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Genesis 1:9

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Hence, at the words “Let the waters be gathered together, and let dry land appear,” these two things [earth and water] received their proper forms familiar to us and perceived by our senses, water being made fluid and earth solid. Of water, therefore, it is said, “Let it be gathered”; of earth, “Let it appear.” For water tends to ebb and flow, but earth remains immobile. . ...
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Now when Scripture says, “Let the water which is below the heavens be gathered into one gathering,” these words mean that this corporeal matter is to be formed into the beauty that these visible waters have. This gathering into one place is the formation of these waters that we see and touch. For every form is reduced to a rule of unity. What else should we understand is meant by the words “let the dry land appear” than this matter receives the visible form that this earth that we see and touch now has? Hence the previous expression “the earth was invisible and without form” signified the confusion and obscurity of matter, and the expression “the water over which the spirit of God was borne” signified that same matter. But now this water and earth are formed from that matter that was called by their names before it had received the forms that we now see. . ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
1. There are towns where the inhabitants, from dawn to eve, feast their eyes on the tricks of innumerable conjurors. They are never tired of hearing dissolute songs which cause much impurity to spring up in their souls, and they are often called happy, because they neglect the cares of business and trades useful to life, and pass the time, which is assigned to them on this earth, in idleness and pleasure. They do not know that a theatre full of impure sights is, for those who sit there, a common school of vice; that these melodious and meretricious songs insinuate themselves into men's souls, and all who hear them, eager to imitate the notes of harpers and pipers, are filled with filthiness. Some others, who are wild after horses, think they are backing their horses in their dreams; they harness their chariots, change their drivers, and even in sleep are not free from the folly of the day. And shall we, whom the Lord, the great worker of marvels, calls to the contemplation of His own w...

Basil the Great

AD 379
What trouble you have given me in my previous discourses by asking me why the earth was invisible, why all bodies are naturally endued with colour, and why all colour comes under the sense of sight. And, perhaps, my reason did not appear sufficient to you, when I said that the earth, without being naturally invisible, was so to us, because of the mass of water that entirely covered it. Hear then how Scripture explains itself. Let the waters be gathered together, and let the dry land appear. The veil is lifted and allows the earth, hitherto invisible, to be seen. Perhaps you will ask me new questions. And first, is it not a law of nature that water flows downwards? Why, then, does Scripture refer this to the fiat of the Creator? As long as water is spread over a level surface, it does not flow; it is immovable. But when it finds any slope, immediately the foremost portion falls, then the one that follows takes its place, and that one is itself replaced by a third. Thus incessantly they ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
The waters that the earth drank on the first day were not salty. Even if they were like the deep on the surface of the earth, they were still not seas. For it was in the seas that these waters, which were not salty before being gathered together, became salty. When they were sent throughout the entire earth for the earth to drink they were sweet, but when they were gathered into seas on the third day, they became salty, lest they become stagnant due to their being gathered together and so that they might receive the rivers that enter into them without increasing. For the quantity that the seas require for nourishment is the measure of the rivers that flow down into them. The rivers flow down into the seas lest the heat of the sun dry them up. The saltiness [ of the seas ] then swallows up [ the rivers ] lest they increase, rise up and cover the earth. Thus the rivers turn into nothing, as it were, because the saltiness of the sea swallows them up. Even if the seas were created when th...

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
As for the question of precisely how any single thing came into existence, we must banish it altogether from our discussion. Even in the case of things which are quite within the grasp of our understanding and of which we have sensible perception, it would be impossible for the speculative reason to grasp the “how” of the production of the phenomenon, so much so that even inspired and saintly men have deemed such questions insoluble. For instance, the apostle says, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen are not made of things which do appear.” … Let us, following the example of the apostle, leave the question of the “how” in each created thing without meddling with it at all but merely observing incidentally that the movement of God’s will becomes at any moment that he pleases a fact, and the intention becomes at once realized in nature. . ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Have you seen, dear brother, how God, in a sense, stripped the earth, which was invisible and formless, and was covered by the waters as if they were veils, and showed us its face, after he had imposed an appropriate name on it as well? “And the gatherings of the waters he called seas.” So the waters also got their name. In fact, as an excellent craftsman, who sets out to make with his art a certain vase, does not give it a name until he has completed it, so the good Lord does not impose names on the elements until he has put them in their proper place according to his command. Therefore after the earth had received its name and had reached its proper form, the gathered waters were called with their own name. ...

John of Damascus

AD 749
Now, the fact that Scripture speaks of one gathering does not mean that they were gathered together into one place, for notice that after this it says: “And the gathering together of the waters he called seas.” Actually, the account meant that the waters were segregated by themselves apart from the earth. And so the waters were brought together into their gathering places and the dry land appeared. ...
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Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Then it forthwith becomes "visible," God saying, "Let the water be gathered together into one mass, and let the dry land appear." Genesis 1:9 "Appear," says He, not "be made." It had been already made, only in its invisible condition it was then waiting to appear. "Dry," because it was about to become such by its severance from the moisture, but yet "land." [Against Hermagenes 29] ...
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Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
One place: 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. Let the waters be gathered together in one place: that is, apart from the dry land. Let the dry land appear: 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 (68, 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." ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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