evident reasons. since it burns no more brightly then than it burned before. For if light were a body. Therefore light is a body. the Philosopher says (Topic. Moreover. for though this may be the case in short distances. And should anyone reply that it is not corrupted. as everything that moves from one place to another must pass through the intervening space before reaching the end: whereas the diffusion of light is instantaneous. we may ask why it is that when a lighted candle is obscured by the intervening object the whole room is darkened? It is not that the light is condensed round the candle when this is done. Two bodies cannot occupy the same place simultaneously. But unless we are to say that darkness is a body. nor is it possible. that of light is indifferent as regards direction. iii. the body of light would be corrupted. it cannot be so in distances so great as that which separates the East from the West. different rays of light. Arb. to exist simultaneously in the same place. For if light were a body. but approaches and moves around with the sun. It must also be borne in mind on the part of movement that whereas all bodies have their natural determinate movement. reflection. it would follow that whenever the air is darkened by the absence of the luminary. for any two bodies of whatever nature. Therefore light is not a body. Hence it appears that the diffusion of light is not the local movement of a body. Also it would be absurd to say that a body of so great a bulk is corrupted by the mere absence of the luminary. on the part of place. The third reason is from generation and corruption.The answer to the objections will sufficiently appear from what has been said. ii) are united and separated. First. But this is the case with light and air. since contiguity requires distinction of place.” But fire is a body. 2) that “light is a species of fire. this does not appear to be the case. Objection 2: Further.” Therefore light is a body. Objection 3: Further. For Augustine says (De Lib. For the place of any one body is different from that of any other. as Dionysius says (Div. On the contrary. its diffusion would be the local movement of a body. intersection. naturally speaking. the whole hemisphere is illuminated from end to end.

In the second place. but to common sense. For every quality remains in its subject. and also gives to colors their immaterial being. we must conclude that light cannot be a body. Light therefore is not a sensible quality. though the active cause of the quality be removed. blackness to whiteness. Objection 2: Further. and might in the same way be attributed to heat. for by the rays of the sun bodies are warmed. First. Therefore light is not a quality.Since. is not a sensible quality. because it is impossible that what is the substantial form 66 . by making them actually visible.” or in earthly matter is “burning coal. a cause is more potent than its effect. and natural changes cannot be brought about by mere intentions. therefore. as heat remains in water removed from the fire. Light. Reply to Objection 3: All these properties are assigned to light metaphorically. for the object of the intellect is what a thing is. But this is not the case with light since darkness is merely a privation of light. 13. to that of all contraries. because substantial forms are not of themselves objects of the senses. every sensible quality has its opposite. 55. the noblest of the four elements. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 67 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether light is a quality? Objection 1: It would seem that light is not a quality. because light produces natural effects. but this also seems impossible for two reasons. viii. But this cannot be the case for two reasons. Some writers have said that the light in the air has not a natural being such as the color on a wall has. On the contrary. 26: whereas light is visible of itself. For because movement from place to place is naturally first in the order of movement as is proved Phys. as he merely mentions them as the more or less probable opinions of various writers. we use terms belonging to local movement in speaking of alteration and movement of all kinds. then. First. as is said Metaph. Objection 3: Further. because light gives a name to the air. as cold is opposed to heat. But color does not do this. to be fire. Secondly. But the light of the heavenly bodies is a cause of substantial forms of earthly bodies. but only an intentional being. these things are repugnant. But light does not remain in the air when the source of light is withdrawn. as is said De Anima iii.” Nor must too much attention be paid to the instances adduced by Aristotle in his works on logic. Reply to Objection 1: Augustine takes light to be a luminous body in act–-in other words. not only to reason. for we do not speak of the air as colored. i) says that light is a species of quality. Reply to Objection 2: Aristotle pronounces light to be fire existing in its own proper matter: just as fire in aerial matter is “flame. Others have said that light is the sun’s substantial form. but rather a substantial or spiritual form. text. I answer that. since by it the air becomes actually luminous. Damascene (De Fide Orth. as a similitude of color in the air. text. x. text. For even the word distance is derived from the idea of remoteness of place.

inasmuch as it is a quality of the first sensible body. as it were. night and day are brought about by the circular movement of a luminous body. and this is effected by the sun. But movement of this kind is an attribute of the firmament. for if it were. water is converted into fire. forasmuch as it is the natural quality of the first corporeal cause of change. A proof of this is that the rays of different stars produce different effects according to the diverse natures of bodies. Reply to Objection 3: As heat acts towards perfecting the form of fire. Objection 2: Further. For when matter receives its form perfectly. since substantial forms of their very nature constitute species: wherefore the substantial form always and everywhere accompanies the species. Reply to Objection 2: It is accidental to light not to have a contrary. towards producing substantial forms. substantial form is received imperfectly. ought not to be assigned to the first day. the qualities consequent upon the form are firm and enduring. or of another body that is of itself luminous. the mode in which the subject receives a quality differs as the mode differs in which a subject receives a substantial form. by virtue of the heavenly bodies. Hence it cannot be the substantial form of the sun. which is recorded as having been made on the fourth day. not the first. But light is not the substantial form of air. When. rather than fully impressed. Therefore the production of light. so light is an active quality consequent on the substantial form of the sun. if there is any such body. as when. however. and light were a certain inception of substantial form. that as heat is an active quality consequent on the substantial form of fire. and towards rendering colors actually visible. it is light that distinguishes night from day. then. in process of being received. as though matter were in receipt of a substantial form. For this reason light disappears on the disappearance of its active cause. dividing night from day. For light. But light is not produced by the transmutation of matter. the air would be destroyed when light is withdrawn. We must say. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 67 [<< | >>] Article: 4 [<< | >>] Whether the production of light is fittingly assigned to the first day? Objection 1: It would seem that the production of light is not fittingly assigned to the first day. as stated above (Article [3]). so does light act instrumentally. so as to be. then. The production of light. and we read that the firmament was made on the second day.of one thing should be the accidental form of another. ought not to be assigned to the first day. as an instrumental cause. Therefore the production of light could not have been on the first day. for instance. which is itself removed from contrariety. But qualities are accidents. the consequent quality lasts for a time but is not permanent. by virtue of the substantial form. as may be seen when water which has been heated returns in time to its natural state. is a quality. and as such should have. Objection 3: Further. Reply to Objection 1: Since quality is consequent upon substantial form. 67 . but a subordinate place.

Objection 4: Further, if it be said that spiritual light is here spoken of, it may be replied that the light made on the first day dispels the darkness. But in the beginning spiritual darkness was not, for even the demons were in the beginning good, as has been shown (Question [63], Article [5]). Therefore the production of light ought not to be assigned to the first day. On the contrary, That without which there could not be day, must have been made on the first day. But there can be no day without light. Therefore light must have been made on the first day. I answer that, There are two opinions as to the production of light. Augustine seems to say (De Civ. Dei xi, 9,33) that Moses could not have fittingly passed over the production of the spiritual creature, and therefore when we read, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth,” a spiritual nature as yet formless is to be understood by the word “heaven,” and formless matter of the corporeal creature by the word “earth.” And spiritual nature was formed first, as being of higher dignity than corporeal. The forming, therefore, of this spiritual nature is signified by the production of light, that is to say, of spiritual light. For a spiritual nature receives its form by the enlightenment whereby it is led to adhere to the Word of God. Other writers think that the production of spiritual creatures was purposely omitted by Moses, and give various reasons. Basil [*Hom. i in Hexaem.] says that Moses begins his narrative from the beginning of time which belongs to sensible things; but that the spiritual or angelic creation is passed over, as created beforehand. Chrysostom [*Hom. ii in Genes.] gives as a reason for the omission that Moses was addressing an ignorant people, to whom material things alone appealed, and whom he was endeavoring to withdraw from the service of idols. It would have been to them a pretext for idolatry if he had spoken to them of natures spiritual in substance and nobler than all corporeal creatures; for they would have paid them Divine worship, since they were prone to worship as gods even the sun, moon, and stars, which was forbidden them (Dt. 4). But mention is made of several kinds of formlessness, in regard to the corporeal creature. One is where we read that “the earth was void and empty,” and another where it is said that “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Now it seems to be required, for two reasons, that the formlessness of darkness should be removed first of all by the production of light. In the first place because light is a quality of the first body [i.e. of heaven, the transparent body, which, being the noblest thing, comes first], as was stated (Article [3]), and thus by means of light it was fitting that the world should first receive its form. [i.e. because the heaven is the first body, its formlessness, which was darkness, is fittingly removed first by the production of light] The second reason is because light is a common quality. For light is common to terrestrial and celestial bodies. But as in knowledge we proceed from general principles, so do we in work of every kind. For the living thing is generated before the animal, and the animal before the man, as is shown in De Gener. Anim. ii, 3. It was fitting, then, as an evidence of the Divine wisdom, that among the works of distinction the production of light should take first place, since light is a form of the primary body, and because it is [the] more common quality.

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Basil [*Hom. ii in Hexaem.], indeed, adds a third reason: that all other things are made manifest by light. And there is yet a fourth, already touched upon in the objections; that day cannot be unless light exists, which was made therefore on the first day. Reply to Objection 1: According to the opinion of those who hold that the formlessness of matter preceded its form in duration, matter must be held to have been created at the beginning with substantial forms, afterwards receiving those that are accidental, among which light holds the first place. Reply to Objection 2: In the opinion of some the light here spoken of was a kind of luminous nebula, and that on the making of the sun this returned to the matter of which it had been formed. But this cannot well be maintained, as in the beginning of Genesis Holy Scripture records the institution of that order of nature which henceforth is to endure. We cannot, then, say that what was made at that time afterwards ceased to exist. Others, therefore, held that this luminous nebula continues in existence, but so closely attached to the sun as to be indistinguishable. But this is as much as to say that it is superfluous, whereas none of God’s works have been made in vain. On this account it is held by some that the sun’s body was made out of this nebula. This, too, is impossible to those at least who believe that the sun is different in its nature from the four elements, and naturally incorruptible. For in that case its matter cannot take on another form. I answer, then, with Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv), that the light was the sun’s light, formless as yet, being already the solar substance, and possessing illuminative power in a general way, to which was afterwards added the special and determinative power required to produce determinate effects. Thus, then, in the production of this light a triple distinction was made between light and darkness. First, as to the cause, forasmuch as in the substance of the sun we have the cause of light, and in the opaque nature of the earth the cause of darkness. Secondly, as to place, for in one hemisphere there was light, in the other darkness. Thirdly, as to time; because there was light for one and darkness for another in the same hemisphere; and this is signified by the words, “He called the light day, and the darkness night.” Reply to Objection 3: Basil says (Hom. ii in Hexaem.) that day and night were then caused by expansion and contraction of light, rather than by movement. But Augustine objects to this (Gen. ad lit. i), that there was no reason for this vicissitude of expansion and contraction since there were neither men nor animals on the earth at that time, for whose service this was required. Nor does the nature of a luminous body seem to admit of the withdrawal of light, so long as the body is actually present; though this might be effected by a miracle. As to this, however, Augustine remarks (Gen. ad lit. i) that in the first founding of the order of nature we must not look for miracles, but for what is in accordance with nature. We hold, then, that the movement of the heavens is twofold. Of these movements, one is common to the entire heaven, and is the cause of day and night. This, as it seems, had its beginning on the first day. The other varies in proportion as it affects various bodies, and by its variations is the cause of the succession of days, months, and years. Thus it is, that in the account of the first day the distinction between day and night alone is mentioned; this distinction being brought about by the common movement of the heavens. The further distinction into successive days, seasons, and years recorded as begun on the fourth day, in the words, “let them be for seasons, and for days, and years” is due to proper movements. Reply to Objection 4: As Augustine teaches (Confess. xii; Gen. ad lit. 1,15), formlessness did not precede forms in duration; and so we must understand the production of light to signify the formation of spiritual creatures, not, indeed, with the perfection of glory, in

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which they were not created, but with the perfection of grace, which they possessed from their creation as said above (Question [62], Article [3]). Thus the division of light from darkness will denote the distinction of the spiritual creature from other created things as yet without form. But if all created things received their form at the same time, the darkness must be held to mean the spiritual darkness of the wicked, not as existing from the beginning but such as God foresaw would exist.

