1 So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.
3 And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth:
5 And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew: for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the earth.
2:4-5 This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were made, in the day in which the Lord God made the heaven and the earth, 5 and every herb of the field before it was on the earth, and all the grass of the field before it sprang up, for God had not rained on the earth, and there was not a man to cultivate it. 6 But there rose a fountain out of the earth, and watered the whole face of the earth.
ALCUIN OF YORK. (Gen. 2:4). WHY DID HE SAY, “THESE ARE THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH”? — Answer. Against those who claim that the world has always existed without beginning. [Question 44]
WHY DID HE SAY, “IN THE DAY THAT HE MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH” AND NOT “IN THE DAYS”? — Answer. He said “the day” for the whole time of the primordial creation, in the same way as when the apostle said, “Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2), he meant the day to be understood as the whole time during which the saints labor in this life for eternal salvation. [Question 45]
(Gen. 2:5). WHAT IS MEANT BY “EVERY PLANT OF THE FIELD BEFORE IT SPRUNG UP IN THE EARTH”? — Answer. It was in order to convey the speed of God’s work; that is, before any fruit sprang up or sprouted by growing from the earth, suddenly all the plains and hills were covered in grass and trees. [Question 46]
WHAT IS MEANT BY “FOR THE LORD GOD HAD NOT RAINED UPON THE EARTH”? — Answer. It was said for us to understand how different the first germination of the earth was from that in our times, which, with delay, is effected at last with the watering of the rains, with difficulty and slowly, whereas the first one, at God’s command, sprang up immediately and appeared. [Question 47]
6 But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
8 And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.
9 And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads.
11 The name of the one is Phison: that is it which compasses all the land of Hevilath, where gold grows.
12 And the gold of that land is very good: there is found bdellium, and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gehon: the same is it that compasses all the land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Tigris: the same passes along by the Assyrians. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it.
16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat:
17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day so ever you shall eat of it, you shall die the death.
18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.
19 And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name.
20 And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.
21 Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it.
22 And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam.
23 And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.
24 Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.
25 And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.
(Gen. 2:6).AGAIN, WHAT IS MEANT BY “A SPRING ROSE OUT OF THE EARTH, WATERING ALL THE SURFACE [VARIANT: ALL THINGS UPON THE FACE] OF THE EARTH”? — Answer. Either he is referring to Paradise alone, which is believed to be watered by one spring, or, if it must be taken to refer to all of the earth, then he meant all the abundance of waters to be understood there. [Questions and Answers on Genesis, 48]
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO. “This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when the day was made, and God made heaven and earth, all the greenery of the field before there was any on the earth, all the herbs of the fields before they grew.” For God had not yet rained on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate it; but a spring rose up from the earth and sprinkled on the whole surface; the Scripture furnishes here a new proof in support of the opinion that God made one day, of which the six or seven others were only the regular return; for, after having summed up the creation in a way, she (Scripture) adds these significant expressions: “When the day was created. It will doubtless be said that the heaven and earth of which we are speaking here is the same work that preceded the creation of the day, according to this passage: “In the beginning God made heaven and earth.” If we want to see there a creation accomplished by God outside of the day, and before his birth, I have explained how it was possible, without forbidding anyone a theory more satisfactory than mine. Be that as it may, Scripture shows enough in the passage, “This is the book of the origins of heaven and earth,” (Gen. 2: 4-6) when the day was made, which she sees not here in heaven and earth the work that was created in the beginning, before the birth of the day, when the darkness was on the abyss: it is clear, in my opinion, that it speaks of heaven and earth, as they were formed, after the creation of the day, in other words, with this order which distributed the elements, disposed beings according to their kind, which finally gave to the whole creation this organization and this harmony which we call the world.
Heaven is here only the firmament, as it was created and appointed by God, with all the beings that it contains; and the earth is only the lower region with the abyss and with all the beings that it contains. This is so true that Scripture immediately adds: “God made heaven and earth. Speaking of heaven and earth, before and after the formation of the day, she does not even allow us to conjecture that she sees here in these two works the same creation as that which preceded the birth of the day. Because in the passage: “This is the book of the origins of heaven and earth, when the day was made and God made heaven and earth,” the very arrangement of words does not allow to see, in the first phrase, heaven and earth as God made them in the beginning, before the creation of the day; We cannot stop at this opinion, under the pretext that heaven and earth are named before the creation of the day, without being immediately stopped by the sacred text where the creation of the day is scarcely signaled that we return to the formation of heaven and earth.
