Below you will find quotes of the all the early Church Fathers that I could find that spoke on the topic of creation in six days. I have not changed the quotes in any way. The quotes are taken directly from:
Roberts, A. & J. Donaldson, eds. (1885). Translations Of The Writings Of The Fathers Down To A.D. 325. Buffalo: The Christian Literature Publishing Company. The Word Bible Software.
I have highlighted and put in bold places that I thought were significant. They are arranged roughly in chronological order. – Douglas
The Epistle of Barnabas
Chap. XV. — The False and the True Sabbath.
Further,145 also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, “And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.” (Exo_20:8; Deu_5:12) And He says in another place, “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them.” (Jer_17:24, Jer_17:25) The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.”146 Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “He finished in six days.” This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is147 with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth,148 saying, “Behold, to-day149 will be as a thousand years.” (Psa_90:4; 2Pe_3:8) Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And He rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man,150 and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the moon,151 and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day. Moreover, He says, “Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure heart.” If, therefore, any one can now sanctify 147 the day which God hath sanctified, except he is pure in heart in all things,152 we are deceived.153 Behold, therefore:154 certainly then one properly resting sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Lord, shall be able to work righteousness.155 Then we shall be able to sanctify it, having been first sanctified ourselves.156 Further, He says to them, “Your new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure.” (Isa_1:13) Ye perceive how He speaks: Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.157 And158 when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.
Introductory Note to the Spurious Epistles of Ignatius.
Chap. IX. — Duties of Husbands, Wives, Parents, and Children.
Let the husbands love their wives, remembering that, at the creation, one woman, and not many, was given to one man. Let the wives honour their husbands, as their own flesh; and let them not presume to address them by their names. (Comp. 1Pe_3:6) Let them also be chaste, reckoning their husbands as their only partners, to whom indeed they have been united according to the will of God. Ye parents,
Dialogue with Trypho
Chap. LXXIX. — He Proves Against Trypho That the Wicked Angels Have Revolted from God.
On this, Trypho, who was somewhat angry, but respected the Scriptures, as was manifest from his countenance, said to me, “The utterances of God are holy, but your expositions are mere contrivances, as is plain from what has been explained by you; nay, even blasphemies, for you assert that angels sinned and revolted from God.”
And I, wishing to get him to listen to me, answered in milder tones, thus: “I admire, sir, this piety of yours; and I pray that you may entertain the same disposition towards Him to whom angels are recorded to minister, as Daniel says; for [one] like the Son of man is led to the Ancient of days, and every kingdom is given to Him for ever and ever. But that you may know, sir,” continued I, “that it is not our audacity which has induced us to adopt this exposition, which you reprehend, I shall give you evidence from Isaiah himself; for he affirms that evil angels have dwelt and do dwell in Tanis, in Egypt. These are [his] words: ‘Woe to the rebellious children! Thus saith the Lord, You have taken counsel, but not through Me; and [made] agreements, but not through My Spirit, to add sins to sins; who have sinned188 in going down to Egypt (but they have not inquired at Me), that they may be assisted by Pharaoh, and be covered with the shadow of the Egyptians. For the shadow of Pharaoh shall be a disgrace to you, and a reproach to those who trust in the Egyptians; for the princes in Tanis189 are evil angels. In vain will they labour for a people which will not profit them by assistance, but [will be] for a disgrace and a reproach [to them].’ (Isa_30:1-5) And, further, Zechariah tells, as you yourself have related, that the devil stood on the right hand of Joshua the priest, to resist him; and [the Lord] said, ‘The Lord, who has taken190 Jerusalem, rebuke thee.’ (Zec_3:1) And again, it is written in Job, (Job_1:6) as you said yourself, how that the angels came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them. And we have it recorded by Moses in the beginning of Genesis, that the serpent beguiled Eve, and was cursed. And we know that in Egypt there were magicians who emulated191 the mighty power displayed by God through the faithful servant Moses. And you are aware that David said, ‘The gods of the nations are demons.’” (Psa_96:5) 239
Chap. LXXX. — The Opinion of Justin with Regard to the Reign of a Thousand Years. Several Catholics Reject It.
And Trypho to this replied, “I remarked to you sir, that you are very anxious to be safe in all respects, since you cling to the Scriptures. But tell me, do you really admit that this place, Jerusalem, shall be rebuilt; and do you expect your people to be gathered together, and made joyful with Christ and the patriarchs, and the prophets, both the men of our nation, and other proselytes who joined them before your Christ came? or have you given way, and admitted this in order to have the appearance of worsting us in the controversies?”
Then I answered, “I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly,192 that I and many others are of this opinion, and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware;193 but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise. Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish. But that you may know that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up a statement, so far as I can, of all the arguments which have passed between us; in which I shall record myself as admitting the very same things which I admit to you.194 For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth],195 and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians, even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genistae, Meristae,196 Gelilaeans, Hellenists,197 Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews (do not hear me impatiently when I tell you what I think), but are [only] called Jews and children of Abraham, worshipping God with the lips, as God Himself declared, but the heart was far from Him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years198 in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.
Justin Martyr (Cont.)
Justin’s Hortatory Address to the Greeks. (Cont.)
Chap. XXXIII. — Plato’s Idea of the Beginning of Time Drawn from Moses.
And from what source did Plato draw the information that time was created along with the heavens? For he wrote thus: “Time, accordingly, was created along with the heavens; in order that, coming into being together, they might also be together dissolved, if ever their dissolution should take place.” Had he not learned this from the divine history of Moses? For he knew that the creation of time had received its original constitution from days and months and years. Since, then, the first day which was created along with the heavens constituted the beginning of all time (for thus Moses wrote, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and then immediately subjoins, “And one day was made,” as if he would designate the whole of time by one part of it), Plato names the day “time,” lest, if he mentioned the “day,” he should seem to lay himself open to the accusation of the Athenians, that he was completely adopting the expressions of Moses. And from what source did he derive what he has written regarding the dissolution of the heavens? Had he not learned this, too, from the sacred prophets, and did he not think that this was their doctrine?
Iraneus Against Heresies Book 1
Chap. XVIII. — Passages from Moses, Which the Heretics Pervert to the Support of Their Hypothesis.
1. And while they affirm such things as these concerning the creation, every one of them generates something new, day by day, according to his ability; for no one is deemed “perfect,” who does not develop among them some mighty fictions. It is thus necessary, first, to indicate what things they metamorphose [to their own use] out of the prophetical writings, and next, to refute them. Moses, then, they declare, by his mode of beginning the account of the creation, has at the commencement pointed out the mother of all things when he says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;” (Gen_1:1) for, as they maintain, by naming these four, — God, beginning, heaven, and earth, — he set forth their Tetrad. Indicating also its invisible and hidden nature, he said, “Now the earth was invisible and unformed.” (Gen_1:2) They will have it, moreover, that he spoke of the second Tetrad, the offspring of the first, in this way — by naming an abyss and darkness, in which were also water, and the Spirit moving upon the water. Then, proceeding to mention the Decad, he names light, day, night, the firmament, the evening, the morning, dry land, sea, plants, and, in the tenth place, trees. Thus, by means of these ten names, he indicated the ten Aeons. The power of the Duodecad, again, was shadowed forth by him thus: — He names the sun, moon, stars, seasons, years, whales, fishes, reptiles, birds, quadrupeds, wild beasts, and after all these, in the twelfth place, man. Thus they teach that the Triacontad was spoken of through Moses by the Spirit. Moreover, man also, being formed after the image of the power above, had in himself that ability which flows from the one source. This ability was seated in the region of the brain, from which four faculties proceed, after the image of the Tetrad above, and these are called: the first, sight, the second, hearing, the third, smell, and the fourth,156 taste. And they say that the Ogdoad is indicated by man in this way: that he possesses two ears, the like number of eyes, also two nostrils, and a twofold taste, namely, of bitter and sweet. Moreover, they teach that the whole man contains the entire image of the Triacontad as follows: In his hands, by means of his fingers, he bears the Decad; and in his whole body the Duodecad, inasmuch as his body is divided into twelve members; for they portion that out, as the body of Truth is divided by them — a point of which we have already spoken.157 But the Ogdoad, as being unspeakable and invisible, is understood as hidden in the viscera.
2. Again, they assert that the sun, the great light-giver, was formed on the fourth day, with a reference to the number of the Tetrad. So also, according to them, the courts158 of the tabernacle constructed by Moses, being composed of fine linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, pointed to the same image. Moreover, they maintain that the long robe of the priest failing over his feet, as being adorned with four rows of precious stones, (Exo_28:17) indicates the Tetrad; and if there are any other things in the Scriptures which can possibly be dragged into the number four, they declare that these had their being with a view to the Tetrad. The Ogdoad, again, was shown as follows: — They affirm that man was formed on the eighth day, for sometimes they will have him to have been made on the sixth day, and sometimes on the eighth, unless, perchance, they mean that his earthly part was formed on the sixth day, but his fleshly part on the eighth, for these two things are distinguished by them. Some of them also hold that one man was formed after the image and likeness of God, masculo-feminine, and that this was the spiritual man; and that another man was formed out of the earth.
3. Further, they declare that the arrangement made with respect to the ark in the Deluge, by means of which eight persons were saved, (Gen_6:18; 1Pe_3:20) most clearly indicates the Ogdoad which brings salvation. David also shows forth the same, as holding the eighth place in point of age among his brethren. (1Sa_16:10) Moreover, that circumcision which took place on the eighth day, (Gen_17:12) represented the circumcision of the Ogdoad above. In a word, whatever they find in the Scriptures capable of being referred to the number eight, they declare to fulfil the mystery of the Ogdoad. With respect, again, to the Decad, they maintain that it is indicated by those ten nations which God promised to Abraham for a possession. (Gen_15:19) The arrangement also made by Sarah when, after ten years, she gave (Gen_16:2) her handmaid Hagar to him, that by her he might have a son, showed the same thing. Moreover, the servant of Abraham who was sent to Rebekah, and presented her at the well with ten bracelets of gold, and her 344 brethren who detained her for ten days; (Gen_24:22, Gen_24:25) Jeroboam also, who received the ten sceptres (1Ki_11:31) (tribes), and the ten courts (Exo_26:1, Exo_36:8) of the tabernacle, and the columns of ten cubits (Exo_36:21) [high], and the ten sons of Jacob who were at first sent into Egypt to buy corn, (Gen_42:3) and the ten apostles to whom the Lord appeared after His resurrection, — Thomas (Joh_20:24) being absent, — represented, according to them, the invisible Decad.
