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THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH TO AUTOLYCUS.
BOOK I. Chapters 1 through 12
an idolater and scorner of Christians.
1. A fluent tongue
and an elegant style afford pleasure and such praise as vainglory delights in to
wretched men who have been corrupted in mind.
But the lover of truth does not give heed to ornamented speeches, but
examines the real matter of the speech, what it is, and what kind it is.
Since, then, my
friend, you have assailed me with empty words, boasting of your gods of wood and
stone, hammered and cast, carved and graven, which neither see nor hear, for
they are idols, and the works of men's hands.
3. And since,
besides, you call me a Christian, as if this were a damning name to bear, I, for
my part, avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of God, hoping
to be serviceable to God.
4. For it is not
the case, as you suppose, that the name of God is hard to bear; but possibly you
entertain this opinion of God, because you are yourself yet unserviceable to
· That the eyes of the soul must be
purged before God can be seen.
5. But if you say,
"Show me thy God," I would reply, "Show me yourself, and I will
show you my God." Show, then, that the eyes of your soul are capable of
seeing, and the ears of your heart able to hear; for as those who look with the
eyes of the body perceive earthly objects and what concerns this life.
6. And they
discriminate at the same time between things that differ, whether light or
darkness, white or black, deformed or beautiful, well-proportioned and
symmetrical or disproportioned and awkward, or monstrous or mutilated; and as in
like manner also, by the sense of hearing, we discriminate either sharp, or
deep, or sweet sounds; so the same holds good regarding the eyes of the soul and
the ears of the heart, that it is by them we are able to behold God.
7. For God is seen
by those who are enabled to see Him when they have the eyes of their soul
opened: for all have eyes; but in some they are overspread, and do not see the
light of the sun. Yet it does not follow, because the blind do not see, that the
light of the sun does not shine; but let the blind blame themselves and their
So also thou, O
man, hast the eyes of thy soul overspread by thy sins and evil deeds. As a
burnished mirror, so ought man to have his soul pure. When there is rust on the
mirror, it is not possible that a man's face be seen in the mirror; so also when
there is sin in a man, such a man cannot behold God.
therefore show me yourself, whether you are not an adulterer, or a fornicator,
or a thief, or a robber, or a purloiner; whether you do not corrupt boys;
whether you are not insolent, or a slanderer, or passionate, or envious, or
proud, or supercilious.
Whether you are
not a brawler, or covetous, or disobedient to parents; and whether you do not
sell your children; for to those who do these things God is not manifest, unless
they have first cleansed themselves from all impurity.
11. All these
things, then, involve you in darkness, as when a filmy defluxion on the eyes
prevents one from beholding the light of the sun: thus also do iniquities, 0
man, involve you in darkness, so that you cannot see God.
· Nature of God.
12. You will say
then to me, "Do you, who see God, explain to me the appearance of
God." Hear, O man. The appearance of God is ineffable and indescribable,
and cannot be seen by eyes of flesh. For in glory He is incomprehensible, in
greatness unfathomable, in height inconceivable, in power incomparable, in
wisdom unrivalled, in goodness inimitable, in kindness unutterable.
13. For if I say He
is Light, I name but His own work; if I call Him Word, I name but His
sovereignty; if I call Him Mind, I speak but of His wisdom; if I say He is
Spirit, I speak of His breath; if I call Him Wisdom, I speak of His offspring.
If I call Him
Strength, I speak of His sway; if I call Him Power, I am mentioning His
activity; if Providence, I but mention His goodness; if I call Him Kingdom, I
but mention His glory; if I call Him Lord, I mention His being judge; if I call
Him Judge, I speak of Him as being just; if I call Him Father, I speak of all
things as being from Him; if I call Him Fire, I but mention His anger. You will
say, then, to me, "Is God angry?"
15. Yes; He is
angry with those who act wickedly, but He is good, and kind, and merciful, to
those who love and fear Him; for He is a chastener of the godly, and father of
the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious.
1. And He is
without beginning, because He is un-begotten; and He is unchangeable, because He
is immortal. And he is called God on account of His having placed all things on
security afforded by Himself; and on account of moving, and being active, and
nourishing, and foreseeing, and governing, and making all things alive.
But he is Lord,
because He rules over the universe; Father, because he is before all things;
Fashioner and Maker, because He is Creator and maker of the universe; the
Highest, because of His being above all; and Almighty, because He Himself rules
and embraces all.