The only value of the conjunction when, in this passage, would be enough for a dialectician to maintain that any other meaning is impossible: remove it, indeed, and say: Here is the book of the origins of heaven and earth, the day was created, God made heaven and earth; one could then imagine that there is no question in the first part of the phrase except of heaven and earth, as they were created in the beginning, before the birth of the day; that the creation of the day is later mentioned, as it is in the story which opens Genesis, and that finally the last phrase relates to the creation of heaven and earth; that they were organized after the formation of the day. But the conjunction connects the proposition that it announces, at the beginning of the sentence, or at the end, in other words, it is necessary to read: “Here is the book of the origins of the sky and the earth, when the day was made” Or: “When the day was done, God created heaven and earth; In both cases, we are forced to agree that the Scripture here wanted to speak only of the formation of heaven and of the earth accomplished when the day was created. Moreover, the expressions which Scripture adds: “All the greenery of the earth,” unquestionably relate to the third day. It is clear, then, that God created one and the same day which, by renewing itself regularly, produced the period of the six days.
As the words heaven, earth designate in the language of Scripture the whole of creation, or may ask what use are the words it adds: “And all the greenery of the earth.” In my opinion, they serve to determine the day Scripture wants to speak when it says, “When that day was done.” One would have been tempted, indeed, to see there a day like this succession of day and night that the physical light produced by its revolution: but when the thought relates to the continuation of the divine works and that one finds that all the verdure of the fields was created on the third day, before the formation of the sun, which appeared as the fourth, and whose presence on the horizon is worth the present day; when we then hear the Scripture say: “When the day was done, God made heaven and earth and all the greenery of the fields,” then we must see in these words a warning that the day was produced either by a light a physics unknown to men, either by an intellectual light diffused in the society of angels: in any case, it did not resemble that of today, and another must be conceived by an effort of reason. .
Another question comes naturally here. Scripture could say: Here is the book of the origins of heaven and earth, when God created heaven and earth. These expressions would have reminded us of all the beings contained in heaven and earth; for Scripture usually designates under the names of heaven and earth, to which sometimes it joins that of the sea, the whole of creation; and sometimes even she expressly says: “Heaven, earth and all that they contain (Ps. CXLV: 6):” therefore, to all the ideas that these words awake we would have associated that of a, day; either primitive or similar to the sun produced by its revolution. But far from expressing himself thus, the Sacred Writer brings into play the idea of day which he places between the two others. He does not say: This is the book of the creation of the day, of heaven and earth, as he would have done if he had followed the historical order; he does not say either: This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when God made heaven and earth and all the greenery of the fields; lastly, he does not use this trick: This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when God made the day, the sky and the earth, and the green of the fields. He does not use these most used forms of language, and expresses himself thus: “This is the book of the origins of heaven and earth, when the day was” made, and God made the sky and the earth with all the verdure of the fields, as if to reveal to us that God made heaven and earth with the green of the fields at the same time that He made the day.
Now in the story which opens Genesis, Scripture reveals to us the creation of a primitive day and counts it: then it quotes the second, where the firmament was created; the third where the earth and the sea appeared in their definite forms and where the earth produced its trees and plants. Do not we see here clearly this simultaneity in the divine creation, which I have tried to prove above, since the period of the six days, when Scripture sets out with order the creation and completion of the works of God, can it be summed up now in a single day that includes the formation of heaven and earth and the birth of vegetation? We can not see here a day like ours. it suffices, as I have just said, to remember that before the diurnal revolution of the sun, God commanded the earth to produce its plants and its verdure. Thus the simultaneity of creation is no longer a truth borrowed from another book of Scripture (Ecclesia XVIII, 1): on the second page of Genesis, we find a testimony that invites us to go back to this principle, in these words: “When the day was done, God made heaven and earth” with the green of the fields. “Design, then. Although this day has been renewed seven times to produce the seven days; then, on hearing that, at the moment when the day was at hand, everything was done at the same time, try, if you can, to understand that this renewal has been accomplished outside the slow and regular succession of time; if you cannot go that far, abandon these theories to the meditation of minds capable of hearing them.
For you, walk under the guidance of Scripture, which does not leave you with your weakness and who, like a mother, knows how to slow down her steps with yours. His language, indeed, has a height that astonishes pride, a depth that terrifies attentive minds, a truth that sustains the strong and a grace that nourishes the little ones.
