Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Q69 A1: Whether it was fitting that the gathering together of the waters should take place, as recorded, on the third day?

Yes. The words, "Let the waters be gathered together, and the dry land appear," mean that corporeal matter was impressed with the substantial form of water, so as to have such movement, and with the substantial form of earth, so as to have such an appearance.

Unde per hoc quod dicitur, congregentur aquae, et appareat arida, intelligitur quod materiae corporali impressa est forma substantialis aquae, per quam competit sibi talis motus; et forma substantialis terrae, per quam competit sibi sic videri.

In all these works, according to Augustine (Gen. ad lit. i, 15; iv, 22,34; De Gen. Contr. Manich. i, 5, 7), there is no order of duration, but only of origin and nature. He says that the formless spiritual and formless corporeal natures were created first of all, and that the latter are at first indicated by the words "earth" and "water." Not that this formlessness preceded formation, in time, but only in origin; nor yet that one formation preceded another in duration, but merely in the order of nature. Agreeably, then, to this order, the formation of the highest or spiritual nature is recorded in the first place, where it is said that light was made on the first day. For as the spiritual nature is higher than the corporeal, so the higher bodies are nobler than the lower.

Augustinus enim in omnibus his operibus non ponit durationis ordinem, sed solum originis et naturae. Dicit enim primo creatam naturam spiritualem informem, et naturam corporalem absque omni forma (quam dicit primo significari nomine terrae et aquae), non quia haec informitas formationem praecesserit tempore, sed origine tantum. Neque una formatio, secundum eum, praecessit aliam duratione; sed solum naturae ordine. Secundum quem ordinem necesse fuit ut primo poneretur formatio supremae naturae, scilicet spiritualis, per hoc quod legitur prima die lux facta. Sicut autem spiritualis natura praeeminet corporali, ita superiora corpora praeeminent inferioribus.

Hence the formation of the higher bodies is indicated in the second place, by the words, "Let there be made a firmament," by which is to be understood the impression of celestial forms on formless matter, that preceded with priority not of time, but of origin only.

Unde secundo loco tangitur formatio superiorum corporum, cum dicitur, fiat firmamentum; per quod intelligitur impressio formae caelestis in materiam informem, non prius existentem tempore, sed origine tantum.

But in the third place the impression of elemental forms on formless matter is recorded, also with a priority of origin only.

Tertio vero loco ponitur impressio formarum elementarium in materiam informem, non tempore, sed origine praecedentem.

According to Augustine (De Gen. Contr. Manich. i), primary matter is meant by the word earth, where first mentioned, but in the present passage it is to be taken for the element itself.

Secundum Augustinum, per terram de qua primo fiebat mentio, intelligitur materia prima, nunc autem intelligitur ipsum elementum terrae.