"كتابات الآباء "
ANTIOCH: THEOPHILUS TO AUTOLYCUS -- BOOK II
CHAP. I.--OCCASION OF WRITING THIS BOOK.
WHEN we had formerly some conversation, my very good friend
Autolycus, and when you inquired who was my God, and for a little
paid attention to my discourse, I made some explanations to you
concerning my religion; and then having bid one another adieu, we
went with much mutual friendliness each to his own house although at
first you had home somewhat hard upon me. For you know and remember
that you supposed our doctrine was foolishness. As you then
afterwards urged me to do, I am desirous, though not educated to the
art of speaking, of more accurately demonstrating, by means of this
tractate, the vain labour and empty worship in which you are held;
and I wish also, from a few of your own histories which you read,
and perhaps do not yet quite understand, to make the truth plain to
CHAP. II.--THE GODS ARE DESPISED WHEN THEY ARE MADE; BUT BECOME
VALUABLE WHEN BOUGHT.
And in truth it does seem to me absurd that statuaries and carvers,
or painters, or moulders, should both design and paint, and carve,
and mould, and prepare gods, who, when they are produced by the
artificers, are reckoned of no value; but as soon as they are
purchased(1) by some and placed in some so-called temple, or in some
house, not only do those who bought them sacrifice to them, but also
those who made and sold them come with much devotion, and apparatus
of sacrifice, and libations, to worship them; and they reckon them
gods, not seeing that they are just such as when they were made by
themselves, whether stone, or brass, or wood, or colour, or some
other material. And this is your case, too, when you read the
histories and genealogies of the so-called gods. For when you read
of their births, you think of them as men, but afterwards you call
them gods, and worship them, not reflecting nor understanding that,
when born, they are exactly such beings as ye read of before.
CHAP. III.--WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE GODS?
And of the gods of former times, if indeed they were begotten, the
generation was sufficiently prolific. But now, where is their
generation exhibited? For if of old they begot and were begotten, it
is plain that even to the present time there should be gods begotten
and born; or at least if it be not so, such a race will be reckoned
impotent. For either they have waxed old, and on that account no
longer beget, or they have died out and no longer exist. For if the
gods were begotten, they ought to be born even until now, as men,
too, are born; yea, much more numerous should the gods be than men,
as the Sibyl says:--
"For if the gods beget, and each remains
Immortal, then the race of gods must be
More numerous than mortals, and the throng
So great that mortals find no room to stand."
For if the children begotten of men who are mortal and short-lived
make an appearance even until now, and men have not ceased to be
born, so that cities and villages are full, and even the country
places also are inhabited, how ought not the gods, who, according to
your poets, do not die, much rather to beget and be begotten, since
you say that the gods were produced by generation? And why was the
mount which is called Olympus formerly inhabited by the gods, but
now lies deserted? Or why did Jupiter, in days of yore, dwell on
Ida, and was known to dwell there, according to Homer and other
poets, but now is beyond ken? And why was he found only in one part
of the earth, and not everywhere? For either he neglected the other
parts, or was not able to be present everywhere and provide for all.
For if he were, e.g., in an eastern place, he was not in the
western; and if, on the other hand, he were present in the western
parts, he was not in the eastern. But this is the attribute of God,
the Highest and Almighty, and the living God, not only to be
everywhere present, but also to see all things and to hear all, and
by no means to be confined in a place; for if He were, then the
place containing Him would be greater than He; for that which
contains is greater than that which is contained. For God is not
contained, but is Himself the place of all. But why has Jupiter left
Ida? Was it because he died, or did that mountain no longer please
him? And where has he gone? To heaven? No. But you will perhaps say,
To Crete? Yes, for there, too, his tomb is shown to this day. Again,
you will say, To Pisa, where he reflects glory on the hands of
Phidias to this day. Let us, then, proceed to the writings of the
philosophers and poets.
CHAP. IV.--ABSURD OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS CONCERNING GOD.
Some of the philosophers of the Porch say that there is no God at
all; or, if there is, they say that He cares for none but Himself;
and these views the folly of Epicurus and Chrysippus has set forth
at large. And others say that all things are produced without
external agency, and that the world is uncreated, and that nature is
eternal;(1) and have dared to give out that there is no providence
of God at all, but maintain that God is only each man's conscience.
And others again maintain that the spirit which pervades all things
is God. But Plato and those of his school acknowledge indeed that
God is uncreated, and the Father and Maker of all things; but then
they maintain that matter as well as God is uncreated, and aver that
it is coeval with God. But if God is uncreated and matter uncreated,
God is no longer, according to the Platonists, the Creator of all
things, nor, so far as their opinions hold, is the monarchy(2) of
God established. And further, as God, because He is uncreated, is
also unalterable; so if matter, too, were uncreated, it also would
be unalterable, and equal to God; for that which is created is
mutable and alterable, but that which is uncreated is immutable and
unalterable. And what great thing is it if God made the world out of
existent materials?(3) For even a human artist, when he gets
material from some one, makes of it what he pleases. But the power
of God is manifested in this, that out of things that are not He
makes whatever He pleases; just as the bestowal of life and motion
is the prerogative of no other than God alone. For even man makes
indeed an image, but reason and breath, or feeling, he cannot give
to what he has made. But God has this property in excess of what man
can do, in that He makes a work, endowed with reason, life,
sensation. As, therefore, in all these respects God is more powerful
than man, so also in this; that out of things that are not He
creates and has created things that are, and whatever He pleases, as
CHAP. V.--OPINIONS OF HOMER AND HESIOD CONCERNING THE GODS.
So that the opinion of your philosophers and authors is discordant;
for while the former have propounded the foregoing opinions, the
poet Homer is found explaining the origin not only of the world, but
also of the gods, on quite another hypothesis. For he says
"Father of Gods, Oceanus, and she
Who bare the gods, their mother Tethys, too,
From whom all rivers spring, and every sea."
In saying which, however, he does not present God to us. For who
does not know that the ocean is water? But if water, then not God.
God indeed, if He is the creator of all things, as He certainly is,
is the creator both of the water and of the seas. And Hesiod himself
also declared the origin, not only of the gods, but also of the
world itself. And though he said that the world was created, he
showed no inclination to tell us by whom it was created. Besides, he
said that Saturn, and his sons Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, were
gods, though we find that they are later born than the world. And he
also relates how Saturn was assailed in war by his own son Jupiter;
for he says:(5)--
"His father Saturn he by might o'ercame,
And 'mong th' immortals ruled with justice wise,
And honours fit distributed to each.
Then he introduces in his poem the daughters of Jupiter, whom he
names Muses, and as whose suppliant he appears, desiring to
ascertain from them how all things were made; for he says:(6)--
"Daughters of Jove, all hail! Grant me your aid
That I in numbers sweet and well-arrayed,
Of the immortal gods may sing the birth;
Who of the starry heav'ns were born, and earth;
Who, springing from the murky night at first,
Were by the briny ocean reared and nursed.
Tell, too, who form unto the earth first gave,
And rivers, and the boundless sea whose wave
Unwearied sinks, then rears its crest on high;
And how was spread yon glittering canopy
Of glistening stars that stud the wide-spread heaven.
Whence sprang the gods by whom all good is given?
Tell from their hands what varied gifts there came,
Riches to some, to others wealth, or fame;
How they have dwelt from the remotest time
In many-nooked Olympus' sunny clime.
These things, ye Muses, say, who ever dwell
Among Olympian shades--since ye can tell:
From the beginning there thy feet have strayed;
Then tell us which of all things first was made.
But how could the Muses, who are younger than the world, know these
things? Or how could they relate to Hesiod [what was happening],
when their father was not yet born?
CHAP. VI.--HESIOD ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD.
And in a certain way he indeed admits matter [as self-existent] and
the creation of the world [without a creator], saying:(1)--
"First of all things was chaos made, and next
Broad-bosom'd earth's foundations firm were fixed,
Where safely the immortals dwell for aye,
Who in the snowy-peak'd Olympus stay.