Iraneus Against Heresies book 2
4. This manner of speech may perhaps be plausible or persuasive to those who know not God, and who liken Him to needy human beings, and to those who cannot immediately and without assistance form anything, but require many instrumentalities to produce what they intend. But it will not be regarded as at all probable by those who know that God stands in need of nothing, and that He created and made all things by His Word, while He neither required angels to assist Him in the production of those things which are made, nor of any power greatly inferior to Himself, and ignorant of the Father, nor of any defect or ignorance, in order that he who should know Him might become man.6 But He Himself in Himself, after a fashion which we can neither describe nor conceive, predestinating all things, formed them as He pleased, bestowing harmony on all things, and assigning them their own place, and the beginning of their creation. In this way He conferred on spiritual things a spiritual and invisible nature, on super-celestial things a celestial, on angels an angelical, on animals an animal, on beings that swim, a nature suited to the water, and on those that live on the land one fitted for the land — on all, in short, a nature suitable to the character of the life assigned them — while He formed all things that were made by His Word that never wearies.
5. For this is a peculiarity of the pre-eminence of God, not to stand in need of other instruments for the creation of those things which are summoned into existence. His own Word is both suitable and sufficient for the formation of all things, even as John, the disciple of the Lord, 362 declares regarding Him: “All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.” (Joh_1:3) Now, among the “all things” our world must be embraced. It too, therefore, was made by His Word, as Scripture tells us in the book of Genesis that He made all things connected with our world by His Word. David also expresses the same truth [when he says] “For He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created.” (Psa_33:9, Psa_148:5) Whom, therefore, shall we believe as to the creation of the world — these heretics who have been mentioned that prate so foolishly and inconsistently on the subject, or the disciples of the Lord, and Moses, who was both a faithful servant of God and a prophet? He at first narrated the formation of the world in these words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” (Gen_1:1) and all other things in succession; but neither gods nor angels [had any share in the work].
Now, that this God is the Father of our Lord, Paul the apostle also has declared, [saying,] “There is one God, the Father, who is above all, and through all things, and in us all.”7 I have indeed proved already that there is only one God; but I shall further demonstrate this from the apostles themselves, and from the discourses of the Lord. For what sort of conduct would it be, were we to forsake the utterances of the prophets, of the Lord, and of the apostles, that we might give heed to these persons, who speak not a word of sense?
Iraneus Against Heresies book 5 Chpt 28
3. For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: “Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.” (Gen_2:2) This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; (2Pe_3:8) and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.
The Writings of Tertullian
Part Second – Anti-Marcion (Cont.)
Chap. XXI. – The Law of the Sabbath-Day Explained. The Eight Days’ Procession Around Jericho. The Gathering of Sticks a Violation.
Similarly on other points also, you reproach Him with fickleness and instability for contradictions in His commandments, such as that He forbade work to be done on Sabbath-days, and yet at the siege of Jericho ordered the ark to be carried round the walls during eight days; in other words, of course, actually on a Sabbath. You do not, however, consider the law of the Sabbath: they are human works, not divine, which it prohibits. (Exo_20:9, Exo_20:10) For it says, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of 314 the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” What work? Of course your own. The conclusion is, that from the Sabbath-day He removes those works which He had before enjoined for the six days, that is, your own works; in other words, human works of daily life. Now, the carrying around of the ark is evidently not an ordinary daily duty, nor yet a human one; but a rare and a sacred work, and, as being then ordered by the direct precept of God, a divine one. And t might fully explain what this signified, were it not a tedious process to open out the forms206 of all the ’s proofs, which you would, moreover, probably refuse to allow. It is more to the point, if you be confuted on plain matters207 by the simplicity of truth rather than curious reasoning. Thus, in the present instance, there is a clear distinction respecting the Sabbath’s prohibition of human labours, not divine ones. Accordingly, the man who went and gathered sticks on the Sabbath-day was punished with death. For it was his own work which he did; and this208 the law forbade. They, however, who on the Sabbath carried the ark round Jericho, did it with impunity. For it was not their own work, but God’s, which they executed, and that too, from His express commandment.
The Writings of Tertullian
Part Second – Anti-Marcion (Cont.)
Chap. XXIX. – The Gradual Development of Cosmical Order out of Chaos in the Creation, Beautifully Stated.
God, indeed, consummated all His works in a due order; at first He paled them out,218 as it were, in their unformed elements, and then He arranged them219 in their finished beauty. For He did not all at once inundate light with the splendour of the sun, nor all at once temper darkness with the moon’s assuaging ray.220 The heaven He did not all at once bedeck221 with constellations and stars, nor did He at once fill the seas with their teeming monsters.222 The earth itself He did not endow with its varied fruitfulness all at once; but at first He bestowed upon it being, and then He filled it, that it might not be made in vain.223 For thus says Isaiah: “He created it not in vain; He formed it to be inhabited.” (Isa_45:18) Therefore after it was made, and while awaiting its perfect state,224 it was “without form, and void:” “void” indeed, from the very fact that it was without form (as being not yet perfect to the sight, and at the same time unfurnished as yet with its other qualities);225 and “without form,” because it was still covered with waters, as if with the rampart of its fecundating moisture,226 by which is produced our flesh, in a form allied with its own. For to this purport does David say:227 “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and all that dwell therein: He hath rounded it upon the seas, and on the streams hath He established it.” (Psa_24:1) It was when the waters were withdrawn into their hollow abysses that the dry land became conspicuous,228 which was hitherto covered with its watery envelope. Then it forthwith becomes “visible,”229 God saying, “Let the water be gathered together into one mass,230 and let the dry land appear.” (Gen_1:9) “Appear,” says He, not “be made.” It had been already made, only in its invisible condition it was then waiting231 to appear. “Dry,” because it was about to become such by its severance from the moisture, but yet “land.” “And God called the dry land Earth,” (Gen_1:10) not Matter. And so, when it afterwards attains its perfection, it ceases to be accounted void, when God declares, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed after its kind, and cording to its likeness, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself, after its kind.” (Gen_1:11) Again: “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, after their kind.” (Gen_1:24) Thus the divine Scripture accomplished its full order. For to that, which it had at first described as “without form (invisible) and void,” it gave both visibility and completion. Now no other Matter was “without form (invisible) and void.” 494
Henceforth, then, Matter will have to be visible and complete. So that I must232 see Matter, since it has become visible. I must likewise recognize it as a completed thing, so as to be able to gather from it the herb bearing seed, and the tree yielding fruit, and that living creatures, made out of it, may minister to my need. Matter, however, is nowhere,233 but the Earth is here, confessed to my view. I see it, I enjoy it, ever since it ceased to be “without form (invisible), and void.” Concerning it most certainly did Isaiah speak when he said, “Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens, He was the God that formed the earth, and made it.” (Isa_45:18) The same earth for certain did He form, which He also made. Now how did He form234 it? Of course by saying, “Let the dry land appear.” (Gen_1:9) Why does He command it to appear, if it were not previously invisible? His purpose was also, that He might thus prevent His having made it in vain, by rendering it visible, and so fit for use. And thus, throughout, proofs arise to us that this earth which we inhabit is the very same which was both created and formed235 by God, and that none other was “Without form, and void,” than that which had been created and formed. It therefore follows that the sentence, “Now the earth was without form, and void,” applies to that same earth which God mentioned separately along with the heaven.236
Chap. XXX. – Another Passage in the Sacred History of the Creation, Released from the Mishandling of Hermogenes.
The following words will in like manner apparently corroborate the conjecture of Hermogenes, “And darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water; (Gen_1:2) as if these blended237 substances, presented us with arguments for his massive pile of Matter.238 Now, so discriminating an enumeration of certain and distinct elements (as we have in this passage), which severally designates” darkness,” “the deep” “the Spirit of God,” “the waters,” forbids the inference that anything confused or (from such confusion) uncertain is meant. Still more, when He ascribed to them their own places,239 “darkness on the face of the deep,” “the Spirit upon the face of the waters,” He repudiated all confusion in the substances; and by demonstrating their separate position,240 He demonstrated also their distinction. Most absurd, indeed, would it be that Matter, which is introduced to our view as “without form,” should have its “formless” condition maintained by so many words indicative of form,241 without any intimation of what that confused body242 is, which must of course be supposed to be unique,243 since it is without form.244 For that which is without form is uniform; but even245 that which is without form, when it is blended together246 from various component parts,247 must necessarily have one outward appearance;248 and it has not any appearance, until it has the one appearance (which comes) from many parts combined.249 Now Matter either had those specific parts250 within itself, from the words indicative of which it had to be understood – I mean “darkness,” and “the deep,” and “the Spirit,” and “the waters” – or it had them not. If it had them, how is it introduced as being “without form?”251 If it had them not, how does it become known?252
Chap. XXXI. – A Further Vindication of the Scripture Narrative of the Creation, Against a Futile View of Hermogenes.
