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Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (1897) pp. 91-128.  Book 3



That the divine scripture is firm, sure and trustworthy, both in the Old and the New Testament, and in accordance with itself in the details which it gives, while it also shows the utility of the figures representing the whole world.

HEN men at first after the Deluge were high up in the air, building the tower in their warfare with God, they suspected from their constantly observing the heavenly bodies, but erroneously, that the heaven was spherical; for since the city where they were building the tower belonged to the Babylonians, an invention such as this must have originated with the Chaldaeans; whence also the descendants of Abraham who were Chaldaeans elaborated a barbaric sphere, and when they went down to Egypt communicated this notion to the Egyptians. The Egyptians in turn having grasped it as a basis for much active investigation developed it still further, until the Greek philosophers who visited Egypt----Pythagoras, Plato and Eudoxus the Cnidian----became acquainted with it, and basing their study of it on what they had learned [160] from preceding enquirers elaborated it still further.


After the Deluge, when men had multiplied in the interior parts of the East, where, as has been recorded, the Ark rested, they removed a little way from their first seats and found a plain in |92 the land of Sennaar (Shinar). Now, as they were all of one speech, they talked together with one accord, saying: The men who were before us God has destroyed with a deluge; if he shall again think fit to be wroth with us and seek to destroy us even with a deluge, we shall all perish to a man. But come, let us prepare bricks and burn them with fire, that they may withstand the waters, and building them together with asphalt, let us make a high tower the top of which shall reach to heaven, in order that being delivered from the deluge we may find safety in the tower. And we shall readily be able to array ourselves against him in battle, being very near him, as long as we are all of us together, before being scattered in different directions, for this is shown by their saying: And let us make unto ourselves a name before we are dispersed over the face of the earth.1 When they had therefore begun to build, and in their rebellious mood2 wanted to mount up into heaven, God, who is full of kindness and compassion, knowing and foreknowing man whom he had created with freedom both of will and action----knowing, I say, the strength of reason which he possessed, but at the same time the weakness of his flesh, was moved with compassion rather than with anger towards him, and made again a grand dispensation, and suffered them not to labour nncl toil in vain. For, besides being crushed with hard labour, they were dashed to pieces, if when high up in the tower they were hurled down from the top by the violence of the winds, or tumbled down if scorched by heat through their nearness to the sun, and blinded by terror at the dizzy height. He therefore confounded their language and divided it into many kinds, and put an end to their impious madness. He scattered them besides, and settled them over the whole earth. This was the cause of the dispersion of the nations, and of every country becoming inhabited. In the last days therefore God being well pleased with men, according to what is written: Good pleasure towards men,3 of his own counsel and goodness resolved to lead them up into heaven, and after forty clays from his resurrection led (Christ) our first-fruits up into heaven. And further, in order that |93 he might indicate beforehand the ascension of the rest of mankind, he on the day of Pentecost, having through the Holy Spirit joined together the tongues which he had formerly divided, gave them from heaven to the Apostles, and they spake with tongues the mighty works of God. as the Spirit gave them utterance, so that all who stood around gathered together from all the nations heard, each of them in his own speech, the mighty works of God, and knew the good-will he was pleased to show to men, because when of old men had rebelliously sought to go [161] up into heaven, their design proved abortive; whereas now by the good pleasure of God, the faithful are carried up into heaven. Glory to the wise and compassionate God who has granted these favours to men. Amen!

Further Note.

When the first men were there at a great height engaged in building the tower, and frequently turned their eyes upward to the heavenly bodies and saw some of the stars ascending and others descending, they suspected that the heaven was somehow made to revolve on some kind of mechanical contrivance, so that it was spherical. For they were ignorant of the figure of the earth and were not aware that the heavenly bodies are moved in the air by angels. Under the influence of this suspicion they made those gates which gave passage through the tower in all directions, contriving that the tower might not be of course thrown down by the waters of the deluge. In like manner also they built it with bricks that it might withstand the waters; for it was thus the tower was constructed. They say, moreover, that its foundations occupy a breadth in every direction of three miles, and also affirm that the steps by which it is ascended are arranged circle-wise in the exterior walls, in order that they may receive light through the windows made in them.


While the Israelites were still sojourning in Egypt Moses was born, and being reared in the palace of the Egyptian king was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Having also from his own observations accepted the sphere |94 and made himself acquainted with astronomy, or even with magic and hieroglyphic letters----or as I should rather say, the symbols of letters, for as yet letters were unknown; and, to speak briefly, having become a participant of all this wisdom, as the divine scripture informs us, when he reached manhood he preferred to side warmly with his own ancestral race, and he slew the Egyptian; and being afraid fled into the land of Midian, where he married and became the father of two sons. And when he was feeding the flocks of his father-in-law and led them up to Mount Sinaï, he saw that wonderful vision of the bush----the bush which burned with fire and yet was not consumed. Then, when he was making haste to see the great marvel, the angel of God called to him in the name of God, and commanded him to go to King Pharoah in Egypt for the purpose of leading the children of Israel out of their bondage to the Egyptians. And when he begged to be let off on account of the impossibility of the thing (for he saw that as he was a mere man he could not fight against such a mighty king), God through the angel filled him with confidence, reminding him of his forefathers: how that through a barren woman and aged parents he had raised [162] up a great and numerous people. At the same time he prepared him beforehand for working wonders by means of the rod which Moses held in his hand. By these wonders Moses was quite astounded, and was persuaded to go away into Egypt. When he had gone thither, and had several times conversed with Pharoah, since he was going to show him how God had produced the whole creation----what creatures first and what second, and so on in proper order4 . . . And these things were incredible to men, even as they are also now to those very clever men----yea, they |95 were even incredible to Moses himself, for he had not as yet acquired experience of these matters; but in agreement with the Egyptians, he also conjectured that the heaven was of a spherical figure.

God therefore prepared him to work wonders, and in the name of God to change the elements, and to show to all the Egyptians and to the Israelites, and through them to the whole of mankind, that he was faithful to God in all that he said and did, disposing them and preparing them beforehand to accept him with readiness. The enchanters also by whom he had been educated combined to contend with him, and in the divine power he enters the lists against them, instructed to hold such opponents in contempt, so that they cry off and say: This is the finger of God.5 When he had changed accordingly the constitution of the waters into blood and killed the fish, and changed the blood back into water living and productive, and had divided the Red Sea and made it stand as a wall on this side and that side in presence of the Israelites and the Egyptians, he was fully believed by them when he afterwards said:----God said let there be a firmament in the middle of the water, and it shall divide in the middle water from water, and it was so.6 In like manner again, when he had made darkness for three days successively among the Egyptians, while the Israelites had light, he was again fully believed when he said:----And there was darkness over the abyss, and God said let there be light, and God divided the light from the darkness; and he assumed that the first and second and third day had passed without the sun, moon and stars running their course, saying:----God divided the light from the darkness.7 Then again he brought frogs out of the river and fleas out of the earth, and therefore he was trusted when saying:----God said let the waters bring |96 forth living creatures, and it was so; and again he said:----Let the earth bring forth this and that, and it was so; and other things in like manner marvellous. Last of all, when he had slain all the first-born he was entitled to belief when saying last of all:----God made man.8 And, as we have said above, he so prepared him beforehand that the Israelites could readily believe what he said and did, since they saw with their own eyes what he performed.