Afterwards gloomy Tartarus had birth
In the recesses of broad-pathwayed earth,
And Love, ev'n among gods most beauteous still,
Who comes all-conquering, bending mind and will,
Delivering from care, and giving then
Wise counsel in the breasts of gods and men.
From chaos Erebus and night were born,
From night and Erebus sprung air and morn.
Earth in her likeness made the starry heaven,
That unto all things shelter might be given,
And that the blessed gods might there repose.
The lofty mountains by her power arose,
For the wood-nymphs she made the pleasant caves,
Begot the sterile sea with all his waves,
Loveless; but when by heaven her love was sought,
Then the deep-eddying ocean forth she brought."
And saying this, he has not yet explained by whom all this was made.
For if chaos existed in the beginning, and matter of some sort,
being uncreated, was previously existing, who was it that effected
the change on its condition, and gave it a different order and
shape? Did matter itself alter its own form and arrange itself into
a world (for Jupiter was born, not only long after matter, but long
after the world and many men; and so, too, was his father Saturn),
or was there some ruling power which made it; I mean, of course,
God, who also fashioned it into a world? Besides, he is found in
every way to talk nonsense, and to contradict himself. For when he
mentions earth, and sky, and sea, he gives us to understand that
from these the gods were produced; and from these again [the gods]
he declares that certain very dreadful men were sprung,--the race of
the Titans and the Cyclopes, and a crowd of giants, and of the
Egyptian gods,--or, rather, vain men, as Apollonides, surnamed
Horapius, mentions in the book entitled Semenouthi, and in his other
histories concerning the worship of the Egyptians and their kings,
and the vain labours in which they engaged.(2)
CHAP. VII.--FABULOUS HEATHEN GENEALOGIES.
Why need I recount the Greek fables,--of Pluto, king of darkness, of
Neptune descending beneath the sea, and embracing Melanippe and
begetting a cannibal son,--or the many tales your writers have woven
into their tragedies concerning the sons of Jupiter, and whose
pedigree they register because they were born men, and not gods? And
the comic poet Aristophanes, in the play called "The Birds," having
taken upon him to handle the subject of the Creation, said that in
the beginning the world was produced from an egg, saying:(3)--
"A windy egg was laid by black-winged night
But Satyrus, also giving a history of the Alexandrine families,
beginning from Philopator, who was also named Ptolemy, gives out
that Bacchus was his progenitor; wherefore also Ptolemy was the
founder of this(4) family. Satyrus then speaks thus: That Dejanira
was born of Bacchus and Althea, the daughter of Thestius; and from
her and Hercules the son of Jupiter there sprang, as I suppose,
Hyllus; and from him Cleodemus, and from him Aristomachus, and from
him Temenus, and from him Ceisus, and from him Maron, and from him
Thestrus, and from him Acous, and from him Aristomidas, and from him
Caranus, and from him Coenus, and from him Tyrimmas, and from him
Perdiccas, and from him Philip, and from him AEropus, and from him
Alcetas, and from him Amyntas, and from him Bocrus, and from him
Meleager, and from him Arsinoe, and from her and Lagus Ptolemy
Soter, and from him and Arsinoe Ptolemy Euergetes, and from him and
Berenice, daughter of Maga, king of Cyrene, Ptolemy Philopator.
Thus, then, stands the relationship of the Alexandrine kings to
Bacchus. And therefore in the Dionysian tribe there are distinct
families: the Althean from Althea, who was the wife of Dionysus and
daughter of Thestius; the family of Dejanira also, from her who was
the daughter of Dionysus and Althea, and wife of Hercules;--whence,
too, the families have their names: the family of Ariadne, from
Ariadne, daughter of Minos and wife of Dionysus, a dutiful daughter,
who had intercourse with Dionysus in another form; the Thestian,
from Thestius, the father of Althea; the Thoantian, from Thoas, son
of Dionysus; the Staphylian, from Staphylus, son of Dionysus; the
Euaenian, from Eunous, son of Dionysus; the Maronian, from Maron,
son of Ariadne and Dionysus;--for all these are sons of Dionysus.
And, indeed, many other names were thus originated, and exist to
this day; as the Heraclidae from Hercules, and the Apollonidae from
Apollo, and the Poseidonii from Poseidon, and from Zeus the Dii and
CHAP. VIII.--OPINIONS CONCERNING PROVIDENCE.
And why should I recount further the vast array of such names and
genealogies? So that all the authors and poets, and those called
philosophers, are wholly deceived; and so, too, are they who give
heed to them. For they plentifully composed fables and foolish
stories about their gods, and did not exhibit them as gods, but as
men, and men, too, of whom some were drunken, and others fornicators
and murderers. But also concerning the origin of the world, they
uttered contradictory and absurd opinions. First, some of them, as
we before explained, main-mined that the world is uncreated. And
those that said it was uncreated and self-producing contradicted
those who propounded that it was created. For by conjecture and
human conception they spoke, and not knowing the truth. And others,
again, said that there was a providence, and destroyed the positions
of the former writers. Aratus, indeed, says:(1)--
"From Jove begin my song; nor ever be
The name unuttered: all are frill of thee;
The ways and haunts of men; the heavens and sea:
On thee our being hangs; in thee we move;
All are thy offspring and the seed of Jove.
Benevolent, he warns mankind to good,
Urges to toil and prompts the hope of food.
He tells where cattle best may graze, and where
The soil, deep-furrowed, yellow grain will bear.
What time the husbandman should plant or sow,
'Tis his to tell,' tis his alone to know."
Who, then, shall we believe: Aratus as here quoted, or Sophocles,
when he says:(2)--
"And foresight of the future there is none;
'Tis best to live at random, as one can"?
And Homer, again, does not agree with this, for he says(3) that
"Waxes or wanes in men as Jove decrees."
And Simonides says:--
"No man nor state has virtue save from God;
Counsel resides in God; and wretched man
Has in himself nought but his wretchedness."
So, too, Euripides:--
"Apart from God, there's nothing owned by men."
"Save God alone, there's none for us provides."
And Euripides again:--
"For when God wills to save, all things He'll bend
To serve as instruments to work His end."
"If God design to save you, safe you are,
Though sailing in mid-ocean on a mat."(4)
And saying numberless things of a like kind, they contradicted
themselves. At least Sophocles, who in another place denied
"No mortal can evade the stroke of God."
Besides, they both introduced a multitude of gods, and yet spoke of
a Unity; and against those who affirmed a Providence they maintained
in opposition that there was no Providence. Wherefore Euripides
"We labour much and spend our strength in vain,
For empty hope, not foresight, is our guide."
And without meaning to do so, they acknowledge that they know not
the truth; but being inspired by demons and puffed up by them, they
spoke at their instance whatever they said. For indeed the
poets,--Homer, to wit, and Hesiod, being, as they say, inspired by
the Muses,--spoke from a deceptive fancy,(5) and not with a pure but
an erring spirit. And this, indeed, clearly appears from the fact,
that even to this day the possessed are sometimes exorcised in the
name of the living and true God; and these spirits of error
themselves confess that they are demons who also formerly inspired
these writers. But sometimes some of them wakened up in soul, and,
that they might be for a witness both to themselves and to all men,
spoke things in harmony with the prophets regarding the monarchy of
God, and the judgment and such like.
CHAP. IX.--THE PROPHET'S INSPIRED BY THE HOLY GHOST.
But men of God carrying in them a holy spirit(6) and becoming
prophets, being inspired and made wise by God, became God-taught,
and holy, and righteous. Wherefore they were also deemed worthy of
receiving this reward, that they should become instruments of God,
and contain the wisdom that is from Him, through which wisdom they
uttered both what regarded the creation of the world and all other
things. For they predicted also pestilences, and famines, and wars.