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“In the beginning God created heaven and earth. “And the evening and morning were the second day. Others held the firmament to be of the nature of the four elements. It is written (Gn.” I answer that. But though the firmament naturally precedes the earth and the waters.” Therefore the firmament was not made on the second day. not in disunion. the work of the six days is ordered conformably to the order of Divine wisdom. Now it would ill become the Divine wisdom to make afterwards that which is naturally first. all that was made in the six days was formed out of matter created before days began. Objection 3: Further. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses. indeed. but being as it were 71 . to hold the truth of Scripture without wavering. But the firmament cannot have been formed out of pre-existing matter. Objection 2: Further. and obstacles be placed to their believing. 1:8): “God called the firmament heaven. On the contrary. Under this head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether the firmament was made on the second day? (2) Whether there are waters above the firmament? (3) Whether the firmament divides waters from waters? (4) Whether there is more than one heaven? Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 68 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether the firmament was made on the second day? Objection 1: It would seem that the firmament was not made on the second day. that the words which speak of the firmament as made on the second day can be understood in two senses. 18). of the starry firmament. as Augustine teaches (Gen. lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers. In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to observed. compounded of them. only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it. and this was the opinion of Empedocles. which was on the first day. The first is. i. as is clear from the words.” But the heaven existed before days. on which point it is necessary to set forth the different opinions of philosophers. For it is said (Gn. if it be proved with certainty to be false. however. these are mentioned before the formation of light. first. Therefore the firmament was not made on the second day. not. 1:6): “God said: let there be a firmament. We say.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 68 [<< | >>] ON THE WORK OF THE SECOND DAY (FOUR ARTICLES) We must next consider the work of the second day. but in harmony.” and further on (verse 8). Some of these believed it to be composed of the elements. one should adhere to a particular explanation. who. for if so it would be liable to generation and corruption. held further that the body of the firmament was not susceptible of dissolution. They may be understood. because its parts are. therefore. so to say. Therefore the firmament was not made on the second day. ad lit.

there is then nothing to prevent our saying. on the second day is incompatible with the opinion of Plato. since the first form received by matter is the elemental. as to its substance. and the firmament made on the second day. he laid the foundations. the starry heaven. in some degree. in fact. it may. is of a matter not susceptible of change of form. this explanation is adopted none of these opinions will be found repugnant to reason. Another possible explanation is to understand by the firmament that was made on the second day. We may also say that the heaven recorded as created in the beginning is not the same as that made on the second day. received its form. According to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii) that of the first day was spherical in form and without stars. If. then built the walls.). who held that element to be fire.” and when we read that the firmament was made on the second day. that the philosophers speak of. ad lit. while it belongs to the work of distinction and adornment to give forms to the elements that pre-exist. i.24). ad lit.a simple element. Such was the opinion of Plato.32). in somewhat the same way as one might say: “This house was constructed by that builder. but the part of the atmosphere where the clouds are collected. ad lit. i. ii. have held that the heaven is not of the nature of the four elements. and afterwards. and 72 . belongs to the second day. ad lit. touched upon by Augustine [*Gen. therefore. on the fourth day. According to the first opinion. Others. 6.” and then add: “First. i) and Strabus. According to Bede (Hexaem. If. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. “thereby differing from a mathematical body” as is remarked by Basil ( Hom. be granted that the firmament was made. But its formation. 22.” that is dense and solid. according to whom the making of the firmament implies the production of the element of fire. and there are several senses in which this may be understood. This is the opinion of Aristotle (De Coel. recommends it thus: “I consider this view of the question worthy of all commendation. and the primary movable body that moves with diurnal movement: while by the firmament made on the second day he understands the starry heaven. put on the roof. 9) that the heaven recorded as made on the first day is the formless spiritual nature. whilst holding any one of the opinions given above. existing over and above these. the light of the sun was without form during the first three days. seeing that the mention of days denotes succession of time. we take these days to denote merely sequence in the natural order. that the substantial formation of the firmament belongs to the second day.). iii in Genes. being naturally incorruptible. According to another theory. again.” and then proceeds to explain them part by part. iv). and thirdly. and which has received the name firmament from the firmness and density of the air. 4). however. text. But the belief that the firmament was made. Nom. Moses prefaces his record by speaking of the works of God collectively. belongs to the work of creation. but is itself a fifth body. Augustine. For it is part of the work of creation to produce the substance of the elements. Augustine says (Gen. Hence to produce the substance of the firmament belongs to the work of creation. in fact (Gen. however. wherefore it could not be made out of matter existing antecedently in time. “For a body is called firm. iii in Hexaem. Still less compatible with the belief that the substance of the firmament was produced on the second day is the opinion of Aristotle. according to those who hold that formlessness of matter preceded in time its formation. and not succession in time. and that the heaven of the second day is the corporeal heaven. not bound to hold that a different heaven is spoken of in the words: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. in the words.” In accepting this explanation we are. on the second day. the heaven made on the first day is the empyrean. 1] the heaven made on the first day was the starry heaven.” Reply to Objection 1: According to Chrysostom (Hom. iv. as neither contrary to faith nor difficult to be proved and believed. This production. then. according to both opinions: for as Dionysius says (Div. even as to substance. calling it the ninth sphere. as Augustine holds (Gen. not that in which the stars are set. ii. whereas the firmament. at least. strictly speaking. the same.

fire. and not above the firmament. since the firmament is a sphere.) that these words do not mean that these waters are rational creatures. 3:60): “Ye waters that are above the heavens. For if by the firmament we understand the starry heaven. according to the relation in which imperfect things stand towards perfect. The second and third objections are sufficiently answered by what has been already said.” Wherefore it is written (Ps. whatever these waters are. but that “the thoughtful contemplation of them by those who understand fulfils the glory of the Creator. we cannot for a moment doubt that they are there. For water is heavy by nature.” I answer with Augustine (Gen. from those that were above the firmament. not. and heavy things tend naturally downwards. and appointed to the generation of composite bodies.the firmament made on the second day was that region of the air where the clouds are collected. and fluids cannot rest on a sphere. But none of God’s works are useless. and whatever their mode of existence. Therefore there are not waters above the firmament. Objection 3: Further. 5) that. so that water would be useless there. 148:4): “Let the waters that are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord. are invoked in the same way. as pointed out by Rabbi Moses. ad lit. and other like creatures. Origen says (Hom. and this heaven is above the starry 73 . Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 68 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether there are waters above the firmament? Objection 1: It would seem that there are not waters above the firmament. according to Strabus. but equivocally. Therefore. Other instances of a similar use occur. all are not agreed. “These words of Scripture have more authority than the most exalted human intellect. but their exact nature will be differently defined according as opinions on the firmament differ. not upwards. Hence. there cannot be water above it. It is written (Gn.” and (Dn. 1:7): “(God) divided the waters that were under the firmament. these waters to be material. as being of the nature of the four elements then the waters above the firmament will not be of the same nature as the elemental waters. Objection 2: Further. solely on account of its splendor: so this other heaven will be called aqueous solely on account of its transparence. Therefore there are not waters above the firmament. but just as. which is also called heaven. it is expressly said that “God called the firmament heaven”. just as in a preceding verse it said that “God called the light day” (since the word “day” is also used to denote a space of twenty-four hours). fiery. But if by the firmament we understand the starry heaven. that is.” To this Basil answers (Hom. for the same reason it may be believed that the waters above the heaven are of the same nature as the elemental waters. And to show that the word is here used in an equivocal sense.” Hence in the same context. hail. one heaven is called empyrean. water is fluid by nature. as experience shows. iii in Hexaem. But bodies of composite nature have their place upon the earth. bless the Lord.) that the waters that are above the firmament are “spiritual substances. and as being of the nature of the four elements. then. i in Gen. though no one would attribute reason to these. On the contrary.” As to the nature of these waters. We must hold. however. water is an element. ii.

He answers first. as stated. Augustine. that is to say. we may understand the matter of bodies to be signified. that waters resolved into vapor may be lifted above the starry heaven. all to go to show the impossibility of this. says (Super Gen. This.” We leave this view. we understand by the firmament that part of the air in which the clouds are collected. as Basil supposes (Hom.7) that whatever divides bodies from bodies can be said to divide waters from waters. the cause of the daily revolution of the entire heaven. it may still be said to divide the waters. Again. then. is a mere absurdity. then the waters above the firmament must rather be the vapors resolved from the waters which are raised above a part of the atmosphere. the waters above the firmament have been raised in the form of vapors.). and serve to give rain to the earth. since natural bodies cannot be infinitely rarefied or divided. 1). in support of this opinion. And Augustine says (Gen. Manich. Nor is it less absurd to say. according to the last two opinions. According to the first opinion. what is “a mere absurdity” is the supposition that the waters need to be “lifted up” above the firmament in the first place. wherein all vapor must be consumed. is the cause whereby different bodies are generated or corrupted. however will not admit this solution. above. Or by the water. Basil gives two replies (Hom. it is kept in its place above the firmament by the Divine power. they are above the heaven that is wholly transparent and starless. no such difficulty as touched upon by St. by the zodiacal movement. 8 In truth. however. ii. and their various influences. ad lit. as a mass of ice. that the waters surrounding the earth are of a dense consistency. But according to the first opinion. that bodies may be rarefied infinitely.heaven. if we understand by water not the element but formless matter. Secondly. Augustine exists. but up to a certain point only. But according to the first opinion these waters are set there to temper the heat of the celestial bodies. Reply to Objection 2: The solution is clear from what has been said. but whatever the explanation one gives. and those around the firmament of a rarer consistency. cont. an order of the elements must be supposed different from that given by Aristotle. i. ad lit. But according to the second opinion. 74 . in proportion to the respective density of the earth and of the heaven. being “made in the midst of the waters. but exist outside it in a solid state. but says “It is our business here to inquire how God has constituted the natures of His creatures. Reply to Objection 1: Some have attempted to solve this difficulty by supposing that in spite of the natural gravity of water. ii. In the same way the starry heaven. the tendency in light and rarefied bodies to drift to one spot beneath the vault of the moon. is the primary mobile. as well as the fact that vapors are perceived not to rise even to the tops of the higher mountains. ii. whereby the continuance of generation is secured. in fact. Reply to Objection 3: According to the third opinion given. if the firmament is held to be of other nature than the elements.). that the waters above the firmament are not fluid. 5. 4). as some writers alluded to by Augustine (Gen. and that this is the crystalline heaven of some writers. ad lit. so we are told. the plain meaning of the text being that they were already there: the firmament.” from which it follows that the waters divided by the firmament are already in place at the start of the Second Day. the intervening region of fire. that a body seen as concave beneath need not necessarily be rounded. through the rising and setting of the stars. Augustine (Gen. 5) that some have considered this to be proved by the extreme cold of Saturn owing to its nearness to the waters that are above the firmament. and answer that according to the last two opinions on the firmament and the waters the solution appears from what has been said. according to some. How they got there presents a problem to be sure. If. But to say. iii in Hexaem. 8 The solid nature of the firmament. and from which the rain falls. iii in Hexaem. not how far it may have pleased Him to work on them by way of miracle. or convex.