When again he had led them out of Egypt and had [163] brought them through the Red Sea on dry land, and conducted the people to Mount Sinaï, in which he had seen the divine vision, God still working wonders before the people filled the mountain with flames of fire and with smoke, while there were heard the notes of trumpets resounding from heaven and waxing louder and louder; and when with gloom and darkness and tempest he had made them tremble with exceeding great fear, he began to speak to Moses in sight of the people out of the cloud. Then, having taken him up into the mountain to remain for forty days without food, he hid him in a cloud and in a manner abstracted him from all earthly things, and made him oblivious of all, including even what he had learned from the Egyptians, giving him birth anew as if he were a child in the womb. But at the end of the forty days he gave him a new form and a new soul, and revealed to him all that he had done in the making of the world in six days, and showing him in other six days by means of visions the making of the world, performing in his presence the work of each day, namely, on the first day the first heaven, and the earth a most spacious house, and within it water, air, fire commingled with the earth, darkness and angels, having produced everything singly and collectively from nothing whatever; employing, |97 moreover, his voice alone for the instruction of the angels, he created the light for the house itself, thus giving light to everything as by a lamp. Then on the second day he constructed out of the water the firmament, which in the middle of the height of heaven binds all firmly together, dividing the waters above from the waters below, as it is placed in the middle between them. There are therefore two places----an upper and a lower story, so to speak; the lower he made fit to be a dwelling-place for this mortal and changeful life; the upper he has made ready beforehand for the coming deathless and unchanging life.


The great Moses, after relating that on the second day God had created the firmament, and by dividing it had made one place into two, explained nothing further about the future state----that is, the upper place----but turned his discourse entirely upon this state-----that is, upon the lower place----relating that God gathered together the waters, and brought forth out of the earth the green herbs and the trees, and in like manner adorned the heaven with stars, and again from the waters produced the winged fowl and aquatic animals, and in like manner again made from the earth brute animals and man. Then again, when he had been commanded to make the Tabernacle in imitation of the form of the world, he divided the one tabernacle by means of the veil, and made it into two----an inner and an outer----within the outer of which the priests continually discharged their sacred offices as being in this world, while into the inner the high priest alone once a year entered, as if into the upper place, that is, into heaven. [164] On this account the inner Tabernacle was entirely inaccessible to them, being a type of the things in heaven. He was, moreover, believed when with the same authority he suitably prescribed the laws, and burdens, and punishments, and the correction of transgressors, having prepared himself for prescribing what was conducive to discipline and the working of wonders, as when he involved the Egyptians in plagues and chastisements of various kinds, and likewise made the Israelites suffer so sorely in the wilderness for their repeated sins and transgressions, that he |98 destroyed all the men of that generation except two only that were left alive, while even he himself came to his end with that generation.

But when the Lord Christ for the salvation of the whole world had appeared among us to bring to a close the present state and proclaim the one to come, and announced expressly that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, he also, appropriately to his proclamation, wrought wonders for the benefit of men, and not in a single instance for the punishment of any man. He freed those that were possessed with devils, healed the sick, strengthened the weak, made the lame walk erect, restored sight to the eyes of the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, loosened the tongues of the dumb, cleansed lepers, restored the withered to a well-tempered life, cured withered hands, stanched by his power issues of blood, reanimated the dead even when corrupt and stinking, prepared the living for finishing their course, brought good tidings to the poor of treasures of which they could not be robbed, stilled by his rebuke the rage of the winds and the fury of the sea, and did all things else which are in harmony with the proclamation of the Gospel and with the future state; for in that state no devil gives trouble, no debility exists, all sickness has been banished, with disease of limbs and distempers, and penury, and issues of blood and commotions of the elements, and the last enemy----death----is destroyed. When the Jews considered all this----when they saw that he had not wrought a single miracle for the punishment of men, except only two, and these not inflicted on man, but upon the swine and the fig tree, upon brutes and an inanimate object, in order to show that these also were subject to his power ----they attempted to bring a charge against him, saying to him in turn: We wish to see a sign from thee, that is, a sign such as that of Moses, which was for the punishment of men. But the Lord, knowing the thoughts of their hearts answered, saying: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and no sign shall be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonas.9 For as Jonas remained shut up in the belly of the whale for three days, and afterwards came out therefrom alive and uncorrupted, so I also being dead, after remaining [165] in the earth three days shall rise up from the dead living and incorruptible. At another time, again, when he had made a |99 scourge of small cords and cast out all from the temple, they said to him: What sign shewest thou that thou dost these things?10 and this although many signs had been given by him. But he in turn said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again11----thus giving the same answer both times and speaking of the resurrection of his body as if he should say: When ye see me risen from the dead and see miracles wrought in my name, then shall ye know our power and our proclamation of good tidings; that my coming is not for the punishment of men, but for conferring upon them the resurrection, and immortality, and incorruption, and immutability, and blessedness. Accordingly, in consistency with his teaching, he wrought also his miracles. And this very thing Matthew also shows when speaking thus: And Jesus went about their cities and villages teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness,12 thus implying that he wrought miracles of a nature consistent with what he preached. But John the Evangelist thus speaks: Many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jesus said, therefore, unto the twelve: Would ye also go away? But Peter immediately answering on behalf of all said: Lord, to whom shall we go away? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we have believed that thou art the Holy One of God;13 meaning this: What thou teachest us we see even by the works which are done by thee, for thou promisest us life and a heavenly kingdom, and we see all things that are done by thee to have regard to the life of men. How then can we leave thee and attach ourselves to another? Our portion is therefore with thee, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

But some one may raise a difficulty and ask: Since he had given not even one sign with a view to the punishment of men, how then did he, taking, as has been said, a scourge, beat those that were selling in the temple and cast them out of the temple? Answer: What is alleged is false, for it was not at all to the human being he applied the scourge, but he adopted an admirable and becoming and appropriate course, for he scourged the brute beasts only, as it is written: And having made a scourge of small cords he drove all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen,14 as |100 much as to say: He scourged animals, but only the irrational, driving also out of the temple even those that were brought for sacrifice according to the law, showing by this means that the Judaic dispensation was coming to an end. Things, again, that had neither life nor sensation he pushed away and overthrew, as it is written: And he poured out the money-changers' money and overthrew their tables. The rational beings, however, he neither scourged nor drove away, but he chastised the irrational, as it is written: And to those that sold doves he said: Take these [166] things hence, and make not my Father's house a house of merchandise15----showing by all these words and acts that the things offered for sacrifice in the first tabernacle according to the law were to cease, and that another dispensation would be introduced in its place, harmonising with the inner tabernacle, which was a type of the things in heaven----that is, of the future dispensation. But the Jews having perceived how he was shadowing forth to them the cessation of the Jewish dispensation, questioned him, saying: What sign showest thou that thou dost these things?16 But taking appropriate advantage of the question, he promised them that he would do something darkly to foreshadow the answer. I refer to the destruction of the temple and to its renovation, because the destruction of the temple----that is, of his body----is the destruction of this world, while the renovation and change made upon the temple----that is, upon his body----is a manifestation of the future state. My argument, accordingly, good reader, holds sure that he never wrought for the punishment of man but for his benefit, and he himself elsewhere exclaims: For the Father hath not sent the Son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.17


