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Genesis 1:24

And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kinds, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kinds: and it was so
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We might infer that because the writer says three times “according to their kinds,” our attention is called to three classes. First quadrupeds and creeping things according to their kinds, and here I believe he has indicated what quadrupeds he means, namely, those that belong to the class of creeping things, such as lizards, amphibians, and the like. Thus, in repeating the enumeration of animals, the author did not repeat the name quadrupeds apparently because he included them in the term “creeping things.” With this in view, he did not say simply “creeping things” but rather “all creeping things of earth.” “Of earth” is added because there are also creeping things in the waters, and “all” is added to include those also that move on four feet, the class specifically intended above by the term quadruped. Next, the beasts are another class, indicated also by the expression “according to their kinds,” and they are all those animals, excluding reptiles, that prowl about with fearsome mouth...

Basil the Great

AD 379
The command of God advanced step by step and earth thus received her adornment. Yesterday it was said, Let the waters produce moving things, and today let the earth bring forth the living creature. Is the earth then alive? And are the mad-minded Manichæans right in giving it a soul? At these words Let the earth bring forth, it did not produce a germ contained in it, but He who gave the order at the same time gifted it with the grace and power to bring forth. When the earth had heard this command Let the earth bring forth grass and the tree yielding fruit, it was not grass that it had hidden in it that it caused to spring forth, it did not bring to the surface a palm tree, an oak, a cypress, hitherto kept back in its depths. It is the word of God which forms the nature of things created. Let the earth bring forth; that is to say not that she may bring forth that which she has but that she may acquire that which she lacks, when God gives her the power. Even so now, Let the earth bring fo...
26 mins2/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
Thus when the soul of brutes appeared it was not concealed in the earth, but it was born by the command of God. Brutes have one and the same soul of which the common characteristic is absence of reason. But each animal is distinguished by peculiar qualities. The ox is steady, the ass is lazy, the horse has strong passions, the wolf cannot be tamed, the fox is deceitful, the stag timid, the ant industrious, the dog grateful and faithful in his friendships. As each animal was created the distinctive character of his nature appeared in him in due measure; in the lion spirit, taste for solitary life, an unsociable character. True tyrant of animals, he, in his natural arrogance, admits but few to share his honours. He disdains his yesterday's food and never returns to the remains of the prey. Nature has provided his organs of voice with such great force that often much swifter animals are caught by his roaring alone. The panther, violent and impetuous in his leaps, has a body fitted for his...

Basil the Great

AD 379
The soul of brute beasts did not emerge after having been hidden in the earth, but it was called into existence of the time of the command.
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Basil the Great

AD 379
Formerly God had said: “Let the waters bring forth crawling creatures that have life,” here, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures.” Is the earth, then, possessed of life? And do the madminded Manichaeans hold the advantage, since they assume that the earth has a soul? No, when he said, “Let it bring forth,” it did not produce what was stored up in it, but he who gave the command also bestowed upon it the power to bring forth. Neither did the earth, when it heard, “Let it bring vegetation and the fruit trees,” produce plants that it had hidden in it…. On the contrary, it is the divine Word that is the origin of things made. “Let the earth bring forth”—meaning not let it put forth what it already has but let it acquire what it does not have, since God is enduing it with the power of active force. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
“Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” Consider the word of God moving through all creation, having begun at that time, active up to the present and efficacious until the end, even to the consummation of the world. As a ball, when pushed by someone and then meeting with a slope, is borne downward by its own shape and the inclination of the ground and does not stop before some level surface receives it, so too the nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation, without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the species through resemblance, until it reaches the very end. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
Let us glorify the Master Craftsman for all that has been done wisely and skillfully, and from the beauty of the visible things let us form an idea of him who is more than beautiful. And from the greatness of these perceptible and circumscribed bodies let us conceive of him who is infinite and immense and who surpasses all understanding in the plenitude of his power. For even if we are ignorant of things made, yet at least that which in general comes under our observation is so wonderful that even the most acute mind is shown to be at a loss as regards the least of the things in the world, either in the ability to explain it worthily or to render due praise to the Creator, to whom be all glory, honor and power forever. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
6. Beasts bear witness to the faith. Have you confidence in the Lord? Thou shall walk upon the asp and the basilisk and you shall trample under feet the lion and the dragon. With faith you have the power to walk upon serpents and scorpions. Do you not see that the viper which attached itself to the hand of Paul, while he gathered sticks, did not injure him, because it found the saint full of faith? If you have not faith, do not fear beasts so much as your faithlessness, which renders you susceptible of all corruption. But I see that for a long time you have been asking me for an account of the creation of man, and I think I can hear you all cry in your hearts, We are being taught the nature of our belongings, but we are ignorant of ourselves. Let me then speak of it, since it is necessary, and let me put an end to my hesitation. In truth the most difficult of sciences is to know one's self. Not only our eye, from which nothing outside us escapes, cannot see itself; but our mind, so pie...

