One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever.
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Ambrose of Milan
By the will of God, therefore, the earth remains immovable. “The earth stands forever,” according to Ecclesiastes, yet it is moved and nods according to the will of God. It does not therefore continue to exist because based on its own foundations. It does not stay stable because of its own props. The Lord established it by the support of his will, because “in his hand are all the ends of the earth.” The simplicity of this faith is worth all the proffered proofs. .
The sun has existed since it was created and will exist and be one and the same as long as God wants it. But if I say … that humankind remains forever, I do not mean one and the same human being but the whole succession of generations. The same is true for other mortal beings and plants.… One generation goes and one generation comes. The generation that goes is destroyed by death; the one that comes is the one that is born. .
What good does the possessor of many acres gain in the end, except that the foolish person thinks his own that which never belongs to him? Seemingly, in his greed he is ignorant that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof,” and that “God is king of all the earth.” It is the passion of having which gives people a false title of lordship over that which can never belong to them. “The earth,” says the wise Preacher, “abides for ever,” ministering to every generation, first one, then another, that is born upon it. People, though they are so little even their own masters, because they are brought into life without knowing it by their Maker’s will and before they wish are withdrawn from it, nevertheless in their excessive vanity think that they are life’s lords and think that they, now born, now dying, rule that which remains continually.