Creation Day 3
Gathering the Waters and Bringing Forth Vegetation
Friends, the Third Day consists of six verses in the first chapter of Genesis; verses 8 through 13. My problem was not in finding writings from the early church and from those who had already collected writings and wrote about them themselves, my problem as in what should I leave out. I hope that you enjoy this issue of the Creation; Day 3.
In the Allegorical understanding of many of the early church Fathers, each day, as I stated before was an age of humanity. Here is the 3rd day of Creation or the 3rd age of humanity according to;
On the third day, when the waters flowed together into their places, dry land appeared and was soon covered with green grass and leafy groves; and with the beginning of the third age, when the races had separated into their own places, as for the idolaters, whose error, unstable and changeable by the vain doctrines of idols, as if by all the winds, is rightly signified by the term ‘sea’, the seed of the fathers was separated from their [the idolaters’] society and made rich with spiritual fruit, with the Lord saying to Abraham, ‘Go out from your land and kindred and from the house of your fathers into the land which I will show you and I will make you into a great race and I will bless you’, etc. until he said, ‘And in you the kindred of the whole earth will be blessed’. In that race the different ranks of the faithful, just like green grass and apple-bearing trees, came forth from one and the same earth, receiving the celestial showers of holy speech. However, this day also began to decline towards eventide, when that same Israelite people, casting aside the faith of their fathers and the ceremonies of the law that had been given to them, were both polluted by the wickednesses of foreign races and were also oppressed by slavery. Now the evening came when that same people, together with a king which they had chosen for themselves, having neglected God, was for the most part wiped out by the sword of foreigners.
Hexaemeron (Homily 4)
Genesis 1:9-10 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. And the water which was under the heaven gathered together unto one place; And God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters called He seas.
What trouble you have given me in my previous discourses by asking me why the earth was invisible, why all bodies are naturally endued with color, and why all color comes under the sense of sight. And, perhaps, my reason did not appear sufficient to you, when I said that the earth, without being naturally invisible, was so to us, because of the mass of water that entirely covered it. Hear then how Scripture explains itself. Let the waters be gathered together, and let the dry land appear. The veil is lifted and allows the earth, hitherto invisible, to be seen.
Perhaps you will ask me new questions. And first, is it not a law of nature that water flows downwards? Why, then, does Scripture refer this to the fiat of the Creator? As long as water is spread over a level surface, it does not flow; it is immovable. But when it finds any slope, immediately the foremost portion falls, then the one that follows takes its place, and that one is itself replaced by a third. Thus incessantly they flow, pressing the one on the other, and the rapidity of their course is in proportion to the mass of water that is being carried, and the declivity down which it is borne. If such is the nature of water, it was supererogatory to command it to gather into one place. It was bound, on account of its natural instability, to fall into the most hollow part of the earth and not to stop until the levelling of its surface. We see how there is nothing so level as the surface of water. Besides, they add, how did the waters receive an order to gather into one place, when we see several seas, separated from each other by the greatest distances? To the first question I reply: Since God’s command, you know perfectly well the motion of water; you know that it is unsteady and unstable and falls naturally over declivities and into hollow places. But what was its nature before this command made it take its course? You do not know yourself, and you have heard from no eye-witness. Think, in reality, that a word of God makes the nature, and that this order is for the creature a direction for its future course. There was only one creation of day and night, and since that moment they have incessantly succeeded each other and divided time into equal parts.
3. Let the waters be gathered together. It was ordered that it should be the natural property of water to flow, and in obedience to this order, the waters are never weary in their course. In speaking thus, I have only in view the flowing property of waters. Some flow of their own accord like springs and rivers, others are collected and stationary. But I speak now of flowing waters. Let the waters be gathered together unto one place. Have you never thought, when standing near a spring which is sending forth water abundantly, Who makes this water spring from the bowels of the earth? Who forced it up? Where are the store-houses which send it forth? To what place is it hastening? How is it that it is never exhausted here, and never overflows there? All this comes from that first command; it was for the waters a signal for their course.