6): “All water is the same species. For it may be understood from these words that over the face of the water a transparent body was extended. makes no express mention of air by name. and the primary element of all bodies. Therefore the firmament does not divide the waters from the waters. It is written (Gn. it cannot be held to be the sense of Holy Scripture. 1:6): “Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters. it is true to say that it divides the waters from the waters. however. For bodies that are of one and the same species have naturally one and the same place. Thus in the words. who taught that water was a body infinite in dimension.” the word “deep” might be taken to mean the infinite mass of water. or any kind of transparent body. Moses. But it is evident that the waters below do not reach up to the firmament. then. for there have even been philosophers who said that air is nothing. It should rather be considered that Moses was speaking to ignorant people. to avoid setting before ignorant persons something beyond their knowledge. But the Philosopher says (Topic.” Water therefore cannot be distinct from water by place. as a wall standing in the midst of a river. whereas it is not evident to all that air also is corporeal. exists above that heaven. in fact. As. then. we understand by the firmament the starry heaven. or the cloudy region of the air. is the air. Now even the most uneducated can perceive by their senses that earth and water are corporeal.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 68 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether the firmament divides waters from waters? Objection 1: It would seem that the firmament does not divide waters from waters. might lead to the adoption of a theory similar to that held by certain philosophers of antiquity. on the contrary. however. it may be argued. Objection 2: Further. according as we take water to denote formless matter. these waters differ in species. i. In order. as fittingly designated under the 75 . should it be said that the waters above the firmament differ in species from those under the firmament. it is not the firmament that distinguishes them. this theory can be shown to be false by solid reasons.” the existence of air as attendant. understood as the principle of all other bodies. the subject of light and darkness. Objection 3: Further. If then. to express the truth to those capable of understanding it. and called a space filled with air a vacuum. while he expressly mentions water and earth. On the contrary. The text of Genesis. These philosophers also taught that not all corporeal things are confined beneath the heaven perceived by our senses. On this view the firmament of heaven might be said to divide the waters without from those within–-that is to say. since they took water to be the principle of them all. from all bodies under the heaven. but that a body of water. considered superficially. Whether.” I answer that. he implies in the words: “Darkness was upon the face of the deep. infinite in extent. “Darkness was upon the face of the deep. that things distinct in species need nothing else to distinguish them. which. and that out of condescension to their weakness he put before them only such things as are apparent to sense. it would appear that what distinguishes waters from waters must be something which is in contact with them on either side. so to say. upon the water. and let it divide the waters from the waters.

Therefore there is but one heaven. Objection 2: Further. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 68 [<< | >>] Article: 4 [<< | >>] Whether there is only one heaven? Objection 1: It would seem that there is only one heaven. But if by the firmament is understood the cloudy region of the air. whatever is predicated of many things univocally is predicated of them according to some common notion. Basil said that there are more heavens than one. in the words.name of waters. and thus it is evident that waters are found on each side of the firmament. Reply to Objection 1: If by the firmament is understood the starry heaven. says that there are many heavens. as the Philosopher proves (De Coel. where the rain and similar things are generated. and that the words ‘heavens of heavens’ are merely the translation of the Hebrew idiom according to which the word is always used in the plural. 95). For the starry heaven divides the lower transparent bodies from the higher. The latter says that there is only one heaven (Hom. they could not properly be called many. but only as the boundary of each. then. for which reason the birds that fly in the air are called birds of heaven [*Ps. but this common notion cannot be assigned. The difference. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. For the heaven is contrasted with the earth. must be one. i. and such is the heaven. iv in Gen. for if equivocally only. both these waters are of the same species. On the other hand. text. the waters above are not of the same species as those beneath. Moses includes all such bodies under the name of water. however. they are many. Basil (Hom. But if there are more heavens than one. Reply to Objection 3: On account of the air and other similar bodies being invisible. Reply to Objection 2: If the waters are held to differ in species. and the cloudy region divides that higher part of the air. the firmament cannot be said to divide the waters. But since in this body there are many distinct parts. 148:4): “Praise Him. from the lower part. Objection 3: Further. the place of their repose. they are so called univocally. whatever be the sense in which the word is used. is more nominal than real. 8:9]. On the contrary.” I answer that. If. which is connected with the water and included under that name. whom Damascene follows (De Fide Orth. and two places are assigned to them. It is said (Ps. just as in Latin there are many nouns that are wanting in the singular. iii in Hexaem. Therefore there cannot be more than one heaven. though not for the same purpose.). Therefore there is only one heaven. the higher being the place of their begetting. On this point there seems to be a diversity of opinion between Basil and Chrysostom. ii). the lower. there must be some common notion by reason of which each is called heaven.). 76 . that which consists of the entire sum of its own matter. as the cause of their destruction. ye heavens of heavens. For Chrysostom means by the one heaven the whole body that is above the earth and the water.” But there is only one earth.

In order. in reference to which Augustine (Gen. and in part actually luminous. are called sometimes so many heavens. are signified by the word heaven. from its brightness. three kinds of supernatural visions. the aerial. But as one center may have many circumferences. The higher region of fire he calls the fiery heaven. then. for in that sense it is one. the lower. xii) expounds Paul’s rapture “to the third heaven. to understand the distinction of heavens. Thus Damascene (De Fide Orth. bodily. In the second place. as sublimity and luminosity. In this body there are three heavens. the aerial. Who is the Light and the Most High Spirit. and one higher than both these. wholly transparent. therefore. the second is the aqueous or crystalline. ad lit. in so far as it denotes the entire sum of corporeal creation. the recompense of the Saints. and intellectual. the Olympian heaven from a lofty mountain of that name: the higher region of air he calls. “Your reward is very great in heaven” (Mt. there are metaphorical uses of the word heaven. imaginative. in the opinion of Rabanus. of which the Apostle is understood to speak when he says of himself that he was “rapt to the third heaven. Sometimes also spiritual blessings. so. One of these is the sphere of the fixed stars. and the third is called the starry heaven. the first is the empyrean. when it denotes that body on high which is luminous actually or potentially.” But since this space contains two elements. Sometimes it uses the word in its proper and natural meaning. and incorruptible by nature. calling it the aerial. in fact. there are seven corporeal heavens in all. actual or potential. there are three heavens. Thirdly. which may be called the seven heavens. 5:12).” Reply to Objection 1: The earth stands in relation to the heaven as the centre of a circle to its circumference. as when this name is applied to the Blessed Trinity. though there is but one earth. it must be borne in mind that Scripture speaks of heaven in a threefold sense. According to him. Dom. fire and air. whereby the evil spirit is represented as seeking to make himself equal with God. 77 . ii) holds as one heaven all the space between the waters and the moon’s orb. the other seven. the name heaven is applied to a body that participates in any property of the heavenly body. the starry. from being the highest of all good gifts. according to Augustine (De Serm. are the spheres of the planets. “I will ascend into heaven”. which is wholly luminous. in the words. namely. Reply to Objection 2: The argument holds good as to the heaven. in the words. in part transparent. When. and divided into eight spheres. and. It is explained by some. as thus applied. there may be many heavens. the ethereal heaven. are so signified. and in each of these there is what is called a higher and a lower region Rabanus subdivides this space into four distinct heavens. the lower. Again. these four heavens are added to the three enumerated above. then. in Monte).

But higher than the ether is heaven (I. xvii. nn. The Life and Poetry of Homer. cf. xiv. the aether. Cromwell). and Olympus. On the Olympian heaven. i. Therefore it is said Olympus is called “wholly shining. [95] Although the air is around the earth. besides. And.B. as appears from what has been said. in the following (I. 287):– And going up on a lofty pine. Thomas Y. 92-99 (tr. 424):– And thus they fought: the iron clangor pierc’d The airless ether and brazen vault of Heaven .” § 78 . he says the ether is higher in the following lines (I. [Pseudo-]Plutarch.Reply to Objection 3: All the heavens have in common sublimity and some degree of luminosity. 497):– The vapor ascended to the great heaven and to Olympus. The top part of the air is finer and more distant from the earth and its exhalations. which then grew on the summit of Ida and through the air reached into the ether. the air. N.

and take their course towards the sea. I answer that. iv. the formation of the highest or spiritual nature is 79 . Therefore the work of the third day should have been described as a making not as a gathering together. but only in origin. to this order. In all these works. as recorded. On the contrary.” and “Let there be a firmament made. i. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 69 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether it was fitting that the gathering together of the waters should take place. 5. according to Augustine (Gen. therefore. but only of origin and nature. Objection 2: Further. 15.” But the third day is contradistinguished from the first and the second days. a Divine precept of this kind was unnecessary. the earth hitherto had been completely covered by the waters.34. on the third day? Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting that the gathering together of the waters should take place on the third day. but merely in the order of nature. But not all the waters are in continuous contact. In their case. things which are not in continuous contact cannot occupy one place. 22. For what was made on the first and second days is expressly said to have been “made” in the words. It is necessary to reply differently to this question according to the different interpretations given by Augustine and other holy writers. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Objection 5: Further. ad lit. i. and therefore all were not gathered together into one place. the earth is given its name at its first creation by the words. there is no order of duration. Objection 3: Further. Contr. Article [1]. Objection [1]]. in time. and that the latter are at first indicated by the words “earth” and “water. Manich. wherefore it was described as “invisible” [*Question [66]. a gathering together is a mode of local movement. then. “God said: Be light made.” Therefore the imposition of its name on the third day seems to be recorded without necessity. He says that the formless spiritual and formless corporeal natures were created first of all. Agreeably.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 69 [<< | >>] ON THE WORK OF THE THIRD DAY (TWO ARTICLES) We next consider the work of the third day. Under this head there are two points of inquiry: (1) About the gathering together of the waters. But the waters flow naturally. nor yet that one formation preceded another in duration. (2) About the production of plants. 7). There was then no place on the earth to which the waters could be gathered together. De Gen.” Not that this formlessness preceded formation. Objection 4: Further. The authority of Scripture suffices.

and water already existed.recorded in the first place. but of origin only. receiving from the firmament a sort of distinction and order (so that water be understood as including certain other things. and the dry land appear. to other holy writers [*Question [66]. the formation of the highest body took place on the first day. light being the act of the transparent. the works of the preceding days involved the imparting of forms to heaven: in reverse order. Article [3])). by which is meant that the formlessness of matter precedes its formation. For as the spiritual nature is higher than the corporeal. resulted the distinction of time. not the imparting to them of their elemental forms or natures. water. they do not hold that the formlessness of matter implies the total absence of form. then. Faust. was without form until its was divided by the production of the firmament. But in the third place the impression of elemental forms on formless matter is recorded.” mean that corporeal matter was impressed with the substantial form of water. while the work of the first day imparted a form to the aerial heaven. so as to have such movement. was without form so long as “darkness” filled it. is called the “deep. and one form another. also with a priority of origin only. [Note: The work of the third day involved the imparting of shape to both the waters and the earth. Article [1]] an order of duration in the works is to be understood. 80 .” because. [the transparent body of heaven was without form until light was created. earth. because it was the source of light. since heaven. Therefore the words. the formless state of the earth is touched upon when the earth is said to be “void” or “invisible. the highest of them. the work of the second day imparted a form to the starry heaven. “Let the waters be gathered together. rather they understand by formlessness the want of due distinction and of perfect beauty. [the earth was without form until its veil of waters was withdrawn from it and it became visible] Thus. and is the numerical measure of the movement of the highest body. On the second day the intermediate body.] Thirdly. where it is said that light was made on the first day. however. leading to the separation of the waters above from the waters below. since these three are named as already clearly perceptible to the senses. which holds the middle place. And since time results from the movement of the heaven. Heaven. Nevertheless. as explained above (Question [68]. xxii. so the higher bodies are nobler than the lower. and with the substantial form of earth. [the deep. was formed. that of night and day. 11). Hence the formation of the higher bodies is indicated in the second place. by the words.] According. from this formation. so as to have such an appearance. this word signifies the mass of waters without order. and in respect of these three Scripture mentions three kinds of formlessness. “Let there be made a firmament.” by which is to be understood the impression of celestial forms on formless matter. namely. and therefore a form] The formlessness of water. as Augustine says (Contr. in order of time. or ‘the mass of waters without order’. Likewise.” because it was covered by the waters. that preceded with priority not of time.