3. For the heights
of heaven, and the depths of the abysses, and the ends of the earth, are in His
hand, and there is no place of His rest. For the heavens are His work, the earth
is His creation, the sea is His handiwork; man is His formation and His image.
4. Sun, moon, and
stars are His elements, made for signs, and seasons, and days, and years, that
they may serve and be slaves to man; and all things God has made out of things
that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His
greatness may be known and understood.
· The invisible God perceived through
5. For as the soul
in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through the motion
of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but is beheld and
perceived through His providence and works.
6. For, in like
manner, as any person when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in sail, and
making for the harbor, will no doubt infer that there is a pilot in her who is
steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor [pilot] of the whole
universe, though He be not visible to the eyes of the flesh, since He is
For if a man
cannot look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of
its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to
face the glory of God, which is unutterable?
8. For as the
pomegranate, with the shell containing it, has within it many cells and
compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in
it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing
spirit is along with the creation contained by the hand of God.
9. As, therefore,
the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the
shell, itself being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole
creation is enclosed by the hand of God, behold God.
10. Then again, an
earthly king is believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is
recognized by his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues;
and are you unwilling that God should be recognized by His works and mighty
· God is known by his works.
Consider O man
His works, the timely rotation of the seasons, and the changes of temperature;
the regular march of the stars; the well-ordered course of days and nights, and
months, and years; the various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the
divers species of quadrupeds, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes.
12. Both of the
rivers and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted in these animals to
beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of man; and
the providence with which God provides nourishment for all flesh, or the
subjection in which He has ordained that all things serve mankind.
the flowing of sweet fountains and never-failing rivers, and the seasonal supply
of dews, and showers, and rains; the manifold movement of the heavenly bodies,
the morning star rising and heralding the approach of the perfect luminary; and
the constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the orbit of the
other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the manifold wisdom of
God has called by names of their own.
14. He is God alone
who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from His treasures, and
formed the chambers of the south wind, and the treasure-houses of the deep, and
the bounds of the seas, and the treasuries of snows and hail-storms, collecting
the waters in the storehouses of the deep, and the darkness in His treasures,
and bringing forth the sweet, and desirable, and pleasant light out of His
15. Who causes the
vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth: He makes lightning for the
rain;" who sends forth His thunder to terrify, and foretells by the
lightning the peal of the thunder, that no soul may faint with the sudden shock;
and who so moderates the violence of the lightning as it flashes out of heaven,
that it does not consume the earth.
16. For, if the
lightning were allowed all its power, it would burn up the earth; and were the
thunder allowed all its power, it would overthrow all the works that are
· We shall, see God when we put on
This is my God,
the Lord of all, who alone stretched out the heaven, and established the breadth
of the earth under it; who stirs the deep recesses of the sea, and makes its
waves roar; who rules its power, and stills the tumult of its waves; who founded
the earth upon the waters, and gave a spirit to nourish it.
Whose breath giveth light to the whole, who, if He withdraw His breath,
the whole will utterly fail.
By Him you
speak O man; His breath you breathe yet Him you know not. And this is your
condition, because of the blindness of your soul, and the hardness of your
heart. But if you will, you may be healed.
yourself to the Physician, and He will couch the eyes of your soul and of your
heart. Who is the Physician? God, who heals and makes alive through His word and
wisdom. God by His own word and wisdom made all things; for "by His word
were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His
is His wisdom. By His wisdom God founded the earth; and by knowledge He prepared
the heavens; and by understanding were the fountains of the great deep broken
up, and the clouds poured out their dews. If thou perceive these things, O man,
living chastely, and holily, and righteously, thou canst see God.
21. But before all
let faith and the fear of God have rule in thy heart, and then shalt thou
understand these things. When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on
incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily.
22. For God will
raise thy flesh immortal with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou
shalt see the Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that
you have spoken unjustly against Him.
· Faith required in all matters.
