St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province


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Question: 69  [<< | >>]


Deinde considerandum est de opere tertiae diei. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo.    We next consider the work of the third day. Under this head there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, de congregatione aquarum.     (1) About the gathering together of the waters;
Secundo, de productione plantarum.     (2) About the production of plants.


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Question: 69  [<< | >>]
Article: 1  [<< | >>]

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

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aquarum congregatio non convenienter dicatur facta tertia die. Ea enim quae facta sunt prima et secunda die, verbo factionis exprimuntur, dicitur enim, dixit Deus fiat lux, et, fiat firmamentum. Sed tertia dies condividitur duabus primis. Ergo opus tertiae diei debuit exprimi verbo factionis, et non solum verbo congregationis.   Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting that the gathering together of the waters should take place on the third day. For what was made on the first and second days is expressly said to have been "made" in the words, "God said: Be light made," and "Let there be a firmament made."But the third day is contradistinguished from the first and the second days. Therefore the work of the third day should have been described as a making not as a gathering together.
Praeterea, terra prius undique erat aquis cooperta, propter hoc enim invisibilis dicebatur. Non erat ergo aliquis locus super terram, in quo aquae congregari possent.   Objection 2: Further, the earth hitherto had been completely covered by the waters, wherefore it was described as "invisible" [*Question [66], Article [1], Objection [1]]. There was then no place on the earth to which the waters could be gathered together.
Praeterea, quae non sunt continuata ad invicem, non habent unum locum. Sed non omnes aquae habent ad invicem continuitatem. Ergo non sunt omnes aquae congregatae in unum locum.   Objection 3: Further, things which are not in continuous contact cannot occupy one place. But not all the waters are in continuous contact, and therefore all were not gathered together into one place.
Praeterea, congregatio ad motum localem pertinet. Sed aquae naturaliter videntur fluentes, et ad mare currentes. Non ergo fuit necessarium ad hoc divinum praeceptum adhiberi.   Objection 4: Further, a gathering together is a mode of local movement. But the waters flow naturally, and take their course towards the sea. In their case, therefore, a Divine precept of this kind was unnecessary.
Praeterea, terra etiam in principio suae creationis nominatur, cum dicitur, in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Inconvenienter ergo dicitur tertia die nomen terrae impositum.   Objection 5: Further, the earth is given its name at its first creation by the words, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Therefore the imposition of its name on the third day seems to be recorded without necessity.
Sed in contrarium sufficit auctoritas Scripturae.   On the contrary, The authority of Scripture suffices.
Respondeo dicendum quod hic oportet aliter dicere secundum expositionem Augustini, et aliorum sanctorum. 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. 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. Tertio vero loco ponitur impressio formarum elementarium in materiam informem, non tempore, sed origine praecedentem. 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.   I answer that, It is necessary to reply differently to this question according to the different interpretations given by Augustine and other holy writers. 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. 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. But in the third place the impression of elemental forms on formless matter is recorded, also with a priority of origin only. Therefore 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.
Sed secundum alios sanctos, in his operibus etiam ordo durationis attenditur, ponunt enim quod, informitas materiae tempore praecessit formationem, et una formatio aliam. Sed informitas materiae, secundum eos, non intelligitur carentia omnis formae quia iam erat caelum et aqua et terra (quae tria nominantur tanquam manifeste sensu perceptibilia), sed intelligitur informitas materiae carentia debitae distinctionis, et consummatae cuiusdam pulchritudinis. Et secundum haec tria nomina, posuit Scriptura tres informitates. Ad caelum enim, quod est superius, pertinet informitas tenebrarum, quia ex eo est origo luminis. Informitas vero aquae, quae est media, significatur nomine abyssi, quia hoc nomen significat quandam immensitatem inordinatam aquarum, ut Augustinus dicit, contra Faustum. Informitas vero terrae tangitur in hoc quod dicitur, quod terra erat invisibilis vel inanis, per hoc quod erat aquis cooperta. Sic igitur formatio supremi corporis facta est prima die. Et quia tempus sequitur motum caeli, tempus autem est numerus motus supremi corporis; per huiusmodi formationem facta est distinctio temporis, noctis scilicet et diei. Secundo vero die formatum est medium corpus, scilicet aqua, per firmamentum accipiens quandam distinctionem et ordinem (ita quod sub nomine aquae etiam alia comprehenduntur, ut supra dictum est). Tertio vero die formatum est ultimum corpus, scilicet terra, per hoc quod discooperta est aquis; et facta est distinctio in infimo, quae dicitur terrae et maris. Unde satis congrue, sicut informitatem terrae expresserat dicens quod terra erat invisibilis vel inanis, ita eius formationem exprimit per hoc quod dicit, et appareat arida.    