Then he collected the water into one mass and exposed to view the dry land, which he called earth and which was before hidden by the waters; and he made the seas, that is, the ocean, as it is called, which encircles this earth, and is itself encircled by the earth beyond it, and also made |101 the four gulfs which run up into this earth of ours----in order that he might render the air of the ocean which is interposed between the earth here and the earth beyond salubrious to those at any time inhabiting either the one or the other. He also so prepared the gulfs that they could be navigated and afford a means of transit to different parts of the world, thus always uniting the dispersed nations in the bonds of amity through the facility with which commodities might be transported from nation to nation. And he commanded all kinds of fruits and trees and green herbs to spring up out of the earth. And again on the fourth day he divided the light, and with its purer portion made the sun, and with the remainder the moon and the stars, embellishing these heavenly bodies with the harmonious beauty which adorns all nature, giving order and harmony to the universe, while assigning to the invisible powers as their function and their law to administer, rule, and adjust these bodies to the service of God, that is, of man, and of all that exists on his account; thereby accustoming and training even these exalted powers to be under law, and calling into play the good or evil qualities of their rational powers, whence some of them having transgressed were hurled down from heaven and deprived of their dignity. For, I saw, saith the Lord, Satan like lightning fall from heaven;18 for being puffed up because of the service entrusted to him by God for the good of men, and because it was his office to move the air for man and regulate its motion for his uses, and deeming that he had of himself advanced of his own will [167] to this height, he usurped to himself the worship due to God, and was forthwith hurled down. For the Apostle again when instructing Timothy not to be hasty in conferring office on a neophyte----one, that is, who has but |102 recently been converted to the faith, thus addressed him: Not a neophyte, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil 19; which, says the Apostle, the devil suffered through being puffed up, and has hereby clearly shown why he was hurled down, namely, by his being puffed up, deeming himself to be God, whence also he had the wish to communicate his own disease to man, saying: Ye shall be as Gods.


When God Almighty had along with the heaven and the earth produced all the angels, who had not hitherto existed, they stood all of them mute with surprise, being distinguished by the possession of reason from all around them, and were at once filled with amazement, and bent on considering who he was, the Creator who had called themselves and everything with them into existence. For they saw themselves existing in the midst of these things, and that they did not exist before them, and further reflected: The Creator of these and those things is surely one, or each must have had a different creator----or again: Were all things produced spontaneously of themselves, or who then is greater than the other? But when they were revolving such thoughts in their minds for the space of that night (for, as it is written, God called that darkness, night) God entering into their thoughts, all at once without being visible, said in clear tones: Let there be light; and the production of the light from nothing, following instantaneously with the word, struck them all with astonishment, and at the same time taught them that he who had produced this light out of nothing had produced also themselves and the things existing with them out of nothing. Then all bending down worshipped the invisible God, who had produced themselves and all things out of nothing. This, moreover, divine scripture declares in Job speaking in the. person of God: When I made the stars all my angels praised me with a loud voice and celebrated me with hymns,20 from one indicating all successively. It must, however, be observed that in the sight of the angels he called into existence out of non-existence two substances----the one first |103 of all and the other last of all----the one first created being the light, and the other our soul; the one visible, perceptible and devoid of reason, the other invisible, intelligent and rational. All other things, however, he produced from things that are; intending thereby to teach them in turn that he was the maker of all creatures, both rational and non-rational, both those discernible by sense and those by intelligence, both those visible and those invisible----having called them into existence from the state of non-existence. Nor is it unlikely that they on that day and night, since they possessed reason, considered with themselves whether he who had produced this light had also produced the heaven. Then by a further word of command, he made before their eyes [168] the second heaven, forming it from waters and like in its appearance to the first heaven. And by this they were once more taught that he is the maker both of this and of the first heaven----and so he brought to an end the work of the second day. Then when they were again engaged in thinking and looking to the things of the earth, he, in like manner [as when making the second heaven] gathered the water together, and having exposed the dry land itself to view named it the earth, for, being its lord, he gave it its name just as he also named the firmament heaven Then he produces from the earth seeds and plants and green herbs and trees, teaching them that he uses each of his creatures to effect his purposes, since they were created by him. Then, when on the third day he had produced plants and seeds, thereafter on the next----that is, on the fourth day, inasmuch as such productions had need of temperature and arrangement, he makes out of the light, which he had before produced, the great luminaries and the stars----and having placed in the firmament of heaven the host of the invisible powers he directed them to move these bodies in order, on rational principles, and to make them revolve for the supply of temperature to the plants and all that would use them, in order that after their setting the plants might be refreshed by the coolness and motion of the air, and be again warmed by the presence of the luminaries. Accordingly some of the invisible powers, having from the beginning remained till now wavering in their mind, and ungrateful to their maker, entered on the office with which he had entrusted them in forgetfulness of his goodness, and being inflated with pride in their natural acumen, and in the power and the reason bestowed on them, and |104 valuing nothing, but even despising the voice and the command which had come forth from God----yea, not so much as understanding that they had been, like the other creatures, produced along with the darkness, they were overcome by the delirium of their folly, and fancied they had of themselves by their own free act advanced to their high estate. I refer, of course, to the devil, who had been entrusted with the power of the air, and his associates, who had been entrusted some with this and others with that office, who having usurped for themselves the worship and glory due to God, and having been puffed up with pride and become insubordinate, were promptly----to prevent them misleading the others----hurled down from on high and from their dignities to go wandering about the earth. Whence also on the sixth day and after man had been formed, Satan, who was going about in the earth and envying the great care shown by God towards man, wished by affecting him with his own disease to drag down man along with him.


On the fifth day again he ordered animals after their kind to issue forth from the waters----the monsters of the deep and the other sorts of fish, and along with them the winged fowl of every species that pass through the air. Then again on the sixth day he made out of the earth all cattle and wild beasts and creeping things after their kind. And after he had prepared the whole house and fully furnished and adorned it, then, just as a king, when he has founded a city and completed it, places there his [169] own image, tinting and embellishing it with various colours, so also the all-wise God, when he had as it were gathered together the manifold and diversified works of his hands----the rational and non-rational----the mortal and the immortal ----the corruptible and the incorruptible----the sensible and the intelligible----he completed and adorned one particular animal constituted with every natural quality, namely, Man, and in the house which had been prepared he installed him in the rank of his own image which makes |105 known that he who is the Creator of all is one. Hence those angels, who are well-affected towards God, admire his image, and hover as guardians around it, and minister thereunto. In like manner also the whole creation----the sun on high shining and making day for man, the moon and stars which impart some light amid the deepest gloom, accomplish their course by night for man; while all the months and seasons and tropics and years furnish signs to those who traverse the open seas or pursue their way through the desert; the air again serves the image for respiration, coolness and warmth; fire, for baking bread, heating water, giving light by night, cooking food and for other purposes; water, for drinking, washing, fermentation, irrigation and many other useful purposes; the earth, for habitation and the production of all kinds of fruit and for ministering to many other wants. Then the clean quadrupeds minister to his pleasure and supply him with clothing, the cattle labour for him and afford him leisure, the wild beasts contribute the delight and terror of the chase, and so also do the reptiles; while all things serve for the exercise of his rational powers and supplying what is useful for man, who is the bond uniting all the creation in friendship----who walks upon the earth, and yet flies on the wings of thought and surveys the universe, who is upright of stature and with ease confronts face to face the heavens as his dwelling-place, who is the king of all things on earth and reigns along with the Lord Christ in the heavens, and becomes a fellow-citizen of heavenly beings, and unto whom as the image of God all creation ministers while it is under subjection to God, and preserves its affection and gratitude towards its Creator.