But this circumstance, too, will be caught at, that Scripture meant to indicate of the heaven only, and this earth of yours,253 that God made it in the beginning, while nothing of the kind is said of the above-mentioned specific parts;254 and therefore that these, which are not described as having been made, appertain to unformed Matter. To this point255 also we must give an answer. Holy I Scripture would be sufficiently explicit, if it had declared that the heaven and the earth, as the very highest works of creation, were made by God, possessing of course their own special appurtenances,256 which might be understood to be implied in these highest works themselves. Now the appurtenances of the heaven and the earth, made then in the beginning, were the darkness and the deep, and the spirit, and the waters. For the depth and the darkness underlay the earth. Since 495 the deep was under the earth, and the darkness was over the deep, undoubtedly both the darkness and the deep were under the earth. Below the heaven, too, lay the spirit257 and the waters. For since the waters were over the earth, which they covered, whilst the spirit was over the waters, both the spirit and the waters were alike over the earth. Now that which is over the earth, is of course under the heaven. And even as the earth brooded over the deep and the darkness, so also did the heaven brood over the spirit and the waters, and embrace them. Nor, indeed, is there any novelty in mentioning only that which contains, as pertaining to the whole,258 and understanding that which is contained as included in it, in its character of a portion.259 Suppose now I should say the city built a theatre and a circus, but the stage260 was of such and such a kind, and the statues were on the canal, and the obelisk was reared above them all, would it follow that, because I did not distinctly state that these specific things261 were made by the city, they were therefore not made by it along with the circus and the theatre? Did I not, indeed, refrain from specially mentioning the formation of these particular things because they were implied in the things which I had already said were made, and might be understood to be inherent in the things in which they were contained? But this example may be an idle one as being derived from a human circumstance; I will take another, which has the authority of Scripture itself. It says that “God made man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Gen_2:7) Now, although it here mentions the nostrils,262 it does not say that they were made by God; so again it speaks of skin263 and bones, and flesh and eyes, and sweat and blood, in subsequent passages, (see Gen_2:21, Gen_2:23; Gen_3:5, Gen_3:19; Gen_4:10) and yet it never intimated that they had been created by God. What will Hermogenes have to answer? That the human limbs must belong to Matter, because they are not specially mentioned as objects of creation? Or are they included in the formation of man? In like manner, the deep and the darkness, and the spirit and the waters, were as members of the heaven and the earth. For in the bodies the limbs were made, in the bodies the limbs too were mentioned. No element but what is a member of that element in which it is contained. But all elements are contained in the heaven and the earth.
Chap. XXXII. – The Account of the Creation in Genesis a General One. Corroborated, However, by Many Other Passages of the Old Testament, Which Give Account of Specific Creations. Further Cavillings Confuted.
This is the answer I should give in defence of the Scripture before us, for seeming here to set forth264 the formation of the heaven and the earth, as if (they were) the sole bodies made. It could not but know that there were those who would at once in the bodies understand their several members also, and therefore it employed this concise mode of speech. But, at the same time, it foresaw that there would be stupid and crafty men, who, after paltering with the virtual meaning,265 would require for the several members a word descriptive of their formation too. It is therefore because of such persons, that Scripture in other passages teaches us of the creation of the individual parts. You have Wisdom saying, “But before the depths was I brought forth,” (Pro_8:24) in order that you may believe that the depths were also “brought forth” – that is, created – just as we create sons also, though we “bring them forth.” It matters not whether the depth was made or born, so that a beginning be accorded to it, which however would not be, if it were subjoined266 to matter. Of darkness, indeed, the Lord Himself by Isaiah says, “I formed the light, and I created darkness.” (Isa_45:7) Of the wind267 also Amos says, “He that strengtheneth the thunder,268 and createth the wind, and declareth His Christ268 unto men;” (Amo_4:13) thus showing that that wind was created which was reckoned with the formation of the earth, which was wafted over the waters, balancing and refreshing and animating all things: not (as some suppose) meaning God Himself by the spirit,269 on the ground that “God is a Spirit,” (Joh_4:24) because the waters would not be able to bear up their Lord; but He speaks of that spirit of which the winds consist, as He says by Isaiah, “Because my spirit went forth from me, and I made every blast.”270 In like manner the 496 same Wisdom says of the waters, “Also when He made the fountains strong, things which271 are under the sky, I was fashioning272 them along with Him.” (Pro_8:28) Now, when we prove that these particular things were created by God, although they are only mentioned in Genesis, without any intimation of their having been made, we shall perhaps receive from the other side the reply, that these were made, it is true,273 but out of Matter, since the very statement of Moses, “And darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters,” (Gen_1:2) refers to Matter, as indeed do all those other Scriptures here and there,274 which demonstrate that the separate parts were made out of Matter. It must follow, then,275 that as earth consisted of earth, so also depth consisted of depth, and darkness of darkness, and the wind and waters of wind and waters. And, as we said above, (chap. xxx., towards the end.) Matter could not have been without form, since it had specific parts, which were formed out of it – although as separate things276 – unless, indeed, they were not separate, but were the very same with those out of which they came. For it is really impossible that those specific things, which are set forth under the same names, should have been diverse; because in that case277 the operation of God might seem to be useless,278 if it made things which existed already; since that alone would be a creation,279 when things came into being, which had not been (previously) made. Therefore, to conclude, either Moses then pointed to Matter when he wrote the words: “And darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters;” or else, inasmuch as these specific parts of creation are afterwards shown in other passages to have been made by God, they ought to have been with equal explicitness280 shown to have been made out of the Matter which, according to you, Moses had previously mentioned;281 or else, finally, if Moses pointed to those specific parts, and not to Matter, I want to know where Matter has been pointed out at all.
Chap. XXXIII. – Statement of the True Doctrine Concerning Matter. Its Relation to God’s Creation of the World.
But although Hermogenes finds it amongst his own colourable pretences282 (for it was not in his power to discover it in the Scriptures of God), it is enough for us, both that it is certain that all things were made by God, and that there is no certainty whatever that they were made out of Matter. And even if Matter had previously existed, we must have believed that it had been really made by God, since we maintained (no less) when we held the rule of faith to be,283 that nothing except God was uncreated.284 Up to this point there is room for controversy, until Matter is brought to the test of the Scriptures, and fails to make good its case.285 The conclusion of the whole is this: I find that there was nothing made, except out of nothing; because that which I find was made, I know did not once exist. Whatever286 was made out of something, has its origin in something made: for instance, out of the ground was made the grass, and the fruit, and the cattle, and the form of man himself; so from the waters were produced the animals which swim and fly. The original fabrics287 out of which such creatures were produced I may call their materials,288 but then even these were created by God.
Chap. V. – The Evolution of the Son or Word of God from the Father by a Divine Procession. Illustrated by the Operation of the Human Thought and Consciousness.
But since they will have the Two to be but One, so that the Father shall be deemed to be the same as the Son, it is only right that the whole question respecting the Son should be examined, as to whether He exists, and who He is and the mode of His existence. Thus shall the truth itself24 secure its own sanction25 from the Scriptures, and the interpretations which guard26 them. There are some who allege that even Genesis opens thus in Hebrew: “In the beginning God made for Himself a Son.”27 As there is no ground for this, I am led to other arguments derived from God’s own dispensation,28 in which He existed before the creation of the world, up to the generation of the Son. For before all things God was alone being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness)29 which the Greeks call λόγος, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse30 and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word31 was in the beginning with God; although it would be more suitable to regard Reason as the more ancient; because God had not Word32 from the beginning, but He had Reason33 even before the beginning; because also Word itself consists of Reason, which it thus proves to have been the prior existence as being its own substance.34 ….
Theophilus of Antioch (Cont.)
Theophilus to Autolycus. (Cont.)
Book II. (Cont.)
Chap. XIII. — Remarks on the Creation of the World.
Moreover, his [Hesiod’s] human, and mean, and very weak conception, so far as regards God, is discovered in his beginning to relate the creation of all things from the earthly things here below. For man, being below, begins to build from the earth, and cannot in order make the roof, unless he has first laid the foundation. But the power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are made. “For the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luk_18:27) Wherefore, also, the prophet mentioned that the creation of the heavens first of all took place, as a kind of roof, saying: “At the first God created the heavens” — that is, that by means of the “first” principle the heavens were made, as we have already shown. And by “earth” he means the ground and foundation, as by “the deep” he means the multitude of waters; and “darkness” he speaks of, on account of the heaven which God made coveting the waters and the earth like a lid. And by the Spirit which is borne above the waters, 100 he means that which God gave for animating the creation, as he gave life to man,43 mixing what is fine with what is fine. For the Spirit is fine, and the water is fine, that the Spirit may nourish the water, and the water penetrating everywhere along with the Spirit, may nourish creation. For the Spirit being one, and holding the place of light,44 was between the water and the heaven, in order that the darkness might not in any way communicate with the heaven, which was nearer God, before God said, “Let there be light.” The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod. And so another prophet, Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: “It is God who made the heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in.” (Isa_40:22) The command, then, of God, that is, His Word, shining as a lamp in an enclosed chamber, lit up all that was under heaven, when He had made light apart from the world.45 And the light God called Day, and the darkness Night. Since man would not have been able to call the light Day, or the darkness Night, nor, indeed, to have given names to the other things, had not he received the nomenclature from God, who made the things themselves. In the very beginning, therefore, of the history and genesis of the world, the holy Scripture spoke not concerning this firmament [which we see], but concerning another heaven, which is to us invisible, after which this heaven which we see has been called “firmament,” and to which half the water was taken up that it might serve for rains, and showers, and dews to mankind. And half the water was left on earth for rivers, and fountains, and seas. The water, then, covering all the earth, and specially its hollow places, God, through His Word, next caused the waters to be collected into one collection, and the dry land to become visible, which formerly had been invisible. The earth thus becoming visible, was yet without form. God therefore formed and adorned it46 with all kinds of herbs, and seeds and plants.
Chap. XIV. — The World Compared to the Sea.
Consider, further, their variety, and diverse beauty, and multitude, and how through them resurrection is exhibited, for a pattern of the resurrection of all men which is to be. For who that considers it will not marvel that a fig-tree is produced from a fig-seed, or that very huge trees grow from the other very little seeds? And we say that the world resembles the sea. For as the sea, if it had not had the influx and supply of the rivers and fountains to nourish it, would long since have been parched by reason of its saltness; so also the world, if it had not had the law of God and the prophets flowing and welling up sweetness, and compassion, and righteousness, and the doctrine of the holy commandments of God, would long ere now have come to ruin, by reason of the wickedness and sin which abound in it. And as in the sea there are islands, some of them habitable, and well-watered, and fruitful, with havens and harbours in which the storm-tossed may find refuge, — so God has given to the world which is driven and tempest-tossed by sins, assemblies47 — we mean holy churches48 — in which survive the doctrines of the truth, as in the island-harbours of good anchorage; and into these run those who desire to be saved, being lovers of the truth, and wishing to escape the wrath and judgment of God. And as, again, there are other islands, rocky and without water, and barren, and infested by wild beasts, and uninhabitable, and serving only to injure navigators and the storm-tossed, on which ships are wrecked, and those driven among them perish, — so there are doctrines of error — I mean heresies48 — which destroy those who approach them. For they are not guided by the word of truth; but as pirates, when they have filled their vessels,49 drive them on the fore-mentioned places, that they may spoil them: so also it happens in the case of those who err from the truth, that they are all totally ruined by their error.
