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Chapter XLI.

After this he continues as follows:  “They speak, in the next place, of a deluge, and of a monstrous38753875    ἀλλόκοτον. ark, having within it all things, and of a dove and a crow38763876    κορώνη. as messengers, falsifying and recklessly altering38773877    παραχαράττοντες καὶ ῥᾳδιουργοῦντες. the story of Deucalion; not expecting, I suppose, that these things would come to light, but imagining that they were inventing stories merely for young children.”  Now in these remarks observe the hostility—so unbecoming a philosopher—displayed by this man towards this very ancient Jewish narrative.  For, not being able to say anything against the history of the deluge, and not perceiving what he might have urged against the ark and its dimensions,—viz., that, according to the general opinion, which accepted the statements that it was three hundred cubits in length, and fifty in breadth, and thirty in height, it was impossible to maintain that it contained (all) the animals that were upon the earth, fourteen specimens of every clean and four of every unclean beast,—he merely termed it “monstrous, containing all things within it.”  Now wherein was its “monstrous” character, seeing it is related to have been a hundred years in building, and to have had the three hundred cubits of its length and the fifty of its breadth contracted, until the thirty cubits of its height terminated in a top one cubit long and one cubit broad?  Why should we not rather admire a structure which resembled an extensive city, if its measurements be taken to mean what they are capable of meaning,38783878    τῷ δυνάμει λέγεσθαι τὰ μέτρα. so that it was nine myriads of cubits long in the base, and two thousand five hundred in breadth?38793879    [This question, which is little short of astounding, illustrates the marvellous reach and play of Origen’s fancy at times.  See note supra, p. 262.  S.]  And why should we not admire the design evinced in having it so compactly built, and rendered capable of sustaining a tempest which caused a deluge?  For it was not daubed with pitch, or any material of that kind, but was securely coated with bitumen.  And is it not a subject of admiration, that by the providential arrangement of God, the elements of all the races were brought into it, that the earth might receive again the seeds of all living things, while God made use of a most righteous man to be the progenitor of those who were to be born after the deluge?


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