And there was not one or two, but many, at various times and seasons
among the Hebrews; and also among the Greeks there was the Sibyl;
and they all have spoken things consistent and harmonious with each
other, both what happened before them and what happened in their own
time, and what things are now being fulfilled in our own day:
wherefore we are persuaded also concerning the future things that
they will fall out, as also the first have been accomplished.
CHAP. X.--THE WORLD CREATED BY GOD THROUGH THE WORD.
And first, they taught us with one consent that God made all things
out of nothing; for nothing was coeval with God: but He being His
own place, and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed
to make man by whom He might be known; for him, therefore, He
prepared the world. For he that is created is also needy; but he
that is uncreated stands in need of nothing. God, then, having His
own Word internal(1) within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting(2)
Him along with His own wisdom before all things. He had this Word as
a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by Him He made
all things. He is called "governing principle"
[<greek>arkh</greek>], because He rules, and is Lord of all things
fashioned by Him. He, then, being Spirit of God, and governing
principle, and wisdom, and power of the highest, came down upon the
prophets, and through them spoke of the creation of the world and of
all other things. For the prophets were not when the world came into
existence, but the wisdom of God which was in Him, and His holy Word
which was always present with Him. Wherefore He speaks thus by the
prophet Solomon: "When He prepared the heavens I was there, and when
He appointed the foundations of the earth I was by Him as one
brought up with Him."(3) And Moses, who lived many years before
Solomon, or, rather, the Word of God by him as by an instrument,
says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." First
he named the "beginning,"(4) and "creation,"(5) then he thus
introduced God; for not lightly and on slight occasion is it right
to name God. For the divine wisdom foreknew that some would trifle
and name a multitude of gods that do not exist. In order, therefore,
that the living God might be known by His works, and that [it might
be known that] by His Word God created the heavens and the earth,
and all that is therein, he said, "In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth." Then having spoken of their creation, he
explains to us: "And the earth was without form, and void, and
darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved
upon the water." This, sacred Scripture teaches at the outset, to
show that matter, from which God made and fashioned the world, was
in some manner created, being produced by God.(6)
CHAP. XI.--THE SIX DAYS' WORK DESCRIBED.
Now, the beginning of the creation is light; since light manifests
the things that are created. Wherefore it is said: "And God said,
Let light be,(7) and light was; and God saw the light, that it was
good," manifestly made good for man. "And God divided the light from
the darkness; and God called the light Day, and the darkness He
called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,
and let it divide the waters from the waters: and it was so. And God
made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the
firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And God
called the firmament Heaven: and God saw that it was good. And the
evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the
water under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let the dry
land appear: and it was so. And the waters were gathered together
into their places, and the dry land appeared. And God called the dry
land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas:
and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring
forth grass, the herb yielding seed after his kind and in his
likeness, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose
seed is in itself, in his likeness: and it was so. And the earth
brought forth grass, the herb yielding seed after his kind, and the
fruit-tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind,
on the earth: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the
morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the
firmament of the heaven, to give light on earth, to divide the day
from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for
days, and for years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of
the heaven, to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God
made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the
lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set
them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light
from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and
the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring
forth the creeping things that have life, and fowl flying over the
earth in the firmament of heaven: and it was so. And God created
great whales, and every living creature that creepeth, which the
waters brought forth after their kind and every winged fowl after
his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them saying,
Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea, and let fowl
multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the
fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living
creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of
the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beasts of
the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and all
the creeping things of the earth. And God said, Let us make man in
our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the
cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth. And God created man: in the image of God
created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed
them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over
the fowl of the heaven, and over all cattle, and over all the earth,
and over all the creeping things that creep upon the earth. And God
said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon
the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat, and to all the
beasts of the earth, and to all the fowls of heaven, and to every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, which has in it the
breath of life; every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God
saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And
the evening and the morning were the sixth day. And the heaven and
the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the sixth
day God finished His works which He made, and rested on the seventh
day from all His works which He made. And God blessed the seventh
day, and sanctified it; because in it He rested from all His works
which God began to create."
CHAP. XII.--THE GLORY OF THE SIX DAYS' WORK.
Of this six days' work no man can give a worthy explanation and
description of all its parts, not though he had ten thousand tongues
and ten thousand mouths; nay, though he were to live ten thousand
years, sojourning in this life, not even so could he utter anything
worthy of these things, on account of the exceeding greatness and
riches of the wisdom of God which there is in the six days' work
above narrated. Many writers indeed have imitated [the narration],
and essayed to give an explanation of these things; yet, though they
thence derived some suggestions, both concerning the creation of the
world and the nature of man, they have emitted no slightest spark of
truth. And the utterances of the philosophers, and writers, and
poets have an appearance of trustworthiness, on account of the
beauty of their diction; but their discourse is proved to be foolish
and idle, because the multitude of their nonsensical frivolities is
very great; and not a stray morsel of truth is found in them. For
even if any truth seems to have been uttered by them, it has a
mixture of error. And as a deleterious drug, when mixed with honey
or wine, or some other thing, makes the whole [mixture] hurtful and
profitless; so also eloquence is in their case found to be labour in
vain; yea, rather an injurious thing to those who credit it.
Moreover, [they spoke] concerning the seventh day, which all men
acknowledge; but the most know not that what among the Hebrews is
called the "Sabbath," is translated into Greek the "Seventh"
(<greek>ebdomas</greek>), a name which is adopted by every nation,
although they know not the reason of the appellation. And as for
what the poet Hesiod says of Erebus being produced from chaos, as
well as the earth and love which lords it over his [Hesiod's] gods
and men, his dictum is shown to be idle and frigid, and quite
foreign to the truth. For it is not meet that God be conquered by
pleasure; since even men of temperance abstain from all base
pleasure and wicked lust.
CHAP. XIII.--REMARKS ON THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.
Moreover, his [Hesiod's] human, and mean, and very weak conception,
so far as regards God, is discovered in his beginning to relate the
creation of all things from the earthly things here below. For man,
being below, begins to build from the earth, and cannot in order
make the roof, unless he has first laid the foundation. But the
power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of
nothing, according to His will, the things that are made. "For the
things which are impossible with men are possible with God."(1)
Wherefore, also, the prophet mentioned that the creation of the
heavens first of all took place, as a kind of roof, saying: "At the
first God created the heavens"--that is, that by means of the
"first" principle the heavens were made, as we have already shown.
And by "earth" he means the ground and foundation, as by "the deep"
he means the multitude of waters; and "darkness" he speaks of, on
account of the heaven which God made coveting the waters and the
earth like a lid. And by the Spirit which is borne above the waters,
he means that which God gave for animating the creation, as he gave
life to man,(1) mixing what is fine with what is fine. For the
Spirit is fine, and the water is fine, that the Spirit may nourish
the water, and the water penetrating everywhere along with the
Spirit, may nourish creation. For the Spirit being one, and holding
the place of light,(2) was between the water and the heaven, in
order that the darkness might not in any way communicate with the
heaven, which was nearer God, before God said, "Let there be light."
The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering,
comprehended matter which was like a clod. And so another prophet,
Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: "It is God who made the
heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in."(3)
The command, then, of God, that is, His Word, shining as a lamp in
an enclosed chamber, lit up all that was under heaven, when He had
made light apart from the world.(4) And the light God called Day,
and the darkness Night. Since man would not have been able to call
the light Day, or the darkness Night, nor, indeed, to have given
names to the other things, had not he received the nomenclature from
God, who made the things themselves. In the very beginning,
therefore, of the history and genesis of the world, the holy
Scripture spoke not concerning this firmament [which we see], but
concerning another heaven, which is to us invisible, after which
this heaven which we see has been called "firmament," and to which
half the water was taken up that it might serve for rains, and
showers, and dews to mankind. And half the water was left on earth
for rivers, and fountains, and seas. The water, then, covering all
the earth, and specially its hollow places, God, through His Word,
next caused the waters to be collected into one collection, and the
dry land to become visible, which formerly had been invisible. The
earth thus becoming visible, was yet without form. God therefore
formed and adorned it(5) with all kinds of herbs, and seeds and
CHAP. XIV.--THE WORLD COMPARED TO THE SEA.