23. But you do not
believe that the dead are raised. When the resurrection shall take place, then
you will believe, whether you will or not; and your faith shall be reckoned for
unbelief, unless you believe now. And why do you not believe? Do you not know
that faith is the leading principle in all matters?
husbandman can reap, unless he first trust his seed to the earth? Or who can
cross the sea, unless he first entrust himself to the boat and the pilot? And
what sick person can be healed, unless first he trust himself to the care of the
physician? And what art or
knowledge can any one learn, unless he first apply and entrust himself to the
25. If, then, the
husbandman trusts the earth, and the sailor the boat, and the sick the
physician, will you not place confidence in God, even when you hold so many
pledges at His hand? For first He created you out of nothing, and brought you
into existence and formed you out of a small and moist substance, even out of
the least drop, which at one time had itself no being; and God introduced you
into this life.
26. Moreover, you
believe that the images made by men are gods, and do great things; and can you
not believe that the God who made you is able also to make you afterwards?
of the gods.
1. And indeed, the
names of those whom you say you worship are the names of dead men. And these,
too, who and what kind of men were they? Is not Saturn found to be a cannibal,
destroying and devouring his own children? And if you name his son Jupiter, hear
also his deeds and conduct - first, how he was suckled by a goat on Mount Ida,
and having slain it, according to the myths, and flayed it, he made himself a
coat of the hide.
And his other
deeds, --his incest, and adultery, and lust, - will be better recounted by Homer
and the rest of the poets. Why should I further speak of his sons? How Hercules
burned himself; and about the drunk and raging bacchus; and of Apollo fearing
and fleeing from Achilles, and falling in love with daphne, and being unaware of
the fate of Hyacinthus; and of Venus wounded. And of Mars, the pest of mortals;
and of the ichor flowing from the so-called gods.
3. And these,
indeed, are the milder kinds of legends; since the god who is called osiris is
found to have been torn limb from limb, whose mysteries are celebrated annually,
as if he had perished, and were being found, and sought for limb by limb.
4. For neither is
it known whether he perished, nor is it shown whether he is found. And why
should I speak of atis mutilated, or of adonis wandering in the wood, and
wounded by a boar while hunting;
aesculapius struck by a thunderbolt; or of the fugitive serapis chased from
Sinope to Alexandria; or of the Scythian Diana, herself, too, a fugitive, and a
homicide, and a huntress, and a passionate lover of Endymion? Now, it is not we
who publish these things, but your own writers and poets.
· Absurdities of idolatry.
6. Why should I
further recount the multitude of animals worshipped by the Egyptians, both
reptiles, and cattle, and wild beasts, and birds and river-fishes; and even
wash-pots and disgraceful noises? But if you cite the Greeks and the other
nations, they worship stones and wood, and other kinds of material substances, -
the images, as we have just been saying, of dead men.
For Phidias is
found in Pisa making for the Eleians the Olympian Jupiter, and at Athens the
Minerva of the Acropolis. And I will inquire of you, my friend, how many
Jupiters exist. For there is firstly, Jupiter surnamed Olympian, then Jupiter
Latiaris, and Jupiter Cassius, and Jupiter Tonans, and Jupiter Propator, and
Jupiter Pannychius, and Jupiter Poliuchus, and Jupiter Capitolinus.
Jupiter, the son of Saturn, who is king of the Cretans, has a tomb in Crete, but
the rest were possibly not thought worthy of tombs. And if you speak of the
mother of those who are called gods, far be it from me to utter with my lips her
deeds, or the deeds of those by whom she is worshipped (for it is unlawful for
us so much as to name such things).
And what vast
taxes and revenues she and her sons furnish to the king. For these are not gods,
but idols, as we have already said, the works of men's hands and unclean demons.
And such may all those become who make them and put their trust in them!
· The king to be honored, God to be
10. Wherefore I
will rather honor the king, not indeed worshipping him, but praying for him. But
God, the living and true God I worship, knowing that the king is made by Him.
You will then say to me, "Why do you not worship the king?"
11. Because he is
not made to be worshipped, but to be reverenced with lawful honor, for he is not
a god, but a man appointed by God, not to be worshipped, but to judge justly.
For in a kind of way his government is committed to him by God: as He will not
have those called kings whom He has appointed under Himself; for
"king" is his title, and it is not lawful for another to use it; so
neither is it lawful for any to be worshipped but God only.
12. Wherefore O man
you are wholly in error. Accordingly, honor the king, be subject to him, and
pray for him with loyal mind; for if you do this, you do the will of God. For
the law that is of God, says, "My son, fear thou the Lord and the king, and
be not disobedient to them; for suddenly they shall take vengeance on their
· Meaning of the name Christian.
13. And about your
laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are
saying. First because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far
from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be
first caulked [anointed]?