When on the fifth day again animals were produced from the waters, the angels were taught that God is the Maker of this water, |106 which was produced simultaneously with themselves. In like manner again when on the sixth day animals were produced from the earth, they were still more effectively taught that God is the Maker both of animate and of inanimate creatures. Accordingly all the angels again looked around them, gazing at all the things made by God which had sprung into existence before their eyes in the six days, and concluded that all things were [170] varied, and wonderful, and fitted to excite astonishment, but among them they did not see anything like themselves----rational and invisible and intelligent. There was here ground for suspecting whether after all the Creator of the rational, invisible and intelligent beings is one person, and the Creator of the objects that are irrational, perceptible and visible, a different person. God, however, wishing to remove this supposition of theirs, produced last of all one living being constituted with all the natural qualities, namely, man----constituted with reason and sensation and intelligence, and with visibility and invisibility, and appoints him to serve as his image, which makes known that the Creator of the universe is one. Whence the angels being lost in wonder were taught by their own eyes through man the glory and the power and the greatness and the wisdom and the goodness of the one and only God, and that all the elements and what had been brought into existence after themselves had been prepared before on account of man. With alacrity therefore did they obediently serve and minister in moving everything that conduced to assist the image of God as being themselves members thereof, whence again they greatly rejoice over the welldoing and the righteousness of men, but are on the other hand greatly distressed by his evil-doing and by his sinning, as saith also the Lord himself: For there is great joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.21

It must, however, be here observed that just as God produced first in the sight of the angels out of non-existence the sensible, visible and non-rational light, and afterwards that which is rational and intelligible22 and invisible, so also in the case of man he |107 made first, according to Moses, his body, and afterwards his soul. Hence it was possible for some to fancy that if there had been another day after the six days, God would have made some other things, but since there is not another day after the six, he would not have been able to produce more. But God to remove this supposition of theirs, makes also a seventh day over and above, and does no work therein, thus showing that the world is quite finished and without any defect left in its structure to be afterwards supplied, for if he had left such he would have completed on the seventh day what was defective. But since nothing had been left defective in it, he rested on the seventh day from all his works which he had undertaken to make. Perhaps again some one will ask: Why did he make the whole creation not in one, or two, or three, or four, or five, but in six days? Such an one will learn this to be the truth of the matter----that, inasmuch as the angels are rational and mutable, one day would not have sufficed for their instruction if the whole had been produced in one day, for they would certainly have thought that things had been confusedly brought into existence like so many phantasms and been produced in disorder. But God Almighty having set apart one day for each single work, in due order formed the universe in parts, that it might be discriminated and thus better understood by the angels. First of all on the first day after they had been produced along with the heaven and the earth and the elements, he made the light before their eyes. On the second day he made the firmament: on the third day he gathered together the waters and produced from the earth trees and green herbs. On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the luminaries; on the fifth he produced fish and fowl from the waters; and on the sixth he made from the earth animals and man, and accomplished the whole of those works in the six days. On this account therefore he made the whole world by parts in the six days for the discrimination and instruction of the angels, who from their acute intelligence were able each day to discriminate each separate part of the work and the Maker thereof. Whoso wishes can hence learn that along with the heaven and the earth the angels were also produced, because as they were present at all his works, God uttered his voice in their presence for their instruction, saying: Let this and let that be; but when he created the heaven and the earth he did not utter his voice |108 nor say: Let heaven and earth and the things in them be; for there were none to hear and be instructed. But since in the case of all the other works, there were present those who could be instructed, the voice was opportunely uttered.

Since the angels therefore were produced along with the heaven and the earth, the historian Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit began his narrative with them, as they contained the angels, saying: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.23 And further the Apostle, knowing well what pertains to man and how he is figured, in his Epistle to the Romans has placed man, as destined in the future for heaven, superior to all, for he says: And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts and creeping things;24 mentioning man as superior to all, then the birds as inferior to him, then again the four-footed beasts as inferior to the birds, and as inferior to these again the creeping things which lurk underneath the earth, mentioning them according to their rank in the scale of being. But further, of all the quadruped brutes which walk upon all fours and turn their looks earthward, not one is capable of observing the heaven with ease. In like manner with regard to creeping things which with their whole body wriggle along the earth, not one of these is able to observe the heaven. All birds again, being bipeds, and in consonance with this having their legs in the middle of their body, direct their eyes towards the earth when they are high up [172] on the wing; but when they are standing they find it difficult to turn their eyes upwards unto the heaven. Man alone, of all the animals on the earth, being rational and destined for heaven, received from the Creator a figure in congruity with such a destiny. For he is a biped, being destined to fly away and walk in heaven. In figure he is erect, as if he were ready and destined to ascend on high.25 And it is easy for him to behold with his eyes both the earth and the heaven as if he were hastening to ascend from the earth into heaven, conscious that |109 earthly and heavenly things were bound together through him. Moreover, all the brute animals copulate without seeing each other face to face, and have commerce in a brutal and shameless manner. But man alone as rational proceeds to the act face to face, so that the pair seeing each other may embrace with reason, modesty, and reverence, and may thankfully sing the praises of their Maker for his goodness in giving to their nature help and mutual impulse for the propagation and multiplication of our race. God moreover made the woman from the man's side, because the two sides bind the whole body close together; for he neither made her from the front of man lest the woman should exalt herself above him, nor from his back parts that he might not exalt himself above the woman; but from his side, as being in her nature his equal, although the man, as the cause, is first in point of time, but not, however, in his nature itself. And still further----since the hand always protects and guards the side to which it belongs, so when he had made the female from the male, and the male from the earth, God pronounced the two to be one flesh, both from the constitution of the two sides, and from the fruit that springs from their connection. Wherefore the fornicator sins by estranging his own flesh and sowing illegitimate progeny; nay, he that commits adultery is ranked with the homicide, since he divides what is one flesh, and thus perpetrates murder.

Some one again may perhaps propose a question and say: Why was it that, while all the irrational animals were created by God, male and female at the same time, man alone was not created with the female, but remained quite solitary until the female was made later on? To this enquirer I shall reply that since all the animals were created by God without either the gift of reason, or the capacity of knowing anything, while all the angels, the instant they were created, were rational and knew the Maker of all things from those things which had been produced, one by one, that is, in the six days, it was necessary that man who had been created by God possessed of reason, and as the bond uniting all the creation, should himself be taught to know the Creator of all; but since, as he was not the first but the last of all to be produced, he could neither from the things made before him, nor from himself know God, it was God's pleasure to produce [173] the female not along with him, but afterwards out of him, that he might thereby know that he who had taken out from him a |110 being like himself was his Creator. Wherefore also he threw him into a trance26 and a deep sleep, in order that by taking his rib from him without trouble and pain as in sleep, he might by the grace of God gain a perception of what had occurred, and celebrate the praises of his Maker, confessing and saying: This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh----she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.27 As then the angels had been created rational, and from the works produced in the six days had been taught to know him who was the cause of them, so of necessity man also was taught through the female, and learned that God was the Maker both of himself and of the universe; but especially as he had beforehand heard God say: Let us make a helpmeet for him.28


Then again on the seventh day, after he had revealed to Moses how the whole world had been made, and had honoured him with such mystic visions, he then held converse with him, and having given him the law written with the finger of God on tables of stone, and instructed him in the knowledge of letters and made his countenance shine with glory, he let him descend from the mountain.


Here men, having first received the Law from God in writing, were taught letters and communicated them to all the nations.