In all the story of the waters remember this first order, let the waters be gathered together. To take their assigned places they were obliged to flow, and, once arrived there, to remain in their place and not to go farther. Thus in the language of Ecclesiastes, All the waters run into the sea; yet the sea is not full. Ecclesiastes 1:6-7 Waters flow in virtue of God’s order, and the sea is enclosed in limits according to this first law, Let the waters be gathered together unto one place. For fear the water should spread beyond its bed, and in its successive invasions cover one by one all countries, and end by flooding the whole earth, it received the order to gather unto one place. Thus we often see the furious sea raising mighty waves to the heaven, and, when once it has touched the shore, break its impetuosity in foam and retire. Fear ye not me, says the Lord….which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea. Jeremiah 5:22 A grain of sand, the weakest thing possible, curbs the violence of the ocean. For what would prevent the Red Sea from invading the whole of Egypt, which lies lower, and uniting itself to the other sea which bathes its shores, were it not fettered by the fiat of the Creator? And if I say that Egypt is lower than the Red Sea, it is because experience has convinced us of it every time that an attempt has been made to join the sea of Egypt to the Indian Ocean, of which the Red Sea is a part. Thus we have renounced this enterprise, as also have the Egyptian Sesostris, who conceived the idea, and Darius the Mede who afterwards wished to carry it out.
I report this fact to make you understand the full force of the command, Let the waters be gathered unto one place; that is to say, let there be no other gathering, and, once gathered, let them not disperse.
4. To say that the waters were gathered in one place indicates that previously they were scattered in many places. The mountains, intersected by deep ravines, accumulated water in their valleys, when from every direction the waters betook themselves to the one gathering place. What vast plains, in their extent resembling wide seas, what valleys, what cavities hollowed in many different ways, at that time full of water, must have been emptied by the command of God! But we must not therefore say, that if the water covered the face of the earth, all the basins which have since received the sea were originally full. Where can the gathering of the waters have come from if the basins were already full? These basins, we reply, were only prepared at the moment when the water had to unite in a single mass. At that time the sea which is beyond Gadeira and the vast ocean, so dreaded by navigators, which surrounds the isle of Britain and western Spain, did not exist. But, all of a sudden, God created this vast space, and the mass of waters flowed in.
Now if our explanation of the creation of the world may appear contrary to experience, (because it is evident that all the waters did not flow together in one place,) many answers may be made, all obvious as soon as they are stated. Perhaps it is even ridiculous to reply to such objections. Ought they to bring forward in opposition ponds and accumulations of rain water, and think that this is enough to upset our reasonings? Evidently the chief and most complete affluence of the waters was what received the name of gathering unto one place. For wells are also gathering places for water, made by the hand of man to receive the moisture diffused in the hollow of the earth. This name of gathering does not mean any chance massing of water, but the greatest and most important one, wherein the element is shown collected together. In the same way that fire, in spite of its being divided into minute particles which are sufficient for our needs here, is spread in a mass in the æther; in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region round the earth; so also water, in spite of the small amount spread abroad everywhere, only forms one gathering together, that which separates the whole element from the rest. Without doubt the lakes as well those of the northern regions and those that are to be found in Greece, in Macedonia, in Bithynia and in Palestine, are gatherings together of waters; but here it means the greatest of all, that gathering the extent of which equals that of the earth. The first contain a great quantity of water; no one will deny this. Nevertheless no one could reasonably give them the name of seas, not even if they are like the great sea, charged with salt and sand.
They instance for example, the Lacus Asphaltitis in Judæa, and the Serbonian lake which extends between Egypt and Palestine in the Arabian desert. These are lakes, and there is only one sea, as those affirm who have travelled round the earth. Although some authorities think the Hyrcanian and Caspian Seas are enclosed in their own boundaries, if we are to believe the geographers, they communicate with each other and together discharge themselves into the Great Sea. It is thus that, according to their account, the Red Sea and that beyond Gadeira only form one. Then why did God call the different masses of water seas? This is the reason; the waters flowed into one place, and their different accumulations, that is to say, the gulfs that the earth embraced in her folds, received from the Lord the name of seas: North Sea, South Sea, Eastern Sea, and Western Sea. The seas have even their own names, the Euxine, the Propontis, the Hellespont, the Ægean, the Ionian, the Sardinian, the Sicilian, the Tyrrhene, and many other names of which an exact enumeration would now be too long, and quite out of place. See why God calls the gathering together of waters seas. But let us return to the point from which the course of my argument has diverted me.