What do the following words mean in this order: “When the day was done, God made heaven and earth, and all the greenery of the field, before there was any on the earth, and the grass of the field sprung up?” What mean, say I, these words? Must we examine the time, the place where the vegetation was made, before existing on the earth, before having grown there? Would it not be natural to believe that God did it, not before it grew, but at the very moment that it was born, if one were not warned by the word of God that it was made before springing up? Therefore, even if we could not find out where and when it was, we would not be allowed to believe piously, on the faith of Scripture that it was made before it was born: not to believe in Scripture being an impiety.
What to say? Must we admit here the widespread opinion that everything was done in the Word of God before being born on earth? But if everything was done in the Word, everything was done before the birth of the day, and not at the time when the day was created. Now Scripture says in express terms. “When the day was done, God made heaven and earth and all the greenery of the field before it existed on the earth, and all the grass before it grew. So this creation took place with the day, far from being anterior to it: consequently, it did not come into the midst of the Word of God with its Father, before every age and every creature, but at the moment when the day is did. The ideas which, before any creature, subsist in the Word, are not made at the moment when the day was born, according to the formal testimony of Scripture. And yet grass and greenery were made before they existed and grew on the earth.
Where were they created? Would it be in the earth conceived as their cause and principle, just as germs contain beings before they develop and acquire their proportions and forms over time? But these germs that we see are already on the earth, they have already taken birth. Were they then hidden under the earth, and can it be said that the plants were made before they were born, in the sense that they took birth, when the germs were inflated and flourished in the open air, to grow in them? the proportions that nature today assigns to their development? So it would be the sprouts that would have been created before the birth of the day and that would have contained the plants and the greenery of the fields, not in the form they take when they grow on the ground, but internally and by virtue of natural fertility to any seed? So the earth would have started by producing the seeds themselves? But Scripture had a very different language when it said, “The earth brought forth the herb bearing seed according to its kind, fruit trees bearing fruit and having their seed in themselves on the earth. These words clearly show that the seeds were produced by grasses and trees, and that the vegetation, far from emerging from primitive seeds, originated in the earth. The best reason for this is that Scripture affirms it; for it does not say: that the seeds produce the grass and the vegetation, but that “the earth produces the grass bearing seed; It is to express very clearly that the seed comes from the grass, and not the grass of the seed.”And it was so,” and the earth produced grass bearing seed; In other words, the commandment was realized in the spirit of the angels, then the earth began to produce, so that the divine word received its fulfillment in the physical world.
What is this creation that preceded the appearance of herbs on the earth? What difference was there for them to make at the same time as heaven and earth, at the birth of that mysterious day that God originally created, or to grow upon the earth in the space of time necessary for each species, and measured on the course of the sun? If this mysterious day exists, if it is only the light that enlightens and unites the society of Virtues and angels in the highest heaven; It is evident that the heavenly spirits know the works of God more perfectly than we do: besides seeing them in the Word of God, the author of all things, they know its nature by a deeper and different intuition. In fact, they know them in their elements, and so to speak, in their origin, as God originally made them, before resting from his works, ceasing henceforth to create: we, on the contrary, know them by observing them. The laws which govern them, in the order of time, after their formation, and according to which God continues to act in the bosom of the creatures he created, during this perfect number of six days, with all their perfection.
The divine order then consisted in creating the cause from which plants and trees come out, in other words, to communicate to the earth its fertility principle. In this principle, I was going to say in these roots, all the vegetation to come was deposited and delivered to the action of time. Later, in fact, God planted a garden on the east side, and brought forth from the earth all kinds of trees that flattered the eye or offered exquisite fruits. It cannot be said that he then did a new work, that he gave a new degree of perfection to the works he had finished and judged excellent on the sixth day; but, as all the species of plants and trees had been already created in their principle, since God rested from this work, while continuing to direct and maintain in harmony, in the midst of the revolutions of time, the creation which he had completed and of which he had rested, it must be admitted that God planted then not only this garden, but all the vegetation that is born even today. What else can indeed create it; if not God, whose activity is exercised even now? However, today it creates it with the elements that exist, while it passed from nothingness to existence, when the day itself was absolutely nothing, I mean the purely intellectual creation.