Consider, further, their variety, and diverse beauty, and multitude,
and how through them resurrection is exhibited, for a pattern of the
resurrection of all men which is to be. For who that considers it
will not marvel that a fig-tree is produced from a fig-seed, or that
very huge trees grow from the other very little seeds? And we say
that the world resembles the sea. For as the sea, if it had not had
the influx and supply of the rivers and fountains to nourish it,
would long since have been parched by reason of its saltness; so
also the world, if it had not had the law of God and the prophets
flowing and welling up sweetness, and compassion, and righteousness,
and the doctrine of the holy commandments of God, would long ere now
have come to ruin, by reason of the wickedness and sin which abound
in it. And as in the sea there are islands, some of them habitable,
and well-watered, and fruitful, with havens and harbours in which
the storm-tossed may find refuge,--so God has given to the world
which is driven and tempest-tossed by sins, assemblies(6)--we mean
holy churches(7)--in which survive the doctrines of the truth, as in
the island-harbours of good anchorage; and into these run those who
desire to be saved, being lovers of the truth, and wishing to escape
the wrath and judgment of God. And as, again, there are other
islands, rocky and without water, and barren, and infested by wild
beasts, and uninhabitable, and serving only to injure navigators and
the storm-tossed, on which ships are wrecked, and those driven among
them perish,--so there are doctrines of error--I mean
heresies(7)--which destroy those who approach them. For they are not
guided by the word of truth; but as pirates, when they have filled
their vessels,(8) drive them on the fore-mentioned places, that they
may spoil them: so also it happens in the case of those who err from
the truth, that they are all totally ruined by their error.
CHAP. XV.--OF THE FOURTH DAY.
On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who
possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers,
that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth
are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In
order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and
seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is
posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the
pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God,
and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power
and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever
full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being
full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality,
and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies,
being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a
pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three
days which were before the luminaries,(1) are types of the
Trinity,(2) of God, and His Word, and His wisdom.(3) And the fourth
is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the
Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were
made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of the
arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who
keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright
stars are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain
fixed, not declining, nor passing from place to place. And those
which hold the second place in brightness, are types of the people
of the righteous. And those, again,, which change their position,
and flee from place to place, which also are cared planets,(4) they
too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His
law and commandments.
CHAP. XVI.--OF THE FIFTH DAY.
On the fifth day the living creatures which proceed from the waters
were produced, through: which also is revealed the manifold wisdom
of God in these things; for who could count their multitude and very
various kinds? Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were
blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men's being
destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the
water and laver of regeneration,--as many as come to the truth, and
are born again, and receive blessing from God. But the monsters of
the deep and the birds of prey are a similitude of covetous men and
transgressors. For as the fish and the fowls are of one
nature,--some indeed abide in their natural state, and do no harm to
those weaker than themselves, but keep the law of God, and eat of
the seeds of the earth; others of them, again, transgress the law of
God, and eat flesh, and injure those weaker than themselves: thus,
too, the righteous, keeping the law of God, bite and injure none,
but live holily and righteously. But robbers, and murderers, and
godless persons are like monsters of the deep, and wild beasts, and
birds of prey; for they virtually devour those weaker than
themselves. The race, then, of fishes and of creeping things, though
partaking of God's blessing, received no very distinguishing
CHAP. XVII.--OF THE SIXTH DAY.
And on the sixth day, God having made the quadrupeds, and wild
beasts, and the land reptiles, pronounced no blessing upon them,
reserving His blessing for man, whom He was about to create on the
sixth day. The quadrupeds, too, and wild beasts, were made for a
type of some men, who neither know nor worship God, but mind earthly
things, and repent not. For those who turn from their iniquities and
live righteously, in spirit fly upwards like birds, and mind the
things that are above, and are well-pleasing to the will of God. But
those who do not know nor worship God, are like birds which have
wings, but cannot fly nor soar to the high things of God. Thus, too,
though such persons are called men, yet being pressed down with
sins, they mind grovelling and earthly-things. And the animals are
named wild beasts [<greek>qhria</greek>], from their being hunted
[<greek>qhreuesqai</greek>], not as if they had been made evil or
venomous from the first--for nothing was made evil by God,(5) but
all things good, yea, very good,--but the sin in which man was
concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they
also transgressed with him. For as, if the master of the house
himself acts rightly, the domestics also of necessity conduct
themselves well; but if the master sins, the servants also sin with
him; so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's
sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him.
When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his
natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be
restored to their original gentleness.
CHAP. XVIII.--THE CREATION OF MAN.
But as to what relates to the creation of man, his own creation
cannot be explained by man, though it is a succinct account of it
which holy Scripture gives. For when God said, "Let Us make man in
Our image, after Our likeness," He first intimates the dignity of
man. For God having made all things by His Word, and having reckoned
them all mere bye-works, reckons the creation of man to be the only
work worthy of His own hands. Moreover, God is found, as if needing
help, to say, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness."
But to no one else than to His own Word and wisdom did He say, "Let
Us make." And when He had made and blessed him, that he might
increase and replenish the earth, He put all things under his
dominion, and at his service; and He appointed from the first that
he should find nutriment from the fruits of the earth, and from
seeds, and herbs, and acorns, having at the same time appointed that
the animals be of habits similar tom an's, that they also might eat
of an the seeds of the earth.
CHAP. XIX.--MAN IS PLACED IN PARADISE.
God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea,
and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh
day from all His works which He made. Then holy Scripture gives a
summary in these words: "This is the book of the generation of the
heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the
LORD made the heavens and the earth, and every green thing of the
field, before it was made, and every herb of the field before it
grew. For God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there
was not a man to till the ground."(1) By this He signifies to us,
that the whole earth was at that time watered by a divine fountain,
and had no need that man should till it; but the earth produced all
things spontaneously by the command of God, that man might not be
wearied by tilling it. But that the creation of man might be made
plain, so that there should not seem to be an insoluble problem
existing among men, since God had said, "Let Us make man;" and since
His creation was not yet plainly related, Scripture teaches us,
saying: "And a fountain went up out of the earth, and watered the
face of the whole earth; and God made man of the dust of the earth,
and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a
living soul."(2) Whence also by most persons the soul is called
immortal.(3) And after the formation of man, God chose out for him a
region among the places of the East, excellent for light, brilliant
with a very bright atmosphere, [abundant] in the finest plants; and
in this He placed man.
CHAP. XX.--THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF PARADISE.
Scripture thus relates the words of the sacred history: "And God
planted Paradise, eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom
He had formed. And out of the ground made God to grow every tree
that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life
also in the midst of Paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil. And a river flows out of Eden, to water the garden; thence
it is parted into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that
is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is
gold; and the gold of that land is good, and there is bdellium and
the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same
is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the third
river is Tigris: this is it which goeth toward Syria. And the fourth
river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man whom He had made,
and put him in the garden, to till and to keep it. And God commanded
Adam, saying, Of every tree that is in the garden thou mayest freely
eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ye shall not
eat of it; for in the day ye eat of it ye shall surely die. And the
LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; let Us
make him an helpmeet for him. And out of the ground God formed all
the beasts of the field, and all the fowls of heaven, and brought
them to Adam. And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that
was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the
fowls of the air, and to all the beasts of the field. But for Adam
there was not found an helpmeet for him. And God caused an ecstasy
to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and
closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the LORD God
had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam. And
Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she
shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore
shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto
his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. And they were both naked,
Adam and his wife, and were not ashamed.