5. And God said: Let the waters be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear. He did not say let the earth appear, so as not to show itself again without form, mud-like, and in combination with the water, nor yet endued with proper form and virtue. At the same time, lest we should attribute the drying of the earth to the sun, the Creator shows it to us dried before the creation of the sun. Let us follow the thought Scripture gives us. Not only the water which was covering the earth flowed off from it, but all that which had filtered into its depths withdrew in obedience to the irresistible order of the sovereign Master. And it was so. This is quite enough to show that the Creator’s voice had effect: however, in several editions, there is added And the water which was under the heavens gathered itself unto one place and the dry land was seen; words that other interpreters have not given, and which do not appear conformable to Hebrew usage. In fact, after the assertion, and it was so, it is superfluous to repeat exactly the same thing. In accurate copies these words are marked with an obelus, (a printed mark (†) used in modern editions of ancient manuscripts to indicate that the passage marked is thought not to be genuine) which is the sign of rejection.
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas.
Why does Scripture say above that the waters were gathered together unto one place, and that the dry earth appeared? Why does it add here the dry land appeared, and God gave it the name of earth? It is that dryness is the property which appears to characterize the nature of the subject, while the word earth is only its simple name. Just as reason is the distinctive faculty of man, and the word man serves to designate the being gifted with this faculty, so dryness is the special and peculiar quality of the earth. The element essentially dry receives therefore the name of earth, as the animal who has a neigh for a characteristic cry is called a horse. The other elements, like the earth, have received some peculiar property which distinguishes them from the rest, and makes them known for what they are. Thus water has cold for its distinguishing property; air, moisture; fire, heat. But this theory really applies only to the primitive elements of the world. The elements which contribute to the formation of bodies, and come under our senses, show us these qualities in combination, and in the whole of nature our eyes and senses can find nothing which is completely singular, simple and pure. Earth is at the same time dry and cold; water, cold and moist; air, moist and warm; fire, warm and dry. It is by the combination of their qualities that the different elements can mingle. Thanks to a common quality each of them mixes with a neighboring element, and this natural alliance attaches it to the contrary element. For example, earth, which is at the same time dry and cold, finds in cold a relationship which unites it to water, and by the means of water unites itself to air. Water placed between the two, appears to give each a hand, and, on account of its double quality, allies itself to earth by cold and to air by moisture. Air, in its turn, takes the middle place and plays the part of a mediator between the inimical natures of water and fire, united to the first by moisture, and to the second by heat. Finally fire, of a nature at the same time warm and dry, is linked to air by warmth, and by its dryness reunites itself to the earth. And from this accord and from this mutual mixture of elements, results a circle and an harmonious choir whence each of the elements deserves its name. I have said this in order to explain why God has given to the dry land the name of earth, without however calling the earth dry. It is because dryness is not one of those qualities which the earth acquired afterwards, but one of those which constituted its essence from the beginning. Now that which causes a body to exist, is naturally antecedent to its posterior qualities and has a pre-eminence over them. It is then with reason that God chose the most ancient characteristic of the earth whereby to designate it.
Genesis 1:10 And God saw that it was good.
Scripture does not merely wish to say that a pleasing aspect of the sea presented itself to God. It is not with eyes that the Creator views the beauty of His works. He contemplates them in His ineffable wisdom. A fair sight is the sea all bright in a settled calm; fair too, when, ruffled by a light breeze of wind, its surface shows tints of purple and azure,— when, instead of lashing with violence the neighboring shores, it seems to kiss them with peaceful caresses. However, it is not in this that Scripture makes God find the goodness and charm of the sea. Here it is the purpose of the work which makes the goodness.
In the first place sea water is the source of all the moisture of the earth. It filters through imperceptible conduits, as is proved by the subterranean openings and caves whither its waves penetrate; it is received in oblique and sinuous canals; then, driven out by the wind, it rises to the surface of the earth, and breaks it, having become drinkable and free from its bitterness by this long percolation. Often, moved by the same cause, it springs even from mines that it has crossed, deriving warmth from them, and rises boiling, and bursts forth of a burning heat, as may be seen in islands and on the sea coast; even inland in certain places, in the neighborhood of rivers, to compare little things with great, almost the same phenomena occur. To what do these words tend? To prove that the earth is all undermined with invisible conduits, where the water travels everywhere underground from the sources of the sea.
