Genesis 1:14

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
Look first on the firmament of heaven, which was made before the sun. Look first on the earth, which began to be visible and was already formed before the sun put in its appearance. Look at the plants of the earth, which preceded in time the light of the sun. The bramble preceded the sun. The blade of grass is older than the moon. Therefore, do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred. Three days have passed. No one, meanwhile, has looked for the sun, yet the brilliance of light has been in evidence everywhere. For the day too has its light, which is itself the precursor of the sun. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We should not interpret the signs as something other than times. For Scripture is now speaking of these times that by their distinct intervals convey to us that eternity remains immutable above them so that time might appear as a sign, that is, as a vestige of eternity. Likewise, when it adds, “and for days and for years,” it shows of what times it is speaking. These days come about by the revolution of the fixed stars, and from this it becomes obvious when the sun completes its starry course in a particular year. ...
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Basil the Great

AD 379
1. At the shows in the circus the spectator must join in the efforts of the athletes. This the laws of the show indicate, for they prescribe that all should have the head uncovered when present at the stadium. The object of this, in my opinion, is that each one there should not only be a spectator of the athletes, but be, in a certain measure, a true athlete himself. Thus, to investigate the great and prodigious show of creation, to understand supreme and ineffable wisdom, you must bring personal light for the contemplation of the wonders which I spread before your eyes, and help me, according to your power, in this struggle, where you are not so much judges as fellow combatants, for fear lest the truth might escape you, and lest my error might turn to your common prejudice. Why these words? It is because we propose to study the world as a whole, and to consider the universe, not by the light of worldly wisdom, but by that with which God wills to enlighten His servant, when He speaks t...
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Basil the Great

AD 379
says Scripture, not to produce them but to rule them; because day and night are older than the creation of the luminaries and it is this that the psalm declares to us. The sun to rule by day...the moon and stars to rule by night. How does the sun rule by day? Because carrying everywhere light with it, it is no sooner risen above the horizon than it drives away darkness and brings us day. Thus we might, without self deception, define day as air lighted by the sun, or as the space of time that the sun passes in our hemisphere. The functions of the sun and moon serve further to mark years. The moon, after having twelve times run her course, forms a year which sometimes needs an intercalary month to make it exactly agree with the seasons. Such was formerly the year of the Hebrews and of the early Greeks. As to the solar year, it is the time that the sun, having started from a certain sign, takes to return to it in its normal progress. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
7. They do not, however, stop here; even our acts, where each one feels his will ruling, I mean, the practice of virtue or of vice, depend, according to them, on the influence of celestial bodies. It would be ridiculous seriously to refute such an error, but, as it holds a great many in its nets, perhaps it is better not to pass it over in silence. I would first ask them if the figures which the stars describe do not change a thousand times a day. In the perpetual motion of planets, some meet in a more rapid course, others make slower revolutions, and often in an hour we see them look at each other and then hide themselves. Now, at the hour of birth, it is very important whether one is looked upon by a beneficent star or by an evil one, to speak their language. Often then the astrologers do not seize the moment when a good star shows itself, and, on account of having let this fugitive moment escape, they enrol the newborn under the influence of a bad genius. I am compelled to use their...

Basil the Great

AD 379
“Let them serve,” he says, “for the fixing of days,” not for making days but for ordering the days. For day and night are earlier than the generation of the luminaries. This the psalm declares to us when it says: “He placed the sun to rule the day, the moon and stars to rule the night.” How, then, does the sun rule the day? Because, whenever the sun, carrying the light around with it, rises above our horizon, it puts an end to the darkness and brings us the day. Therefore one would not err if he would define the day as air, lighted by the sun, or as the measure of time in which the sun tarries in the hemisphere above the earth. But the sun and the moon were also appointed to be for the years. The moon, when it has completed its course twelve times, measures a year, except that it frequently needs an intercalary month for the accurate determination of the seasons, as the Hebrews and the most ancient Greeks formerly measured the year. The solar year is the return of the sun from a certai...

Basil the Great

AD 379
6. But what effects are produced? Such an one will have curly hair and bright eyes, because he is born under the Ram; such is the appearance of a ram. He will have noble feelings; because the Ram is born to command. He will be liberal and fertile in resources, because this animal gets rid of its fleece without trouble, and nature immediately hastens to reclothe it. Another is born under the Bull: he will be enured to hardship and of a slavish character, because the bull bows under the yoke. Another is born under the Scorpion; like to this venomous reptile he will be a striker. He who is born under the Balance will be just, thanks to the justness of our balances. Is not this the height of folly? This Ram, from whence you draw the nativity of man, is the twelfth part of the heaven, and in entering into it the sun reaches the spring. The Balance and the Bull are likewise twelfth parts of the Zodiac. How can you see there the principal causes which influence the life of man? And why do you...