He then afterwards directed him to construct the Tabernacle according to the pattern which he had seen in the mountain----being a pattern, so to say, of the whole world. He therefore made the Tabernacle, designing that as far as possible it should be a copy of the figure of the world, and thus he gave it a length of thirty cubits and a breadth of |111 ten. Then, by interposing inside a veil in the middle of the Tabernacle, he divided it into two compartments, of which the first was called the Holy Place, and the second behind the veil the Holy of Holies. Now the outer was a pattern of this visible world which, according to the divine Apostle, extends from the earth to the firmament, and in which at its northern side was a table, on which were twelve loaves, the table thus presenting a symbol of the earth which supplies all manner of fruits, twelve namely, one as it were for each month of the year. The table was all round wreathed with a waved moulding symbolic of the sea which is called the ocean, and all round this again was [174] a border of a palm's breadth emblematic of the earth beyond the ocean, where lies Paradise away in the East, and where also the extremities of the first heaven, which is like a vaulted chamber, are everywhere supported on the extremities of the earth. Then at the south side he placed the candlestick which shines upon the earth from the south to the north. In this candlestick, symbolic of the week of seven days, he set seven lamps, and these lamps are symbolic of all the luminaries. And the second Tabernacle which is behind the veil and called the Holy of Holies, as well as the Ark of Testimony, and the Mercy-seat, and above it the Cherubim of glory shadowing the Mercy-seat, are, according to the Apostle, a type of the things in heaven from the firmament to the upper heaven, just as the space from the veil to the wall of the inner Tabernacle constitutes the inner place.


That the first historian in the world was Moses, both Eusebius, the son of Pamphilus,29 and Josephus in their writings testify; for |112 they have clearly shown that of all writers Moses was the most ancient.


When Moses had accordingly been instructed in letters by God, having with his very eyes perceived the beginning of all things revealed to him, and when his countenance had been glorified so that he could not be beheld by his people without a veil, then as one who could claim belief and who had been glorified by God, he, the first among men, wrote the Book of Genesis in these words: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,30 showing that when the world was created by God heaven and earth were produced at the very beginning, comprising as they did all existing things, while all the other creatures which he made either along with them or after them one by one, were contained within them. Then having ended his account how all things existing within heaven and earth had been successively created from the first day onwards to the sixth, and having then spoken of God as having rested on the seventh day and made nothing more, because the whole creation had been completed, and nothing been left defective in the harmony of the world to mar its supreme beauty, he again adds: This is the book of heaven and earth; thinking these words sufficient to indicate collectively all things within heaven and earth. And again in another place he says: For in six days he finished and rested from all his works which God had begun to make;31 always speaking to the same effect, namely, that all things are contained within heaven and earth, and that before these seven days [175] he had made nothing whatever, but began on the first day |113 and finished on the sixth, and rested on the seventh without making anything else, and that he made only two heavens, the first along with the earth, while placing the second in the middle and preparing two states----the present and the future----just as in the Tabernacle he had ordered two places to be formed in imitation of the world, for he says: According to the pattern shown to thee in the mount;32 for the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews explains with regard to this Tabernacle that the outer was a pattern of this world, and the inner of the heavens.

When therefore a describer of the world so great and so divine as Moses had been attested and glorified, in the Old Testament by God and in the New by the Christ, while other divinely inspired prophets and apostles along with him bear witness about all things and about the figure of the whole creation as we have set forth in the preceding book, and they agree with him in every particular concerning the creation itself, who can be so obtuse, so foolish, and so far led astray, especially if he calls himself a Christian, as to disbelieve such truth as this, confirmed by such sacred testimony, and would not rather, bending lowly to earth, reverence the crowd of testimonies, the selection, the revelations, the wisdom, the glory, the predictions, the astonishing signs, the great wonders, the fulfilments of prophecies, the testimony of God himself, who spake with Moses face to face as a friend with a friend, while in the New Testament the Lord Christ frequently bears witness to him? In very truth, to express myself more warmly, I assert that, unless one fights against God, he shall not find it in his power to gainsay these things. For afterwards repenting he shall say: the finger of God is in it; and he will confess his defeat, just as the Egpytian enchanters and sorcerers Jannes and Jambres spoke concerning him. |114 Since therefore according to the great cosmographer Moses, and according to Paul, that most divine teacher of the Church, in whom the Lord Christ speaks, two heavens, and two only, were created by God, and not seven or eight, or nine, how is it possible to listen to the pagans advocating views based on conjecture, sophistries, and arrogant assumptions, and inventing fables, not from the old but chiefly from certain recent writers, who, to meet the difficulties of their own doctrines, have devised apologies more foolish even than the doctrines themselves. And how can those who listen to these pagans maintain and yet be in accordance with scripture, that there are waters above the heaven, or that the first, the second, and the third day passed without the sun, moon and stars running their course? Or how in the deluge of Noah did the waters cover the whole earth and again retire? Or how can they say that there will be a final consummation of the world----that the heavenly bodies falling will cease to run their courses, and no longer cause the succession of day and night; and that the present state will altogether end, and that another state will be exhibited quite strange and far superior to this; and that the righteous will enter into the upper heaven beyond this the visible heaven, where is the kingdom of the heavens----the second Tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, of which the inner place in the Tabernacle was a pattern, into which also the Lord Christ entered, having been taken up into the heaven above the firmament, having become the forerunner on our behalf, and having prepared for us a new and living way? Or how can they say that, after the consummation, the seven or eight or nine heavens, or the heaven again which is by them called the sphere, will revolve? For what useful purpose will this revolution be? let them tell us and not grudge us this information; or how can such persons believe the stupendous miracles of which we have often spoken, that were wrought in the |115 time of the great Moses? And likewise that miracle wrought in the time of Joshua, the son of Nun, when he made the sun and moon stand still, and added greatly to the length of the day, until he put the enemy to rout? And that other miracle performed in the time of Hezekiah, the going back of the sun ten degrees, which struck the Babylonian with consternation and induced him to send an embassy to Hezekiah?


Some have said that up to the present day a feast is celebrated by the Persians to Mithras, that is, the sun,33 in commemoration of the sign in the time of Hezekiah.


Why need I speak of the all-devouring fire in the time of Nebuchodonosor, which burnt the bonds of the three children, but did not consume so much as a hair of their head, or any of their garments? Or of the renowned Elijah, who in a chariot of fire sped his way through heaven, who raised the dead, and who by his word withheld rain for two and forty months? Or of his disciple Elisha, who threw the wood into the water and brought back iron, and whose dust raised up the dead? In like manner why should I speak of the miracles wrought under the Lord Christ: his marvellous birth from a virgin; the attestation of the Star that then appeared; the adoration of the Magi; the good tidings brought with joy to the shepherds by the angels; the doxology of the whole angelic host; the prayer of Simeon conjoined with the giving of thanks; the confession of Anna; the first miracle of Christ himself in Cana of Galilee, who at a marriage miraculously provided a liberal supply of wine for drinking; the giving of sight to the eyes of the man born blind, by clay wrought with spittle; [177] |116 the restoration to life of Lazarus after he had been four days dead and his intestines were stinking; the host of opposing demons trembling at his power and exclaiming: Thou hast come before the time to torment us34; the command and the bridle imposed on the raging sea; the walking upon the surface of the waves, when he invited Peter to walk with him upon them; and when Peter was seized with distrust and began to sink and cried out: Lord, save me! 35 his drawing him up from the deep, and his again going with him and placing him safe and sound in the boat; the eclipse of the sun at the time of the Passion which continued for three hours, and that too in the fourteenth day of the moon: an occurrence quite contrary to worldly philosophy, for according to the adepts therein an eclipse cannot result except at the time of new moon; the quaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks and of the veil of the temple? But passing over all the other miracles which cannot now conveniently be enumerated, I hasten to speak of the resurrection itself, which is the renovation of men and of all the world; the gift of incorruption, immortality and immutability bestowed by God upon the whole world; of the ascent again of men into heaven, into which the first who entered in flesh was the Lord Christ; of the shadows of the Apostles which gave strength to the weak; of the rapture of the Apostle Paul even into the third heaven,36 that is, to a third of the distance of the height of heaven from the earth----namely, as far as the firmament; then his rapture into Paradise where he was privileged to be the |117 hearer of the unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter. All which things are marvellous and transcend our nature or our state.

