In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
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Basil the Great
[The Manichaeans assert that] the form of the world is due to the wisdom of the supreme Artificer; matter came to the Creator from without; and thus the world results from a double origin. It has received from outside its matter and its essence and from God its form and figure. They thus come to deny that the mighty God has presided at the formation of the universe and pretend that he has only brought a crowning contribution to a common work, that he has only contributed some small portion to the genesis of beings. They are incapable from the debasement of their reasoning of raising their glances to the height of truth. Here below arts are subsequent to matter—introduced into life by the indispensable need of them. Wool existed before weaving made it supply one of nature’s imperfections. Wood existed before carpentering took possession of it and transformed it each day to supply new wants and made us see all the advantages derived from it, giving the oar to the sailor, the winnowing fan to the laborer, the lance to the soldier. But God, before all those things that now attract our notice existed, after casting about in his mind and determining to bring into being time which had no being, imagined the world such as it ought to be and created matter in harmony with the form that he wished to give it. He assigned to the heavens the nature adapted for the heavens and gave to the earth an essence in accordance with its form. He formed, as he wished, fire, air and water, and gave to each the essence that the object of its existence required. Finally, he welded all the diverse parts of the universe by links of indissoluble attachment and established between them so perfect a fellowship and harmony that the most distant, in spite of their distance, appeared united in one universal sympathy. Let those men therefore renounce their fabulous imaginations, who, in spite of the weakness of their argument, pretend to measure a power as incomprehensible to man’s reason as it is unutterable by man’s voice. God created the heavens and the earth, but not only half—he created all the heavens and all the earth, creating the essence with the form.