7. Thus, in the eyes of God, the sea is good, because it makes the undercurrent of moisture in the depths of the earth. It is good again, because from all sides it receives the rivers without exceeding its limits. It is good, because it is the origin and source of the waters in the air. Warmed by the rays of the sun, it escapes in vapor, is attracted into the high regions of the air, and is there cooled on account of its rising high above the refraction of the rays from the ground, and, the shade of the clouds adding to this refrigeration, it is changed into rain and fattens the earth. If people are incredulous, let them look at caldrons on the fire, which, though full of water, are often left empty because all the water is boiled and resolved into vapor. Sailors, too, boil even sea water, collecting the vapor in sponges, to quench their thirst in pressing need.
Finally the sea is good in the eyes of God, because it girdles the isles, of which it forms at the same time the rampart and the beauty, because it brings together the most distant parts of the earth, and facilitates the inter-communication of mariners. By this means it gives us the boon of general information, supplies the merchant with his wealth, and easily provides for the necessities of life, allowing the rich to export their superfluities, and blessing the poor with the supply of what they lack.
But whence do I perceive the goodness of the Ocean, as it appeared in the eyes of the Creator? If the Ocean is good and worthy of praise before God, how much more beautiful is the assembly of a Church like this, where the voices of men, of children, and of women, arise in our prayers to God mingling and resounding like the waves which beat upon the shore. This Church also enjoys a profound calm, and malicious spirits cannot trouble it with the breath of heresy. Deserve, then, the approbation of the Lord by remaining faithful to such good guidance, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Genesis 1:11 Let the earth, the Creator adds, bring forth the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself.
At this command every copse (Trees) was thickly planted; all the trees, fir, cedar, cypress, pine, rose to their greatest height, the shrubs were straightway clothed with thick foliage. The plants called crown-plants, roses, myrtles, laurels, did not exist; in one moment they came into being, each one with its distinctive peculiarities. Most marked differences separated them from other plants, and each one was distinguished by a character of its own. But then the rose was without thorns; since then the thorn has been added to its beauty, to make us feel that sorrow is very near to pleasure, and to remind us of our sin, which condemned the earth to produce thorns and caltrops. But, they say, the earth has received the command to produce trees yielding fruit whose seed was in itself, and we see many trees which have neither fruit, nor seed. What shall we reply? First, that only the more important trees are mentioned; and then, that a careful examination will show us that every tree has seed, or some property which takes the place of it. The black poplar, the willow, the elm, the white poplar, all the trees of this family, do not produce any apparent fruit; however, an attentive observer finds seed in each of them. This grain which is at the base of the leaf, and which those who busy themselves with inventing words call mischos, has the property of seed. And there are trees which reproduce by their branches, throwing out roots from them.
Perhaps we ought even to consider as seeds the saplings which spring from the roots of a tree: for cultivators tear them out to multiply the species. But, we have already said, it is chiefly a question of the trees which contribute most to our life; which offer their various fruits to man and provide him with plentiful nourishment. Such is the vine, which produces wine to make glad the heart of man; such is the olive tree, whose fruit brightens his face with oil. How many things in nature are combined in the same plant! In a vine, roots, green and flexible branches, which spread themselves far over the earth, buds, tendrils, bunches of sour grapes and ripe grapes. The sight of a vine, when observed by an intelligent eye, serves to remind you of your nature. Without doubt you remember the parable where the Lord calls Himself a vine and His Father the husbandman, and every one of us who are grafted by faith into the Church the branches. He invites us to produce fruits in abundance, for fear lest our sterility should condemn us to the fire. cf. John 15:1-6 He constantly compares our souls to vines. My well beloved, says He, has a vineyard in a very fruit full hill, Isaiah 5:1 and elsewhere, I have planted a vineyard and hedged it round about. Matthew 21:33 Evidently He calls human souls His vine, those souls whom He has surrounded with the authority of His precepts and a guard of angels.