Basil the Great

AD 379
1. How did you like the fare of my morning's discourse? It seemed to me that I had the good intentions of a poor giver of a feast, who, ambitious of having the credit of keeping a good table saddens his guests by the poor supply of the more expensive dishes. In vain he lavishly covers his table with his mean fare; his ambition only shows his folly. It is for you to judge if I have shared the same fate. Yet, whatever my discourse may have been, take care lest you disregard it. No one refused to sit at the table of Elisha; and yet he only gave his friends wild vegetables. 2 Kings 4:39 I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to m...
18 mins9/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
4. Virtues exist in us also by nature, and the soul has affinity with them not by education, but by nature herself. We do not need lessons to hate illness, but by ourselves we repel what afflicts us, the soul has no need of a master to teach us to avoid vice. Now all vice is a sickness of the soul as virtue is its health. Thus those have defined health well who have called it a regularity in the discharge of natural functions; a definition that can be applied without fear to the good condition of the soul. Thus, without having need of lessons, the soul can attain by herself to what is fit and conformable to nature. Hence it comes that temperance everywhere is praised, justice is in honour, courage admired, and prudence the object of all aims; virtues which concern the soul more than health concerns the body. Children love your parents, and you, parents provoke not your children to wrath. Does not nature say the same? Paul teaches us nothing new; he only tightens the links of nature. If...
4 mins10/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
2. Let the earth bring forth a living soul. Why did the earth produce a living soul? So that you may make a difference between the soul of cattle and that of man. You will soon learn how the human soul was formed; hear now about the soul of creatures devoid of reason. Since, according to Scripture, the life of every creature is in the blood, as the blood when thickened changes into flesh, and flesh when corrupted decomposes into earth, so the soul of beasts is naturally an earthy substance. Let the earth bring forth a living soul. See the affinity of the soul with blood, of blood with flesh, of flesh with earth; and remounting in an inverse sense from the earth to the flesh, from the flesh to the blood, from the blood to the soul, you will find that the soul of beasts is earth. Do not suppose that it is older than the essence of their body, nor that it survives the dissolution of the flesh; avoid the nonsense of those arrogant philosophers who do not blush to liken their soul to that o...
2 mins11/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
The command of God advanced step by step and earth thus received her adornment. Yesterday it was said, Let the waters produce moving things, and today let the earth bring forth the living creature. Is the earth then alive? And are the mad-minded Manichæans right in giving it a soul? At these words Let the earth bring forth, it did not produce a germ contained in it, but He who gave the order at the same time gifted it with the grace and power to bring forth. When the earth had heard this command Let the earth bring forth grass and the tree yielding fruit, it was not grass that it had hidden in it that it caused to spring forth, it did not bring to the surface a palm tree, an oak, a cypress, hitherto kept back in its depths. It is the word of God which forms the nature of things created. Let the earth bring forth; that is to say not that she may bring forth that which she has but that she may acquire that which she lacks, when God gives her the power. Even so now, Let the earth bring fo...
3 mins12/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
Behold the word of God pervading creation, beginning even then the efficacy which is seen displayed today, and will be displayed to the end of the world! As a ball, which one pushes, if it meet a declivity, descends, carried by its form and the nature of the ground and does not stop until it has reached a level surface; so nature, once put in motion by the Divine command, traverses creation with an equal step, through birth and death, and keeps up the succession of kinds through resemblance, to the last. Nature always makes a horse succeed to a horse, a lion to a lion, an eagle to an eagle, and preserving each animal by these uninterrupted successions she transmits it to the end of all things. Animals do not see their peculiarities destroyed or effaced by any length of time; their nature, as though it had been just constituted, follows the course of ages, for ever young. Let the earth bring forth the living creature. This command has continued and earth does not cease to obey the Creat...
2 mins13/18

Basil the Great

AD 379
5. But let us return to the spectacle of creation. The easiest animals to catch are the most productive. It is on account of this that hares and wild goats produce many little ones, and that wild sheep have twins, for fear lest these species should disappear, consumed by carnivorous animals. Beasts of prey, on the contrary, produce only a few and a lioness with difficulty gives birth to one lion; because, if they say truly, the cub issues from its mother by tearing her with its claws; and vipers are only born by gnawing through the womb, inflicting a proper punishment on their mother. Thus in nature all has been foreseen, all is the object of continual care. If you examine the members even of animals, you will find that the Creator has given them nothing superfluous, that He has omitted nothing that is necessary. To carnivorous animals He has given pointed teeth which their nature requires for their support. Those that are only half furnished with teeth have received several distinct r...
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Cyril of Jerusalem

AD 386
God said: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” Different natures of animals sprang forth from the one earth at a single command—the gentle sheep and the carnivorous lion—and the various tendencies of irrational animals that display analogies to various human characteristics. Thus the fox typifies the craftiness of men, the snake the venomous treachery of friends and the neighing horse the wanton young man. There is the busy ant to rouse the indolent and sluggish; for when a man spends an idle youth, then he is instructed by the irrational creatures, being chided by the sacred Scripture, which says, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, and considering her ways, emulate her and become wiser than she.” For when you observe her treasuring up food for herself in good season, imitate her. Treasure up for yourself the fruits of good works for the world to come. ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
After Moses spoke about the creation of the swarming things and of the birds and the sea serpents on the fifth day, he turned to write about the creeping things and the animals and the beasts that were created on the sixth day, saying, "And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and reptiles and beasts.'" [ Gen1:24 ] Although the entire earth was swarming with swarming things, nevertheless the cattle and the beasts were made on the border of Paradise so that they might dwell at the appointed place of Adam. , Then the entire earth stirred with creeping things as it had been commanded. The earth also brought forth the beasts of the field as companions to the wild beasts, and it brought forth as many beasts as would be useful for the service of that one who, on that very day, was to transgress the commandment of his Lord. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
It wasn’t simply for our use that he produced all these things; it was also for our benefit in the sense that we might see the overflowing abundance of his creatures and be overwhelmed at the Creator’s power, and be in a position to know that all these things were produced by a certain wisdom and ineffable love out of regard for the human being that was destined to come into being. ...
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Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
The saying that man and animals have a like beginning in generation is true of the body; for all animals alike are made of earth. But it is not true of the soul. For the souls of brutes are produced by some power of the body; whereas the human soul is produced by God. To signify this it is written as to other animals: "Let the earth bring forth the living soul" (Genesis 1:24): while of man it is written (Genesis 2:7) that "He breathed into his face the breath of life." ...
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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