CHAP. XXI.--OF THE FALL OF MAN.
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which
the LORD God had made. And the serpent said to the woman, Why hath
God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the
woman said unto the serpent, We eat of every tree of the garden, but
of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God
hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest
ye die. And the serpent Said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely
die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and
evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it
was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise;
and having taken of the fruit thereof, she did eat, and gave also
unto her husband with her: and they did eat. And the eyes of them
both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed
fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the
voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD
God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto
Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said unto Him, I
heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was
naked, and I hid myself. And He said unto him, Who told thee that
thou wast naked, unless thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I
commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And Adam said, The woman
whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did
eat. And God said to the woman, What is this that thou hast done?
And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the
LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou
art accursed above all the beasts of the earth; on thy breast and
belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy
life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between
thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
bruise his heel.(1) And to the woman He said, I will greatly
multiply thy sorrow and thy travail: in sorrow shalt thou bring
forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall
rule over thee. And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened
unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I
commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the
ground in(2) thy works: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days
of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and
thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat thy bread, till thou return unto the earth; for out of it
wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
return."(3) Such is the account given by holy Scripture of the
history of man and of Paradise.
CHAP. XXII.--WHY GOD IS SAID TO HAVE WALKED.
You will say, then, to me: "You said that God ought not to be
contained in a place, and how do you now say that He walked in
Paradise?" Hear what I say. The God and Father, indeed, of all
cannot be contained, and is not found in a place, for there is no
place of His rest; but His Word, through whom He made all things,
being His power and His wisdom, assuming the person(4) of the Father
and Lord of all, went to the garden in the person of God, and
conversed with Adam. For the divine writing itself teaches us that
Adam said that he had heard the voice. But what else is this voice
but the Word of God, who is also His Son? Not as the poets and
writers of myths talk of the sons of gods begotten from intercourse
[with women], but as truth expounds, the Word, that always exists,
residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into
being He had Him as a counsellor, being His own mind and thought.
But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begot this
Word, uttered,(5) the first-born of all creation, not Himself being
emptied of the Word [Reason], but having begotten Reason, and always
conversing with His Reason. And hence the holy writings teach us,
and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,"(6)
showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him. Then he
says, "The Word was God; all things came into existence through Him;
and apart from Him not one thing came into existence." The Word,
then, being God, and being naturally(7) produced from God, whenever
the Father of the universe wills, He sends Him to any place; and He,
coming, is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a
CHAP, XXIII.--THE TRUTH OF THE ACCOUNT IN GENESIS.
Man, therefore, God made on the sixth day, and made known this
creation after the seventh day, when also He made Paradise, that he
might be in a better and distinctly superior place. And that this is
true, the fact itself proves. For how can one miss seeing that the
pains which women suffer in childbed, and the oblivion of their
labours which they afterwards enjoy, are sent in order that the word
of God may be fulfilled, and that the race of men may increase and
multiply?(8) And do we not see also the judgment of the
serpent,--how hatefully he crawls on his belly and eats the
dust,--that we may have this, too, for a proof of the things which
were said aforetime?
CHAP. XXIV.--THE BEAUTY OF PARADISE,
God, then, caused to spring out of the earth every tree that is
beautiful in appearance, or good for food. For at first there were
only those things which were produced on the third day,--plants, and
seeds, and herbs; but the things which were in Paradise were made of
a superior loveliness and beauty, since in it the plants were said
to have been planted by God. As to the rest of the plants, indeed,
the world contained plants like them; but the two trees,--the tree
of life and the tree of knowledge,--the rest of the earth possessed
not, but only Paradise. And that Paradise is earth, and is planted
on the earth, the Scripture states, saying:(1) "And the LORD God
planted Paradise in Eden eastwards, and placed man there; and out of
the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to
the sight and good for food." By the expressions, therefore, "out of
the ground," and "eastwards," the holy writing clearly teaches us
that Paradise is under this heaven, under which the east and the
earth are. And the Hebrew word Eden signifies "delight." And it was
signified that a river flowed out of Eden to water Paradise, and
after that divides into four heads; of which the two called Pison
and Gihon water the eastern parts, especially Gihon, which
encompasses the whole land of Ethiopia, and which, they say,
reappears in Egypt under the name of Nile. And the other two rivers
are manifestly recognisable by us--those called Tigris and
Euphrates--for these border on our own regions. And God having
placed man in Paradise, as has been said, to till and keep it,
commanded him to eat of all the trees,--manifestly of the tree of
life also; but only of the tree of knowledge He commanded him not to
taste. And God transferred him from the earth, out of which he had
been produced, into Paradise, giving him means of advancement, in
order that, maturing and becoming perfect, and being even declared a
god, he might thus ascend into heaven in possession of immortality.
For man had been made a middle nature, neither wholly mortal, nor
altogether immortal, but capable of either; so also the place,
Paradise, was made in respect of beauty intermediate between earth
and heaven. And by the expression, "till it,"(2) no other kind of
labour is implied than the observance of God's command, lest,
disobeying, he should destroy himself, as indeed he did destroy
himself, by sin.
CHAP. XXV.--GOD WAS JUSTIFIED IN FORBIDDING MAN TO EAT OF THE
TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.
The tree of knowledge itself was good, and its fruit was good. For
it was not the tree, as some think, but the disobedience, which had
death in it. For there was nothing else in the fruit than only
knowledge;. but knowledge is good when one uses it discreetly.(3)
But Adam, being yet an infant in age, was on this account as yet
unable to receive knowledge worthily. For now, also, when a child is
born it is not at once able to eat bread, but is nourished first
with milk, and then, with the increment of years, it advances to
solid food. Thus, too, would it have been with Adam; for not as one
who grudged him, as some suppose, did God command him not to eat of
knowledge. But He wished also to make proof of him, whether he was
submissive to His commandment. And at the same time He wished man,
infant as he was,(4) to remain for some time longer simple and
sincere. For this is holy, not only with God, but also with men,
that in simplicity and guilelessness subjection be yielded to
parents. But if it is right that children be subject to parents, how
much more to the God and Father of all things? Besides, it is
unseemly that children in infancy be wise beyond their years; for as
in stature one increases in an orderly progress, so also in wisdom.
But as when a law has commanded abstinence from anything, and some
one has not obeyed, it is obviously not the law which causes
punishment, but the disobedience and transgression;--for a father
sometimes enjoins on his own child abstinence from certain things,
and when he does not obey the paternal order, he is flogged and
punished on account of the disobedience; and in this case the
actions themselves are not the [cause of] stripes, but the
disobedience procures punishment for him who disobeys;--so also for
the first man, disobedience procured his expulsion from Paradise.
Not, therefore, as if there were any evil in the tree of knowledge;
but from his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labour,
pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to death.
CHAP. XXVI.--GOD'S GOODNESS IN EXPELLING MAN FROM PARADISE.
And God showed great kindness to man in this, that He did not suffer
him to remain in sin for ever; but, as it were, by a kind of
banishment, cast him out of Paradise, in order that, having by
punishment expiated, within an appointed time, the sin, and having
been disciplined, he should afterwards be restored. Wherefore also,
when man had been formed in this world, it is mystically written in
Genesis, as if he had been twice placed in Paradise; so that the one
was fulfilled when he was placed there, and the second will be
fulfilled after the resurrection and judgment. For just as a vessel,
when on being fashioned it has some flaw, is remoulded or remade,
that it may become new and entire; so also it happens to man by
death. For somehow or other he is broken up, that he may rise in the
resurrection whole; I mean spotless, and righteous, and immortal.
And as to God's calling, and saying, Where art thou, Adam? God did
this, not as if ignorant of this; but, being long-suffering, He gave
him an opportunity of repentance and confession.
CHAP. XXVII.--THE NATURE OF MAN.
But some one will say to us, Was man made by nature mortal?
Certainly not. Was he, then, immortal? Neither do we affirm this.