According, however, to other holy writers [*Question [66], Article [1]] an order of duration in the works is to be understood, by which is meant that the formlessness of matter precedes its formation, and one form another, in order of time. Nevertheless, they do not hold that the formlessness of matter implies the total absence of form, since heaven, earth, and water already existed, since these three are named as already clearly perceptible to the senses; rather they understand by formlessness the want of due distinction and of perfect beauty, and in respect of these three Scripture mentions three kinds of formlessness. Heaven, the highest of them, was without form so long as "darkness" filled it, because it was the source of light. The formlessness of water, which holds the middle place, is called the "deep," because, as Augustine says (Contr. Faust. xxii, 11), this word signifies the mass of waters without order. Thirdly, the formless state of the earth is touched upon when the earth is said to be "void" or "invisible," because it was covered by the waters. Thus, then, the formation of the highest body took place on the first day. And since time results from the movement of the heaven, and is the numerical measure of the movement of the highest body, from this formation, resulted the distinction of time, namely, that of night and day. On the second day the intermediate body, water, was formed, receiving from the firmament a sort of distinction and order (so that water be understood as including certain other things, as explained above (Question [68], Article [3])). On the third day the earth, the lowest body, received its form by the withdrawal of the waters, and there resulted the distinction in the lowest body, namely, of land and sea. Hence Scripture, having clearly expresses the manner in which it received its form by the equally suitable words, "Let the dry land appear."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, secundum Augustinum, ideo in opere tertiae diei non utitur Scriptura verbo factionis, sicut in praecedentibus operibus, ut ostendatur quod superiores formae, scilicet spirituales Angelorum, et caelestium corporum, sunt perfectae in esse et stabiles; formae vero inferiorum corporum sunt imperfectae et mobiles. Et ideo per congregationem aquarum et apparentiam aridae, impressio talium formarum designatur, aqua enim est labiliter fluxa, terra stabiliter fixa, ut ipse dicit in II super Gen. ad Litt. Secundum vero alios, dicendum est quod opus tertiae diei est perfectum secundum solum motum localem. Et ideo non oportuit quod Scriptura uteretur verbo factionis.   Reply to Objection 1: According to Augustine [*Gen. ad lit. ii, 7,8; iii, 20], Scripture does not say of the work of the third day, that it was made, as it says of those that precede, in order to show that higher and spiritual forms, such as the angels and the heavenly bodies, are perfect and stable in being, whereas inferior forms are imperfect and mutable. Hence the impression of such forms is signified by the gathering of the waters, and the appearing of the land. For "water," to use Augustine's words, "glides and flows away, the earth abides" (Gen. ad lit. ii, 11). Others, again, hold that the work of the third day was perfected on that day only as regards movement from place to place, and that for this reason Scripture had no reason to speak of it as made.
Ad secundum patet solutio secundum Augustinum, quia non oportet dicere quod terra primo esset cooperta aquis, et postmodum sint aquae congregatae; sed quod in tali congregatione fuerunt productae. Secundum vero alios, tripliciter respondetur, ut Augustinus dicit, I super Gen. ad Litt. Uno modo, ut aquae in maiorem altitudinem sint elevatae in loco ubi sunt congregatae. Nam mare esse altius terra experimento compertum est in mari rubro, ut Basilius dicit. Secundo, ut dicatur quod rarior aqua velut nebula, terras tegebat, quae congregatione densata est. Tertio modo, ut dicatur quod terra potuit aliquas partes praebere concavas, quibus confluentes aquae reciperentur. Inter quas prima videtur probabilior.   Reply to Objection 2: This argument is easily solved, according to Augustine's opinion (De Gen. Contr. Manich. i), because we need not suppose that the earth was first covered by the waters, and that these were afterwards gathered together, but that they were produced in this very gathering together. But according to the other writers there are three solutions, which Augustine gives (Gen. ad lit. i, 12). The first supposes that the waters are heaped up to a greater height at the place where they were gathered together, for it has been proved in regard to the Red Sea, that the sea is higher than the land, as Basil remarks (Hom. iv in Hexaem.). The second explains the water that covered the earth as being rarefied or nebulous, which was afterwards condensed when the waters were gathered together. The third suggests the existence of hollows in the earth, to receive the confluence of waters. Of the above the first seems the most probable.
