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Chapter XLV.—Conclusion. Contrast Between the Statements of Hermogenes and the Testimony of Holy Scripture Respecting the Creation. Creation Out of Nothing, Not Out of Matter.

But it is not thus that the prophets and the apostles have told us that the world was made by God merely appearing and approaching Matter. They did not even mention any Matter, but (said) that Wisdom was first set up, the beginning of His ways, for His works.65936593    Prov. viii. 22, 23. Then that the Word was produced, “through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made.”65946594    John i. 3. Indeed, “by the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their hosts by the breath of His mouth.”65956595    Spiritu Ipsius: “by His Spirit.” See Ps. xxxiii. 6. He is the Lord’s right hand,65966596    Isa. xlviii. 13. indeed His two hands, by which He worked and constructed the universe. “For,” says He, “the heavens are the works of Thine hands,”65976597    Ps. cii. 25. wherewith “He hath meted out the heaven, and the earth with a span.”65986598    Isa. xl. 12 and xlviii. 13. Do not be willing so to cover God with flattery, as to contend that He produced by His mere appearance and simple approach so many vast substances, instead of rather forming them by His own energies. For this is proved by Jeremiah when he says, “God hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by His understanding.”65996599    Jer. li. 15. These are the energies by the stress of which He made this universe.66006600    Ps. lxiv. 7. His glory is greater if He laboured. At length on the seventh day He rested from His works. Both one and the other were after His manner. If, on the contrary,66016601    Aut si. He made this world simply by appearing and approaching it, did He, on the completion of His work, cease to appear and approach it any more. Nay rather,66026602    Atquin. God began to appear more conspicuously and to be everywhere accessible66036603    Ubique conveniri. from the time when the world was made.  You see, therefore, how all things consist by the operation of that God who “made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding;” not appearing merely, nor approaching, but applying the almighty efforts of His mind, His wisdom, His power, His understanding, His word, His Spirit, His might. Now these things were not necessary to Him, if He had been perfect by simply appearing and approaching. They are, however, His “invisible things,” which, according to the apostle, “are from the creation of the world clearly seen by the things that are made;”66046604    Rom. i. 20. they are no parts of a nondescript66056605    Nescio quæ. Matter, but they are the sensible66066606    Sensualia. evidences of Himself. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord,”66076607    Rom. xi. 34. of which (the apostle) exclaims: “O the depth of the riches both of His wisdom and knowledge! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”66086608    Ver. 33. Now what clearer truth do these words indicate, than that all things were made out of nothing? They are incapable of being found out or investigated, except by God alone.  Otherwise, if they were traceable or discoverable in Matter, they would be capable of investigation. Therefore, in as far as it has become evident that Matter had no prior existence (even from this circumstance, that it is impossible66096609    Nec competat. for it to have had such an existence as is assigned to it), in so far is it proved that all things were made by God out of nothing. It must be admitted, however,66106610    Nisi quod. that Hermogenes, by describing for Matter a condition like his own—irregular, confused, turbulent, of a doubtful and precipate and fervid impulse—has displayed a specimen of his own art, and painted his own portrait.


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