The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear him. And further: He has planted for us, so to say, props, in establishing in His Church apostles, prophets, teachers; and raising our thoughts by the example of the blessed in olden times, He has not allowed them to drag on the earth and be crushed under foot. He wishes that the claspings of love, like the tendrils of the vine, should attach us to our neighbors and make us rest on them, so that, in our continual aspirations towards heaven, we may imitate these vines, which raise themselves to the tops of the tallest trees. He also asks us to allow ourselves to be dug about; and that is what the soul does when it disembarrasses itself from the cares of the world, which are a weight on our hearts. He, then, who is freed from carnal affections and from the love of riches, and, far from being dazzled by them, disdains and despises this miserable vain glory, is, so to say, dug about and at length breathes, free from the useless weight of earthly thoughts. Nor must we, in the spirit of the parable, put forth too much wood, that is to say, live with ostentation, and gain the applause of the world; we must bring forth fruits, keeping the proof of our works for the husbandman. Be like a green olive tree in the house of God, never destitute of hope, but decked through faith with the bloom of salvation. Thus you will resemble the eternal verdure of this plant and will rival it in fruitfulness, if each day sees you giving abundantly in alms.
7. But let us return to the examination of the ingenious contrivances of creation. How many trees then arose, some to give us their fruits, others to roof our houses, others to build our ships, others to feed our fires! What a variety in the disposition of their several parts! And yet, how difficult is it to find the distinctive property of each of them, and to grasp the difference which separates them from other species. Some strike deep roots, others do not; some shoot straight up and have only one stem, others appear to love the earth and, from their root upwards, divide into several shoots. Those whose long branches stretch up afar into the air, have also deep roots which spread within a large circumference, a true foundation placed by nature to support the weight of the tree. What variety there is in bark! Some plants have smooth bark, others rough, some have only one layer, others several. What a marvelous thing! You may find in the youth and age of plants resemblances to those of man. Young and vigorous, their bark is distended; when they grow old, it is rough and wrinkled. Cut one, it sends forth new buds; the other remains henceforward sterile and as if struck with a mortal wound. But further, it has been observed that pines, cut down, or even submitted to the action of fire, are changed into a forest of oaks. We know besides that the industry of agriculturists remedies the natural defects of certain trees. Thus the sharp pomegranate and bitter almonds, if the trunk of the tree is pierced near the root to introduce into the middle of the pith a fat plug of pine, lose the acidity of their juice, and become delicious fruits. Let not the sinner then despair of himself, when he thinks, if agriculture can change the juices of plants, the efforts of the soul to arrive at virtue, can certainly triumph over all infirmities.
Now there is such a variety of fruits in fruit trees that it is beyond all expression; a variety not only in the fruits of trees of different families, but even in those of the same species, if it be true, as gardeners say, that the sex of a tree influences the character of its fruits. They distinguish male from female in palms; sometimes we see those which they call female lower their branches, as though with passionate desire, and invite the embraces of the male. Then, those who take care of these plants shake over these palms the fertilizing dust from the male palm-tree, the psen as they call it: the tree appears to share the pleasures of enjoyment; then it raises its branches, and its foliage resumes its usual form. The same is said of the fig tree. Some plant wild fig trees near cultivated fig trees, and there are others who, to remedy the weakness of the productive fig tree of our gardens, attach to the branches unripe figs and so retain the fruit which had already begun to drop and to be lost. What lesson does nature here give us? That we must often borrow, even from those who are strangers to the faith, a certain vigor to show forth good works. If you see outside the Church, in pagan life, or in the midst of a pernicious heresy, the example of virtue and fidelity to moral laws, redouble your efforts to resemble the productive fig tree, who by the side of the wild fig tree, gains strength, prevents the fruit from being shed, and nourishes it with more care.
8. Plants reproduce themselves in so many different ways, that we can only touch upon the chief among them. As to fruits themselves, who could review their varieties, their forms, their colors, the peculiar flavor, and the use of each of them? Why do some fruits ripen when exposed bare to the rays of the sun, while others fill out while encased in shells? Trees of which the fruit is tender have, like the fig tree, a thick shade of leaves; those, on the contrary, of which the fruits are stouter, like the nut, are only covered by a light shade. The delicacy of the first requires more care; if the latter had a thicker case, the shade of the leaves would be harmful. Why is the vine leaf serrated, if not that the bunches of grapes may at the same time resist the injuries of the air and receive through the openings all the rays of the sun? Nothing has been done without motive, nothing by chance. All shows ineffable wisdom.