Ad tertium dicendum quod omnes aquae unum terminum habent, scilicet mare, in quod confluunt vel manifestis vel occultis meatibus. Et propter hoc dicuntur aquae congregari in unum locum. Vel dicit unum locum, non simpliciter, sed per comparationem ad locum terrae siccae; ut sit sensus, congregentur aquae in unum locum, idest, seorsum a terra sicca. Nam ad designandam pluralitatem locorum aquae, subdit quod congregationes aquarum appellavit maria.   Reply to Objection 3: All the waters have the sea as their goal, into which they flow by channels hidden or apparent, and this may be the reason why they are said to be gathered together into one place. Or, "one place" is to be understood not simply, but as contrasted with the place of the dry land, so that the sense would be, "Let the waters be gathered together in one place," that is, apart from the dry land. That the waters occupied more places than one seems to be implied by the words that follow, "The gathering together of the waters He called Seas."
Ad quartum dicendum quod iussio Dei naturalem motum corporibus praebet. Unde dicitur quod suis naturalibus motibus faciunt verbum eius. Vel potest dici quod naturale esset quod aqua undique esset circa terram, sicut aer undique est circa aquam et terram; sed propter necessitatem finis, ut scilicet animalia et plantae essent super terram, oportuit quod aliqua pars terrae esset discooperta aquis. Quod quidem aliqui philosophi attribuunt actioni solis, per elevationem vaporum desiccantis terram. Sed sacra Scriptura attribuit hoc potestati divinae, non solum in Genesi, sed etiam in Iob XXXVIII, ubi ex persona domini dicitur, circumdedi mare terminis meis; et Ierem. V, me ergo non timebitis, ait dominus, qui posui arenam terminum mari?   Reply to Objection 4: The Divine command gives bodies their natural movement and by these natural movements they are said to "fulfill His word." Or we may say that it was according to the nature of water completely to cover the earth, just as the air completely surrounds both water and earth; but as a necessary means towards an end, namely, that plants and animals might be on the earth, it was necessary for the waters to be withdrawn from a portion of the earth. Some philosophers attribute this uncovering of the earth's surface to the action of the sun lifting up the vapors and thus drying the land. Scripture, however, attributes it to the Divine power, not only in the Book of Genesis, but also Job 38:10 where in the person of the Lord it is said, "I set My bounds around the sea," and Jer. 5:22, where it is written: "Will you not then fear Me, saith the Lord, who have set the sand a bound for the sea?"
Ad quintum dicendum quod, secundum Augustinum, per terram de qua primo fiebat mentio, intelligitur materia prima, nunc autem intelligitur ipsum elementum terrae. Vel potest dici, secundum Basilium, quod primo nominabatur terra secundum naturam suam, nunc autem nominatur ex sua principali proprietate, quae est siccitas. Unde dicitur quod vocavit aridam, terram. Vel potest dici, secundum Rabbi Moysen, quod ubicumque dicitur vocavit, significatur aequivocatio nominis. Unde prius dictum est quod vocavit lucem, diem, propter hoc quod etiam dies vocatur spatium vigintiquatuor horarum, secundum quod ibidem dicitur, factum est vespere et mane dies unus. Similiter dicitur quod firmamentum, idest aerem, vocavit caelum, quia etiam caelum dicitur quod est primo creatum. Similiter etiam dicitur hic quod aridam, idest illam partem quae est discooperta aquis, vocavit terram, prout distinguitur contra mare, quamvis communi nomine terra vocetur, sive sit aquis cooperta, sive discooperta. Intelligitur autem ubique per hoc quod dicitur vocavit, idest, dedit naturam vel proprietatem ut possit sic vocari.   Reply to Objection 5: 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. Again it may be said with Basil (Hom. iv in Hexaem.), that the earth is mentioned in the first passage in respect of its nature, but here in respect of its principal property, namely, dryness. Wherefore it is written: "He called the dry land, Earth." It may also be said with Rabbi Moses, that the expression, "He called," denotes throughout an equivocal use of the name imposed. Thus we find it said at first that "He called the light Day": for the reason that later on a period of twenty-four hours is also called day, where it is said that "there was evening and morning, one day." In like manner it is said that "the firmament," that is, the air, "He called heaven": for that which was first created was also called "heaven." And here, again, it is said that "the dry land," that is, the part from which the waters had withdrawn, "He called, Earth," as distinct from the sea; although the name earth is equally applied to that which is covered with waters or not. So by the expression "He called" we are to understand throughout that the nature or property He bestowed corresponded to the name He gave.