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO. (Gen. 2:5) Et homo non erat operari terram. (And there was no man to cultivate the land) The Latin manuscripts present qui operaretur terram. (who would work the land) [Locutions]
GREGORY I OF ROME. For he who had related that the heaven, and the earth, the trees and herbs, were created on different days, now declares that they were made on one day; in order clearly to point out that every creature began to be at the same time in substance, although it came not forth at the same time in appearance. [Morals on Job 32.12]
JOHN CHRYSOSTOM OF CONSTANTINOPLE. (Gen. 2:4-6) Now this is the passage: This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when they were created, in the day that God made heaven and earth, and all the plants of the field, when there is had none on the earth, and all the grass of the field, when the earth did not produce it; for God had not yet poured rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate it. But there rose from the earth a spring that sprinkled the surface. (Gen. II, 4, 5, 6.) Consider here, I ask you the admirable wisdom of the sacred writer, or rather that of the Holy Spirit who inspired him; for first, he told us each part of creation separately, he described to us the works of the six days, the formation of man and the power God gave him over all creatures, and now he summarizes all his narrative in these words: This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when they were created.
Perhaps it will not be without interest to examine why Scripture calls Genesis the book of the creation of heaven and earth, though it includes so many other things. And indeed this book, which recounts the virtues of the ancient righteous, teaches us also of several points of doctrine, and in particular of the goodness of God, and of his indulgence towards the first man and all his descendants. It also covers a large number of other topics that need not be specified here. But do not be surprised, my dear brother; for usually the Scripture does not enter into minute details. It is content to expose briefly the principal facts, and abandons the rest to the zeal and research of its readers. The passage just read is a striking proof. For after having previously told us in detail all the works of the six days, she speaks only of them to say in general: this is the book of the creation of heaven and earth, when they were created, in the day that God made heaven and earth.
So you see that Moses, by naming here only heaven and earth, commits us to contemplate all the creatures. And indeed he understands them all under this designation, both those who are in heaven and those who are on the earth. Henceforth he will not resume the details of the creation, and will confine himself to recalling it summarily. Thus he calls the whole of Genesis the book of the creation of heaven and earth, though it contains many other things. He wants to teach us to discover them under this general title, since indeed all the creatures that exist either in heaven or on earth, are necessarily included in this book. In the day, says the Scripture, God made the heaven and the earth, and all the plants of the field, when there was none on the earth, and all the grass of the field, when the earth produced point. For God had not yet poured rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate it. But there rose from the earth a spring that sprinkled the surface. These few words contain a precious treasure, and I must explain them to you with great circumspection, so that by the help of divine grace I may make you enjoy these spiritual riches.
The Holy Spirit, who foresees all the succession of ages, wanted from the beginning to prevent human reason from contradicting the dogmas of the Church, and to pervert the true meaning of Scripture. This is why he takes up the whole order of creation here, and reminds us first of all of the works of the first and second days; and then he tells us how, in the third, the earth, by the command of the Lord, brought forth its various productions without the help of the sun which did not exist, and without the influence of the rain, nor the work of man, because it had not been formed yet. Thus the repetition of these details is intended to repress the audacity of our imprudent critics. Let us re-read this passage: In the day that God made heaven and earth, and all the plants of the field, when there was none on the earth, and all the grass of the field, when the earth did not produce it, point. For God had not shed rain yet on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate it: But there rose up from the earth a spring that sprinkled on the surface.
Scripture therefore reveals to us that suddenly, at the word and order of the Lord, all creatures emerged from nothingness, and received existence. Then the earth gave birth to the plants of the field, and under this name are understood all its various productions; but concerning the rain, the same scripture observes that God had not yet poured it on the earth, that is to say, it had not yet made it fall from the sky. Finally, it proves to us that the earth owed its fruitfulness to the work of man, since there was no man to cultivate it. Learn, she tells us, and do not forget what is the origin of all (67) the productions of the earth, and do not believe that they are the result of the care of man, nor the fruit of his works. The earth has given birth to the word and the order of the Creator. Let us conclude, therefore, that in order to germinate herbs and plants, the earth needs no help from the other elements, and that the Creator’s command is sufficient for it.