Chap. XV. — Of the Fourth Day.
On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the 101 three days which were before the luminaries,50 are types of the Trinity,51 of God, and His Word, and His wisdom.52 And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of the arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright stars are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain fixed, not declining, nor passing from place to place. And those which hold the second place in brightness, are types of the people of the righteous. And those, again,, which change their position, and flee from place to place, which also are called planets,53 they too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.
Chap. XVI. — Of the Fifth Day.
On the fifth day the living creatures which proceed from the waters were produced, through: which also is revealed the manifold wisdom of God in these things; for who could count their multitude and very various kinds? Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men’s being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration, — as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God. But the monsters of the deep and the birds of prey are a similitude of covetous men and transgressors. For as the fish and the fowls are of one nature, — some indeed abide in their natural state, and do no harm to those weaker than themselves, but keep the law of God, and eat of the seeds of the earth; others of them, again, transgress the law of God, and eat flesh, and injure those weaker than themselves: thus, too, the righteous, keeping the law of God, bite and injure none, but live holily and righteously. But robbers, and murderers, and godless persons are like monsters of the deep, and wild beasts, and birds of prey; for they virtually devour those weaker than themselves. The race, then, of fishes and of creeping things, though partaking of God’s blessing, received no very distinguishing property.
Chap. XVII. — Of the Sixth Day.
And on the sixth day, God having made the quadrupeds, and wild beasts, and the land reptiles, pronounced no blessing upon them, reserving His blessing for man, whom He was about to create on the sixth day. The quadrupeds, too, and wild beasts, were made for a type of some men, who neither know nor worship God, but mind earthly things, and repent not. For those who turn from their iniquities and live righteously, in spirit fly upwards like birds, and mind the things that are above, and are well-pleasing to the will of God. But those who do not know nor worship God, are like birds which have wings, but cannot fly nor soar to the high things of God. Thus, too, though such persons are called men, yet being pressed down with sins, they mind grovelling and earthly-things. And the animals are named wild beasts [θηρία], from their being hunted [θηρεύεσθαι], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first — for nothing was made evil by God,54 but all things good, yea, very good, — but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him. For as, if the master of the house himself acts rightly, the domestics also of necessity conduct themselves well; but if the master sins, the servants also sin with him; so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man’s sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness.
Chap. XIX. — Man Is Placed in Paradise.
God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made. Then holy Scripture gives a summary in these words: “This is the book of the generation of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and every green thing of the field, before it was made, and every herb of the field before it grew. For God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” (Gen_2:4, Gen_2:5) By this He signifies to us, that the whole earth was at that time watered by a divine fountain, and had no need that man should till it; but the earth produced all things spontaneously by the command of God, that man might not be wearied by tilling it. But that the creation of man might be made plain, so that there should not seem to be an insoluble problem existing among men, since God had said, “Let Us make man;” and since His creation was not yet plainly related, Scripture teaches us, saying: “And a fountain went up out of the earth, and watered the face of the whole earth; and God made man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”55 Whence also by most persons the soul is called immortal.56 And after the formation of man, God chose out for him a region among the places of the East, excellent for light, brilliant with a very bright atmosphere, [abundant] in the finest plants; and in this He placed man.
Chap. XXIII. — The Truth of the Account in Genesis.
Man, therefore, God made on the sixth day, and made known this creation after the seventh day, when also He made Paradise, that he might be in a better and distinctly superior place. And that this is true, the fact itself proves. For how can one miss seeing that the pains which women suffer in childbed, and the oblivion of their labours which they afterwards enjoy, are sent in order that the word of God may be fulfilled, and that the race of men may increase and multiply?63 And do we not see also the judgment of the serpent, — how hatefully he crawls on his belly and eats the dust, — that we may have this, too, for a proof of the things which were said aforetime?
Chap. XXVIII. — Why Eve Was Formed of Adam’s Rib.
And Adam having been cast out of Paradise, in this condition knew Eve his wife, whom God had formed into a wife for him out of his rib. And this He did, not as if He were unable to make his wife separately, but God foreknew that man would call upon a number of gods. And having this prescience, and knowing that through the serpent error would introduce a number of gods which had no existence, — for there being but one God, even then error was striving to disseminate a multitude of gods, saying, “Ye shall be as gods;” — lest, then, it should be supposed that one God made the man and another the woman, therefore He made them both; and God made the woman together with the man, not only that thus the mystery of God’s sole government might be exhibited, but also that their mutual affection might be greater. Therefore said Adam to Eve, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” And besides, he prophesied, saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they two shall be one flesh;” 69 which also itself has its fulfilment in ourselves. For who that marries lawfully does not despise mother and father, and his whole family connection, and all his household, cleaving to and becoming one with his own wife, fondly preferring her? So that often, for the sake of their wives, some submit even to death. This Eve, on account of her having been in the beginning deceived by the serpent, and become the author of sin, the wicked demon, who also is called, who then spoke to her through the serpent, and who works even to this day in those men that are possessed by him, invokes as Eve.70 And he is called “demon” and “dragon,” on account of his [ἀποδεδρακέναι] revolting from God. For at first he was an angel. And concerning his history there is a great deal to be said; wherefore I at present omit the relation of it, for I have also given an account of him in another place.
Theophilus to Autolycus. (Cont.)
Book III. (Cont.)
Chap. XXIII. – Prophets More Ancient than Greek Writers.
And that we may give a more accurate exhibition of eras and dates, we will, God helping us, now give an account not only of the dates after the deluge, but also of those before it, so as to reckon the whole number of all the years, as far as possible; tracing up to the very beginning of the creation of the world, which Moses the servant of God recorded through the Holy Spirit. For having first spoken of what concerned the creation and genesis of the world, and of the first man, and all that happened after in the order of events, he signified also the years that elapsed before the deluge. And I pray for favour from the only God, that I may accurately speak the whole truth according to His will, that you and every one who reads this work may be guided by His truth and favour. I will then begin first with the recorded genealogies, and I begin my narration with the first man.113
Chap. XXIV. – Chronology from Adam.
Adam lived till he begat a son,114 230 years. And his son Seth, 205. And his son Enos, 190. And his son Cainan, 170. And his son Mahaleel, 165. And his son Jared, 162. And his son Enoch, 165. And his son Methuselah, 167. And his son Lamech, 188. And Lamech’s son was Noah, of whom we have spoken above, who begat Shem when 500 years old. During Noah’s life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of years, therefore, till the flood, was 2242. And immediately after the flood, Shem, who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. And Arphaxad, when 135 years old, begat Salah. And Salah begat a son when 130. And his son Eber, when 134. And from him the Hebrews name their race. And his son Phaleg begat a son when 130. And his son Reu, when 132 And his son Serug, when 130. And his son Nahor, when 75. And his son Terah, when 70. And his son Abraham, our patriarch, begat Isaac when he was 100 years old. Until Abraham, therefore, there are 3278 years. The fore-mentioned Isaac lived until he begat a son, 60 years, and begat Jacob. Jacob, till the migration into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, lived 130 years. And the sojourning of the Hebrews in Egypt lasted 430 years; and after their departure from the land of Egypt they spent 40 years in the wilderness, as it is called. All these years, therefore, amount to 3,938. And at that time, Moses having died, Jesus the sun of Nun succeeded to his rule, and governed them 27 years. And after Jesus, when the people had transgressed the commandments of God, they served the king of Mesopotamia, by name Chusarathon, 8 years. Then, on the 119 repentance of the people, they had judges: Gothonoel, 40 years; Eglon, 18 years; Aoth, 8 years. Then having sinned, they were subdued by strangers for 20 years. Then Deborah judged them 40 years. Then they served the Midianites 7 years. Then Gideon judged them 40 years; Abimelech, 3 years; Thola, 22 years; Jair, 22 years. Then the Philistines and Ammonites ruled them 18 years. After that Jephthah judged them 6 years; Esbon, 7 years; Ailon, 10 years; Abdon, 8 years. Then strangers ruled them 40 years. Then Samson judged them 20 years. Then there was peace among them for 40 years. Then Samera judged them one year; Eli, 20 years; Samuel, 12 years.
Chap. XXV. – From Saul to the Captivity.
And after the judges they had kings, the first named Saul, who reigned 20 years; then David, our forefather, who reigned 40 years. Accordingly, there are to the reign of David [from Isaac] 496 years. And after these kings Solomon reigned, who also, by the will of God, was the first to build the temple in Jerusalem; he reigned 40 years. And after him Rehoboam, 17 years; and after him Abias, 7 years; and after him Asa, 41 years; and after him Jehoshaphat, 25 years; and after him Joram, 8 years; and after him Ahaziah, 1 year; and after him Athaliah, 6 years; and after her Josiah, 40 years; and after him Amaziah, 39 years; and after him Uzziah, 52 years; and after him Jotham, 16 years; and after him Ahaz, 17 years; and after him Hezekiah, 29 years; and after him Manasseh, 55 years; and after him Amon, 2 years; and after him Josiah, 31 years; and after him Jehoahaz, 3 months; and after him Jehoiakim, 11 years. Then another Jehoiakim, 3 months 10 days; and after him Zedekiah, 11 years. And after these kings, the people, continuing in their sins, and not repenting, the king of Babylon, named Nebuchadnezzar, came up into Judaea, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah. He transferred the people of the Jews to Babylon, and destroyed the temple which Solomon had built. And in the Babylonian banishment the people passed 70 years. Until the sojourning in the land of Babylon, there are therefore, in all, 4954 years 6 months and 10 days. And according as God had, by the prophet Jeremiah, foretold that the people should be led captive to Babylon, in like manner He signified beforehand that they should also return into their own land after 70 years. These 70 years then being accomplished, Cyrus becomes king of the Persians, who, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, issued a decree in the second year of his reign, enjoining by his edict that all Jews who were in his kingdom should return to their own country, and rebuild their temple to God, which the fore-mentioned king of Babylon had demolished. Moreover, Cyrus, in compliance with the instructions of God, gave orders to his own bodyguards, Sabessar and Mithridates, that the vessels which had been taken out of the temple of Judaea by Nebuchadnezzar should be restored, and placed again in the temple. In the second year, therefore, of Darius are fulfilled the 70 years which were foretold by Jeremiah.