Contr. primary matter is meant by the word earth. 12). the lowest body. which Augustine gives (Gen. that plants and animals might be on the earth. received its form by the withdrawal of the waters.” to use Augustine’s words. whereas inferior forms are imperfect and mutable. that the expression. because we need not suppose that the earth was first covered by the waters. who have set the sand a bound for the sea?” Reply to Objection 5: According to Augustine (De Gen. attributes it to the Divine power. i). namely. as Basil remarks (Hom. clearly expresses the manner in which it received its form by the equally suitable words. dryness. “one place” is to be understood not simply.” that is. again. Some philosophers attribute this uncovering of the earth’s surface to the action of the sun lifting up the vapors and thus drying the land. “glides and flows away. just as the air completely surrounds both water and earth. Reply to Objection 2: This argument is easily solved. but here in respect of its principal property. as it says of those that precede. Scripture. Manich. i). namely. Wherefore it is written: “He called the dry land. iv in Hexaem.).). ad lit. but as contrasted with the place of the dry land. Again it may be said with Basil (Hom. and the appearing of the land. that it was made. and this may be the reason why they are said to be gathered together into one place. That the waters occupied more places than one seems to be implied by the words that follow. The second explains the water that covered the earth as being rarefied or nebulous. but also Job 38:10 where in the person of the Lord it is said. But according to the other writers there are three solutions. “I set My bounds around the sea. The first supposes that the waters are heaped up to a greater height at the place where they were gathered together. so that the sense would be. Contr. not only in the Book of Genesis. ii. Reply to Objection 3: All the waters have the sea as their goal. but in the present passage it is to be taken for the element itself. Or. saith the Lord. i. For “water. iv in Hexaem. into which they flow by channels hidden or apparent. Of the above the first seems the most probable. and that for this reason Scripture had no reason to speak of it as made. Manich. the earth abides” (Gen. of land and sea. hold that the work of the third day was perfected on that day only as regards movement from place to place. according to Augustine’s opinion (De Gen. The third suggests the existence of hollows in the earth. “Let the dry land appear. apart from the dry land. namely. Hence the impression of such forms is signified by the gathering of the waters. such as the angels and the heavenly bodies. and that these were afterwards gathered together. Hence Scripture. ii. that the sea is higher than the land. “He called.” Reply to Objection 1: According to Augustine [*Gen. ad lit. however. “Let the waters be gathered together in one place. to receive the confluence of waters. but as a necessary means towards an end. 20]. where first mentioned. that the earth is mentioned in the first passage in respect of its nature.8. are perfect and stable in being. “The gathering together of the waters He called Seas. and there resulted the distinction in the lowest body. for it has been proved in regard to the Red Sea.” It may also be said with Rabbi Moses. in order to show that higher and spiritual forms. 5:22.” Reply to Objection 4: The Divine command gives bodies their natural movement and by these natural movements they are said to “fulfill His word. Scripture does not say of the work of the third day. 11). where it is written: “Will you not then fear Me.” Or we may say that it was according to the nature of water completely to cover the earth. ad lit.” denotes throughout an 81 . Earth.” and Jer. but that they were produced in this very gathering together. which was afterwards condensed when the waters were gathered together.On the third day the earth. iii. Others. it was necessary for the waters to be withdrawn from a portion of the earth. 7.

But the production of animals belongs to the work. Augustine’s opinion differs from that of others. the earth was “invisible” or “void. 3:17. a work by which the earth is accursed should have been recorded apart from the work by which it receives its form. where it is said that “there was evening and morning. “Cursed is the earth in thy work. as plants are firmly fixed to the earth. ought not to have been made on the third day. But this state is described as twofold. Objection 3: Further.” as distinct from the sea.” being covered by the waters. again.” And here. the air. as said (Article [1]). secondly. So by the expression “He called” we are to understand throughout that the nature or property He bestowed corresponded to the name He gave. as also belonging to the work of adornment. nevertheless. therefore.” that is. it is said that “the dry land. ought not to be recorded as taking place on the third day. not of distinction. the part from which the waters had withdrawn. when “the waters were gathered together into one place and the dry land appeared”. Thus we find it said at first that “He called the light Day”: for the reason that later on a period of twenty-four hours is also called day. with a garment. On the contrary. the formless state of the earth comes to an end. although the name earth is equally applied to that which is covered with waters or not. 5. viii. Therefore the production of plants. On the one hand. It is said (Gn. on the other hand. not mentioned in the work of formation. without that comeliness which it owes to the plants that clothe it. ad lit. 3) says that the earth is said to have then produced plants and trees in 82 . Plants.” show that by the production of certain plants the earth was accursed.” In like manner it is said that “the firmament. On the third day. Thus. Therefore the production of plants in general should not have been recorded on the third day. v. “He called. it was “shapeless” or “empty. For other commentators. which is concerned with the work of formation. in accordance with the surface meaning of the text. in either respect this formless state ends on the third day: first. For plants have life. but of adornment. Earth.equivocal use of the name imposed. But the words of Gn. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 69 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether it was fitting that the production of plants should take place on the third day? Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting that the production of plants should take place on the third day. thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. which are. whereas Augustine (Gen.” I answer that. as it were. which is devoted to the work of distinction. as animals have.” But concerning the production of plants. when “the earth brought forth the green herb. Objection 2: Further.” after which there follows. so are stones and metals. one day. therefore. consider that the plants were produced in act in their various species on this third day.” that is. “The evening and the morning were the third day. “He called heaven”: for that which was first created was also called “heaven.” that is. 1:12): “The earth brought forth the green herb.

from which the seed of others [i. stem. which they reproduce] should arise. Hence it is said: “Shall it bring forth TO THEE. For this reason. of other plants. took place before they sprang up from the earth’s surface. but in their causes only.” that is. Reply to Objection 1: Life in plants is hidden. and such as may seed. their production is treated as a part of the earth’s formation. ex quibus semina aliarum orirentur . 1:11): “Let the earth bring forth the green herb. and such as may seed. within the earth. and every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth. And therefore. God made the heaven and the earth. by which the animate and the inanimate are chiefly discernible. 2:4. which he tilled to gain his food. 83 . Wherefore Scripture says pointedly (Gn. Question [68]. by governing His creatures. therefore. as though the earth. that is. the species of plants were produced in perfection since they are able to reproduce right from the start. but the reproduction among them of like from like. But minerals are generated in hidden ways within the bowels of the earth. “before it sprung up in the earth. Article [4].’ meaning that the perfect species of plants were produced. And this is confirmed by reason.” That is. it received then the power to produce them. since they lack sense and local movement. before like was produced from like. But they were not produced in punishment of man. whether in root. “And so Scripture pointedly says.” Now the production of plants from out the earth is a work of propagation. Reply to Objection 2: Even before the earth was accursed. produced unfruitful and noxious plants. and would seem to be species thereof. it may be said that the first constitution of species belongs to the work of the six days. when they were created. thorns and thistles had been produced. He supports this view by the authority of Scripture. and therefore they were not produced in act on the third day. just as were Adam and Eve. “He worketh until now. or fruit.5): “These are the generations of the heaven and the earth. .their causes. to the government of the universe. . germinet terra herbam virentem et facientem semen. 9 Unde signanter Scriptura dicit.e. In these first days God created all things in their origin or causes. ‘Let the earth bring forth the green herb. as we have said (Question [67]. Moreover they seem hardly specifically distinct from earth. affect the argument. in accordance with other writers.” as indicating the production of perfection of perfect species. he makes no mention of them. and from this work He subsequently rested. just as now happens in the natural course by the production of seed. However. since they are firmly fixed in the earth.” Reply to Objection 3: Moses put before the people such things only as were manifest to their senses. And Scripture indicates this in the words.” and “before it grew.9 Nor does the question where the seminal power may reside. for it is said (Gn. Article [3]).” Therefore. in the work of propagation. Yet afterwards. either virtually or actually. quia scilicet sunt productae perfectae species plantarum. and every herb of the ground before it grew. as follows. from which the seed of others should arise. in the day that . the production of plants in their causes.

84 . not on the fourth. Objection 2: Further. as astronomers say. as plants are fixed in the earth. and fourthly. The lights. but on the third day. The lights. AS REGARDS THE FOURTH DAY (THREE ARTICLES) We must next consider the work of adornment. Therefore the sun and the moon alone are not correctly described as the “two great lights. such matters as belong to the seventh day. before there was any day. that of the fifth day. The luminaries. plants are an effect of the sun. For the heavenly luminaries are by nature incorruptible bodies: wherefore their matter cannot exist without their form. In the first place. cause precedes effect in the order of nature. Under the first head there are three points of inquiry: (1) As to the production of the lights. there are many stars larger than the moon. should have been produced at the same time as the firmament. moon. received its form. But light was made on the first day. that the lights were not produced on the fourth day. It follows. secondly as to all seven days in general. For.” thereby indicating that the work was threefold.” On the contrary. (2) As to the end of their production. we consider the work of the fourth day. Scripture says (Gn. that of the sixth day. that is to say. Now. Objection 5: Further. 2:1): “So the heavens and the earth were finished and all the furniture of them. as it were. on the second day.” But plants are described as produced when the earth.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 70 [<< | >>] OF THE WORK OF ADORNMENT. therefore. thirdly. the lights are fixed in the firmament. In recapitulating the Divine works. the Scripture says: “He set them in the firmament. Objection 4: Further. first as to each day by itself. then. the luminaries are. (3) Whether they are living beings? Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 70 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether the lights ought to have been produced on the fourth day? Objection 1: It would seem that the lights ought not to have been produced on the fourth day. Objection 3: Further. therefore. then. Suffices the authority of Scripture. ought not to have been produced on the fourth day. to which they are attached. so therefore were their forms. secondly. I answer that. therefore. vessels of light. But as their matter was produced in the work of creation. and other heavenly bodies. should have been made on the first day.

To these two works is added the work of adornment.In the first work. namely. ad lit. the earth was divided into sea and dry land. the water. Nor is there any difficulty in the opinion of those who hold the heavenly bodies to be of the nature of the four elements. as animals and plants were formed. that three things are recorded as created. so that heaven was formed on the first day. as separating one from another. are produced the lights. v. to make beautiful the intermediate element. on the second day the waters were separated. so the work of adornment is set forth by the production of things having movement in the heavens. and on the third day. on the second day. In the second. the answer must be that the lights were substantially created at 85 . of heaven and water and earth”]. in clothing or such like. and the earth [Literally. namely. It must also here be noted that Augustine’s opinion ( Gen. So also is it in the work of adornment. however. while on the third day. who hold the heavenly bodies to be of another nature from the elements. but the adornment. and these three received their form from the three days’ work of distinction. and his adornment. to move upon the earth and adorn it. to adorn the heaven by their movements. For the perfection of the heaven and the earth regards. For those. for he does not hold a succession of time in these works. which is the fourth of creation. and not merely virtually. the heaven.” the heaven and the earth were produced. Wherefore Scripture does not say: “Let the firmament produce lights. which are here taken as one. which is distinct from perfect[ion]. and so there was no need for the matter of the lights to exist under another form. for the firmament has not the power of producing lights.” Reply to Objection 1: In Augustine’s opinion there is no difficulty here. 5) on the production of lights is not at variance with that of other holy writers. just as the perfection of a man lies in his proper parts and forms. as the earth has of producing plants. on the first day of this work. Article [1]). Now just as distinction of certain things is made most evident by their local movement. but as yet without form. that of “creation.” the heaven and the earth were perfected. those that are extrinsic. 11). seemingly. mention is made of three things in creation. which is the fifth. as other holy writers suppose. But it has been stated above (Question [69]. “Now as was stated above. ii.” though it says: “Let the earth bring forth the green herb. for they move in air and water. and upon the earth. for it may be said that they were formed out of matter already existing. ad lit. or work of “distinction. and naturally incorruptible. either by adding substantial form to formless matter. which is the sixth. since he says that they were made actually. those things that belong to them intrinsically. as Augustine holds ( Gen. animals are brought forth. or by giving them the order and beauty due to them. birds and fishes are called into being.

Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 70 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether the cause assigned for the production of the lights is reasonable? Objection 1: It would seem that the cause assigned for the production of the lights is not 86 . ii.). For though the stars be of greater bulk than the moon. and in reality have no other movement but that of the spheres. iv) says that the sun’s light which previously was without form. by the fact that they were not from the beginning. but a determination of power. Although as Chrysostom remarks (Hom. 43). Article [4]. For although to the senses there appears but one firmament. out of condescension to popular ignorance. v in Hexaem. vi in Gen. those of the moon another.) explains this by the need of guarding the people from the danger of idolatry: since the lights are proved not to be gods. as the husbandman cooperates by his labor. to prevent idolatry. If. 43). Reply to Objection 5: As Chrysostom says. text. the testimony of which Moses follows. as we have already said (Question [67]. and that on the fourth day the lights received a definite power to produce determinate effects. Nom. since those who believe the heavenly bodies to be gods. if we admit a higher and a lower firmament. In the opinion of Aristotle. was formed on the fourth day. at first formless. is formed on this day. hold that plants originate primarily from these bodies. to be there. the sun. but because He bade them to be there. But Moses describes what is obvious to sense. ii. then it must be held to have been produced on that day merely as light in general. however. but only as made on the fourth day. moon. Reply to Objection 3: According to Ptolemy the heavenly luminaries are not fixed in the spheres. the light made on the first day is understood to be itself corporeal. falls to the ground if we regard the firmament made on the second day as having a natural distinction from that in which the stars are placed. even as He placed man in Paradise. the lower will be that which was made on the second day. however. but have their own movement distinct from the movement of the spheres. speaking of such a determination of power. the two lights are called great. even though the distinction is not apparent to the senses. and so forth. vi in Gen. Wherefore Chrysostom says ( Hom. Moreover.) that He is said to have set them in the firmament. not because He fixed them there immovably. as stated above (De Coel. by receiving not its substantial form. and stars cooperate in the work of production by their movements. but that their substance. vi in Gen. text.the beginning. Reply to Objection 2: No difficulty exists if we follow Augustine in holding the light made on the first day to be spiritual. Article [3]). Chrysostom (Hom. The objection. not so much with regard to their dimensions as to their influence and power. as far as the senses are concerned.). and on the fourth the stars were fixed in the higher firmament. and yet our senses perceive the movement of the luminaries and not that of the spheres (De Coel. Dionysius (Div. and that made on this day to be corporeal. Question [68]. its apparent size is greater. As to the fact that the lights are not mentioned as existing from the beginning. Thus we observe that the rays of the sun have one effect. however. Reply to Objection 4: In the words of Basil ( Hom. Hence. plants were recorded as produced before the sun and moon. yet the influence of the moon is more perceptible to the senses in this lower world. the stars are fixed in their orbits.

I answer that. the lights are of service to man. But the lights are nobler than the earth. or for the whole universe.” But such it probably did when first made.” On the contrary. Reply to Objection 2: We are sometimes brought to the knowledge of hidden effects through their sensible causes. in order to distinguish them. and years. was not made “to rule the night. as regards the changes of the seasons. in so far as the lights are set in the heavens to indicate fair or foul weather. 4:19): “Lest perhaps lifting up thy eyes to heaven. In reference to this he says: “Let them be for seasons. and conversely. but not of those changes which depend upon the free-will. Therefore they are not signs. which the Lord thy God created for the service of all nations.” Thirdly. is touched upon by Moses. in regard to sight. and for days. all of which things could not be secured if it were always summer or winter. Suffices the authority of Scripture. preserve health. Hence it is written (Dt. Reply to Objection 3: The general division of time into day and night took place on the first day.” Therefore the heavenly lights were not made to be signs. In reference to this he says: “Let them shine in the firmament and give life to the earth. First. and being deceived by error thou adore and serve them.” Reply to Objection 1: The lights in the heaven are set for signs of changes effected in corporeal creatures.” Now. Of these reasons only that which points out the usefulness of these things to man. Objection 2: Further. and days. which is common to the whole heaven and 87 . Therefore the lights were not made “for seasons. which the heathens fear. or for other creatures. and years. The moon. thou see the sun and the moon and all the stars of heaven. sign is contradistinguished from cause. or for the glory of God. Objection 3: Further. For it is said (Jer. for men begin to count from the new moon. as regards the diurnal movement. as regards the convenience of business and work. iii). As we have said above (Question [65]. which directs him in his works.” rather than “causes. And in this respect he says: “Let them be for signs.” Objection 5: Further. as favorable to various occupations. the distinction of seasons and days began from the first day. the new moon cannot be said “to rule the night. 10:2): “Be not afraid of the signs of heaven. and provide for the necessities of food.” that is. Hence nothing prevents a sensible cause from being a sign. and is most useful for perceiving objects. Objection 4: Further. Therefore they were not made “to enlighten it. a corporeal creature can be considered as made either for the sake of its proper act. But the lights are the cause of what takes place upon the earth. therefore. which prevent weariness. “since the end is better than the means” (Topic.reasonable. Article [2]).” to guard against idolatry. nothing is made for the sake of that which is inferior to itself. in order to withdraw his people from idolatry.” Secondly. he explains this service at the beginning of Genesis as threefold. But he says “signs.

8): and natural movement is from an intrinsic principle. but as ordained to the good of the universe. the nobler must be its form. as pertaining to its adornment. But only beings that are living move 88 . and is moved as the desirer is moved by the object desired (Metaph. of all things that are endowed with movement the first moves itself. with fish. for he says that it is not unfitting that God made things imperfect. seemingly. text. moon. as also were animals and man himself. have the heavenly bodies a living soul. according as one day is hotter than another. as is especially evidenced in the case of animals generated from putrefaction. Now the principle of movement in the heavenly bodies is a substance capable of apprehension. one season than another. But the sun. 34. what is such of itself precedes that which is by another. Now the noblest of all forms is the soul. therefore. 36). and thus it rules the night. But a body less noble than the heaven. the apprehending principle is intrinsic to the heavenly bodies: and consequently they are living beings.may be understood to have begun on that first day. birds. Objection 4: Further. text. and it was probably made in its full perfection as were plants yielding seed. is nobler than the heavenly bodies. the nobler a body is. and stars are nobler bodies than plants or animals. xii. Augustine. viii. Objection 5: Further. i. ii). But the particular distinctions of days and seasons and years. Reply to Objection 5: When the moon is at its perfection it rises in the evening and sets in the morning. and the beasts of the field. considered not in itself. Nor is it untrue to say that a higher creature may be made for the sake of a lower. and must therefore have nobler forms. 7. yet the perfect must exist simply before the imperfect. ad lit. does not say this. the first of movables is the heaven. by reason of his soul. should be living beings also. are due to certain particular movements of the stars: which movements may have had their beginning on the fourth day. Therefore. because. are living beings. Reply to Objection 4: Light was given to the earth for the service of man. which He afterwards perfected. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 70 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether the lights of heaven are living beings? Objection 1: It would seem that the lights of heaven are living beings. Objection 3: Further. a cause is nobler than its effect.” The lights of heaven. is adorned with living beings. the more nobly it should be adorned. Objection 2: Further. therefore. Hence Augustine (De Vera Relig. which receive life from the power of the sun and stars. as is proved in Phys. For although the perfect is developed from the imperfect by natural processes. the movement of the heaven and the heavenly bodies are natural (De Coel. however (Gen. and one year than another. Now. Much more. For the nobler a body is. Therefore the lights of heaven. moon. who. and stars are a cause of life. text. as being the first principle of life. But the sun. xxix) says: “Every living substance stands higher in the order of nature than one that has not life.

Damascene says (De Fide Orth. except to supply phantasms through the senses. The Platonists explain 89 . Moreover. for example. then. possible that the functions of nutrition. which does not act through the body. that of the operations of the soul the only ones left to be attributed to the heavenly bodies are those of understanding and moving. surveying all places round about. 42. This. for appetite follows both sensitive and intellectual perception. “The spirit goeth forward. however. for the form does not exist for the matter. goes on to show the nature of the union between these two parts. makes use of the phantasms derived from the bodily senses. ad lit. which is to a certain extent its end. Now the nature and power of the soul are apprehended through its operation.themselves. 27). he says. whereas the nature of the heavenly bodies is not elemental. as we have seen. Accordingly. but by contact of power. and the latter seems to explain in that sense the words (Eccles. Therefore the heavenly bodies are living beings. to their production. iii. in order to move the heavenly body. if one is a body and the other not. as it were.” I answer that. need be united to the latter as its form. though the body ministers.” But Basil (Hom. through which the nutritive soul operates. but the matter for the form. growth. the operations of the sensitive soul. is effected by contact which is mutual if both are bodies. without committing himself to either theory. do not need a body as their instrument. since all the senses depend on the sense of touch. the moving and the moved. and neither a god nor even a living being. operations of the soul. Nor was there less diversity of opinion among the Doctors of the Church. as a mover is united to that which he moves. which are not exercised through the medium of the body. But the operations of the intellect. ii) maintain that the heavenly bodies are inanimate. our body is a necessary instrument. their souls must be akin to the angelic nature (Gen. where such diversity of opinion exists. Augustine leaves the matter in doubt. 1:6). “Let no one esteem the heavens or the heavenly bodies to be living things. viii. only to consider whether the movement of the heavenly bodies demands a soul as the motive power. and thus far is dependent on the body. not that the soul. “was condemned by the Athenians for teaching that the sun was a fiery mass of stone. the union of a soul to a heavenly body cannot be for the purpose of the operations of the intellect.) and Damascene (De Fide Orth. which perceives elemental qualities. Hence it is clear that the sensitive and nutritive souls must be united to a body in order to exercise their functions. cannot be attributed to the heavenly bodies. ii). vi in Hexaem. It follows. Yet for some of these operations. as sensation and nutrition. though he goes so far as to say that if the heavenly bodies are really living beings. on the part of one only. and generation. It was the belief of Origen (Peri Archon i) and Jerome that these bodies were alive.” On the other hand. Philosophers have differed on this question. ii. It is not. the Platonists held that the heavenly bodies have life. and is in proportion thereto. Anaxagoras. after showing that the first mover is made up of two parts. On the contrary. Dei xviii. Equally impossible is it that the functions of the sensitive soul can appertain to the heavenly body. for they have neither life nor sense. text. It remains. and all the organs of the senses require a certain proportion in the admixture of elements. for instance. as is shown in the same book (text. then. however.43). There are. for such operations are incompatible with a body naturally incorruptible. we shall do well to bear in mind that the union of soul and body exists for the sake of the soul and not of the body. as Augustine mentions (De Civ. Wherefore Aristotle (Phys. 41). can be exercised by the heavenly bodies. The intellect. 18. Enchiridion lviii). In examining the truth of this question. although capable of existing apart from it.

It will also be seen that the difference of opinion between those who affirm. the principle that moves it may be called intrinsic. as the form. 4). not on account of their active principle. it is of the nature of an instrument. and in this way the heavenly luminaries agree with others that conduce to that adornment.the union of soul and body in the same way. Augustine appears to be of the same opinion when he expresses his belief that all corporeal things are ruled by God through the spirit of life (De Trin. and not. just as we say that voluntary movement is natural to the animal as animal (Phys. it can only be equivocally. Reply to Objection 2: One being may be nobler than another absolutely. lies in the fact that whereas nature moves to one fixed end which having attained. and since Plato holds the heavenly bodies to be living beings. Hence it follows that they are moved by some intellectual substances. but by contact with the motive power. and consequently its movement natural with respect to that active principle. and those who deny. but on account of their passive principle. whereas a soul does not do this. since their form perfects their matter entirely. like bodies of specific gravity. it is not conceded that the souls of heavenly bodies are nobler than the souls of animals absolutely it must be conceded that they are superior to them with regard to their respective forms. While. this does not appear in the movement of heavenly bodies. this means nothing else but that substances of spiritual nature are united to them. for they are moved by a living substance. So far. by nature. it is clear that the heavenly bodies are not living beings in the same sense as plants and animals. it rests. then. iii. 27). that these bodies have life. is not a difference of things but of words. which is not in potentiality to other forms. and that if they are called so. Also as regards movement the power that moves the heavenly bodies is of a nobler kind. which acts in virtue of the agent: and therefore since this agent is a living substance the heavenly body can impart life in virtue of that agent. Reply to Objection 5: The heaven is said to move itself in as far as it is compounded of mover and moved. as the matter. viii. then. but not in a particular respect. then. § 90 . from a certain natural aptitude for being moved by an intelligent power. as a contact of a moving power with the object moved. Reply to Objection 1: Certain things belong to the adornment of the universe by reason of their proper movement. with the moved. and act as their moving power. that is to say. From what has been said. A proof that the heavenly bodies are moved by the direct influence and contact of some spiritual substance. as we have said. Reply to Objection 3: Since the heavenly body is a mover moved. not by the union of the mover. text. Reply to Objection 4: The movements of the heavenly bodies are natural.