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Question: 69  [<< | >>]
Article: 2  [<< | >>]

Whether it was fitting that the production of plants should take place on the third day?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod plantarum productio inconvenienter tertia die facta legatur. Plantae enim habent vitam sicut et animalia. Sed productio animalium non ponitur inter opera distinctionis, sed pertinet ad opus ornatus. Ergo nec productio plantarum commemorari debuit in tertia die, quae pertinet ad opus distinctionis.   Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting that the production of plants should take place on the third day. For plants have life, as animals have. But the production of animals belongs to the work, not of distinction, but of adornment. Therefore the production of plants, as also belonging to the work of adornment, ought not to be recorded as taking place on the third day, which is devoted to the work of distinction.
Praeterea, illud quod pertinet ad maledictionem terrae, non debuit commemorari cum formatione terrae. Sed productio quarundam plantarum pertinet ad maledictionem terrae; secundum illud Gen. III, maledicta terra in opere tuo, spinas et tribulos germinabit tibi. Ergo productio plantarum universaliter non debuit commemorari in tertia die, quae pertinet ad formationem terrae.   Objection 2: Further, a work by which the earth is accursed should have been recorded apart from the work by which it receives its form. But the words of Gn. 3:17, "Cursed is the earth in thy work, thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee," show that by the production of certain plants the earth was accursed. Therefore the production of plants in general should not have been recorded on the third day, which is concerned with the work of formation.
Praeterea, sicut plantae adhaerent terrae, ita etiam lapides et metalla; et tamen non fit mentio de eis in terrae formatione. Ergo nec plantae fieri debuerunt tertia die.   Objection 3: Further, as plants are firmly fixed to the earth, so are stones and metals, which are, nevertheless, not mentioned in the work of formation. Plants, therefore, ought not to have been made on the third day.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Gen. I, protulit terra herbam virentem; et postea sequitur, factum est vespere et mane dies tertius.   On the contrary, It is said (Gn. 1:12): "The earth brought forth the green herb," after which there follows, "The evening and the morning were the third day."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, in tertia die informitas terrae removetur. Duplex autem informitas circa terram describebatur, una, quod erat invisibilis vel inanis, quia erat aquis cooperta; alia, quod erat incomposita sive vacua, idest non habens debitum decorem, qui acquiritur terrae ex plantis eam quodammodo vestientibus. Et ideo utraque informitas in hac tertia die removetur, prima quidem, per hoc quod aquae congregatae sunt in unum locum, et apparuit arida; secunda vero, per hoc quod protulit terra herbam virentem. Sed tamen circa productionem plantarum, aliter opinatur Augustinus ab aliis. Alii enim expositores dicunt quod plantae productae sunt actu in suis speciebus in hac tertia die, secundum quod superficies litterae sonat. Augustinus autem, V Sup. Gen. ad Litt., dicit quod causaliter tunc dictum est produxisse terram herbam et lignum, idest producendi accepisse virtutem. Et hoc quidem confirmat auctoritate Scripturae. Dicitur enim Gen. II, istae sunt generationes caeli et terrae, quando creata sunt, in die quo Deus fecit caelum et terram, et omne virgultum agri, antequam oriretur in terra, omnemque herbam regionis, priusquam germinaret. Ante ergo quam orirentur super terram, factae sunt causaliter in terra. Confirmat autem hoc etiam ratione. Quia in illis primis diebus condidit Deus creaturam originaliter vel causaliter, a quo opere postmodum requievit, qui tamen postmodum, secundum administrationem rerum conditarum per opus propagationis, usque modo operatur. Producere autem plantas ex terra, ad opus propagationis pertinet. Non ergo in tertia die productae sunt plantae in actu, sed causaliter tantum. Quamvis, secundum alios, dici possit quod prima institutio specierum ad opera sex dierum pertinet, sed quod ex speciebus primo institutis generatio similium in specie procedat, hoc iam pertinet ad rerum administrationem. Et hoc est quod Scriptura dicit, antequam oriretur super terram, vel antequam germinaret; idest, antequam ex similibus similia producerentur, sicut nunc naturaliter fieri videmus secundum viam seminationis. Unde signanter Scriptura dicit, germinet terra herbam virentem et facientem semen, quia scilicet sunt productae perfectae species plantarum, ex quibus semina aliarum orirentur. Nec refert ubicumque habeant vim seminativam, utrum scilicet in radice, vel in stipite, vel in fructu.   