Chap. XVIII. — Errors of the Greeks About the Deluge.
For Plato, as we said above, when he had demonstrated that a deluge had happened, said that it extended not over the whole earth, but only over the plains, and that those who fled to the highest hills saved themselves. But others say that there existed Deucalion and Pyrrha, and that they were preserved in a chest; and that Deucalion, after he came out of the chest, flung stones behind him, and that men were produced from the stones; from which circumstance they say that men in the mass are named “people.”103 Others, again, say that Clymenus existed in a second flood. From what has already been said, it is evident that they who wrote such things and philosophized to so little purpose are miserable, and very profane and senseless persons. But Moses, our prophet and the servant of God, in giving an account of the genesis of the world, related in what manner the flood came upon the earth, telling us, besides, how the details of the flood came about, and relating no fable of Pyrrha nor of Deucalion or Clymenus; nor, forsooth, that only the plains were submerged, and that those only who escaped to the mountains were saved.
Chap. XIX. — Accurate Account of the Deluge.
And neither does he make out that there was a second flood: on the contrary, he said that never again would there be a flood of water on the world; as neither indeed has there been, nor ever shall be. And he says that eight human beings were preserved in the ark, in that which had been prepared by God’s direction, not by Deucalion, but by Noah; which Hebrew word means in English104 “rest,” as we have elsewhere shown that Noah, when he announced to the men then alive that there was a flood coming, prophesied to them, saying, Come thither, God calls you to repentance. On this account he was fitly called Deucalion.105 And this Noah had three sons (as we mentioned in the second book), whose names 117 were Shem, and Ham, and Japhet; and these had three wives, one wife each; each man and his wife. This man some have surnamed Eunuchus. All the eight persons, therefore, who were found in the ark were preserved. And Moses showed that the flood lasted forty days and forty nights, torrents pouring from heaven, and from the fountains of the deep breaking up, so that the water overtopped every high hill 15 cubits. And thus the race of all the men that then were was destroyed, and those only who were protected in the ark were saved; and these, we have already said, were eight. And of the ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains. This, then, is in sum the history of the deluge.
Clement of Alexandria
The Stromata, Or Miscellanies
The Fourth Commandment.
And the fourth136 word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest – abstraction from ills – preparing for the Primal Day,137 our true rest; which, in truth, is the first creation of light, in which all things are viewed and possessed. From this day the first wisdom and knowledge illuminate us. For the light of truth – a light true, casting no shadow, is the Spirit of God indivisibly divided to all, who are sanctified by faith, holding the place of a luminary, in order to the knowledge of real existences. By following Him, therefore, through our whole life, we become impossible; and this is to rest.138
Wherefore Solomon also says, that before heaven, and earth, and all existences, Wisdom had arisen in the Almighty; the participation of which – that which is by power, I mean, not that by essence – teaches a man to know by apprehension things divine and human. Having reached this point, we must mention these things by the way; since the discourse has turned on the seventh and the eighth. For the eighth may possibly turn out to be properly the seventh, and the seventh manifestly the sixth, and the latter properly the Sabbath, and the seventh a day of work. For the creation of the world was concluded in six days. For the motion of the sun from solstice to solstice is completed in six months – in the course of which, at one time the leaves fall, and at another plants bud and seeds come to maturity. And they say that the embryo is perfected exactly in the sixth month, that is, in one hundred and eighty days in addition to the two and a half, as Polybus the physician relates in his book On the Eighth Month, and Aristotle the philosopher in his book On Nature. Hence the Pythagoreans, as I think, reckon six the perfect number, from the creation of the world, according to the prophet, and call it Meseuthys139 513 and Marriage, from its being the middle of the even numbers, that is, of ten and two. For it is manifestly at an equal distance from both.
And as marriage generates from male and female, so six is generated from the odd number three, which is called the masculine number, and the even number two, which is considered the feminine. For twice three are six.
Such, again, is the number of the most general motions, according to which all origination takes place – up, down, to the right, to the left, forward, backward. Rightly, then, they reckon the number seven motherless and childless, interpreting the Sabbath, and figuratively expressing the nature of the rest, in which “they neither marry nor are given in marriage any more.” (Luk_20:35) For neither by taking from one number and adding to another of those within ten is seven produced; nor when added to any number within the ten does it make up any of them.
And they called eight a cube, counting the fixed sphere along with the seven revolving ones, by which is produced “the great year,” as a kind of period of recompense of what has been promised.
Thus the Lord, who ascended the mountain, the fourth,140 becomes the sixth, and is illuminated all round with spiritual light, by laying bare the power proceeding from Him, as far as those selected to see were able to behold it, by the Seventh, the Voice, proclaimed to be the Son of God; in order that they, persuaded respecting Him, might have rest; while He by His birth, which was indicated by the sixth conspicuously marked, becoming the eighth, might appear to be God in a body of flesh, by displaying His power, being numbered indeed as a man, but being concealed as to who He was. For six is reckoned in the order of numbers, but the succession of the letters acknowledges the character which is not written. In this case, in the numbers themselves, each unit is preserved in its order up to seven and eight. But in the number of the characters, Zeta becomes six and Eta seven.
And the character141 having somehow slipped into writing, should we follow it out thus, the seven became six, and the eight seven.
Wherefore also man is said to have been made on the sixth day, who became faithful to Him who is the sign (τῷ ἐπισήμῳ142), so as straightway to receive the rest of the Lord’s inheritance. Some such thing also is indicated by the sixth hour in the scheme of salvation, in which man was perfected. Further, of the eight, the intermediates are seven; and of the seven, the intervals are shown to be six. For that is another ground, in which seven glorifies eight, and “the heavens declare to the heavens the glory of God.” (Psa_19:1)
The sensible types of these, then, are the sounds we pronounce. Thus the Lord Himself is called “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,” (Rev_21:6) “ by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made.” (Joh_1:3) God’s resting is not, then, as some conceive, that God ceased from doing. For, being good, if He should ever cease from doing good, then would He cease from being God, which it is sacrilege even to say. The resting is, therefore, the ordering that the order of created things should be preserved inviolate, and that each of the creatures should cease from the ancient disorder. For the creations on the different days followed in a most important succession; so that all things brought into existence might have honour from priority, created together in thought, but not being of equal worth. Nor was the creation of each signified by the voice, inasmuch as the creative work is said to have made them at once. For something must needs have been named first. Wherefore those things were announced first, from which came those that were second, all things being originated together from one essence by one power. For the will of God was one, in one identity. And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist.
And now the whole world of creatures born alive, and things that grow, revolves in sevens. The first-born princes of the angels, who have the greatest power, are seven.143 The mathematicians also say that the planets, which perform their course around the earth, are seven; by which the Chaldeans think that all which concerns mortal life is effected through sympathy, in consequence of which they also undertake to tell things respecting the future.
And of the fixed stars, the Pleiades are seven. And the Bears, by the help of which agriculture and navigation are carried through, consist of seven stars. And in periods of seven days the moon undergoes its changes. In the first week she becomes half moon; in the second, full moon; and in the third, in her wane, again half moon; and in the fourth she disappears. Further, as Seleucus the mathematician lays down, she has seven phases. First, from being invisible she becomes crescent-shaped, then half 514 moon, then gibbous and full; and in her wane again gibbous, and in like manner half moon and crescent-shaped.
“On a seven-stringed lyre we shall sing new hymns,”
writes a poet of note, teaching us that the ancient lyre was seven-toned. The organs of the senses situated on our face are also seven – two eyes, two passages of hearing, two nostrils, and the seventh the mouth.
And that the changes in the periods of life take place by sevens, the Elegies of Solon teach thus : –
Origen Against Celsus. (Cont.)
Book VI. (C0nt.)
In the next place, Celsus, after heaping together, simply as mere assertions, the varying opinions of some of the ancients regarding the world, and the origin of man, alleges that “Moses and the prophets, who have left to us our books, not knowing at all what the nature of the world is, and of man, have woven together a web of sheer nonsense.”177 If he had shown, now, how it appeared to him that the holy Scriptures contained “sheer nonsense,” we should have tried to demolish the arguments which appeared to him to establish their nonsensical character; but on the present occasion, following his own example, we also sportively give it as our opinion that Celsus, knowing nothing at all about the nature of the meaning and language of the prophets,178 composed a work which contained “sheer nonsense,” and boastfully gave it the title of a “true discourse.” And since he makes the statements about the “days of creation” ground of accusation, – as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, and sun, and moon, and stars, and some of them after the creation of these, – we shall only make this observation, that Moses must then have forgotten that he had said a little before, “that in six days the creation of the world had been finished,” and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: “This is the book of the creation of man, in the day when God made the heaven and the earth!” But it is not in the least credible, that after what he had said respecting, the six days, Moses should immediately add, without a special meaning, the words, “in the day that God made the heavens and the earth;” and if any one thinks that these words may be referred to the statement, “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,” let him observe that before the words, “Let there be light, and there was light,” and these, “God called the light day,” it has been stated that “in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.”
On the present occasion, however, it is not our object to enter into an explanation of the subject of intelligent and sensible beings,179 nor of the manner in which the different kinds180 of days were allotted to both sorts, nor to investigate the details which belong to the subject, for we should need whole treatises for the exposition of the Mosaic cosmogony; and that work we had already performed, to the best of our ability, a considerable time before the commencement of this answer to Celsus, when we discussed with such measure of capacity as we then possessed 597 the question of the Mosaic cosmogony of the six days. We must keep in mind, however, that the Word promises to the righteous through the mouth of Isaiah, that days will come181 when not the sun, but the Lord Himself, will be to them an everlasting light, and God will be their glory. (cf. Isa_60:19) And it is from misunderstanding, I think, some pestilent heresy which gave an erroneous interpretation to the words, “Let there be light,” as if they were the expression of a wish182 merely on the part of the Creator, that Celsus made the remark: “The Creator did not borrow light from above, like those persons who kindle their lamps at those of their neighbours.” Misunderstanding, moreover, another impious heresy, he has said: “If, indeed, there did exist an accursed god opposed to the great God, who did this contrary to his approval, why did he lend him the light?” So far are we from offering a defence of such puerilities, that we desire, on the contrary, distinctly to arraign the statements of these heretics as erroneous, and to undertake to refute, not those of their opinions with which we are unacquainted, as Celsus does, but those of which we have attained an accurate knowledge, derived in part from the statements of their own adherents, and partly from a careful perusal of their writings.