14. Or what castle
or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what
man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with
oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and
Then the air
and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit;
and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are
called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.
· The resurrection proved by
16. Then, as to
your denying that the dead are raised - for you say, "Show me even one who
has been raised from the dead, that seeing I may believe," first, what
great thing is it if you believe when you have seen the thing done?
17. Then again you
believe that Hercules, who burned himself - lives; and that Aesculapius, who was
struck with lightning, was raised; and do you disbelieve the things that are
told to you by God? But, suppose I should show you a dead man raised and alive,
even this you would disbelieve. God indeed exhibits to you many proofs that you
may believe Him.
18. For consider if
you please, the dying of seasons, and days, and nights, how these also die and
rise again. And what? Is there not a resurrection going on of seeds and fruits,
and this too for the use of men? A seed of wheat, for example, or of the other
grains, when it is cast into the earth, first dies and rots away, then is raised
and becomes a stalk of corn.
19. And the nature
of trees and fruit-trees, is it not that according to the appointment of God
they produce their fruits in their seasons out of what has been unseen and
sometimes also a sparrow or some of the other birds, when in drinking it has
swallowed a seed of apple or fig, or something else, has come to some rocky
hillock or tomb, and has left the seed in its droppings, and the seed, which was
once swallowed, and has passed though so great a heat, now striking root, a tree
has grown up.
21. And all these
things does the wisdom of God effect in order to manifest even by these things,
that God is able to effect the general resurrection of all men. And if you would
witness a more wonderful sight, which may prove a resurrection not only of
earthly but of heavenly bodies, consider the resurrection of the moon, which
occurs monthly; how it wanes, dies, and rises again.
22. Hear further, O
man, of the work of resurrection going on in yourself, even though you are
unaware of it. For perhaps you have sometimes fallen sick, and lost flesh, and
strength, and beauty; but when you received again from God mercy and healing,
you picked up again in flesh and appearance, and recovered also your strength.
23. And as you do
not know where your flesh went away and disappeared to, so neither do you know
whence it grew, Or whence it came again. But you will say, "From meats and
drinks changed into blood." Quite so; but this too is the work of God, who
thus operates, and not of any other.
an example of conversion.
1. Therefore be
not skeptical, but believe; for I myself also used to disbelieve that this would
take place, but now, having taken these things into consideration, I believe. At
the same time, I met with the sacred Scriptures of the holy prophets, who also
by the Spirit of God foretold the things that have already happened, just as
they came to pass, and the things now occurring as they are now happening, and
things future in the order in which they shall be accomplished.
therefore, the proof which events happening as predicted afford, I do not
disbelieve, I believe, being obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also
submit to, believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced
hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; such punishments as
were foretold by the prophets, and which the later-born poets and philosophers
stole from the holy Scriptures to make their doctrines worthy of credit.
3. Yet these also
have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and
unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say,
"We have not heard, neither have we known."
But do you
also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and
they will make your way plain for escaping the eternal punishments, and
obtaining the eternal prize of God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and
formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and
will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each.
5. To those who by
patient continuance in well-doing seek immortality He will give life
everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither eye
seen, nor ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
6. But to the
unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to
unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and
fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there
shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and at the last the
everlasting fire shall possess such men.
7. Since you said,
"Show me thy God," this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and
to trust Him.
of writing this book.
1. 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 were somewhat hard upon me.
2. For you know
and remember that you supposed our doctrine to be 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
labor 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 you.
· 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 molders,
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 by some and placed in some so-called temple, or in some
house, not only do those who bought them sacrifice to them.
4. 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 color, or some other material.
5. 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
· What has become of the gods?
6. And of the gods
of former times, if indeed they were begotten, the generation was sufficiently
prolific. But where now 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
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?
9. 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?
10. 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.
12. 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.
· Absurd opinions of the philosophers
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; 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.
15. 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 avert 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 of
God established. And further, as God, because He is uncreated, is also
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.
18. And what great
thing is it if God made the world out of existent materials? 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.
19. 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, and sensation.
20. 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 He pleases.
of Homer and Hesiod concerning the gods.
1. 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 somewhere: - "Father of Gods, oceanus, and she who bare the
gods, their mother tethys, too, from whom all rivers spring, and every
2. In saying
whichever one 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
3. 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.
