And the earth brought forth vegetation, and plants yielding seed after their kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind: and God saw that it was good.
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Ambrose of Milan
Let everyone be informed that the sun is not the author of vegetation…. How can the sun give the faculty of life to growing plants when these have already been brought forth by the lifegiving creative power of God before the sun entered into such a life as this? The sun is younger than the green shoot, younger than the green plant.
The Manichaeans are accustomed to say, “If God commanded that the edible plants and the fruit trees come forth from the earth, who commanded that there come forth so many thorny or poisonous plants that are useless for food and so many trees that bear no fruit?” … We should say then that the earth was cursed by reason of the sin of man so that it bears thorns, not that it should suffer punishment since it is without sensation but that it should always set before the eyes of man the judgment upon human sin. Thus men might be admonished by it to turn away from sins and to turn to God’s commandments. Poisonous plants were created as a punishment or as a trial for mortals. All this is the result of sin. .
When I hear “grass,” I think of grass, and in the same manner I understand everything as it is said: a plant, a fish, a wild animal and an ox. Indeed, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” … (Some) have attempted by false arguments and allegorical interpretations to bestow on the Scripture a dignity of their own imagining. But theirs is the attitude of one who considers himself wiser than the revelations of the Spirit and introduces his own ideas in pretense of an explanation. Therefore, let it be understood as it has been written.
At this saying all the dense woods appeared; all the trees shot up…. Likewise all the shrubs were immediately thick with leaf and bushy; and the socalled garland plants … all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously on the earth…. “Let the earth bring forth.” This brief command was immediately a mighty nature and an elaborate system which brought to perfection more swiftly than our thought the countless properties of plants. ,
On the third day, when the waters flowed together into their places, dry land appeared and was soon covered with green grass and leafy groves; and with the beginning of the third age, when the races had separated into their own places, as for the idolaters, whose error, unstable and changeable by the vain doctrines of idols, as if by all the winds, is rightly signified by the term ‘sea’, the seed of the fathers was separated from their [the idolaters’] society and made rich with spiritual fruit, with the Lord saying to Abraham, ‘Go out from your land and kindred and from the house of your fathers into the land which I will show you and I will make you into a great race and I will bless you’, etc. until he said, ‘And in you the kindred of the whole earth will be blessed’. In that race the different ranks of the faithful, just like green grass and apple-bearing trees, came forth from one and the same earth, receiving the celestial showers of holy speech. However, this day also began to d...
Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless like trees years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches. The grass that would be required as food for the animals that were to be created two days later was thus made ready. And the new corn that would be food for Adam and his descendants, who would be thrown out of paradise four days later, was thus prepared. –.
And to such a degree has the Holy Ghost made this the rule of His Scripture, that whenever anything is made out of anything, He mentions both the thing that is made and the thing of which it is made. "Let the earth," says He, "bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, after its kind. And it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind." Genesis 1:11-12 [Against Hermagenes 22]