Another Note.

In the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, the sun stood still. In the days of Hezekiah, through the agency of Isaiah, it went back. At the Passion of the Christ, contrary to the law of the pagan philosophers, it was altogether eclipsed. The credentials of the prophets and Apostles and of Christ himself are great and amazing miracles, and the prophecies; while Plato and Aristotle, Ptolemy and the others, challenge our belief on the ground of their knowledge of eclipses of the sun and moon derived from calculations ---- if even thus they speak what is true.


The occurrence of these marvels prepared the men of those days to place belief in the prophecies also, while the fulfilments of the prophecies prepare ourselves to believe in the signs and in all things of which the prophets spake, as was the case also in the time of the Lord Christ, who in those days when he had come down from the Mount of Olives, and beheld Jerusalem and wept over it as it lay opposite, said: How often would I have gathered thy children even as a hen [178] gathereth her chickens under her wing, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.37 Then when he had passed sentence on the temple, his disciples who were still under the influence of Judaic sentiment were sorrow-struck; and scripture afterwards says: When descending from the Mount they showed him the building of the temple,38 in order no doubt that they might move him to pity, and that he might recall what he had said with regard to the temple, for they knew and believed that everything spoken by him would come to pass. But he knowing [what would be] said to them: Do you see all these things? Verily, I |118 say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone, upon another that shall not be thrown down.39 Then were they possessed with fear, and remained silent, and said nothing further on this matter. Accordingly thereafter came the Romans, and levelled with the ground the temple and the city, and made it an utter desolation, executing as if by compact what had been commanded by the Lord. And up to this day we see with our very eyes that lo! for more than five hundred years it has lain so desolate that it cannot be renovated. Moreover he said to his disciples: Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.40 And again: The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church;41 and again he declares that all the world shall be filled with his doctrine, even as the three measures of meal, in which the woman hid the leaven, were all leavened throughout and made one by that leaven. And again: The Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world:42 and along with it shall the woman too be told of who did him a kindness----and we see that all these predictions have been fulfilled. For the Christians who were at one time persecuted by the Greeks and Jews have conquered, and drawn their persecutors over to their own side. In like manner we see that the Church has never been destroyed, but that its adherents have been greatly multiplied, and that similarly the whole earth has been filled with the doctrine of the Lord Christ, and is still being filled, and that the gospel is preached throughout all the world. This I avouch to be the veritable fact, from what I have seen and heard in the many places which I have visited.

Even in Taprobanê,43 an island in Further India, where the Indian sea is, there is a Church of Christians, with clergy |119 and a body of believers, but I know not whether there be any Christians in the parts beyond it. In the country called Malê,44 where the pepper grows, there is also a church, and at another place called Calliana45 there is moreover a bishop, who is appointed from Persia.46 In the island, again, called the Island of Dioscoridês,47 which is situated in the same Indian sea, and where the inhabitants speak Greek, having been originally colonists sent thither by the Ptolemies who succeeded Alexander the Macedonian, there [179] are clergy who receive their ordination in Persia, and are sent on to the island, and there is also a multitude of Christians. I sailed along the coast of this island, but did not land upon it. I met, however, with some of its Greek-speaking people who had come over into Ethiopia.48 And |120 so likewise among the Bactrians and Huns and Persians, and the rest of the Indians, Persarmenians, and Medes and Elamites, and throughout the whole land of Persia there is no limit to the number of churches with bishops and very large communities of Christian people, as well as many martyrs, and monks also living as hermits. So too in Ethiopia and Axôm, and in all the country about it; among the people of Happy Arabia----who are now called Homerites----through all Arabia and Palestine, Phoenicia, and all Syria and Antioch as far as Mesopotamia; among the Nubians and the Garamantes,49 in Egypt, Libya, Pentapolis,50 Africa51 and Mauretania, as far as southern Gadeira,52 there are everywhere churches of the Christians, and bishops, martyrs, monks and recluses, where the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed. So likewise again in Cilicia, Asia, Cappadocia, Lazica53 and Pontus, and in the northern |121 countries occupied by the Scythians, Hyrcanians, Heruli,54 Bulgarians, Greeks55 and Illyrians, Dalmatians, Goths, Spaniards, Romans, Franks, and other nations, as far as Gadeira on the ocean towards the northern parts, there are believers and preachers of the Gospel confessing the resurrection from the dead; and so we see the prophecies being fulfilled over the whole world.56

Among the famous philosophers who flourished among the pagans, which of them, Socrates, or Pythagoras, or Plato, or Aristotle, or any other, was held worthy to foretell or announce any thing of such advantage to the world as the resurrection of the dead, and the free gift to men of the Kingdom of Heaven, which cannot be shaken? For they can announce nothing except only that, by means of calculations and secular learning, they declare when eclipses of the sun and the moon will occur, whereby, even if they predict them truly----as in fact they do----no benefit will accrue to the world, but rather the evil of pride; while should they say nothing about them they will do no manner of harm. For what boy who learns arithmetic will be found ignorant of this knowledge? or what old woman or country-bred yokel has not an acquaintance with some of the works and ways of nature? or what nation or what barbarian knows not these things----astronomy I mean, and geometry and the various practical arts, medicine, carpentry, stone-cutting, weaving, smithwork, agriculture, and others of which the Greeks have no conception? or what nation |122 between east and west, between north and south, that believes in Christ, does not by various methodical calculations fix for many years beforehand when the Easter festivals are to be celebrated? In fact, they correctly determine the dates in advance, since they all with one consent, from one end of the earth to the other, on one and the same day, celebrate Easter according to their different calculations and methods of computing the time.

For since God has endowed man with wisdom and reason he has rendered him capable of finding out whatever mind can attain to, and whatever he can acquire from education; for such is the nature of that rational animal----man. For when the men of early times had invented an art, they made many mistakes; but afterwards either they or their successors rectified these mistakes under the teaching of experience, time and practice. In like manner those who received the art from them firmly retained what had been transmitted to them. On the other hand the divine teachings, be they doctrines or be they arts, are not in this manner brought to perfection by human intelligence; but being at first given by God, one receives them with full assurance, even as did those whom God inspired with wisdom for the preparation of the Tabernacle in the time of Moses, namely, Beseleêl himself the son of Urias, the son of Ôr, of the tribe of Judah, and Eliab, the son of Achisamach of the tribe of Dan, and all to whom he gave understanding, and filled with the Spirit of God and knowledge to devise all manner of workmanship, both of carpentry and of working in gold and silver and brass----and blue and purple and scarlet thread, and fine twined linen----and stonework and woodwork, according to all the works which the Lord commanded them to make for the Tabernacle of testimony, both the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy-seat over it, and the furniture of the Tabernacle, its altar and its table and all its vessels, and the laver and |123 its base, and the official robes of Aaron and his sons when ministering as priests before God, and the anointing oil and the sacred incense composed of sweet aromatics, according to all things which God commanded him to make. And beyond question you will find that up to this very day the most of these arts are most zealously cultivated among the Jews.


