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Chapter II.—Generation Something Akin to the First Formation of Eve from the Side and Nature of Adam; God the Creator of Men in Ordinary Generation.

And this perhaps is what was shadowed forth by the sleep and trance of the first man, which 314prefigured the embraces of connubial love. When thirsting for children a man falls into a kind of trance,25322532    Remark the connection, ἔκστασις and εξίσταται. softened and subdued by the pleasures of generation as by sleep, so that again something drawn from his flesh and from his bones is, as I said, fashioned into another man. For the harmony of the bodies being disturbed in the embraces of love, as those tell us who have experience of the marriage state, all the marrow-like and generative part of the blood, like a kind of liquid bone, coming together from all the members, worked into foam and curdled, is projected through the organs of generation into the living body of the female. And probably it is for this reason that a man is said to leave his father and his mother, since he is then suddenly unmindful of all things when united to his wife in the embraces of love, he is overcome by the desire of generation, offering his side to the divine Creator to take away from it, so that the father may again appear in the son.

Wherefore, if God still forms man, shall we not be guilty of audacity if we think of the generation of children as something offensive, which the Almighty Himself is not ashamed to make use of in working with His undefiled hands; for He says to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;”25332533    Jer. i. 5. and to Job, “Didst thou take clay and form a living creature, and make it speak upon the earth?”25342534    Job xxxviii. 14 (LXX.). and Job draws near to Him in supplication, saying, “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me.”25352535    Job x. 8. Would it not, then, be absurd to forbid marriage unions, seeing that we expect that after us there will be martyrs, and those who shall oppose the evil one, for whose sake also the Word promised that He would shorten those days?25362536    Matt. xxiv. 22. For if the generation of children henceforth had seemed evil to God, as you said, for what reason will those who have come into existence in opposition to the divine decree and will be able to appear well-pleasing to God? And must not that which is begotten be something spurious, and not a creature of God, if, like a counterfeit coin, it is moulded apart from the intention and ordinance of the lawful authority? And so we concede to men the power of forming men.


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