Chapter XXXIV.—Time of Making the World.
“But you will say, When was the world made? And why so late? This you might have objected, though it had been made sooner. For you might say, Why not also before this? And so, going back through unmeasured ages, you might still ask, And why not sooner? But we are not now discussing this, why it was not made sooner; but whether it was made at all. For if it is manifest that it was made, it is necessarily the work of a powerful and supreme Artificer; and if this is evident, it must be left to the choice and judgment of the wise Artificer when He should please to make it; unless indeed you think that all this wisdom, which has constructed the immense fabric of the world, and has given to the several objects their forms and kinds, assigning to them a habit not only in accordance with beauty, but also most convenient and necessary for their future uses,—unless, I say, you think that this alone has escaped it, that it should choose a convenient season for so magnificent a work of creation. He has doubtless a certain reason and evident causes why, and when, and how He made the world; but it were not proper that these should be disclosed to those who are reluctant to inquire into and understand the things which are placed before their eyes, and which testify of His providence. For those things which are kept in secret, and are hidden within the senses of Wisdom, as in a royal treasury, are laid open to none but those who have learned of Him, with whom these things are sealed and laid up. It is God, therefore, who made all things, and Himself was made by none. But those who speak of nature instead of God, and declare that all things were made by nature, do not perceive the mistake of the name which they use. For if they think that nature is irrational, it is most foolish to suppose that a rational creature can proceed from an irrational creator. But if it is Reason—that is, Logos 817 —by which it appears that all things were made, they change the name without purpose, when they make statements concerning the reason of the Creator. If you have anything to say to these things, my father, say on.”
[Comp. John i. 1-3. The expression seems to be used here with a polemic purpose.—R.]