Objection 1: It would seem that this work is not fittingly described. which is the fifth. It must. however. whereas birds and fishes bring forth eggs. fishes and birds are not produced from water only. not all fishes creep through the waters. Therefore the production of fishes is not sufficiently described by the words. Objection 2: Further. for some. the order of the work of adornment corresponds to the order of the work of distinction. Article [1]).” do not fittingly describe this work. 91 . On the contrary. and birds in the air. so in the three days of the work of adornment. “Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life. have feet and walk on land. As said above. Objection 4: Further. to show that the fourth day corresponds to the first day on which he had said that the light was made. and generation of a higher order. For they bring forth living beings. day is devoted to the work of distinction of water. But the power of water does not suffice for the production of every kind of fishes and birds since we find that many of them are generated from seed. I answer that. land animals are more perfect than birds and fishes which appears from the fact that they have more distinct limbs. If. be observed that Augustine differs from other writers in his opinion about the production of fishes and birds. Therefore the words. For while others say that fishes and birds were produced on the fifth day actually. and not from the waters.” Objection 5: Further. fishes move in the waters. is assigned to the adornment of the intermediate body. fittingly that fishes and birds are produced from water. so on this fifth day he mentions the waters and the firmament of heaven to show that the fifth day corresponds to the second. he holds that the nature of the waters produced them on that day potentially. which is the intermediate body. before land animals. (Question [70]. and the fowl that may fly over the earth. but earth seems to predominate over water in their composition. then.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 71 [<< | >>] ON THE WORK OF THE FIFTH DAY (ONE ARTICLE) We must next consider the work of the fifth day. But the more perfect has precedence in the order of nature. as seals. Objection 3: Further. As. Therefore fishes and birds ought not to have been produced on the fifth day. the middle. as among the three days assigned to the work of distinction. as he differs about the production of plants. Suffices the authority of Scripture. fishes are produced from the waters. It is not. Moses makes mention of the lights and the light on the fourth day. Hence. then. as is shown by the fact that their bodies tend naturally to the earth and rest upon it. For the waters produce that which the power of water suffices to produce. then. the middle day. “Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life. birds ought to be produced from the air. or second. by the production of birds and fishes.

namely. is either some element. “Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life. Not as though the power possessed by water or earth of producing all animals resides in the earth and the water themselves. and consequently. But at the first beginning of the world the active principle was the Word of God. But in order to include among fishes all such intermediate forms as have special characters like to theirs. is not enumerated by itself. however. as some holy writers say. Reply to Objection 3: The air. because the lower region of the air is thickened by watery exhalations. as Augustine teaches. and they are reckoned as belonging to that class to which they are most allied. rather than to the superiority of the animals themselves. having something in common with both. rather to be said that in the natural generation of all animals that are generated from seed. This. or something compounded of the elements. the active principle lies in the formative power of the seed. must be the most abundant in quantity in order that the mingling may be duly tempered in the body of the animal. but with other things: partly with the water. Hence the production of birds is ascribed to the water. through the characters possessed in common with that class. since the element that is least active. the words. Reply to Objection 5: The order in which the production of these animals is given has reference to the order of those bodies which they are set to adorn. 92 . the earth.” are followed by these: “God created great whales. But birds move in the lower part of the air. which produced animals from material elements. seems repugnant to the fact that nature produces its effects by determinate means. thus they have some special affinity with the bodies in which they move. the formative power of is the influence of the heavenly bodies. but that in the case of animals generated from putrefaction. in generation also the more perfect is reached through the less perfect. and hence the words in which their generation is described. it will be evident that the earthly element must predominate. or virtually. Reply to Objection 2: The bodies of birds and fishes may be considered from two points of view. Reply to Objection 4: Nature passes from one extreme to another through the medium. Moreover. without any kind of seed.Reply to Objection 1: It was laid down by Avicenna that animals of all kinds can be generated by various minglings of the elements. then. and so are said to fly “beneath the firmament. as Avicenna held. in the generation of either kind of animals. If considered in themselves. either in act. but in the power originally given to the elements of producing them from elemental matter by the power of seed or the influence of the stars. and naturally. however. those things that are naturally generated from seed cannot be generated naturally in any other way. But if considered as by nature constituted to move with certain specific motions. as not being so apparent to the senses. partly with the heaven as to the higher region.” etc. rather than with the other.” even if the firmament be taken to mean the region of clouds. It ought. and therefore there are creatures of intermediate type between the animals of the air and those of the water. The material principle.

with much more reason. and injurious to man. namely. and other holy writers that it was actual. Suffices the authority of Scripture. land animals are more like man. Objection 3: Further. and hence. but only their generation is mentioned.” Objection 4: Further. as Basil says (Hom. (yet some 93 . as animals belong to a determinate genus and species. since He is the Author of good. certain animals are poisonous. For the powers of nutrition and growth are subordinate to the generative life. Therefore quadrupeds ought not to be enumerated as a class with beasts and cattle. But amongst animals.) and Augustine rejects (Gen. is adorned by the production of land animals. corresponds to the third day. Objection 6: Further. ad lit. whereas it is said “according to its genus” and “in its species. v) that the production was potential.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 72 [<< | >>] ON THE WORK OF THE SIXTH DAY (ONE ARTICLE) We must now consider the work of the sixth day. as Basil upholds (Hom. is very imperfect and difficult to discern. Objection 1: It would seem that this work is not fittingly described. the water. But corruption is repugnant to the first founding of the world. Hence the earth is mentioned in both places. viii in Hexaem. is adorned. But these animals are not themselves living souls. which is a kind of corruption. whom God is recorded to have blessed. But as birds and fishes are said to be blessed. I answer that. so the sixth day. and thus that day corresponds to the second day. For as birds and fishes have a living soul.). Therefore such animals ought not to have been made by God at all. of the other animals as well. or the earth. Reply to Objection 1: The different grades of life which are found in different living creatures can be discovered from the various ways in which Scripture speaks of them.” Objection 2: Further. As on the fifth day the intermediate body. so also does man. so also have land animals. On the contrary. more perfect than birds and fishes. since only in generation is a vital act observed in them. ad lit. But in the making of man nothing is said of his genus and species. and therefore nothing ought to have been said about them in the production of other animals. on which the lowest body. nothing is said of their life. Objection 5: Further. generally speaking. but because their limbs are more distinct and their generation of a higher order. certain animals are generated from putrefaction. The life of plants. Therefore such animals should not have been produced at that time. a genus ought not to be opposed to its species. Therefore the words. not because the fish is devoid of memory. than are birds and fishes. iii). And here again Augustine says (Gen. “Let the earth bring forth the living four-footed creatures. viii in Hexaem. in speaking of their production. But beasts and cattle are quadrupeds.” should rather have been. as will be shown later on (Question [78]. those that live on land are. But there ought to have been nothing injurious to man before man sinned. for instance. Article [2]). “Let the earth bring forth the living creature. this should have been said. or at least not until man had sinned.

does not call fishes “living creatures. but immediately by God. therefore. and which. since they experience neither desire of propagation. iii. For though not required for the furnishing of our house. Reply to Objection 6: In the words of Augustine (Super. and to prevent anyone from saying that there was any sin whatever in the act of begetting children. and in plants. Or perhaps the word “quadruped” is used first as being the genus. The blessing. are. Manich. since in him generation of children has a special relation to the number of the elect [*Cf. Gen. Gen. may have been generated then. he is under the impression that many of the things there are hurtful. it was not incompatible with the first formation of things. to signify their remoteness from the Divine image and likeness. they are deemed unworthy of a formal blessing. Reply to Objection 2: By “cattle. by earth or water. whilst land animals. seem to fall under none of these classes. and seems to imply that fishes are merely bodies having in them something of a soul.” but “creeping creatures having life”. whereas the craftsman. if he is a foolish fellow. are more intelligent in certain ways). laughs at his folly. Moreover. i): “If an unskilled person enters the workshop of an artificer he sees in it many appliances of which he does not understand the use. living souls with bodies subject to them. But the life of man. As to plants. But it was unnecessary to do so in the case of man. nor sensation in generating. which in any way are of service to man: but by “beasts.” And. Reply to Objection 5: Since the generation of one thing is the corruption of another. however. Reply to Objection 3: In other animals. and. or those whose feet are too short to life them far from the ground. But since certain animals. to denote the generation of like from like. And thus some people presume to find fault with many things in this world. whereas it does call land animals “living creatures” on account of their more perfect life. from the higher perfection of their life.imperfect animals. or wound himself with a sharp-edged tool. could be understood of the beasts of the earth. having been mentioned in the preceding account of the making of birds and fishes. poisonous animals would not have injured him. that from the corruption of the less perfect the more perfect should be generated. as serpents. ad lit. mention is made of genus and species. as being the most perfect grade. Scripture. as it were. is repeated in the case of man. are four-footed. as deer and goats. But those generated from corruption of animals could not have been produced then otherwise than potentially. the word “quadrupeds” is added. Hence animals generated from the corruption of inanimate things. By “creeping things” those animals are meant which either have no feet and cannot rise from the earth. to which the others are added as species. he considers unnecessary. is not said to be produced. such as lizards and tortoises. like the life of other animals. should he carelessly fall into the fire. such as bees and ants.” domestic animals are signified. as the lizard and tortoise. knowing their use. 94 . as what had already been said of other creatures might be understood of him. without requiring to be repeated. through not seeing the reasons for their existence. or of plants. these things are necessary for the perfection of the universe. animals and plants may be said to be produced according to their kinds. for even some reptiles. Augustine.” wild animals such as bears and lions are designated. 12]. contr.” Reply to Objection 4: The blessing of God gives power to multiply by generation. whereas man is said to be made “to the image and likeness of God. Again. since man before he sinned would have used the things of this world conformably to the order designed.

13:39.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 73 [<< | >>] ON THE THINGS THAT BELONG TO THE SEVENTH DAY (THREE ARTICLES) We must next consider the things that belong to the seventh day. and work new miracles. Under this head there are three points of inquiry: (1) About the completion of the works. 4:4). “It is consummated” (Jn. which form results from the whole having its parts complete. cried out. And Christ Himself. 19:30). For all things that are done in this world belong to the Divine works. and this perfection is the form of the whole. It is said (Gn. Objection 3: Further. of which it is said ( Jer. Hence the completion of the Divine works does not belong to the seventh day. wherefore it is called “the time of fulness [*Vulg.” Therefore the completion of the Divine works ought not to be attributed to the seventh day. which is either an operation. especially in the case of animals generated from putrefaction. the first perfection and the second perfection. of which it is said (Eccles. 2:2): “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made. 31:22): “The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth.” Miracles also are new works. or something that is attained by an operation. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 73 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether the completion of the Divine works ought to be ascribed to the seventh day? Objection 1: It would seem that the completion of the Divine works ought not to be ascribed to the seventh day. unless they are merely superfluous. 36:6): “Renew thy signs. The ‘first’ perfection is that according to which a thing is substantially perfect. Again. (2) About the resting of God. the time of Christ’s Incarnation is a time of completion. nothing is said to be complete to which many things are added. Moreover. as the end of the builder is the house that he makes by building. Objection 2: Further. as the end of the harpist is to play the harp. Therefore the completion of the works does not belong to the seventh day. and even of certain new species that are frequently appearing. for a thing is called perfect to which nothing is wanting that it ought to possess.: ‘the fulness of time’]” (Gal. according to Apoc.” I answer that. But the consummation of the world will be at the end of the world (Mt. but rather that He rested from all His work. But we do not read that God acted at all on the seventh day. the completion of a work is an act in itself. (3) About the blessing and sanctifying of this day. But the ‘second’ perfection is the end. The perfection of a thing is twofold. But many things were made after the seventh day. at the moment of His death. Also. God creates daily new souls.” Moreover. as the production of many individual beings.40). the work of the Incarnation was a new work. all things will be made new when the Saints are glorified. 21:5: “And He that sat on the throne said: Behold I make all things new. On the contrary. But the first perfection is the cause of 95 .