But one will say, Was he, then, nothing? Not even this hits the
mark. He was by nature neither mortal nor immortal. For if He had
made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God.
Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of
his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him,
but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should
incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of
God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should
become God; but if, on the other hand, he should turn to the things
of death, disobeying God, he should himself be the cause of death to
himself. For God made man free, and with power over himself.(1)
That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and
disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His
own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him.(2) For as man,
disobeying, drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he
who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting. For God
has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps
these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit
CHAP. XXVIII.--WHY EVE WAS FORMED OF ADAM'S RIB.
And Adam having been cast out of Paradise, in this condition knew
Eve his wife, whom God had formed into a wife for him out of his
rib. And this He did, not as if He were unable to make his wife
separately, but God foreknew that man would call upon a number of
gods. And having this prescience, and knowing that through the
serpent error would introduce a number of gods which had no
existence,--for there being but one God, even then error was
striving to disseminate a multitude of gods, saying, "Ye shall be as
gods;"--lest, then, it should be supposed that one God made the man
and another the woman, therefore He made them both; and God made the
woman together with the man, not only that thus the mystery of God's
sole government might be exhibited, but also that their mutual
affection might be greater. Therefore said Adam to Eve, "This is now
bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." And besides, he
prophesied, saying, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and
his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they two shall be
one flesh;"(3) which also itself has its fulfilment in ourselves.
For who that marries lawfully does not despise mother and father,
and his whole family connection, and all his household, cleaving to
and becoming one with his own wife, fondly preferring her? So that
often, for the sake of their wives, some submit even to death. This
Eve, on account of her having been in the beginning deceived by the
serpent, and become the author of sin, the wicked demon, who also is
called Satan, who then spoke to her through the serpent, and who
works even to this day in those men that are possessed by him,
invokes as Eve.(4) And he is called "demon" and "dragon," on account
of his [<greek>apodedrakenai</greek>] revolting from God. For at
first he was an angel. And concerning his history there is a great
deal to be said; wherefore I at present omit the relation of it, for
I have also given an account of him in another place.
CHAP. XXIX.--CAIN'S CRIME.
When, then, Adam knew Eve his wife, she conceived and bare a son,
whose name was Cain; and she said, "I have gotten a man from God."
And yet again she bare a second son, whose name was Abel, "who began
to be a keeper of sheep, but Cain tilled the ground."(5) Their
history receives a very full narration, yea, even a detailed
explanation:(6) wherefore the book itself, which is entitled "The
Genesis of the World," can more accurately inform those who are
anxious to learn their story. When, then, Satan saw Adam and his
wife not only still living, but also begetting children--being
carried away with spite because he had not succeeded in putting them
to death,--when he saw that Abel was well-pleasing to God, he
wrought upon the heart of his brother called Cain, and caused him to
kill his brother Abel. And thus did death get a beginning in this
world, to find its way into every race of man, even to this day. But
God, being pitiful, and wishing to afford to Cain, as to Adam, an
opportunity of repentance and confession, said, "Where is Abel thy
brother?" But Cain answered God contumaciously, saying, "I know not;
am I my brother's keeper?" God, being thus made angry with him,
said, "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth
to me from the earth, which opened her mouth to receive thy
brother's blood from thy hand. Groaning and trembling shalt thou be
on the earth." From that time the earth, through fear, no longer
receives human blood,(1) no, nor the blood of any animal; by which
it appears that it is not the cause [of death], but man, who
CHAP. XXX.--CAIN'S FAMILY AND THEIR INVENTIONS.
Cain also himself had a son, whose name was Enoch; and he built a
city, which he called by the name of his son, Enoch. From that time
was there made a beginning of the building of cities, and this
before the flood; not as Homer falsely says:(2)--
"Not yet had men a city built."
And to Enoch was born a son, by name Gaidad; who begat a son called
Meel; and Meel begat Mathusala; and Mathusala, Lamech. And Lamech
took unto him two wives, whose names were Adah and Zillah. At that
time there was made a beginning of polygamy, and also of music. For
Lamech had three sons: Jabal, Jubal, Tubal. And Jabal became a
keeper of cattle, and dwelt in tents; but Jubal is he who made known
the psaltery and the harp; and Tubal became a smith, a forger in
brass and iron. So far the seed of Cain is registered; and for the
rest, the seed of his line has sunk into oblivion, on account of his
fratricide of his brother. And, in place of Abel, God granted to Eve
to conceive and bear a son, who was called Seth from whom the
remainder of the human race proceeds until now. And to those who
desire to be informed regarding all generations, it is easy to give
explanations by means of the holy Scriptures. For, as we have
already mentioned, this subject, the order of the genealogy of man,
has been partly handled by us in another discourse, in the first
book of The History.(3) And all these things the Holy Spirit teaches
us, who speaks through Moses and the rest of the prophets, so that
the writings which belong to us godly people are more ancient, yea,
and are shown to be more truthful, than all writers and poets. But
also, concerning music, some have fabled that Apollo was the
inventor, and others say that Orpheus discovered the art of music
from the sweet voices of the birds. Their story is shown to be empty
and vain, for these inventors lived many years after the flood. And
what relates to Noah, who is called by some Deucalion, has been
explained by us in the book before mentioned, and which, if you wish
it, you are at liberty to read.
CHAP. XXXI.--THE HISTORY AFTER THE FLOOD.
After the flood was there again a beginning of cities and kings, in
the following manner:--The first city was Babylon, and Erech, and
Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. And their king was called
Nebroth [Nimrod]. From these came Asshur, from whom also the
Assyrians receive their name. And Nimrod built the cities Nineveh
and Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and Calah; and
Nineveh became a very great city. And another son of Shem, the son
of Noah, by name Mizraim, begat Ludim, and those called Anamim, and
Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, out of whom
came Philistin. Of the three sons of Noah, however, and of their
death and genealogy, we have given a compendious register in the
above-mentioned book. But now we will mention the remaining facts
both concerning cities and kings, and the things that happened when
there was one speech and one language. Before the dividing of the
languages these fore-mentioned cities existed. But when men were
about to be dispersed, they took counsel of their own judgment. and
not at the instigation of God, to build a city, a tower whose top
might reach into heaven, that they might make a glorious name to
themselves. Since, therefore, they had dared, contrary to the will
of God, to attempt a grand work, God destroyed their city, and
overthrew their tower. From that time He confounded the languages of
men, giving to each a different dialect. And similarly did the Sibyl
speak, when she declared that wrath would come on the world. She
"When are fulfilled the threats of the great God,
With which He threatened men, when formerly
In the Assyrian land they built a tower,
And all were of one speech, and wished to rise
Even till they climbed unto the starry heaven,
Then the Immortal raised a mighty wind
And laid upon them strong necessity;
For when the wind threw down the mighty tower,
Then rose among mankind fierce strife and hate.
One speech was changed to many dialects,
And earth was filled with divers tribes and kings."