But here is a new wonder more amazing still. The same God whose word has communicated to the earth so marvelous a fertility, and whose power surpasses all human intelligence, has established over the waters the immense mass and the enormous weight of the world. This is what the Psalmist teaches us by these words: He has spread the earth over the waters. (Ps. CLXXV, 6.) Can man pierce this mystery? For in the construction of a building, one first digs the foundations, and if one encounters a few veins of water, one exhausts them before to sit the first seated of the building. But the Creator acts quite differently to show his ineffable power, and to prove to us that at his order the elements produce effects contrary to their usual phenomena.
I explain by an example, so that you understand better my thought, and then I will resume the continuation of my subject. No doubt it is against the nature of the waters to carry a weight as heavy as that of the earth; and it is against the nature of the earth to rest solidly on a fluid body. But why surprise us? Whatever may be the creature you study with care, you will discover the action of the immense power of the Creator, and you will convince yourself that He governs all things by His will. See the fire: this element devours everything, and it consumes easily the hardest bodies: wood, stones and iron. But when God orders it, he does not even hurt the most tender bodies: and so he respected the three young Hebrews in the fiery furnace. (Dan, III.) But the prodigy spread even further, for this element deprived of reason proved to them more obsequious than it could be said. Not only did he not touch their hair, but he still seemed to surround them and press them amicably; so he retained his natural activity to display only his full and complete obedience to the Lord’s orders, and he preserved safe and sound those admirable children who walked in the midst of the flames with as much security as in a meadow enameled with flowers.
Moreover, so that it could not be believed that this material fire was devoid of all action, the Lord was anxious to preserve its activity. But he hung it from his servants, who triumphed over it, and were not hurt. As for the soldiers who had thrown the young Hebrews into the furnace, they knew how great is the power of the Lord, for the fire exerted all their violence upon them; and the same element, which, in the interior of the furnace, bent gently over the three children, raged outside and consumed the satellites of the tyrant. So you see how God changes the properties of the elements at will. He created them, and disposes of them according to his will. Do you still want me to show you the same miracle about the waters? The fire, as I said, respected the three children of the furnace, and did them no harm. thus forgetting all their violence against them, but he devoured their executioners, and displayed against them his inflexible activity; and in the same way the waters of the sea submerge some, and retire before the others for their leash: a free passage. I am referring here on one side to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and on the other to the Israelites. These, according to the command of the Lord, and under the guidance of Moses, crossed the Red Sea on dry ground; and those who wanted with Pharaoh to follow the same path were swallowed up under the waves. Thus the elements respect the servants of God, and for them they suspend their natural activity.
Let us, therefore, we men, irascible and violent men, and we, who, laxly subject to a thousand other passions, compromise the success of our salvation. We have reason in common, and we cannot imitate the obedience of these unreasonable elements. For if the fire, the most active and the most violent of all, has been able to respect tender and delicate bodies, what will be the excuse of the man who, disdaining the divine precepts, refuses to subdue his anger, and of to stifle the feelings of an ulcerated heart with regard to his brothers. But here, what is truly amazing, is that the fire, which burns with such violence, suspends its activity, and that the man, being (68) reasonable, gentle and benevolent, acts against his nature, and by his negligence imitates in his morals the ferocity of savage beasts.
So Scripture, to designate the various passions that dominate in us, gives to the man endowed with reason the name of different animals. Thus, in his language, the word dog indicates impudence and violence. They are dumb dogs, and do not know how to bark. (Is. LVI, 10.) The horse represents the effervescence of the voluptuousness: They have become like horses running and neighing after the cavales: each of them has pursued the wife of his neighbor. (Jeremiah V, 8.) Sometimes the donkey marks the grossness and stupidity of the sinner: Man is compared to animals that have no reason, and he has become like them. (Ps. XLVIII, 13.) Sometimes she names the men lions and leopards by allusion to their ferocious and voracious appetites, and sometimes aspics because of their deceitful and deceitful spirit. Their lips, says the Psalmist, contain the venom of the asp. (Ps. CXXXIX, 4.) Finally she likens them to the serpent and the viper, because of the hidden poison of their malignancy. Also. Did the holy precursor say to the Pharisees: Serpents, and a race of vipers, who showed you to flee from the coming wrath? (Matthew iii, 7) Scripture still gives men other names, in order to characterize their different passions, and recall them with a salutary shame to the feeling of their nobility. Ah! May they not degenerate from their origin, and prefer the law of the Lord to those criminal passions that dragged them into sin! [Homilies on Genesis]
THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH. (Verse 5) 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. [To Autolycus 2.19 ANF v.2]
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