existed beforehand in various active powers. though according to another it is assigned to the sixth.the second. in the works of the six days. 2:7). according to our version of the Scripture. Either version. but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the work of the six days. however. Reply to Objection 2: God did act on the seventh day. the glory that is spiritual was anticipated in the angels by way of similitude. in Christ’s Incarnation the consummation of grace. Reply to Objection 1: The first perfection is the cause of the second.” And again. and I work. “My Father worketh until now. So that. by the fact that He ceased making them on the seventh day. and the first perfection is the completeness of the universe at its first founding. may stand. which is the end of the whole universe. movement cannot be called completed till it comes to rest. is the perfect beatitude of the Saints at the consummation of the world. Now God might have made many other creatures besides those which He made in the six days. as said above. For. and that of the body in the heaven. and hence. so that animals. Some things. if any such appear. Now the final perfection. then. but even these existed previously in their causes. since the completion of the universe as to the completeness of its parts belongs to the sixth day. nature and grace. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn. The Son of God “was made in the likeness of men. also. that are new. whilst others existed not only in matter but also in their causes. as above said. 1:17). because the form is the principle of operation. and at the end of the world will be the consummation of glory. as the rib from the side of Adam out of which God formed Eve. for rest denotes consummation of movement. but its completion as regards their operation. 5:17). as to nature. the perfection of beatitude will be at the end of the world. 1:10). the completion of the works is attributed to the seventh day. especially the empyrean. did not rest on the seventh day from all His work. and thus He made some beginning of the “second” perfection. Species. Hence it is written (Eccles. as to grace. It may also be added that in continuous movement. had a previous existence materially. Reply to Objection 3: Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God. then. for it hath already gone before.” Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 73 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether God rested on the seventh day from all His work? Objection 1: It would seem that God did not rest on the seventh day from all His work. “Nothing under the sun is new.” God. for as we read (Phil. as the mule is the offspring of an ass and a mare. and perhaps even new species of animals. as the souls now created. as those individual creatures that are now generated existed in the first of their kind. But this consummation existed previously in its causes. on the seventh day was the consummation of nature. and this is what is ascribed to the seventh day. to the seventh. in the Incarnation of Christ. in the ages that were before us. For it is said (Jn. 96 . Therefore. indeed. animals of new kinds arise occasionally from the connection of individuals belonging to different species. So. And the work of the Incarnation itself was thus foreshadowed. but by directing and moving His creatures to the work proper to them. at the first founding of the world. Now for the attaining of beatitude two things are required. so long as any movement further is possible. not by creating new creatures. are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning. He is said on that day to have consummated His work. Some also existed beforehand by way of similitude. Again.

ii). secondly. in the first works. the desire that tends to an object outside itself. unreasonable to say that God rested in giving rest to us. It is said (Gn. the satisfying of desire. as He suffices for Himself and fulfils His own desire. properly speaking. On the other hand. is that rest which belongs to the seventh day. for. in one sense meaning a cessation from work. is a quality of bodies. strictly speaking. Therefore the resting of God cannot be explained as His making man to rest. in some degree. He makes us find rest in Himself. Nom. as though needing them for His own happiness. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 73 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether blessing and sanctifying are due to the seventh day? Objection 1: It would seem that blessing and sanctifying are not due to the seventh day. Rest is. First. as Dionysius says (Div. as God produced His work without movement and without labor. in either sense God is said to have rested on the seventh day. rest is opposed to movement. as said above (Article [1]. because He ceased from creating new creatures on that day. Hence rest is taken in two senses. because He Himself had no need of the things that He had made. He cannot be said to have rested on the seventh day from His work. On the one hand.Objection 2: Further. is said to move towards it. is the meaning of God’s resting from His works on that day (Gen. but to the production of new creatures.” I answer that. this explanation must not be set down as the only one. iv). and the other is the first and principal explanation. when all things were made He is not said to have rested “in” His works. Reply to Objection 3: Even as God rests in Himself alone and is happy in the enjoyment of Himself. both from His works and our own. But although movement. but to have rested “from” them. every operation may be called a movement. against this it may be argued that rest is set down in contradistinction to His work. which movement causes. in communicating itself to that object. It is not. then. so our own sole happiness lies in the enjoyment of God. Hence. But. should it be said that God rested on the seventh day by causing man to rest. And even though from all eternity He rested in Himself. Reply to Objection 2: Rest is here not opposed to labor or to movement. in the other. and to the desire tending to an external object. opposed to movement. or to labor. and consequently to the labor that arises from movement. Now. also. For 97 . which He took after He had finished His works. 2:2): “God rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. Reply to Objection 1: God indeed “worketh until now” by preserving and providing for the creatures He has made. and in a twofold sense. now the words “God created” or “made” this thing or the other cannot be explained to mean that He made man create or make these things. Thus. yet the word is applied also to spiritual things. On the contrary. He made nothing afterwards that had not existed previously. Still. says Augustine. but was happy in the fruition of Himself. as in fact resting in Himself. ad lit. but not by the making of new ones. Objection 3: Further. ad 3). and thus the Divine goodness is said to move and go forth to its object. And this. yet the rest in Himself.

as Dionysius says (Div. iv). First. as upon each work it was said. For this reason things dedicated to God are said to be sanctified. and by their resting in God.” I answer that.it is usual to call a time blessed or holy for that some good thing has happened in it. § 98 . Nom. 2:3). a blessing befits the seventh day. But whether God works or ceases from work nothing accrues to Him or is lost to Him. since the special sanctification of every creature consists in resting in God. But it is the nature of good to spread and communicate itself. It is written (Gn. Therefore no special blessing or sanctifying are due to the seventh day. or be taken from Him. but after being thus produced. because in it He had rested from all His work. it is right that the seventh day should have been sanctified. but the blessing attached to the seventh day. Objection 3: Further. “God saw that it was good. ad 4). “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. as we explained (Question [72]. over each creature a blessing was pronounced. but because something is added to creatures by their multiplying. The days. And according to the second meaning. for which reason God said to the creatures which He blessed: “Increase and multiply. they are multiplied and preserved. the seventh day should be blessed. though He still preserves and provides for the creatures He has made. Reply to Objection 1: The seventh day is said to be sanctified not because anything can accrue to God. and we may find ours in its fruition.” Therefore it was not necessary that after all had been produced. God’s rest on the seventh day is understood in two ways. in which God produced creatures deserved a blessing rather than the day on which He ceased producing them. Reply to Objection 2: In the first six days creatures were produced in their first causes. On the contrary. or some evil been avoided.” Now. and this work also belongs to the Divine goodness. this increase is effected through God’s Providence over His creatures. Reply to Objection 3: The good mentioned in the works of each day belongs to the first institution of nature. And the perfection of this goodness is made most clear by the knowledge that in it alone God finds His own rest. As said above (Article [2]). the Latin “benedictio” [blessing] is derived from “bonitas” [goodness]. securing the generation of like from like. in that after all His works He rested in Himself. to its propagation. then. the blessing referred to the increase by multiplication. therefore. in that He ceased from producing new works. since. Objection 2: Further. Secondly. According to the first meaning.

Thus the Pythagoreans teach that perfection consists in three things. fish differ from birds as much as birds differ from the beasts of the earth. according to some holy writers. and another to that of the beasts of the earth. by the beings that inhabit it. I answer that. or middle part. Article [1]). Therefore. The first part. these parts being the heaven. air and fire are nobler elements than earth and water. stands to the luminaries in the relation of accident to subject. the middle. (2) Whether they are all one day. Another day. Light. or the lowest part. the water. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 74 [<< | >>] Article: 1 [<< | >>] Whether these days are sufficiently enumerated? Objection 1: It would seem that these days are not sufficiently enumerated. But separate days are assigned to distinction and to adornment. ought to be assigned to the production of birds and another to that of man. or highest part. therefore. for instance. and another to the distinction of the land. and then each part adorned and filled. Objection 4: Further. But one day is assigned to the distinction of water. namely. For the work of creation is no less distinct from the works of distinction and adornment than these two works are from one another. that day ought not to be enumerated with the others. then. But one day is devoted to the production of fishes. Now the parts into which the corporeal creation is divided are three. ought not to have been produced on different days. and the earth. is distinguished on the first day. Objection 2: Further. it would seem. Objection 5: Further. these days are devoted to the first instituting of the world. whereas man differs more from other animals than all animals whatsoever differ from each other. But as on the seventh day nothing was instituted. then. and the end. or more than one? (3) As to certain modes of speaking which Scripture uses in narrating the works of the six days. and therefore separate days should be assigned to creation. the beginning. Objection 3: Further.Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 74 [<< | >>] ON ALL THE SEVEN DAYS IN COMMON (THREE ARTICLES) We next consider all the seven days in common: and there are three points of inquiry: (1) As to the sufficiency of these days. The light and the luminaries. as it were. and adorned on the 99 . on the other hand. that some of these days are superfluous. that the parts of the world had first to be distinguished. The reason of the distinction of these days is made clear by what has been said above (Question [70]. other days ought to be devoted to the distinction of fire and air. But the subject is produced at the same time as the accident proper to it.

the middle part distinguished on the middle day. But Augustine. Thus. as Augustine says (Gen. after all that has been recorded that is assigned to the six days. It may also be said. therefore. in that nothing new was to be added to it. was made on the first day. or water. for. and that therefore the seventh day is mentioned after the six. as he himself says (Confess. that the world entered on the seventh day upon a new state. For this reason. Reply to Objection 3: The production of animals is recorded with reference to their adorning the various parts of the world. ad lit. two to that of corporeal creatures. Reply to Objection 4: The nature of light. as said above (Question [70]. two. Reply to Objection 1: According to Augustine. then. since one day is assigned to the forming of spiritual creatures. every work of distinction and adornment is said to take place “in a day. differs as to the first three. xii. but reckoned with the intermediate part. to which the higher region of air approaches.” but creation “in the beginning” which denotes something indivisible. while agreeing with the above writers as to the last three days. following other holy writers. 15). Reply to Objection 2: Fire and air. are not expressly named by Moses among the parts of the world.fourth. that on it God rested in Himself from His works: and for this reason it was right that the seventh day should be mentioned after the six. one. and the lower on the second. with the other writers. three. 13). Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 74 [<< | >>] Article: 2 [<< | >>] Whether all these days are one day? 100 . or different parts. the higher bodies being formed on the first these two days. and the making of the luminaries on the fourth day does not mean that their substance was produced anew. as existing in a subject. and of the formless spiritual nature. spiritual creatures are formed on the first day. Article [1] ad 2). then. ii. that the works of distinction and adornment imply certain changes in the creature which are measurable by time. Thus. especially as regards the lowest part of the air. from its being devoted to cessation from work. the perfection of the Divine works corresponds to the perfection of the number six. according to him. but that they then received a form that they had not before. ad lit. or with the heaven. and adorned on the sixth. which is the sum of its aliquot parts. whereas the work of creation lies only in the Divine act producing the substance of beings instantaneously. 12). and corporeal on the two others. and the third part distinguished on the third day. and adorned on the fifth. both of which are outside of time. as not distinctly known by the unlettered. iv. the creation of either is set down before there was any day. something distinct is attributed to the seventh–namely. and three to the work of adornment. Reply to Objection 5: According to Augustine (Gen. and therefore the days of their production are separated or united according as the animals adorn the same parts of the world. the work of creation belongs to the production of formless matter. But it may also be said.