And so on. These things, then, happened in the land of the
Chaldaeans. And in the land of Canaan there was a city, by name
Haran. And in these days, Pharaoh, who by the Egyptians was also
called Nechaoth, was first king of Egypt, and thus the kings
followed in succession.(4) And in the land of Shinar, among those
called Chaldaeans, the first king was Arioch, and next after him
Ellasar, and after him Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and after him
Tidal, king of the nations called Assyrians. And there were five
other cities in the territory of Ham, the son of Noah; the first
called Sodom, then Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Balah, which was
also called Zoar. And the names of their kings are these: Bera, king
of Sodom; Birsha, king of Gomorrah; Shinab, king of Admah; Shemeber,
king of Zeboiim; Bela, king of Zoar, which is also called
Kephalac.(1) These served Chedorlaomer, the king of the Assyrians,
for twelve years, and in the thirteenth year they revolted from
Chedorlaomer; and thus it came to pass at that time that the four
Assyrian kings waged war upon the five kings. This was the first
commencement of making war on the earth; and they destroyed the
giants Karnaim, and the strong nations that were with them in their
city, and the Horites of the mountains called Seir, as far as the
plain of Paran, which is by the wilderness. And at that time there
was a righteous king called Melchisedek, in the city of Salem, which
now is Jerusalem. This was the first priest of all priests(2) of the
Most High God; and from him the above-named city Hierosolyma was
called Jerusalem.(3) And from his time priests were found in all the
earth. And after him reigned Abimelech in Gerar; and after him
another Abimelech. Then reigned Ephron, surnamed the Hittite. Such
are the names of the kings that were in former times. And the rest
of the kings of the Assyrians, during an interval of many years,
have been passed over in silence unrecorded, all writers narrating
the events of our recent days. There were these kings of Assyria:
Tiglath-Pileser, and after him Shalmaneser, then Sennacherib; and
Adrammelech the Ethiopian, who also reigned over Egypt, was his
triarch;--though these things, in comparison with our books, are
CHAP. XXXII.--HOW THE HUMAN RACE WAS DISPERSED.
Hence, therefore, may the loves of learning and of antiquity
understand the history, and see that those things are recent which
are told by us apart from the holy prophets.(4) For though at first
there were few men in the land of Arabia and Chaldaea, yet, after
their languages were divided, they gradually began to multiply and
spread over all the earth; and some of them tended towards the east
to dwell there, and others to the parts of the great continent, and
others northwards, so as to extend as far as Britain, in the Arctic
regions. And others went to the land of Canaan, which is called
Judaea, and Phoenicia, and the region of Ethiopia, and Egypt, and
Libya, and the country called torrid, and the parts stretching
towards the west; and the rest went to places by the sea, and
Pamphylia, and Asia, and Greece, and Macedonia, and, besides, to
Italy, and the whole country called Gaul, and Spain, and Germany; so
that now the whole world is thus filled with inhabitants. Since then
the occupation of the world by men was at first in three
divisions,--in the east, and south, and west: afterwards, the
remaining parts of the earth were inhabited, when men became very
numerous. And the writers, not knowing these things, are forward to
maintain that the world is shaped like a sphere, and to compare it
to a cube. But how can they say what is true regarding these things,
when they do not know about the creation of the world and its
population? Men gradually increasing in number and multiplying on
the earth, as we have already said, the islands also of the sea and
the rest of the countries were inhabited.
CHAP. XXXIII.--PROFANE HISTORY GIVES NO ACCOUNT OF THESE MATTERS.
Who, then, of those called sages, and poets, and historians, could
tell us truly of these things, themselves being much later born, and
introducing a multitude of gods, who were born so many years after
the cities, and are more modern than kings, and nations, and wars?
For they should have made mention of all events, even those which
happened before the flood; both of the creation of the world and the
formation of man, and the whole succession of events. The Egyptian
or Chaldaean prophets, and the other writers, should have been able
accurately to tell, if at least they spoke by a divine and pure
spirit, and spoke truth in all that was uttered by them; and they
should have announced not only things past or present, but also
those that were to come upon the world. And therefore it is proved
that all others have been in error; and that we Christians alone
have possessed the truth, inasmuch as we are taught by the Holy
Spirit, who spoke in the holy prophets, and foretold all things.
CHAP. XXXIV.--THE PROPHETS ENJOINED HOLINESS OF LIFE.
And, for the rest, would that in a kindly spirit you would
investigate divine things(1)--I mean the things that are spoken by
the prophets--in order that, by comparing what is said by us with
the utterances of the others, you may be able to discover the truth.
We(2) have shown from their own histories, which they have compiled,
that the names of those who are called gods, are found to be the
names of men who lived among them, as we have shown above. And to
this day their images are daily fashioned, idols, "the works of
men's hands." And these the mass of foolish men serve, whilst they
reject the maker and fashioner of all things and the nourisher of
all breath of life, giving credit to vain doctrines through the
deceitfulness of the senseless tradition received from their
fathers. But God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe
did not abandon mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to
declare and teach the race of men, that each one of us might awake
and understand that there is one God. And they also taught us to
refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder,
fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every
incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish
to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who
acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be
thought worthy of the eternal life from God.
CHAP. XXXV.--PRECEPTS FROM THE PROPHETIC BOOKS.
The divine law, then, not only forbids the worshipping of idols, but
also of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon, or the other stars;
yea, not heaven, nor earth, nor the sea, nor fountains, nor rivers,
must be worshipped, but we must serve in holiness of heart and
sincerity of purpose only the living and true God, who also is Maker
of the universe. Wherefore saith the holy law: "Thou shalt not
commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false
witness; thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's wife." So also the
prophets. Solomon indeed teaches us that we must not sin with so
much as a turn of the eye,(3) saying, "Let thine eyes look right on,
and let thy eyelids look straight before thee."(4) And Moses, who
himself also was a prophet, says, concerning the sole government of
God: "Your God is He who establishes the heaven, and forms the
earth, whose hands have brought forth all the host of heaven; and
has not set these things before you that you should go after
them."(5) And Isaiah himself also says: "Thus saith the LORD God who
established the heavens, and founded the earth and all that is
therein, and giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to
them that walk therein. This is the LORD your God."(6) And again,
through him He says: "I have made the earth, and man upon it. I by
my hand have established the heavens."(7) And in another chapter,
"This is your God, who created the ends of the earth; He hungereth
not, neither is weary, and there is no searching of His
understanding."(8) So, too, Jeremiah says: "Who hath made the earth
by His power, and established the world by His wisdom, and by His
discretion hath stretched out the heavens, and a mass of water in
the heavens, and He caused the clouds to ascend from the ends of the
earth; He made lightnings with rain, and brought forth winds out of
His treasures."(9) One can see how consistently and harmoniously all
the prophets spoke, having given utterance through one and the same
spirit concerning the unity of God, and the creation of the world,
and the formation of man. Moreover, they were in sore travail,
bewailing the godless race of men, and they reproached those, who
seemed to be wise, for their error and hardness of heart. Jeremiah,
indeed, said: "Every man is brutishly gone astray from the knowledge
of Him; every founder is confounded by his graven images; in vain
the silversmith makes his molten images; there is no breath in them:
in the day of their visitation they shall perish."(10) The same,
too, says David: "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one; they have all gone
aside, they have together become profitless."(11) So also Habakkuk:
"What profiteth the graven image that he has graven it a lying
image? Woe to him that saith to the stone, Awake; and to the wood,
Arise."(12) Likewise spoke the other prophets of the truth. And why
should I recount the multitude of prophets, who are numerous, and
said ten thousand things consistently and harmoniously? For those
who desire it, can, by reading what they uttered, accurately
understand the truth, and no longer be carried away by opinion and
profitless labour. These, then, whom we have already mentioned, were
prophets among the Hebrews,--illiterate, and shepherds, and
CHAP. XXXVI.--PROPHECIES OF THE SIBYL.
And the Sibyl, who was a prophetess among the Greeks and the other
nations, in the beginning of her prophecy, reproaches the race of
"How are ye still so quickly lifted up,
And how so thoughtless of the end of life,
Ye mortal men of flesh, who are but nought?
Do ye not tremble, nor fear God most high?
Your Overseer, the Knower, Seer of all,
Who ever keeps those whom His hand first made,
Puts His sweet Spirit into all His works,
And gives Him for a guide to mortal men.
There is one only uncreated God,
Who reigns alone, all-powerfuL very great,
From whom is nothing hid. He sees all things,
Himself unseen by any mortal eye.
Can mortal man see the immortal God,
Or fleshly eyes, which Shun the noontide beams,
Look upon Him who dwells beyond the heavens?
Worship Him then, the self-existent God,
The unbegotten Ruler of the world,
Who only was from everlasting time,
And shall to everlasting still abide.