4. And he also
relates how Saturn was assailed in war by his own son Jupiter; for he says: -
" By might he overcame his father Saturn, and ruled with wise justice among
the immortals, and fitly distributed honors to each.
5. 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: - "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 heavens were born, and earth; who, springing from the murky night at
first, were by the briny ocean reared and nursed. Tell me also how the earth was
first formed, and the rivers, and the boundless sea whose waves sink, unwearied,
then rears its crest on high;
7. And how was the
glittering canopy spread out with glistening stars that stud the widespread
heaven. From whence sprang the gods by whom all good is given?
Tell from their hands what varied gifts they came, Riches to some, to
others wealth, or fame; How they have dwelt from the remotest time in the
many-nooked Olympus' sunny climate?
8. These things,
ye muses, saying, who ever dwelled among Olympian shades--since ye can tell:
From the beginning there thy feet have strayed; Then tell us which of all things
was first made. But how could the
muses, who are younger than the world, know these things? Or how could they
relate it to Hesiod when their father was not yet born?
· Hesiod on the origin of the world.
9. And in a
certain way he indeed admits matter and the creation of the world saying: -
"First of all things was chaos made, and next broad-bosomed earth's
foundations firm were fixed, Where safely the immortals dwell for aye, who in
the snowy-peaks of Olympus stay.
gloomy Tartarus had birth in the recesses of the broad-pathways of the earth,
And love, even 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.
11. 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 brought her forth”
12. 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?
13. 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?
14. 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 he declares that certain very dreadful
men were sprung, --the race of the Titans and the Cyclopes, and a crowd of
15. 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 labors in which they
· Fabulous heathen genealogies.
16. 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
17. 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: - "A windy egg was laid at first by a
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 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;
19. 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,
20. 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;
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.
22. 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 Diogenae.
· Opinions concerning providence.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. First, some of
them, as we before explained, maintained that the world is uncreated. And those
that said it was uncreated and self-producing contradicted those who propounded
that it was created.
conjecture and human conception they spoke not knowing the truth. And others
again said that there was a providence, and destroyed the positions of the
former writers. Aratus indeed says: - "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:
27. 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, 'This his to tell, this his alone to
28. Who, then,
shall we believe: Aratus as here quoted, or Sophocles, when he says: - "And
foresight of the future there is none; 'It is best to live at random, as one
can” And Homer, again, does not agree with this, for he says that virtue
"Waxes or wanes in men as Jove decrees."
29. And Simonides
says: - "No man nor state has virtue save from God; counsel resides in God;
and wretched man has in himself nothing but his wretchedness." So, too,
Euripides: - "Apart from God, there's nothing owned by men."
And Menander: - "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."
30. And Thestius: -
"If God design to save you, safe you are, Though sailing in mid-ocean on a
mat." And saying numberless
things of a like kind, they contradicted themselves. At least Sophocles, who in
another place denied Providence, says: - "No mortal can evade the stroke of
31. 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 says: - "We labor much and spend our
strength in vain, for empty hope, not foresight, is our guide."
32. 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, and not with a pure
but an erring spirit.
33. 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
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.
prophet's inspired by the Holy Ghost.
1. But men of God
carrying in them a holy spirit 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 what was regarded the creation of the world and all other things.
2. 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.
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
· The world created by God through
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.
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 within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting 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" because He rules, and is Lord of all things
fashioned by Him. He, then, being the 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.
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."
8. 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," and "creation,"
and introduced God; for not lightly and on slight occasion is it right to name
9. 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."
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.
· The six days' work described.
beginning of the creation is light; since light manifests the things that are
created. Wherefore it is said: "And God said, Let light be, 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
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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
16. 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 creeps, which the waters brought forth
after their kind and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was
18. 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.
19. 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 creeps upon the earth.
20. 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.
21. 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 creeps upon the earth, which
has in it the breath of life; every green herb for meat: and it was so.
22. 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.
23. 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
glory of the six days' work.
1. 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
2. Many writers
indeed have imitated and essayed to give an explanation of these things; yet,
though they derived at some suggestions, both concerning the creation of the
world and the nature of man, they have emitted not a slightest spark of truth.
3. And the speech
of the philosophers, and writers, and poets have an appearance of
trustworthiness, on account of the beauty of their diction; but their discourse
is proven 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.
4. 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 hurtful and profitless; so also eloquence is in their case found to be
labor in vain; yea, rather an injurious thing to those who credit it.