when they were created. then.” But this would not be the case if the days of these works were more than one. however. . . . inasmuch as God wrought nothing in the universe without impressing the knowledge thereof on the angelic mind. If. to signify matter totally without form. between Augustine and other writers is taken into account. in the day that the Lord . Moreover. on the seventh day God ceased from all new works. are one day represented in a sevenfold aspect (Gen. the gathering of the waters. of the preceding work is one with the day of the work that follows. For it is written (Gn. and it was . and every plant of the field. while others consider there were seven distinct days. or rather before there was any day. On this question Augustine differs from other expositors. but the making of the firmament. 2:4. The day. and not a succession in the knowledge acquired. Objection 3: Further. and the 101 . made the heaven and the earth. .” is one and the same day. .” If. if the diversity of opinion existing on two points. these two opinions. created all things together. which is not admissible .5): “These are the generations of the heaven and the earth. especially in the Word. and the appearing of dry land. and hence. and every plant of the field. . they will be found not greatly to differ. Article [1]). or in the things produced.” since light. taken as explaining the literal text of Genesis. On the contrary. it is said (Ecclus. because Augustine takes the earth and the water as first created. the days signify a succession both in time. . is to be found in spiritual things. For Augustine understands by the word “day. If. as already shown (Question [67]. therefore. which would be superfluous. So the distinction of days denotes the natural order of the things known. But other holy writers take the earth and the water. First. in Whom all angelic knowledge is perfected and terminated. angelic knowledge is appropriately called “day. He had kept back His next work to another day. I answer that. but the plant of the field He made on the third day. But where there is a second and third there are more than one. the first day denotes their knowledge of the first of the Divine works.” the knowledge in the mind of the angels. it would follow that for the remainder of a day He would have ceased from working and left it vacant. and in the things produced. done. only one day. Therefore the first and third days are but one day. the seventh day is distinct from the other days. as first created. Objection 4: Further. In the opinion of the others. therefore. the cause of day. then.Objection 1: It would seem that all these days are one day. 18:1): “He that liveth for ever. the third day. before it sprung up in the earth. ad lit.” Therefore the day in which God made “the heaven and the earth. the second day their knowledge of the second work. are certainly widely different. His opinion is that all the days that are called seven. and for a like reason all the rest. Thus. Question [69]. Therefore they are not many but one only.” and so on. iv. But He made the heaven and the earth on the first day. 28). ad lit. it follows that He did not make that day. the entire work ascribed to one day God perfected in an instant. Objection 2: Further. according to him. Now. There was not. for with each work are the words (God) “said . and similarly with the rest. . which can know many things at the same time. to denote the impression of forms upon corporeal matter. then. inasmuch as God wrought in some one of these days. 1). as Augustine observes (Gen. “The evening and the morning were the second day . to signify the elements of the universe themselves existing under the proper forms. these two explanations are looked at as referring to the mode of production. It is written (Gn. 22. Ad Orosium xxvi). iv. Dei xi. Article [1]. each work is said to have been wrought in some one of these days. . 9. De Civ. not one only. however.

is consistent with either view of the mode of production. potentially. Reply to Objection 5: According to Augustine. Reply to Objection 1: On the day on which God created the heaven and the earth. according to the latter. however. as each succeeding work added to the world a fresh state of perfection. There remains. the water was created by God. nor had the heavenly bodies been formed. not from a want of power on God’s part. And this work Augustine ascribes to the third day. Reply to Objection 4: All things were not distinguished and adorned together. as requiring time in which to work. so far as regards that formation of things which lies in distinction and adornment. but “before it sprung up in the earth. as in the other works. in which light did not exist. and other similar works were made by the Word of God. Reply to Objection 2: God created all things together so far as regards their substance in some measure formless. Now the opinion of Augustine. Question [69]. we must meet the arguments of either side. Articles [1]. after the production of creatures. not. therefore. which is the fourth difference. some writers hold that plants and animals were produced actually in the work of the six days. 102 . Article [1]). as also has been shown (Question [67]. but not from providing for their increase. Hence the word “creation” is significant. the firmament had not been formed. 1:3). Hence it was fitting that different days should be assigned to the different states of the world. actually. Therefore in the creation of heaven and earth. which are not consistent with Augustine’s explanation. For as light. For “all things were made by Him” (Jn. mention should have been made of the Word of God. and to this latter work it belongs that the first day is succeeded by other days. that the works of the six days were simultaneous. the firmament. Therefore the creation of the world is not sufficiently described. the order of days refers to the natural order of the works attributed to the days. and agree with him also that in the first instituting of the world animals and plants did not exist actually. Secondly. that they were produced potentially. to be impartial. He created also every plant of the field. In order. yet its creation is not mentioned.works that follow to mean some sort of distinction in bodies previously existing. since. but that due order might be observed in the instituting of the world. indeed. Augustine. But He did not create all things together. Reply to Objection 3: On the seventh day God ceased from making new things. For the other writers agree with him that in the first production of things matter existed under the substantial form of the elements. a difference as to four points.” that is. there was a time. but other writers to the first instituting of the world.4. Index [<< | >>] First Part [<< | >>] Question: 74 [<< | >>] Article: 3 [<< | >>] Whether Scripture uses suitable words to express the work of the six days? Objection 1: It would seem the Scripture does not use suitable words to express the works of the six days. so were the heaven and the earth. Objection 2: Further. and the earth was still covered by the waters.

. “first. since the day has many parts. hail. But according to those who hold that the elements were created from the first under their proper forms. “earth. Objection 5: Further. and this appears from the consideration that the Holy Spirit is Love. or earthwards.” The omission. and by the earth. to have been said of each work. “God saw that it was good. Therefore the words. “The Spirit of God moved over the waters. “God made the firmament.” Reply to Objection 3: In the account of the creation there is found something to correspond to the words. 33).” signify a Divine command. therefore. snow. iii in Hexaem. could not have been given before creatures had been produced that could obey it. 103 . But it does not befit God to move and to occupy place.” rather than “one day. if heavy.” not “one. by the heaven is understood the formless spiritual nature. “God saw that it was good. their existence and their permanence. i. Objection 7: Further. which may be called his intelligible word. Dei ix. Now. evening and morning do not sufficiently divide the day. that out of them he may form his work.” are not suitable.” since by creation is understood the production of formless matter. 1:31): “God saw all the things that He had made. if light. the person of the Son is mentioned both in the first creation of the world. so the giving form to every creature is by the word of God.) that the words.Objection 3: Further.” It ought. i. “the third day. Therefore the words. That they might then exist. however.” it is superfluous to add. and for this reason in the works of distinction and adornment the Word is mentioned. “there are two things. signified by water. But as the giving form to a work of art is by means of the form of the art in the mind of the artist. ii. Objection 6: Further. 8) which came from God’s love of His creatures. since all these move heavenwards.” corresponds to “second” and “third. and in its distinction and adornment. it is said (Gn.” is added.” it is said. “Praise the Lord from the earth. as the two extremes.8) after the words. are alone mentioned. what is already made is not made over again. And others say that under the word. Reply to Objection 2: According to Augustine (De Civ. and it was so. “God said: Let the firmament be made . 148:7. of these words in the work of creation and in that of the second day. then. “God said. by the words. “moved over the waters”–-that is to say. “In the beginning God created.” Scripture is accustomed to include all the four elements as (Ps. over that formless matter. and they were very good. ad lit. “The evening and the morning were the first day.” Reply to Objection 1: According to Augustine (Gen. is not fitting. the intervening things being left to be understood.). “fire. even as the love of the artist moves over the materials of his art. but differently in either place.” It should therefore have been said that. according to Basil (Hom. and therefore Basil says (Hom. But.” are unbecoming. the formless matter of all corporeal things. i in Hexaem. and ice. and exist permanently. Objection 4: Further. . the heaven and the earth. Such a command. But in creation the Son is mentioned as the beginning. 4). Therefore to the words. another explanation must be given. For distinction and adornment belong to the work by which the world receives its form.” And the like is to be said of other works. “The evening and morning were the second day” or.” used in the work of distinction and adornment. “the Spirit of God. the Spirit of God is God Himself.” says Augustine (Gen. and thus no creature is omitted. ad lit.

“He made. that the words.” the air or the wind. thirdly. “He made. as Plato also did. ii. In creation the Person of the Father is indicated by God the Creator.” are not said of the work of the second day.” signify that the things that He had made were to endure. “God saw that it was good. or that the creature was pleasing to Him otherwise. as of an artist in his art: not as though He knew the creature otherwise. 3:5: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost. Moreover. because by the firmament is simply understood the cloudy region of the air. Who is said to “move over the water”–-that is to say. ii) understands by the “Spirit of the Lord. . i. which is not one of the permanent parts of the universe. that are said of the third day. and the Person of the Son by the Word in which He speaks. in which these things are throughout attributed to God. as receding from the perfection of unity. 7). following other writers. and the words. the Spirit of the Lord signifies the Holy Ghost. again. . nor of the principal divisions of the world. these three phrases denote the threefold being of creatures. . he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. according to Jn. secondly. by the words. lest it should be supposed that God loved of necessity the works He was to produce. And if the words. ii in Hexaem. as though He stood in need of them. and the Person of the Holy Spirit by the satisfaction with which God saw that what was made was good.].” For water has especially a life-giving power. Thus in either work. since they express a certain satisfaction taken by God in His works. it was not necessary there to add. and the Person of the Holy Ghost by the Spirit that moved over the waters. . over what Augustine holds to mean formless matter.” the fulfilment of that 104 . The above three reasons are given by Rabbi Moses [*Perplex. their being in the Word. this is because the work of distinguishing the waters was only begun on that day.” denote God’s command. their being in the angelic mind. It is the opinion. not superior to. Hence these words. since many animals are generated in water. Also the life of the soul is given by the water of baptism. 8). Or. in which He created. signified by the words. ad lit. “It was done. “God saw that it was good.” Reply to Objection 5: According to Augustine (Gen. the Person of the Father is indicated by God that speaks. refer also to the second. than before He made it. “He said. But in the formation. done”. but perfected on the third. the Person of the Son by the beginning. be made. since that movement is not one of place.” It may also be said. and the seed of all animals is liquid. But according to the holy writers. the object of love. and says that it is so called according to the custom of Scripture. first. ad lit. but of pre-eminent power. as the hen broods over her chickens.” and “Let . as Augustine says (Gen. of Basil (Hom. their being in their proper nature. i. . be made”. because this is concerned with the distinction of things not evident to the senses of mankind. of creation and of formation. “It was . For love of that kind is subject to.” And because the formation of the angels is recorded on the first day. denoted by the command “Let . . however. “fostering and quickening its nature and impressing vital power.) that the Spirit moved over the element of water. Reply to Objection 4: Rabbi Moses (Perplex. according to whom the work of the second day is not marked with approval because the second number is an imperfect number. Or it may be that Scripture does not use these words of approval of the second days’ work.And the words. the Trinity of Persons is implied. it is fittingly implied that the Spirit moved over that which was incomplete and unfinished. and to these may be added a mystical one derived from numbers and assigned by some writers.

” or. also.command. v in Gen.7). “The days of my pilgrimage. iv. the first day returns which is one with the eighth day. And the reason for mentioning the evening first is that as the evening ends the day. because at the completion of a week of seven days. since day begins with morning and ends with evening. Hence. to mention how things were made. for the sake of those especially who have asserted that all visible things were made by the angels. that God Himself made them. ii in Hexaem.). “He made. which begins with the light. The three reasons assigned above are those given by Basil (Hom. as is customary. in each work. Mazzetti. by the “evening” and the “morning” are understood the evening and the morning knowledge of the angels. by mentioning “one.” the measure of a natural day is fixed. Reply to Objection 7: The words “one day” are used when day is first instituted. or because evening denotes the beginning of night. ii in Hexaem. and morning the beginning of day. “He divided. the day. from its more important part. to denote that one day is made up of twenty-four hours. which has been explained (Question [58]. which ends with the morning. All rights reserved. Hence.). But. But Chrysostom’s explanation is that thereby it is intended to show that the natural day does not end with the evening. the entire period takes its name. § (c) 2013 Bart A. after the words. “He called. It seems fitting. Article [6]. But as it was necessary.” Reply to Objection 6: According to Augustine (Gen. But the evening and the morning are mentioned as being the ends of the day.). 22.” some act of God is expressed by some such words as.” where night is not mentioned at all. ad lit. “It was done. in order to remove that error.” or. according to Basil (Hom. it is added. the termination of the light at evening precedes the termination of the darkness. And instance of this is found in the words of Jacob. And yet another. 105 . Another reason may be to signify that a day is completed by the return of the sun to the point from which it commenced its course. but with the morning (Hom.30). divisions of time should be denoted only by what marks their beginning. that where the first distinction of creatures is described.