What discourse can touch all? Can the human mind make an exact review, remark every distinctive property, exhibit all the differences, unveil with certainty so many mysterious causes? The same water, pumped up through the root, nourishes in a different way the root itself, the bark of the trunk, the wood and the pith. It becomes leaf, it distributes itself among the branches and twigs and makes the fruits swell— it gives to the plant its gum and its sap. Who will explain to us the difference between all these? There is a difference between the gum of the mastic and the juice of the balsam, a difference between that which distils in Egypt and Libya from the fennel. Amber is, they say, the crystallized sap of plants. And for a proof, see the bits of straws and little insects which have been caught in the sap while still liquid and imprisoned there. In one word, no one without long experience could find terms to express the virtue of it. How, again, does this water become wine in the vine, and oil in the olive tree? Yet what is marvelous is, not to see it become sweet in one fruit, fat and unctuous in another, but to see in sweet fruits an inexpressible variety of flavor. There is one sweetness of the grape, another of the apple, another of the fig, another of the date. I shall willingly give you the gratification of continuing this research. How is it that this same water has sometimes a sweet taste, softened by its remaining in certain plants, and at other times stings the palate because it has become acid by passing through others? How is it, again, that it attains extreme bitterness, and makes the mouth rough when it is found in wormwood and in scammony? (a twining plant with arrow-shaped leaves. Flowers: white, pink, or purple, funnel-shaped. Native to: Asia. Also; a resin obtained from the roots of the scammony or similar plants. Use: purgative). That it has in acorns and dogwood a sharp and rough flavor? That in the turpentine tree and the walnut tree it is changed into a soft and oily matter?
9. But what need is there to continue, when in the same fig tree we have the most opposite flavors, as bitter in the sap as it is sweet in the fruit? And in the vine, is it not as sweet in the grapes as it is astringent in the branches? And what a variety of color! Look how in a meadow this same water becomes red in one flower, purple in another, blue in this one, white in that. And this diversity of colors is it to be compared to that of scents? But I perceive that an insatiable curiosity is drawing out my discourse beyond its limits. If I do not stop and recall it to the law of creation, day will fail me while making you see great wisdom in small things.
Let the earth bring forth the fruit tree yielding fruit. Immediately the tops of the mountains were covered with foliage: paradises were artfully laid out, and an infinitude of plants embellished the banks of the rivers. Some were for the adornment of man’s table; some to nourish animals with their fruits and their leaves; some to provide medicinal help by giving us their sap, their juice, their chips, their bark or their fruit. In a word, the experience of ages, profiting from every chance, has not been able to discover anything useful, which the penetrating foresight of the Creator did not first perceive and call into existence. Therefore, when you see the trees in our gardens, or those of the forest, those which love the water or the land, those which bear flowers, or those which do not flower, I should like to see you recognizing grandeur even in small objects, adding incessantly to your admiration of, and redoubling your love for the Creator. Ask yourself why He has made some trees evergreen and others deciduous; why, among the first, some lose their leaves, and others always keep them. Thus the olive and the pine shed their leaves, although they renew them insensibly and never appear to be despoiled of their verdure. The palm tree, on the contrary, from its birth to its death, is always adorned with the same foliage. Think again of the double life of the tamarisk; it is an aquatic plant, and yet it covers the desert. Thus, Jeremiah compares it to the worst of characters— the double character.