Of evil counsels ye shall reap the fruit,
Because ye have not honoured the true God,
Nor offered to Him sacred hecatombs.
To those who dwell in Hades ye make gifts,
And unto demons offer sacrifice.
In madness and in pride ye have your walk;
And leaving the right way, ye wander wide,
And lose yourselves in pitfalls and in thorns.
Why do ye wander thus, O foolish men?
Cease your vain wanderings in the black, dark night;
Why follow darkness and perpetual gloom
When, see, there shines for you the blessed light?
Lo, He is clear--in Him there is no spot.
Turn, then, from darkness, and behold the day;
Be wise, and treasure wisdom in your breasts.
There is one God who sends the winds and rains,
The earthquakes, and the lightnings, and the plagues,
The famines, and the snow-storms, and the ice,
And alI the woes that visit our sad race.
Nor these alone, but all things else He gives,
Ruling omnipotent in heaven and earth,
And self-existent from eternity."
And regarding those [gods] that axe said to have been born, she
said:- "If all things that are born must also die,
God cannot be produced by mortal man.
But there is only Once, the All-Supreme,
Who made the heavens, with all their starry host,
The sun and moon; likewise the fruitful earth,
With all the waves of ocean, and the hills,
The fountains, and the ever flowing streams;
He also made the countless multitude
Of ocean creatures, and He keeps alive
All creeping things, both of the earth and sea;
And all the tuneful choir of birds He made,
Which cleave the air with wings, and with shrill pipe
Trill forth at morn their tender, clear-voiced song.
Within the deep glades of the hills He placed
A savage race of beasts; and unto men
He made all cattle subject, making man
The God-formed image, ruler over all,
And putting in subjection to his sway
Things many and incomprehensible.
For who of mortals can know all these things?
He only knows who made them at the first,
He the Creator, incorruptible,
Who dwells in upper air eternally;
Who proffers to the good most rich rewards,
And against evil and unrighteous men
Rouses revenge, and wrath, and bloody wars,
And pestilence, and many a tearful grief.
O man exalted vainly--say why thus
Hast thou so utterly destroyed thyself?
Have ye no shame worshipping beasts for gods?
And to believe the gods should steal your beasts,
Or that they need your vessels--is it not
Frenzy's most profitless and foolish thought?
Instead of dwelling in the golden heavens,
Ye see your gods become the prey of worms,
And hosts of creatures noisome and unclean.
O fools! ye worship serpents, dogs, and cats,
Birds, and the creeping things of earth and sea,
Images made with hands, statues of stone,
And heaps of rubbish by the wayside placed.
All these, and many more vain things, ye serve,
Worshipping things disgraceful even to name:
These are the gods who lead vain men astray,
From whose mouth streams of deadly poison flow.
But unto Him in whom alone is life,
Life, and undying, everlasting light;
Who pours into man's cup of life a
Sweeter than sweetest honey to his taste,--
Unto Him bow the head, to Him alone,
And walk in ways of everlasting peace.
Forsaking Him, ye all have turned aside,
And, in your raving folly, drained the cup
Of justice quite unmixed, pure, mastering, strong;
And ye will not again be sober men,
Ye will not come unto a sober mind,
And know your God and King, who looks on all:
Therefore, upon you burning fire shall come,
And ever ye shall daily burn in flames,
Ashamed for ever of your useless gods.
But those who worship the eternal God,
They shall inherit everlasting life,
Inhabiting the blooming realms of bliss,
And feasting on sweet food from starry heaven."
That these things are true, and useful, and just, and profitable to
all men, is obvious. Even the poets have spoken of the punishments
of the wicked.
CHAP. XXXVII.--THE TESTIMONIES OF THE POETS.
And that evil-doers must necessarily be punished in proportion to
their deeds, has already been, as it were, oracularly uttered by
some of the poets, as a witness both against themselves and against
the wicked, declaring that they shall be punished. AEschylus said:--
"He who has done must also suffer."
And Pindar himself said:--
"It is fit that suffering follow doing."
So, too, Euripides:--
"The deed rejoiced you--suffering endure;
The taken enemy must needs be pain'd."
"The foe's pain is the hero's raced."
And, similarly, Archilochus:--
"One thing I know, I hold it ever true,
The evil-doer evil shall endure."
And that God sees all, and that nothing escapes His notice, but
that, being long-suffering, He refrains until the time when He is to
judge-concerning this, too, Dionysius said:--
"The eye of Justice seeing all,
Yet seemeth not to see."
And that God's judgment is to be, and that evils will suddenly
overtake the wicked,--this, too, AEschylus declared, saying:--
"Swift-looted is the approach of fate,
And none can justice violate,
But feels its stern hand soon or late.
"'Tis with you, though unheard, unseen;
You draw night's curtain in between,
But even sleep affords no screen.
"'Tis with you if you sleep or wake;
And if abroad your way you take,
Its still, stern watch you cannot break.
"'Twill follow you, or cross your path;
And even night no virtue hath
To hide you from th' Avenger's wrath.
"To show the ill the darkness flees;
Then, if sin offers joy or ease,
Oh stop, and think that some one sees!"
And may we not cite Simonides also?--
"To men no evil comes unheralded;
But God with sudden hand transforms all things."
"The wicked and proud man's prosperity
Is based on sand: his race abideth not;
And time proclaims the wickedness of men."
Once more Euripides:--
"Not without judgment is the Deity,
But sees when oaths are struck unrighteously,
And when from men unwilling they are wrung."
"If ills you do, ills also you must bear."
That God will make inquiry both concerning false swearing and
concerning every other wickedness, they themselves have well-nigh
predicted. And concerning the conflagration of the world, they have,
willingly or unwillingly, spoken in Conformity with the prophets,
though they were much more recent, and stole these things from the
law and the prophets. The poets corroborate the testimony of the
CHAP. XXXVIlI. --THE TEACHINGS OF THE GREEK POETS AND
PHILOSOPHERS CONFIRMATORY OF THOSE OF THE HEBREW PROPHETS.
But what matters it whether they were before or after them?
Certainly they did at all events utter things confirmatory of the
prophets. Concerning the burning up of the world, Malachi the
prophet foretold: "The day of the Lord cometh as a burning oven, and
shall consume all the wicked."(1) And Isaiah: "For the wrath of God
is as a violent hail-storm, and as a rushing mountain torrent."(2)
The Sibyl, then, and the other prophets, yea, and the poets and
philosophers, have clearly taught both concerning righteousness, and
judgment, and punishment; and also concerning providence, that God
cares for us, not only for the living among us, but also for those
that are dead: though, indeed, they said this unwillingly, for they
were convinced by the truth. And among the prophets indeed, Solomon
said of the dead, "There shall be healing to thy flesh, and care
taken of thy bones."(3) And the same says David, "The hones which
Thou hast broken shall rejoice."(4) And in agreement with these
sayings was that of Timocles:--
"The dead are pitied by the loving God."
And the writers who spoke of a multiplicity of gods came at length
to the doctrine of the unity of God, and those who asserted chance
spoke also of providence; and the advocates of impunity confessed
there would be a judgment, and those who denied that there is a
sensation after death acknowledged that there is.Homer, accordingly,
though he had said,--
"Like fleeting vision passed the soul away,"(5)
says in another place:--
"To Hades went the disembodied soul;"(5)
"That I may quickly pass through Hades' gates,
And as regards the others whom you have read, I think you know with
sufficient accuracy how they have expressed themselves. But all
these things will every one understand who seeks the wisdom of God,
and is well pleasing to Him through faith and righteousness and the
doing of good works. For one of the prophets whom we already
mentioned, Hosea by name, said, "Who is wise, and he shall
understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the
ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the
transgressors shall fall therein."(8) He, then, who is desirous of
learning, should learn much.(9) Endeavour therefore to meet [with
me] more frequently, that, by hearing the living voice, you may
accurately ascertain the truth.