The Account of the Creation in Genesis a General One, Corroborated, However, by Many Other Passages of the Old Testament, which Give Account of Specific Creations.
This is the answer I should give in defence of the Scripture before us, for seeming here to set forth [6456] the formation of the heaven and the earth, as if (they were) the sole bodies made. It could not but know that there were those who would at once in the bodies understand their several members also, and therefore it employed this concise mode of speech. But, at the same time, it foresaw that there would be stupid and crafty men, who, after paltering with the virtual meaning, [6457] would require for the several members a word descriptive of their formation too. It is therefore because of such persons, that Scripture in other passages teaches us of the creation of the individual parts. You have Wisdom saying, "But before the depths was I brought forth," [6458] in order that you may believe that the depths were also "brought forth" -- that is, created -- just as we create sons also, though we "bring them forth." It matters not whether the depth was made or born, so that a beginning be accorded to it, which however would not be, if it were subjoined [6459] to matter. Of darkness, indeed, the Lord Himself by Isaiah says, "I formed the light, and I created darkness." [6460] Of the wind [6461] also Amos says, "He that strengtheneth the thunder [6462] , and createth the wind, and declareth His Christ [6463] unto men;" [6464] thus showing that that wind was created which was reckoned with the formation of the earth, which was wafted over the waters, balancing and refreshing and animating all things: not (as some suppose) meaning God Himself by the spirit, [6465] on the ground that "God is a Spirit," [6466] because the waters would not be able to bear up their Lord; but He speaks of that spirit of which the winds consist, as He says by Isaiah, "Because my spirit went forth from me, and I made every blast." [6467] In like manner the same Wisdom says of the waters, "Also when He made the fountains strong, things which [6468] are under the sky, I was fashioning [6469] them along with Him." [6470] Now, when we prove that these particular things were created by God, although they are only mentioned in Genesis, without any intimation of their having been made, we shall perhaps receive from the other side the reply, that these were made, it is true, [6471] but out of Matter, since the very statement of Moses, "And darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters," [6472] refers to Matter, as indeed do all those other Scriptures here and there, [6473] which demonstrate that the separate parts were made out of Matter. It must follow, then, [6474] that as earth consisted of earth, so also depth consisted of depth, and darkness of darkness, and the wind and waters of wind and waters. And, as we said above, [6475] Matter could not have been without form, since it had specific parts, which were formed out of it -- although as separate things [6476] -- unless, indeed, they were not separate, but were the very same with those out of which they came. For it is really impossible that those specific things, which are set forth under the same names, should have been diverse; because in that case [6477] the operation of God might seem to be useless, [6478] if it made things which existed already; since that alone would be a creation, [6479] when things came into being, which had not been (previously) made. Therefore, to conclude, either Moses then pointed to Matter when he wrote the words: "And darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters;" or else, inasmuch as these specific parts of creation are afterwards shown in other passages to have been made by God, they ought to have been with equal explicitness [6480] shown to have been made out of the Matter which, according to you, Moses had previously mentioned; [6481] or else, finally, if Moses pointed to those specific parts, and not to Matter, I want to know where Matter has been pointed out at all.


[6456] Quatenus hic commendare videtur.

[6457] Dissimulato tacito intellectu.

[6458] Proverbs 8:24.

[6459] Subjecta.

[6460] Isaiah 45:7.

[6461] De spiritu. This shows that Tertullian took the spirit of Genesis 1:2 in the inferior sense.

[6462] So also the Septuagint.

[6463] So also the Septuagint.

[6464] Amos 4:13.

[6465] The "wind."

[6466] John 4:24.

[6467] Flatum: "breath;" so LXX. of Isaiah 57:16.

[6468] Fontes, quæ.

[6469] Modulans.

[6470] Proverbs 8:28.

[6471] Plane.

[6472] Genesis 1:2.

[6473] In disperso.

[6474] Ergo: Tertullian's answer.

[6475] Ch. xxx., towards the end.

[6476] Ut et aliæ.

[6477] Jam.

[6478] Otiosa.

[6479] Generatio: creation in the highest sense of matter issuing from the maker. Another reading has "generosiora essent," for our "generatio sola esset," meaning that, "those things would be nobler which had not been made," which is obviously quite opposed to Tertullian's argument.

[6480] Æque.

[6481] Præmiserat.

chapter xxxi a further vindication of
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