The Refutation of All Heresies. (Cont.)
Book IV. (Cont.)
Chap. XLVIII. – Invention of the Lyre; Allegorizing the Appearance and Position of the Stars; Origin of the Phoenicians; the Logos Identified by Aratus with the Constellation Canis; Influence of Canis on Fertility and Life Generally.
And (Aratus) says that (the constellations) Lyra and Corona have been placed on both sides near him, – now I mean Engonasis, – but that he bends the knee, and stretches forth both hands, as if making a confession of sin. And that the lyre is a musical instrument fashioned by Logos while still altogether an infant, and that Logos is the same as he who is denominated Mercury among the Greeks. And Aratus, with regard to the construction of the lyre, observes: –
“Then, further, also near the cradle,150
Hermes pierced it through, and said, Call it Lyre.”151
It consists of seven strings, signifying by these seven strings the entire harmony and construction of the world as it is melodiously constituted. For in six days the world was made, and (the Creator) rested on the seventh. If, then, says (Aratus), Adam, acknowledging (his guilt) and guarding the head of the Beast, according to the commandment of the Deity, will imitate Lyra, that is, obey the Logos of God, that is, submit to the law, he will receive Corona that is situated near him. If, however, he neglect his duty, he shall be hurled downwards in company with the Beast that lies underneath, and shall have, he says, his portion with the Beast. And Engonasis seems on both sides to extend his hands, and on one to touch Lyra, and on the other Corona – and this is his confession; – so that it is possible to distinguish him by means of this (sidereal) configuration itself. But Corona nevertheless is plotted against, and forcibly drawn away by another beast, a smaller Dragon, which is the offspring of him who is guarded by the foot152 of Engonasis. A man also stands firmly grasping with both hands, and dragging towards the space behind the Serpent from Corona; and he does not permit the Beast to touch Corona, though making a violent effort to do so. And Aratus styles him Anguitenens, because he restrains the impetuosity of the Serpent in his attempt to reach Corona. But Logos, he says, is he who, in the figure of a man, hinders the Beast from reaching Corona, commiserating him who is being plotted against by the Dragon and his offspring simultaneously.
These (constellations), “The Bears,” however, he says, are two hebdomads, composed of seven stars, images of two creations. For the first creation, he affirms, is that according to Adam in labours, this is he who is seen “on his knees” (Engonasis). The second creation, however, is that according to Christ, by which we are regenerated; and this is Anguitenens, who struggles against the Beast, and hinders him from reaching Corona, which is reserved for the man. But “The Great Bear” is, he says, Helice,153 symbol of a mighty world towards which the Greeks steer their course, that is, for which they are being disciplined. And, wafted by the waves of life, they follow onwards, (having in prospect) some such revolving world or discipline or wisdom which conducts those back that follow in pursuit of such a world. For the term Helice seems to signify a certain circling and revolution towards the same points. There is likewise a certain other “Small Bear” (Cynosuris), as it were some image of the second creation – that formed according to God. For few, he says, there are that journey by the narrow path.154 But they assert that Cynosuris is narrow, towards which Aratus155 says that the Sidonians 44 navigate. But Aratus has spoken partly of the Sidonians, (but means) the Phoenicians, on account of the existence of the admirable wisdom of the Phoenicians. The Greeks, however, assert that they are Phoenicians, who have migrated from (the shores of) the Red Sea into this country where they even at present dwell, for this is the opinion of Herodotus.156 Now Cynosura, he says, is this (lesser) Bear, the second creation; the one of limited dimensions, the narrow way, and not Helice. For he does not lead them back, but guides forward by a straight path, those that follow him being (the tail) of Canis. For Canis is the Logos,157 partly guarding and preserving the flock, that is plotted against by the wolves; and partly like a dog, hunting the beasts from the creation, and destroying them; and partly producing all things, and being what they express by the name “Cyon” (Canis), that is, generator. Hence it is said, Aratus has spoken of the rising of Canis, expressing himself thus: “When, however, Canis has risen, no longer do the crops miss.” This is what he says: Plants that have been put into the earth up to the period of Canis’ rising, frequently, though not having struck root, are yet covered with a profusion of leaves, and afford indications to spectators that they will be productive, and that they appear full of life, (though in reality) not having vitality in themselves from the root. But when the rising of Canis takes place, the living are separated from the dead by Canis; for whatsoever plants have not taken root, really undergo putrefaction. This Canis, therefore, he says, as being a certain divine Logos, has been appointed judge of quick and dead. And as (the influence of) Canis is observable in the vegetable productions of this world, so in plants of celestial growth – in men – is beheld the (power of the) Logos. From some such cause, then, Cynosura, the second creation, is set in the firmament as an image of a creation by the Logos. The Dragon, however, in the centre reclines between the two creations, preventing a transition of whatever things are from the great creation to the small creation; and in guarding those that are fixed in the (great) creation, as for instance Engonasis, observing (at the same time) how and in what manner each is constituted in the small creation. And (the Dragon) himself is watched at the head, he says, by Anguitenens. This image, he affirms, is fixed in heaven, being a certain wisdom to those capable of discerning it. If, however, this is obscure, by means of some other image, he says the creation teaches (men) to philosophize, in regard to which Aratus has expressed himself thus: –
“Neither of Cepheus Iasidas are we the wretched brood.”158
Chap. VII. – Monoïmus on the Sabbath; Allegorizes the Rod of Moses; Notion Concerning the Decalogue.
The world, then, as Moses says, was made in six days, that is, by six powers, which (are inherent) in the one tittle of the iota. (But) the seventh (day, which is) a rest and Sabbath, has been produced from the Hebdomad, which is over earth, and water, and fire, and air. And from these (elements) the world has been formed by the one tittle. For cubes, and octahedrons, and pyramids, and all figures similar to these, out of which consist fire, air, water, (and) earth, have arisen from numbers which are comprehended in that simple tittle of the iota. And this (tittle) constitutes a perfect son of a perfect man. When, therefore, he says, Moses mentions that the rod was changeably brandished for the (introduction of the) plagues throughout Egypt (Exo_7:1-25, Exo_8:1-32) – now these plagues, he says, are allegorically expressed symbols of the creation21 – he did not (as a symbol) for more plagues than ten shape the rod. Now this (rod) constitutes one tittle of the iota, and is (both) twofold (and) various. This succession of ten plagues is, he says, the mundane creation. For all things, by being stricken, bring forth and bear fruit, just like vines. Man, he says, bursts forth, and is forcibly separated from man by being severed by a certain stroke. (And this takes place) in order that (man) may be generated, and may declare the law which Moses ordained, who received (it) from God. Conformably22 with that one tittle, the law constitutes the series of the ten commandments which expresses allegorically the divine mysteries of (those) precepts. For, he says, all knowledge of the universe is contained 122 in what relates to the succession of the ten plagues and the series of the ten commandments. And no one is acquainted with this (knowledge) who is (of the number) of those that are deceived concerning the offspring of the woman. If, however, you say that the Pentateuch constitutes the entire law, it is from the Pentad which is comprehended in the one tittle. But the entire is for those who have not been altogether perfected in understanding a mystery, a new and not antiquated feast, legal, (and) everlasting, a passover of the Lord God kept unto our generations, by those who are able to discern (this mystery), at the commencement of the fourteenth day, which is the beginning of a decade from which, he says, they reckon. For the monad, as far as fourteen, is the summary of that one (tittle) of the perfect number. For one, two, three, four, become ten; and this is the one tittle. But from fourteen until one-and-twenty, he asserts that there is an Hebdomad which inheres in the one tittle of the world, and constitutes an unleavened creature in all these. For in what respect, he says, would the one tittle require any substance such as leaven (derived) from without for the Lord’s Passover, the eternal feast, which is given for generation upon generation? [Exo_12:17. Compare 1Co_5:7, 1Co_5:8] For the entire world and all causes of creation constitute a passover, (i.e.,) a feast of the Lord. For God rejoices in the conversion of the creation, and this is accomplished by ten strokes of the one tittle. And this (tittle) is Moses’ rod, which was given by God into the hand of Moses. And with this (rod Moses) smites the Egyptians, for the purpose of altering bodies, – as, for instance, water into blood; and the rest of (material) things similarly with these, – (as, for example,) the locusts, which is a symbol of grass. And by this he means the alteration of the elements into flesh; “for all flesh,” he says, “is grass.” (Isa_40:6) These men, nevertheless receive even the entire law after some such manner; adopting very probably, as I think, the opinions of those of the Greeks who affirm that there are Substance, and Quality, and Quantity, and Relation, and Place, and Time, and Position, and Action, and Possession, and Passion.
Chap. XIII. – Monoïmus.
But the followers of Monoïmus the Arabian assert that the originating principle of the universe is a primal man and son of man; and that, as Moses states, the things that have been produced were produced not by the primal man, but by the Son of that primal man, yet not by the entire Son, but by part of Him. And (Monoïmus asserts) that the Son of man is iota, which stands for ten, the principal number in which is (inherent) the subsistence of all number (in general, and) through which every number (in particular) consists, as well as the generation of the universe, fire, air, water, and earth. But inasmuch as this is one iota and one tittle, and what is perfect (emanates) from what is perfect, or, in other words, a tittle flows down from above, containing all things in itself; (therefore,) whatsoever things also the man possesses, the Father of the Son of man possesses likewise. Moses, therefore, says that the world was made in six days, that is, by six powers, out of which the world was made by the one tittle. For cubes, and octahedrons, and pyramids, and all figures similar to these, having equal superficies, out of which consist fire, air, water, and earth, have been produced from numbers comprehended in that simple tittle of the iota, which is Son of man. When, therefore, says (Monoïmus), Moses mentions the rod’s being brandished for the purpose of bringing the plagues upon Egypt, he alludes allegorically to the (alterations of the) world of iota; nor did he frame more than ten plagues. If, however, says he, you wish to become acquainted with the universe, search within yourself who is it that says, “My soul, my flesh, and my mind,” and who is it that appropriates each one thing unto himself, as another (would do) for himself. Understand that this is a perfect one arising from (one that is) perfect, and that he considers as his own all so-called nonentities and all entities. These, then, are the opinions of Monoïmus also.