When the first man had sinned and had come to a sense of his [181] transgression, and was fittingly convicted thereof by God and filled with confusion and shame, he began to consider next by what contrivance he could cover his nakedness, and being stimulated by God to exert his faculty of reason, he invented the art of sewing, and with the thorns of shrubs stitched together for himself leaves of the fig tree. And being at the same time instructed by God as to the preparation of tunics, he learned to make them from the bark of trees.57 It is attested by scripture that Cain discovered the art or science of agriculture, and Abel that of the keeping of sheep. Then again, when Cain after the murder of his brother had been cast out by God, as it is written: Cain went out from the presence of God and dwelt in the land of Naïn.58 as much as to say, that Cain was cast out by God and banished from his home to a wretched country, for they thought that Paradise was God's dwelling-place, as he was wont to go forth therefrom and ofttimes showed himself there. The sons therefore of Sêth who lived near Paradise, and were so to speak under God's care, and ofttimes conversed with him, were always called the sons of God, while the sons of Cain who were settled somewhere far away from Paradise, and were not constantly under the care of God, but lived in a wild and wretched country, and were under their own care rather than God's, were called the sons of men. Since Cain therefore and his offspring lived in fear, they invented other arts for their security, as, for instance, carpentry, |124 stone-cutting, metallurgy and music. Carpentry----for making tents and doors and roofs for the protection of themselves and their cattle; masonry----for building houses and cities by way of providing for their safety and defence; metallurgy----for the tilling of the soil, and breaking it up with the ploughshare, and reaping the crops with hooks, and for making flutes and many other articles; lastly----music to keep them awake by night with the flute and the lyre and the singing of songs, and to protect themselves and their cattle from the attacks of wild beasts. So then they lived on in fear, and in exile they devised all kinds of expedients to ensure their safety, for scripture thus speaks of them, saying of Cain: And he built a city and named it Enoch after the name of his son;59 then of Thobel (Tubal), the son of Lamech by Ada, it says: He was the father of such as dwell in the tents of shepherds;60 and of Jubal, the brother of Thobel, it says: It was he who taught the use of the psaltery and harp.61 Scripture speaks also of metallurgy when it says concerning Thobel whom Sella (Zillah) bare: He was the forger of cutting instruments of brass and iron.62

[182] God having thus from the first given man ingenuity, fitted him to invent arts, and while the first men at the outset invented them, their successors, starting from where they left off, by dint of assiduous practice, brought them to greater perfection. It will be well therefore if we here take up an argument against those sophists who say that the world is eternal and without beginning, and remind them how far they are in error, understanding neither from the things themselves ----namely, from the arts, that it is not eternal and without beginning, but of recent production. For if the arts were discovered gradually, and all human society subsists through art and rational science, how is it possible for the world to subsist without art and rational science? For without the art of stone-cutting, how can houses, fortifications and cities be reared for the protection of men and civic communities? In like manner, without the art of weaving, whence could men obtain coverings sufficient to protect them from cold and from frost. In like manner, were there not an art of working in metals, how would |125 it be possible for men to till the soil, and break up the earth with ploughs, or reap the crops with sickles, in order to provide themselves with food? If again there was no art of medicine, how could the sufferings to which men are liable be cured and their illnesses be mitigated?

From all this it is quite manifest that the world is not eternal, but a recent production, just like the inventions and the arts and the sciences of men. For where will they find among astronomers one equal to or greater than Ptolemy; or among philosophers, than Plato and Aristotle; or what greater geometricians and arithmeticians will they find than Euclid and Archimedes, who alone discovered the quadrature of the circle?63 But if these learned men were more exact than their predecessors, is it not most manifest that the arts were gradually discovered through the ingenuity which was bestowed by God upon men? Wherefore also the scripture, referring everything to God, exclaims: All wisdom is from God.64 They are therefore either liars or consummate fools in supposing the world to be eternal, when they are convicted of being in error by actual facts. But sacred scripture speaks more truly when it says: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.65 I should like again to put to those wise men this question: since the hammer, the anvil and the forceps precede the entire art of metallurgy, who was it prepared these instruments? Let them tell us and not begrudge us a reply. They, however, not having the sense to take refuge in God, the maker of the universe, who endowed the race of mankind with wisdom, and gave them the faculty of invention, but wishing after the ways of their own heart to construct and to demolish theories, on finding themselves beset with difficulties and the most formidable perplexities of reasoning, presume next to declare that the world is eternal and had no beginning, for such assertions show to what straits they are reduced. How hard, for instance, are they pressed both with respect to man and bird, since the one is produced from seed and the others from eggs; and if this opinion of theirs is true, the question arises did men and birds ----the products respectively of seed and of eggs----exist at the same |126 [183] time with God, or did they not? And if they did exist, the seed and the eggs will of necessity be found existing before God, and before men and birds; but if they did not exist they must submit to divine scripture, when it informs us through Moses: God said, Let us make man in our image, and through the Apostle at Athens on the Areopagus [tells us what we read in Acts xvii, 24-28]. So then, as has already been said, the sons of Seth, those namely who are called the sons of God, went in against the will of God but in obedience to their own self-will, to the daughters of men ----that is, to the women of the race of Cain----and joined themselves to them in marriage. Wherefore God, taking occasion from this, made a new dispensation and destroyed those who had sinned by means of the Deluge, but him that was righteous he preserved by the Ark, and transferred to this earth of ours, which was a better one and almost equal to Paradise.


But to continue,----the divine doctrines, the structure of the world, and the prophecies cannot possibly be explained unless one learn them from divine revelation, or receive them from men divinely inspired, the Prophets themselves, and the Apostles, and all divinely inspired scripture; for it is impossible to acquire such learning from conjectures or arrogant assumptions or human wisdom. But that the structure of the world coincides with the doctrine of the Christians, the whole of divine scripture, as has been said, proclaims, namely, Moses and the Prophets, the Lord Christ and the Apostles, as we have repeatedly explained. For God divided the one place which extends from the earth to the higher heaven by interposing in the middle the second heaven, and thus made two places; and to this mortal and mutable state he assigned the lower place, and to the immortal and immutable state the higher, which is called also the Kingdom of Heaven, and about which the Lord Christ speaks thus in the Gospel of Matthew: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, |127 but are as the angels of God in heaven;66 and again: He shall to those on the right hand say----Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the [184] found-ation of the world,67 as if he should say prepared from that time; [see also] John xii, 32; Matt, xiv, 40; viii, 11, 12; Heb. iv, 11; Philipp iii, 20; Rom. viii, 17; Ephes. ii, 6; Philipp. iii, 14; Galat. iv, 26; Heb. iii, I; Ephes. ii, 19; Heb. xi, 9, 10; Ibid, v, 16; Ibid, xii, 22-24; Ibid, xiii, 14; Luke xxiv, 51; Acts i, 10, 11; Heb. ix, 24; Ibid.[185] vii, 26; Ibid, vi, 18-20; Ibid, x, 19, 23.

Can any one then be so infatuated, so lost in misery as to disbelieve such promises and such true prophecies, which both from the two places created in the beginning and made ready so to speak by God from the foundation of the world, and from such preparations are shown to be true and in harmony with the doctrine of the Christians? And this with regard both to the principles and the ends, namely, that when God had set apart the present mortal and mutable state of existence for the exercise of the reasoning faculty, and had led it through its trial, he at last releases the world from its toil and discipline, and reveals the future state, graciously bestowing everlasting benefits, exemption from penury and the sway of the passions, immortality, incorruption, immutability, perfect knowledge, righteousness, sanctification, redemption and blessedness for evermore, Amen! For the present state will not remain for ever, as the pagans are foolish enough to assert, supposing that God delights in evil, or rather that he is deficient in power or gives grudgingly, so that he is unable to grant the world release from its struggles and from corruption; yea, that day after day he adds destruction and sufferings, and death and trials, and is not strong enough to give the prizes of contests, or to award crowns, |128 or to bring the toils with which men are exercised to an end. For as they suppose him to be merely the artificer who shapes the material which he has at his command, so even now they suppose that he is not able to make it better, disbelieving the resurrection of the body as a thing impossible, and disbelieving also the whole of divine scripture. Wherefore those miserable men admit the spherical form of the heaven to be true, disbelieving, yea, rather execrating, the whole of divine scripture, and turning away from the truth as from old wives' fables. Far however be it from us to boast except in the whole of divine scripture, through which the outside world is crucified to us and we to the outside world. Be it ours, O most [186] pious Father Pamphilus, along with a good life, to embrace the divine oracles, and to repudiate those of our adversaries, according to the will of Him that is mighty, and by the help of Christ the saviour of us all, with whom to the Father, together with his holy and adorable Spirit, be glory now and evermore, world without end.----Amen! 

