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Chapter 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 forth64566456    Quatenus hic commendare videtur. 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,64576457    Dissimulato tacito intellectu. 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,”64586458    Prov. viii. 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 subjoined64596459    Subjecta. to matter. Of darkness, indeed, the Lord Himself by Isaiah says, “I formed the light, and I created darkness.”64606460    Isa. xlv. 7. Of the wind64616461    De spiritu. This shows that Tertullian took the spirit of Gen. i. 2 in the inferior sense. also Amos says, “He that strengtheneth the thunder64626462    So also the Septuagint., and createth the wind, and declareth His Christ64636463    So also the Septuagint. unto men;”64646464    Amos iv. 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,64656465    The “wind.” on the ground that “God is a Spirit,”64666466    John iv. 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.”64676467    Flatum: “breath;” so LXX. of Isa. lvii. 16. In like manner the 496same Wisdom says of the waters, “Also when He made the fountains strong, things which64686468    Fontes, quæ. are under the sky, I was fashioning64696469    Modulans. them along with Him.”64706470    Prov. viii. 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,64716471    Plane. 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,”64726472    Gen. i. 2. refers to Matter, as indeed do all those other Scriptures here and there,64736473    In disperso. which demonstrate that the separate parts were made out of Matter. It must follow, then,64746474    Ergo: Tertullian’s answer. 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,64756475    Ch. 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 things64766476    Ut et aliæ.—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 case64776477    Jam. the operation of God might seem to be useless,64786478    Otiosa. if it made things which existed already; since that alone would be a creation,64796479    Generatio: creation in the highest sense of matter issuing from the maker. Another reading has “generosiora essent,” for our “generatio sola esset,” meaning that, “those things would be nobler which had not been made,” which is obviously quite opposed to Tertullian’s argument. 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 explicitness64806480    Æque. shown to have been made out of the Matter which, according to you, Moses had previously mentioned;64816481    Præmiserat. 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.


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