The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus.
4. But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.”80 For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” (Psa_90:4) Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: “five are fallen; one is,” that is, the sixth; “the other is not yet come.” (Rev_17:10)
The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes.
31. Listen also to what I have to say on this other expression which has been adduced, viz., “Christ, who redeemed us from the curse of the law.” (Gal_3:13) My view of this passage is that Moses, that illustrious servant of God, committed to those who wished to have the right vision,220 an emblematic221 law, and also a real law. Thus, to take an example, after God had made the world, and all things that are in it, in the space of six days, He rested on the seventh day from all His works by which statement I do not mean to affirm that He rested because He was fatigued, but that He did so as having brought to its perfection every creature which He had resolved to introduce. And yet in the sequel it, the new law, says: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (Joh_5:17) Does that mean, then, that He is still making heaven, or sun, or man, or animals, or trees, or any such thing? Nay; but the meaning is, that when these visible objects were perfectly finished, He rested from that kind of work; while, however, He still continues to work at objects invisible with an inward mode of action,222 and saves men. In like manner, then, the legislator desires also that every individual amongst us should be devoted unceasingly to this kind of work, even as God Himself is; and he enjoins us consequently to rest continuously from secular things, and to engage in no worldly sort of work whatsoever; and this is called our Sabbath. This also he added in the law, that nothing senseless223 should be done but that we should be careful and direct our life in accordance with what is just and righteous. Now this law was suspended over men, discharging most sharply its curse against those who might transgress it. But because its subjects, too, were but men, and because, as happens also frequently I with us, controversies arose and injuries were inflicted, the law likewise at once, and with the severest equity, made any wrong that was done 204 return upon the head of the wrong-doer;224 so that, for instance, if a poor man was minded to gather a bundle of wood upon the Sabbath, he was placed under the curse of the law, and exposed to the penality of instant death. (Num_15:32) The men, therefore, who had been brought up with the Egyptians were thus severely pressed by the restrictive power of the law, and they were unable to bear the penalties and the curses of the law. But, again, He who is ever the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, came and delivered those men from these pains and curses of the law, forgiving them their offences. And He indeed did not deal with them as Moses did, putting the severities of the law in force, and granting indulgence to no man for any offence; but He declared that if any man suffered an injury at the hands of his neighbour, he was to forgive him not once only, nor even twice or thrice, nor only seven times, but even unto seventy times seven; (Mat_18:21) but that, on the other hand, if after all this the offender still continued to do such wrong, he ought then, as the last resource, to be brought under the law of Moses, and that no further pardon should be granted to the man who would thus persist in wrong-doing, even after having been forgiven unto seventy times seven. And He bestowed His forgiveness not only on a transgressor of such a character as that, but even on one who did offence to the Son of man. But if a man dealt thus with the Holy Spirit, He made him subject to two curses, – namely, to that of the law of Moses, and to that of His own law; to the law of Moses in truth in this present life, but to His own law at the time of the judgment: for His word is this: “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Mat_12:32) There is the law of Moses, thus, that in this world gives pardon to no such person; and there is the law of Christ that punishes in the future world. From this, therefore, mark how He confirms the law, not only not destroying it, but fulfilling it. Thus, then, He redeemed them from that curse of the law which belongs to the present life; and from this fact has come the appellation “the curse of the law.” This is the whole account which needs be given of that mode of speech. But, again, why the law is called the “strength of sin, we shall at once explain in brief to the best of our ability. Now it is written that “the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.”
Chap. V. – The Sixty Queens: Why Sixty, and Why Queens; the Excellence of the Saints of the First Age.
In addition to these matters, there is this also to be considered, so that nothing may escape us of things which are necessary, why He said that the queens were sixty, and the concubines eighty, and the virgins so numerous as not to be counted from their multitude, but the spouse one. And first let us speak of the sixty. I imagine that He named under the sixty queens, those who had pleased God from the first-made man in succession to Noah, for this reason, since these had no need of precepts and laws for their salvation, the creation of the world in six days being still recent. For they remembered that in six days God formed the creation, and those things which were made in paradise; and how man, receiving a command not to touch89 the tree of knowledge, ran aground, the author of evil having led him astray. (Gen_3:3) Thence he gave the symbolical name of sixty queens to those souls who, from the creation of the world, in succession chose God as the object of their love, and were almost, so to speak, the offspring of the first age, and neighbours of the great six days’ work, from their having been born, as I said, immediately after the six days. For these had great honour, being associated with the angels, and often seeing God manifested visibly, and not in a dream. For consider what confidence Seth had towards God, and Abel, and Enos, and Enoch, and Methuselah, and Noah, the first lovers of righteousness, and the first of the first-born children who are written in heaven, (Heb_11:23) being thought worthy of the kingdom, as a kind of first-fruits of the plants for salvation, coming out as early fruit to God. And so much may suffice concerning these.
The Banquet of the Ten Virgins; or, Concerning Chastity.
Chap. XI. – The Woman with the Male Child in the Wilderness the Church; the Wilderness Belongs to Virgins and Saints; the Perfection of Numbers and Mysteries; the Equality and Perfection of the Number Six; the Number Six Related to Christ; from This Number, Too, the Creation and Harmony of the World Completed.
Moreover, it is evident that the creation of the world was accomplished in harmony with this number, God having made heaven and earth, and the things which are in them, in six days; the word of creative power containing the number six, in accordance with which the Trinity is the maker of bodies. For length, and breadth, and depth make up a body. And the number six is composed of triangles. On these subjects, however, there is not sufficient time at present to enlarge with accuracy, for fear of letting the main subject slip, in considering that which is secondary.
Chap. I. – Chastity the Chief Ornament of the True Tabernacle; Seven Days Appointed to the Jews for Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles: What They Signify; the Sum of This Septenary Uncertain; Not Clear to Any One when the Consummation of the World Will Be; Even Now the Fabric of the World Completed.
…God, when He appointed to the true Israelites the legal rite of the true feast of the tabernacles, directed, in Leviticus, how they should keep and do honour to the feast; above all things, saying that each one should adorn his tabernacle with chastity. I will add the words themselves of Scripture, from which, without any doubt, it will be shown how agreeable to God, and acceptable to Him, is this ordinance of virginity: “In the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows127 of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations; ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths; that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev_23:39-42)
Here the Jews, fluttering about the bare letter of Scripture, like drones about the leaves of herbs, but not about flowers and fruits as the bee, fully believe that these words and ordinances were spoken concerning such a tabernacle as they erect; as if God delighted in those trivial adornments which they, preparing, fabricate from trees, not perceiving the wealth of good things to come; whereas these things, being like air and phantom shadows, foretell the resurrection and the putting up of our tabernacle that had fallen upon the earth, which at length, in the seventh thousand of years, resuming again immortal, we shall celebrate the great feast of true tabernacles in the new and indissoluble creation, the fruits of the earth having been gathered in, and men no longer begetting and begotten, but God resting from the works of creation.128
For since in six days God made the heaven and the earth, and finished the whole world, and rested on the seventh day from all His works which He had made, and blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, (Gen_2:1) so by a figure in the seventh month, when the fruits of the earth have been gathered in, we are commanded to keep the feast to the Lord, which signifies that, when this world shall be terminated at the seventh thousand years, when God shall have completed the world, He shall rejoice in us. (Psa_104:31) For now to this time all things are created by His all-sufficient will and inconceivable power; the earth still yielding its fruits, and the waters being gathered together in their receptacles; and the light still severed from darkness, and the allotted number of men not yet being complete; and the sun arising to rule the day, and the moon the night; and four-footed creatures, and beasts, and creeping things arising from the earth, and winged creatures, and creatures that swim, from the water. Then, when the appointed times shall have been accomplished, and God shall have ceased to form this creation, in the seventh month, the great resurrection-day, it is commanded that the Feast of our Tabernacles shall be celebrated to the Lord, of which the things said in Leviticus are symbols and figures, which things, carefully investigating, we should consider 345 the naked truth itself, for He saith, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words Of the wise, and their dark sayings.” (Pro_1:5, Pro_1:6)
Wherefore let it shame the Jews that they do not perceive the deep things of the Scriptures, thinking that nothing else than outward things are contained in the law and the prophets; for they, intent upon things earthly, have in greater esteem the riches of the world than the wealth which is of the soul. For since the Scriptures are in this way divided that some of them give the likeness of past events, some of them a type of the future, the miserable men, going back, deal with the figures of the future as if they were already things of the past. As in the instance of the immolation of the Lamb, the mystery of which they regard as solely in remembrance of the deliverance of their fathers from Egypt, when, although the first-born of Egypt were smitten, they themselves were preserved by marking the door-posts of their houses with blood. Nor do they understand that by it also the death of Christ is personified, by whose blood souls made safe and sealed shall be preserved from wrath in the burning of the world; whilst the first-born, the sons of Satan, shall be destroyed with an utter destruction by the avenging angels, who shall reverence the seal of the Blood impressed upon the former.
Methodius (Cont.) Fragments.
IX. He says that Origen, after having fabled many things concerning the eternity of the universe, adds this also: Nor yet from Adam, as some say, did man, previously not existing, first take his existence and come into the world. Nor again did the world begin to be made six days before the creation of Adam. But if any one should prefer to differ in these points, let him first say, whether a period of time be not easily reckoned from the creation of the world, according to the Book of Moses, to those who so receive it, the voice of prophecy here proclaiming: “Thou art God from everlasting, and world without end. . . . For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday: seeing that is past as a watch in the night.” (Psa_90:2, Psa_90:4) For when a thousand years are reckoned as one day in the sight of God, and from the creation of the world to His rest is six days, so also to our time, six days are defined, as those say who are clever arithmeticians. Therefore, they say that an age of six thousand years extends from Adam to our time. For they say that the judgment will come on the seventh day, that is in the seventh thousand years. Therefore, all the days from our time to that which was in the beginning, in which God created the heaven and the earth, are computed to be thirteen days; before which God, because he had as yet created nothing according to their folly, is stripped of His name of Father and Almighty. But if there are thirteen days in the sight of God from the creation of the world, how can Wisdom say, in the Book of the Son of Sirach: “Who can number the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of eternity ?” (Ecclus. 1:2) This is what Origen says seriously, and mark how he trifles. 382
The Divine Institutes.