10. Let the earth bring forth. This short command was in a moment a vast nature, an elaborate system. Swifter than thought it produced the countless qualities of plants. It is this command which, still at this day, is imposed on the earth, and in the course of each year displays all the strength of its power to produce herbs, seeds and trees. Like tops, which after the first impulse, continue their evolutions, turning upon themselves when once fixed in their center; thus nature, receiving the impulse of this first command, follows without interruption the course of ages, until the consummation of all things. Let us all hasten to attain to it, full of fruit and of good works; and thus, planted in the house of the Lord we shall flourish in the court of our God, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
The third day: The plants: Let us quote here the words of Professor Dr. Yousef Riad concerning the creation: [In the beginning of the Book of Genesis, we notice that the prophet Moses divided the works of God into six time periods, that end in the creation of man. Moses said that plants appeared first in the form of simple plants — grass; then developed into more complicated kinds, like legumes, then trees. Following that, animals appeared; aquatic animals obviously before birds, and these before man. This succession is the same one established by the science of Biology and Microbiology. Was Moses aware of our knowledge of the living things, in the twentieth century ? Of course not, some will probably claim that it was a matter of pure coincidence; But, surely, it was God who granted him that knowledge. Moses, in the Book of Genesis wrote: “God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’, and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters, He called Seas.
And God saw that it was good (Gen. 1: 9, 10) Moses wrote that God gathered the waters under heavens together into one place. He who contemplates in the world map, will notice that this is scientifically true, as all the seven oceans of the world have one common bottom. Yet Moses was keen on considering the seas as separate, mentioning them in pleural as ‘Seas’. In the days of Moses, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and probably certain parts of the Atlantic Ocean, were known to man, although the seven oceans known nowadays, were yet to be discovered after several generations, when man built the huge ships. So how did Moses know, that although seas were separate, yet they have a common bottom ? Some believe that, in that stage, God ordained that the temperature of the earth falls down gradually, which led to contraction and cracking of the earth’s crust, resulting in the formation of deep troughs, rivers, lakes and seas. Seas and oceans gathered together into one place, but the seas that are now isolated, have resulted from different physical factors. Now, we put aside the literal or historical interpretation, and consider the spiritual or symbolic one. We find the scholar Origen discerning between ‘dry land’ and ‘earth’; the dry land, covered with water, refers to man, covered with sin and trespasses, turning into a land soaking with water, unfit for fruition.
But, if sin retreat from it, it turns from barren dry land into fertile land capable of fruition, that can produce herbs, legume, and trees, that is, yield a spiritual crop “some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matthew 13: 8).The scholar Origen says: [If we do not separate ourselves from the “waters that are under the firmament”, that is the sins and transgressions of our body, “earth” cannot appear in our life, and we cannot enjoy to grow in light; “For everyone practicing evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed; but he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have done in God” (John 3: 20, 21). We are not to be granted this confidence, unless we become separated from that “waters”, and cast off the transgressions of the body, the basis of our sins; otherwise the dried up member in us would stay dry. I wish we receive God’s work in us, to have our inner dry land transformed into a sanctified one, that produce spiritual fruits that please God, and not to carry curse and produce thorns and thistles .
The scholar Origen also says: [If some people are still dry and fruitless, and carry “thorns and thistles” (Gen 3: 18), these carry curse, “whose end is to be burned” (Hebrew 6: 8’ Isaiah 9: 17, 18); But with strife and persistence, as they separate themselves from the “water” of the abyss, the way of the devil, they appear as fertile land, then they become worthy of asking the Lord to move them to a land of milk and honey]. He also says, [Let us wake up, we are still, not yet a dry land ! Let us present to God much and diversified fruits, to be blessed by the Lord, who may say: “The smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed” (Gen 27: 27); and, in us would be realized the saying of the apostle: “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it , and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessings from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned (Hebrew 6: 7, 8). St. Ambrosius believes that, fruition of the earth, is a sign of raising the body from death; As life set forth from the earth by the order of the Lord, so also, by His order life will be restored to our body, put to death. Nature obeys Him, as well as the dried up bones, in the great day of the Lord.
Website of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of the Americas:
YouTube: St. Michael’s Monastery and the New Warrior Ministries
Now, YouTube doesn’t always agree with my viewpoint on what is happening in the world so I have two other channels, sometimes one of them does not agree either and so I need the other one, sometimes I speak for too long a time and the one will not accept the video but the other one will so I have videos spread out over three different channels.
Daily Motion: New Warrior Ministries
Bitchute: Bishop William NWM
Rumble.com: New Warrior Ministries
Another blog site: pureorthodox.blogspot.com
Archbishop Gregori’s Blog: Orthodox Christianity Your Spiritual Home
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