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Chapter XLIX.

Let us notice now what follows, where, expressing in a single word his opinion regarding the Mosaic cosmogony, without offering, however, a single argument in its support, he finds fault with it, saying:  “Moreover, their cosmogony is extremely silly.”45254525    μάλα εὐηθική.  Now, if he had produced some credible proofs of its silly character, we should have endeavoured to answer them; but it does not appear to me reasonable that I should be called upon to demonstrate, in answer to his mere assertion, that it is not “silly.”  If any one, however, wishes to see the reasons which led us to accept the Mosaic account, and the arguments 597by which it may be defended, he may read what we have written upon Genesis, from the beginning of the book up to the passage, “And this is the book of the generation of men,”45264526    Cf. Gen. v. 1. where we have tried to show from the holy Scriptures themselves what the “heaven” was which was created in the beginning; and what the “earth,” and the “invisible part of the earth,” and that which was “without form;”45274527    ἀκατασκεύαστον. and what the “deep” was, and the “darkness” that was upon it; and what the “water” was, and the “Spirit of God” which was “borne over it;” and what the “light” which was created, and what the “firmament,” as distinct from the “heaven” which was created in the beginning; and so on with the other subjects that follow.  Celsus has also expressed his opinion that the narrative of the creation of man is “exceedingly silly,” without stating any proofs, or endeavouring to answer our arguments; for he had no evidence, in my judgment, which was fitted to overthrow the statement that “man has been made in the image of God.”45284528    Cf. Gen. i. 26.  He does not even understand the meaning of the “Paradise” that was planted by God, and of the life which man first led in it; and of that which resulted from accident,45294529    τὴν ἐκ περιστάσεως γενομένην. when man was cast forth on account of his sin, and was settled opposite the Paradise of delight.  Now, as he asserts that these are silly statements, let him turn his attention not merely to each one of them (in general), but to this in particular, “He placed the cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life,”45304530    Gen. iii. 24. and say whether Moses wrote these words with no serious object in view, but in the spirit of the writers of the old Comedy, who have sportively related that “Prœtus slew Bellerophon,” and that “Pegasus came from Arcadia.”  Now their object was to create laughter in composing such stories; whereas it is incredible that he who left behind him laws45314531    γραφάς. for a whole nation, regarding which he wished to persuade his subjects that they were given by God, should have written words so little to the purpose,45324532    ἀπρόσλογα. and have said without any meaning, “He placed the cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life,” or made any other statement regarding the creation of man, which is the subject of philosophic investigation by the Hebrew sages.


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