I answer that, On the third day, as said (Article [1]), the formless state of the earth comes to an end. But this state is described as twofold. On the one hand, the earth was "invisible" or "void," being covered by the waters; on the other hand, it was "shapeless" or "empty," that is, without that comeliness which it owes to the plants that clothe it, as it were, with a garment. Thus, therefore, in either respect this formless state ends on the third day: first, when "the waters were gathered together into one place and the dry land appeared"; secondly, when "the earth brought forth the green herb." But concerning the production of plants, Augustine's opinion differs from that of others. For other commentators, in accordance with the surface meaning of the text, consider that the plants were produced in act in their various species on this third day; whereas Augustine (Gen. ad lit. v, 5; viii, 3) says that the earth is said to have then produced plants and trees in their causes, that is, it received then the power to produce them. He supports this view by the authority of Scripture, for it is said (Gn. 2:4,5): "These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that . . . God made the heaven and the earth, and every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew." Therefore, the production of plants in their causes, within the earth, took place before they sprang up from the earth's surface. And this is confirmed by reason, as follows. In these first days God created all things in their origin or causes, and from this work He subsequently rested. Yet afterwards, by governing His creatures, in the work of propagation, "He worketh until now."Now the production of plants from out the earth is a work of propagation, and therefore they were not produced in act on the third day, but in their causes only. However, in accordance with other writers, it may be said that the first constitution of species belongs to the work of the six days, but the reproduction among them of like from like, to the government of the universe. And Scripture indicates this in the words, "before it sprung up in the earth," and "before it grew," that is, before like was produced from like; just as now happens in the natural course by the production of seed. Wherefore Scripture says pointedly (Gn. 1:11): "Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed," as indicating the production of perfection of perfect species, from which the seed of others should arise. Nor does the question where the seminal power may reside, whether in root, stem, or fruit, affect the argument.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod vita in plantis est occulta, quia carent motu locali et sensu, quibus animatum ab inanimato maxime distinguitur. Et ideo, quia immobiliter terrae inhaerent, earum productio ponitur quasi quaedam terrae formatio.   Reply to Objection 1: Life in plants is hidden, since they lack sense and local movement, by which the animate and the inanimate are chiefly discernible. And therefore, since they are firmly fixed in the earth, their production is treated as a part of the earth's formation.
Ad secundum dicendum quod etiam ante illam maledictionem, spinae et tribuli producti erant vel virtute vel actu. Sed non erant producti homini in poenam; ut scilicet terra quam propter cibum coleret, infructuosa quaedam et noxia germinaret. Unde dictum est, germinabit tibi.   Reply to Objection 2: Even before the earth was accursed, thorns and thistles had been produced, either virtually or actually. But they were not produced in punishment of man; as though the earth, which he tilled to gain his food, produced unfruitful and noxious plants. Hence it is said: "Shall it bring forth TO THEE."
Ad tertium dicendum quod Moyses ea tantum proposuit quae in manifesto apparent, sicut iam dictum est. Corpora autem mineralia habent generationem occultam in visceribus terrae. Et iterum, non habent manifestam distinctionem a terra, sed quaedam terrae species videntur. Et ideo de eis mentionem non fecit.   Reply to Objection 3: Moses put before the people such things only as were manifest to their senses, as we have said (Question [67], Article [4]; Question [68], Article [3]). But minerals are generated in hidden ways within the bowels of the earth. Moreover they seem hardly specifically distinct from earth, and would seem to be species thereof. For this reason, therefore, he makes no mention of them.

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