5. 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," which
into Greek translates to the "Seventh", a name that 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 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.
· Remarks on the creation of the
7. 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.
8. 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." Wherefore, also, the prophet
mentioned that the creation of the heavens first of all took place, as a kind of
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.
10. 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, 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
11. For the Spirit
being one, and holding the place of light, 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.
12. 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." 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.
13. 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
14. 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 with
all kinds of herbs, and seeds and plants.
· The world compared to the sea.
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 whom 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?
18. 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 saltiness; 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.
19. And as in the
sea there are islands, some of them habitable, and well-watered, and fruitful,
with havens and harbors in which the storm-tossed may find refuge, - so God has
given assemblies to the world which is driven and tempest-tossed by sins.
20. We mean holy
churches in which survive the doctrines of the truth, as in the island-harbors
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.
21. 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, -
o there are doctrines of error - I mean heresies, which destroy those that
22. For they are
not guided by the word of truth; but are as pirates, whom when they have filled
their vessels, drive them on the afore-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.
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
2. 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.
3. 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, are types of the Trinity, of
God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs
light that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, and man. Wherefore also on the
fourth day the lights were made.
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.
6. 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, they too are a type of the men who have
wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.
· Of the fifth day.
7. 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?
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.
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 property.
· Of the sixth day.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Thus, too,
though such persons are called men, yet being pressed down with sins, they mind
groveling and earthly-things. And the animals are named wild beasts from their
being hunted not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first--for
nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good, --but the sin
in which man was concerned brought evil upon them.
14. 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.
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.
· The creation of man.
16. 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.
17. 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."
18. 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
19. 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 to man's, that they also might eat of an
the seeds of the earth.
· Man is placed in paradise.
20. 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:
21. "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.
22. For God had not
caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the
ground." 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.
23. 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
24. "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." Whence also by most persons the soul
is called immortal.
25. 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.
scriptural account of Paradise.
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.
2. 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 compasses 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 compasses the whole land of
Ethiopia. And the third river is Tigris: this is it, which goes toward Syria.
And the fourth river is Euphrates.
4. 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 may 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.
5. And the Lord
God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; let Us make him help meet
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.
6. But for Adam
there was not found help meet 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.
· Of the fall of man.
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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. And He said
unto him, who told thee that thou were naked, unless thou hast eaten of the tree
whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat? And Adam said, the woman whom
Thou gave 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.
13. 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.
14. 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 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.
15. In the sweat of
thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return unto the earth; for out of
it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Such is the account given by Holy Scripture of the history of man and of
God is said to have walked.
1. 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 of the Father and Lord of
all, went to the garden in the person of God, and conversed with Adam.
2. 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.
3. For before
anything came into being He had Him as a counselor, being His own mind and
thought. But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begot this
Word, uttered, the first-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the
Word, but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason.
4. And hence the
holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing men, one of whom, John, says,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God," 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."
5. The Word, then,
being God, and being naturally 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 place.
· The truth of the account in
6. 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.
7. For how can one
miss seeing that the pains which women suffer in childbirth, and the oblivion of
their labors 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?
· The beauty of Paradise,
9. 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.
10. 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:
11. "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.
12. 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.
13. And the other
two rivers are manifestly recognizable 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. And by the
expression, "till it," no other kind of labor is implied than the
observance of God's command, lest, disobeying, he should destroy himself, as
indeed he did destroy himself, by sin.
· God was justified in forbidding man
to eat of the tree of knowledge.
17. 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
18. 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.
19. 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, 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.
20. 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;
21. 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 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, labor, pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to
· God's goodness in expelling man
23. 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.
24. 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
remolded or remade, that it may become new and entire; so also it happens to man
25. 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.
nature of man.
1. 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.
2. 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
3. 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. 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.
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 incorruption.
Why Eve was formed of Adam's rib.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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,
8. "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;" which also itself has its
fulfillment 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?
9. 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.
And he is
called "demon" and "dragon," on account of his 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.
· Cain's crime.
11. 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." Their history receives a very full narration, yea, even
a detailed explanation: 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 Satan then
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 cautiously, 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 cries 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, no, nor the blood of any animal; by which it appears that it is not the
cause, but man who transgressed.
· Cain's family and their inventions.
15. 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: -
"Not yet had men a city built."
16. 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.
18. 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. 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
20. 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.
21. 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