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1 Gen. xi, 4.

2. 2 Gr. τυραννικῳ̃ τρόπῳ. In later Greek the adjective was used in this sense. Montfaucon, however, translates: tyrannico more.

3. 3 Luke ii, 14.

4. 1 There is evidently here a hiatus. Montfaucon has passed without notice.

5. 1 Exod. viii, 19.

6. 2 Gen. i, 6.

7. 3 Gen. i, 2.

8. 1 Gen. i, 20.

9. 1 Matt. xi, 38.

10. 1 John ii, 18. 

11. 2 John ii, 19.

12. 3 Matt, i.x, 35. 

13. 4 John vi, 67.

14. 5 John ii, 15.

15. 1 John ii, 16.

16. 2 John ii, 18.

17. 3 John iii, 17.

18. 1 Luke x, 18.

19. 1 I Tim. iii, 6.

20. 2 Job xxxviii, 7.

21. 1 Luke xv, 7.

22. 2 Gr. τὸ νοητὸν.----Montfaucon translates this by intelligentum, but what Cosmas means is that the soul is discerned by the intellect and not by the senses.

23. 1 Gen. i, i.

24. 2 Rom. i, 23.

25. 3 Compare Ovid, Metamorph., Book i, 11. 84-86:

Pronaque cum spectent animalia caetera terram, 
Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque tueri 
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.

26. 1 Gr. ἔκστασιν.

27. 2 Gen. ii, 23.

28. 3 Gen. ii, 18.

29. 1 This is Eusebius, the father of ecclesiastical history, who succeeded Agapius as Bishop of Caesareia in 315. He was a native of Palestine, and took the surname Pamphili as a token of his great affection for the martyr Pamphilus, who had been the bishop of the same See, and of whom he wrote a life, now lost.

30. 1 Gen. i, 1. 

31. 2 Gen. ii, 3.

32. 1 Exod. xxv, 40.

33. 1. See Strabo, xv, iii, 13

34. 1 Matt, viii, 29. 

35. 2 Matt, xiv, 30.

36. 3 "The expression ἕως τρίτου οὐρανου̃ is founded on Jewish phraseology, by which heaven was considered as threefold, consisting of: 1. the aerial (or skyey); 2. the sidereal (or starry); and 3. heaven itself, the abode of God and the angels."----Bloomfield, Note on II Corinthians xii, 2. The interpretation put upon the expression by Cosmas is manifestly disingenuous.

37. 1 Matt, xxiii, 37, 38.

38. 2 Matt, xxiv, 1.

39. 1 Matt, xxiv, 2. 

40. 2 John xvi, 33.

41. 3 Matt, xvi, 18. 

42. 4 Matt, xxiv, 14.

43. 5 For a description of Taprobanê (Ceylon) see Book XI.

44. 1 Malabar, see below, Book xi. 

45. 2 Ibid.

46. 3 Gr. ἀπὸ περσίδος χειροτονούμενος. This is the verb used in the Acts of the Apostles, xiv, 23: ordained by the laying on of hands.

47. 4 Dioscoridês is the island now called Socotra. The name, though in appearance Greek, is in reality Sanscrit, from Dvîpa Sukhâdâra, that is, Island Abode of Bliss. A description is given of it in c. 30 of the Periplûs of the Erythraean Sea, which was writtten about the middle of the first century. It is described as "of great extent but désert, and very moist, and as having but a scanty population, which was settled on its north side, and consisted of an intermixture of foreigners----Arabs, Indians, and even Greeks----engaged in commerce." The people of the interior are still of distinct race, with curly hair, Indian complexion, and regular features, while the coast people are of mixed descent. Abulfeda says the people were Nestorian Christians and pirates, but the late Sir H. Yule says that "some indications point rather to a connection of the island's Christianity with the Jacobite or Abyssinian church. Thus they practised circumcision .... and De Barros calls them Jacobite Christians of the Abyssinian stock. Barbosa speaks of them .... as Christian only in name, having neither baptism nor Christian knowledge .... Now not a trace of former Christianity can be discovered, and the social state of the people could scarcely be lower." See his edition of The Book of Ser Marco Polo, vol. ii, pp. 401-2.

48. 5 Gr. ἀνδράσιν τω̃ν ἐκει̃ . . . . έλθου̃σιν έν τῃ̃ ̕Αιθιωπίᾳ.----Montfaucon translates: qui in Aethiopian proficiscebantur. Cosmas had probably met them at Adule or at Axum.

49. 1 The Garamantes were the inhabitants of the great oasis in the Libyan desert called Phazania, and now Fezzan, but the name was often used in a wider sense to denote the people of northern Africa who lived to the south of the Syrtis.

50. 2 Pentapolis, the name for any association of five cities, denotes here the five chief cities of the province of Cyrenaica in north Africa. These were Cyrênê, Berenice, Arsinoê, Ptolemais, and Apollonia, the port of Cyrênê.

51. 3 Africa, in its narrow sense, meant the regions between Mauretania and Cyrênê.

52. 4 Gr. Γαδείρων, τὰ πρὸς νότον. Cosmas slips here in his grammar, using τὰ for τω̃ν. A little below he speaks of another Gades----Γαδειρα του̃ Ωκεανου̃, that is, Gades in Spain. Southern Gades, Yule thinks, may be Tingis, or Cape Spartel, called by Strabo Kôteis.

53. 5 "In the time of Pliny, Arrian, and Ptolemy", says Gibbon, "the Lazi were a particular tribe on the northern skirts of Colchos. When the Romans stationed on the Phasis were either withdrawn or expelled, the tribe of the Lazi, whose posterity speak a foreign dialect, and inhabit the sea-coast of Trebizond, imposed their name and dominion on the ancient kingdom of Colchos. Their independence was soon invaded by a formidable neighbour .... In the beginning of the sixth century their influence was restored by the introduction of Christianity, which the Mingrelians still profess with becoming zeal, without understanding the doctrines or observing the precepts of their religion."----Decline and Fall, Chap. xlii.

54. 1 The Heruli under Odoacer, who is styled their king, in A.D. 476 overthrew the western empire. Their seats lay to the north of the Euxine.

55. 2 Gr. ̔Ελλαδικω̃ν.

56. 3 Towards the end of the seventeenth chapter of the Decline and Fall, Gibbon has summarised what Cosmas here says regarding the wide spread of Christianity.

57. 1 Gr. ἐκ δερμάτω̃ν ξύλων-----Montfaucon translates ex pellibus ovium, taking ξύλων to be a mis-reading of the MS. ξύλον, however, has sometimes, especially in Alexandrian Greek, the meaning of live-wood, or a tree. 

58. 2 Gen. iv, 16.

59. 1 Gen. iv, 17. 

60. 2 Gen. iv, 20. 

61. 3 Gen. iv, 21.

62. 4 Gen. iv, 22.

63. 1 Cosmas refers here to the work of Archimedes, which is still extant, on the Quadrature of the Parabola.

64. 2 Eccl. i, 1.

65. 3 Gen. i, 1.

66. 1 Matt, xxxii, 30.

67. 2 Matt, xxv, 34.

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