Chap. XIV. – Of the First and Last Times of the World.
Since we have spoken of the immortality of the soul, it follows that we teach how and when it is given to man; that in this also they may see the errors of their perverseness and folly, who imagine that some mortals have become gods by the decrees and dogmas of mortals; either because they had invented arts, or because they had taught the use of certain productions of the earth, or because they had discovered things useful for the life of men, or because they had slain savage beasts. How far these things were from deserving immortality we have both shown in the former books, and we will now show, that it may be evident that it is righteousness alone which procures for man eternal life, and that it is God alone who bestows the reward of eternal life. For they who are said to have been immortalized by their merits, inasmuch as they possessed neither righteousness nor any true virtue, did not obtain for themselves immortality, but death by their sins and lusts; nor did they deserve the reward of heaven, but the punishment of hell, which impends over them, together with all their worshippers. And I show that the time of this judgment draws near, that the due reward may be given to the righteous, and the deserved punishment may be inflicted on the wicked.
Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed; and in this they perhaps followed the Chaldeans, who, as Cicero has related in his first book respecting divination,104 foolishly say105 that they possess comprised in their memorials four hundred and seventy thousand years; in which matter, because they thought that they could not be convicted, they believed that they were at liberty106 to speak falsely. But we, whom the Holy Scriptures instruct to the knowledge of the truth, know the beginning and the end of the world, respecting which we will now speak in the end of our work, since we have explained respecting the beginning in the second book. Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed, and that when this number is completed the consummation must take place, and the condition of human affairs be remodelled for the better, the proof of which must first be related, that the matter itself may be plain. God completed the world and this admirable work of nature in the space of six days, as is contained in the secrets of Holy Scripture, and consecrated the seventh day, on which He had rested from His works. But this is the Sabbath-day, which in the language of the Hebrews received its name from the number,107 whence the seventh is the legitimate and complete number. For there are seven days, by the revolutions of which in order the circles of years are made up; and there are seven stars which do not set, and seven luminaries which are called planets,108 whose differing and unequal movements are believed to cause the varieties of circumstances and times.109
Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, (Psa_90:4; see also 2Pe_3:8) “In Thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day.” And as God laboured during those six days in creating such great works, so His religion and truth must labour during these six thousand years, while wickedness prevails and bears rule. And again, since God, having finished His works, rested the seventh day and blessed it, at the end of the six thousandth year all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years; and there must be tranquillity and rest from the labours which the world now has long endured. But how that will come to pass I will explain in its order. We have often said that lesser things and things of small importance are figures and previous shadowings forth of great things; as this day of ours, which is bounded by the rising and the setting of the sun, is a representation110 of that great day to which the circuit of a thousand years affixes its limits.111
In the same manner also the fashioning of the earthly man held forth to the future the formation of the heavenly people. For as, when all things were completed which were contrived for the use of man, last of all, on the sixth day, He 212 made man also, and introduced him into this world as into a home now carefully prepared; so now on the great sixth day the true man is being formed by the word of God, that is, a holy people is fashioned for righteousness by the doctrine and precepts of God. And as then a mortal and imperfect man was formed from the earth, that he might live a thousand years in this world; so now from this earthly age is formed a perfect man, that being quickened by God, he may bear rule in this same world through a thousand years. But in what manner the consummation will take place, and what end awaits the affairs of men, if any one shall examine the divine writings he will ascertain. But the voices also of prophets of the world, agreeing with the heavenly, announce the end and overthrow of all things after a short time, describing as it were the last old age of the wearied and wasting world. But the things which are said by prophets and seers to be about to happen before that last ending comes upon the world, I will subjoin, being collected and accumulated from all quarters.
On the Creation of the World.
To me, as I meditate and consider in my mind concerning the creation of this world in which we are kept enclosed, even such is the rapidity of that creation; as is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about its creation, and which is called Genesis. God produced that entire mass for the adornment of His majesty in six days; on the seventh to which He consecrated it . . . with a blessing. For this reason, therefore, because in the septenary number of days both heavenly and earthly things are ordered, in place of the beginning I will consider of this seventh day after the principle of all matters pertaining to the number of seven; and as far as I shall be able, I will endeavour to portray the day of the divine power to that consummation.
In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men’s labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. “On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night,” (Gen_1:16, Gen_1:17) – the lights of the sun and moon; and He placed the rest of the stars in heaven, that they might shine upon the earth, and by their positions distinguish the seasons, and years, and months, and days, and hours.
Now is manifested the reason of the truth why the fourth day is called the Tetras, why we fast even to the ninth hour, or even to the evening, or why there should be a passing over even to the next day. Therefore this world of ours is composed of four elements – fire, water, heaven, earth. These four elements, therefore, form the quaternion of times or seasons. The sun, also, and the moon constitute throughout the space of the year four seasons – of spring, summer, autumn, winter; and these seasons make a quaternion. And to proceed further still from that principle, lo, there are four living creatures before God’s throne,2 four Gospels, four rivers flowing in paradise; (Gen_2:10) four generations of people from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Christ the Lord, the Son of God; and four living creatures, viz., a man, a calf, a lion, an eagle; and four rivers, the Pison, the Gihon. the Tigris, and the Euphrates. The man Christ Jesus, the originator of these things whereof we have above spoken, was taken prisoner by wicked hands, by a quaternion of soldiers. Therefore on account of His captivity by a quaternion, on account of the majesty of His works, – that the seasons also, wholesome to humanity, joyful for the harvests, tranquil for the tempests, may roll on, – therefore we make the fourth day a station or a supernumerary fast.
On the fifth day the land and water brought forth their progenies. On the sixth day the things that were wanting were created; and thus God raised up man from the soil, as lord of all the things which He created upon the earth and the water. Yet He created angels and archangels before He created man, placing spiritual beings before earthly ones. For light was made before sky and the earth. This sixth day is called parasceve,3 that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. For He perfected Adam, whom He made after His image and likeness. But for this reason He completed His works before He created angels and fashioned man, lest perchance they should falsely assert that they had been His helpers. On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God, or a fast. On the seventh day He rested from all His works, and blessed it, and sanctified it. On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lord’s day we may go forth 342 to our bread with giving of thanks. And let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews, which Christ Himself, the Lord of the Sabbath, says by His prophets that “His soul hateth;” (Isa_1:13, Isa_1:14) which Sabbath He in His body abolished, although, nevertheless, He had formerly Himself commanded Moses that circumcision should not pass over the eighth day, which day very frequently happens on the Sabbath, as we read written in the Gospel. (Joh_7:22) Moses, foreseeing the hardness of that people, on the Sabbath raised up his hands, therefore, and thus figuratively fastened himself to a cross. (Exo_22:9, Exo_22:12) And in the battle they were sought for by the foreigners on the Sabbath-day, that they might be taken captive, and, as if by the very strictness of the law, might be fashioned to the avoidance of its teaching. (1 Macc. 2:31-41)
Commentaries of Origen
Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Book XIV.
9. The Time Occupied by the Reckoning.
And these things will take place whenever that happens which is written in Daniel, “The books were opened and the judgment was set;” (Dan_7:10) for a record, as it were, is made of all things that have been spoken and done and thought, and by divine power every hidden thing of ours shall be manifested, and everything that is covered shall be revealed, (Mat_10:26; Luk_12:2) in order that when any one is found who has not “given diligence to be freed from the adversary,” he may go in succession through the hands 500 of the magistrate, and the judge, and the attendant into the prison, until he pays the very last mite; (Luk_12:58, Luk_12:59) but when one has given diligence to be freed from him and owes nothing to any one, and already has made the pound ten pounds or five pounds, or doubled the five talents, or made the two four, he may obtain the due recompense, entering into the joy of his Lord, either being set over all His possessions, (Mat_24:47) or hearing the word, “Have thou authority over ten cities,” (Luk_19:17) or “Have thou authority over five cities.”61 But we think that these things are spoken of as if they required a long period of time, in order that an account may be made by us of the whole times of the earthly life, so that we might suppose that when the king makes a reckoning with each one of his many servants the matter would require so vast a period of time, until these things come to an end which have existed from the beginning of the world down to the consummation of the age, not of one age, but of many ages. But the truth is not so; for when God wished all at once to rekindle in the memories of all everything that had been done by each one throughout the whole time, in order that each might become conscious of his own doings whether good or bad, He would do it by His ineffable power. For it is not with God as with us; for if we wish to call some things to remembrance, we require sufficient time for the detailed account of what has been said by us, and to bring to our remembrance the things which we wish to remember; but if He wished to call to our memory the things which have been done in this life, in order that becoming conscious of what we have done we may apprehend for what we are punished or honoured, He could do so. But if any one disbelieves the swiftness of the power of God in regard to these matters, he has not yet had a true conception of the God who made the universe, who did not require times to make the vast creation of heaven and earth and the things in them; for, though He may seem to have made these things in six days, there is need of understanding to comprehend in what sense the words “in six days” are said, on account of this, “This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth,” (Gal_2:4 etc). Therefore it may be boldly affirmed that the season of the expected judgment does not require times, but as the resurrection is said to take place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” (1Co_15:52) so I think will the judgment also be.
Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologica (13th Century)
“’God called the light day’ (since the word ‘day’ is also used to denote a space of twenty-four hours). Other instances of a similar use occur, as pointed out by Rabbi Moses.”
Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis (16th century)
We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago […] He [Moses] calls ‘a spade a spade,’ i.e., he employs the terms ‘day’ and ‘evening’ without allegory, just as we customarily do […] we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit. (Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis)
A rebellious spirit will display itself no less insolently when it hears that there are three persons in the divine essence, than when it hears that God when he created man foresaw every thing that was to happen to him. Nor will they abstain from their jeers when told that little more than five thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world.