Basil the Great

AD 379
We have spoken about signs. By times, we understand the succession of seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn, which we see follow each other in so regular a course, thanks to the regularity of the movement of the luminaries. It is winter when the sun sojourns in the south and produces in abundance the shades of night in our region. The air spread over the earth is chilly, and the damp exhalations, which gather over our heads, give rise to rains, to frosts, to innumerable flakes of snow. When, returning from the southern regions, the sun is in the middle of the heavens and divides day and night into equal parts, the more it sojourns above the earth the more it brings back a mild temperature to us. Then comes spring, which makes all the plants germinate, and gives to the greater part of the trees their new life, and, by successive generation, perpetuates all the land and water animals. From thence the sun, returning to the summer solstice, in the direction of the North, gives us the ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
5. But those who overstep the borders, making the words of Scripture their apology for the art of casting nativities, pretend that our lives depend upon the motion of the heavenly bodies, and that thus the Chaldæans read in the planets that which will happen to us. By these very simple words let them be for signs, they understand neither the variations of the weather, nor the change of seasons; they only see in them, at the will of their imagination, the distribution of human destinies. What do they say in reality? When the planets cross in the signs of the Zodiac, certain figures formed by their meeting give birth to certain destinies, and others produce different destinies. Perhaps for clearness sake it is not useless to enter into more detail about this vain science. I will say nothing of my own to refute them; I will use their words, bringing a remedy for the infected, and for others a preservative from falling. The inventors of astrology seeing that in the extent of time many s...

Basil the Great

AD 379
3. And let no one suppose it to be a thing incredible that the brightness of the light is one thing, and the body which is its material vehicle is another. First, in all composite things, we distinguish substance susceptible of quality, and the quality which it receives. The nature of whiteness is one thing, another is that of the body which is whitened; thus the natures differ which we have just seen reunited by the power of the Creator. And do not tell me that it is impossible to separate them. Even I do not pretend to be able to separate light from the body of the sun; but I maintain that that which we separate in thought, may be separated in reality by the Creator of nature. You cannot, moreover, separate the brightness of fire from the virtue of burning which it possesses; but God, who wished to attract His servant by a wonderful sight, set a fire in the burning bush, which displayed all the brilliancy of flame while its devouring property was dormant. It is that which the Psalmis...
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Basil the Great

AD 379
Heaven and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth. That is why there was a fourth day, and then God said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven. When once you have learned Who spoke, think immediately of the hearer. God said, Let there be lights...and God made two great lights. Who spoke? And Who made? Do you not see a double person? Everywhere, in mystic language, history is sown with the dogmas of theology. The motive follows which caused the lights to be c...
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Basil the Great

AD 379
The signs which the luminaries give are necessary to human life. In fact what useful observations will long experience make us discover, if we ask without undue curiosity! What signs of rain, of drought, or of the rising of the wind, partial or general, violent or moderate! Our Lord indicates to us one of the signs given by the sun when He says, It will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering. Matthew 16:3 In fact, when the sun rises through a fog, its rays are darkened, but the disc appears burning like a coal and of a bloody red colour. It is the thickness of the air which causes this appearance; as the rays of the sun do not disperse such amassed and condensed air, it cannot certainly be retained by the waves of vapour which exhale from the earth, and it will cause from superabundance of moisture a storm in the countries over which it accumulates. In the same way, when the moon is surrounded with moisture, or when the sun is encircled with what is called a halo, it is...
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Cyril of Jerusalem

AD 386
Men ought to have been astonished and amazed not only at the arrangement of the sun and moon but also at the wellordered movements of the stars and their unfettered courses and the timely rising of each of them; how some are signs of summer, others of winter; how some indicate the time for sowing, others the times of navigation. ...
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Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
After Moses spoke about the gathering of the waters and about the sprouting of the vegetation on the earth on the third day, he turned to write about the lights that were created in the firmament saying, "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night'," [ Gen1:14 ] that is, one to rule over the day and the other [ to rule ] over the night. That [ God ] said, "Let them be for signs," [ Gen1:14 ] [ refers to ] measures of time, and "let them be for seasons," clearly indicates summer and winter. "Let them be for days," are measured by the rising and setting of the sun, and "let them be for years," are comprised of the daily cycles of the sun and the monthly cycles of the moon. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
For signs. Not to countenance the delusive observations of astrologers, but to give notice of rain, of the proper seasons for sowing (Menochius) If the sun was made on the first day, as some assert, there is nothing new created on this fourth day. By specifying the use and creation of these heavenly bodies, Moses shows the folly of the Gentiles, who adored them as gods, and the impiety of those who pretend that human affairs are under the fatal influence of the planets. See St. Augustine, Confessions iv. 3. The Hebrew term mohadim, which is here rendered seasons, may signify either months, or the times for assembling to worship God; (Calmet) a practice, no doubt, established from the beginning every week, and probably also the first day of the new moon, a day which the Jews afterwards religiously observed. Plato calls the sun and planets the organs of time, of which, independently of their stated revolutions, man could have formed no conception. The day is completed in twenty-four hou...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For that reason the blessed Moses, inspired by the divine Spirit, teaches us with great precision, lest we fall victim to the same things as they, instead of being able to know clearly both the sequence of created things and how each thing was created. You see, if God in his care for our salvation had not directed the tongue of the biblical author in this way, it would have been sufficient to say that God made heaven and earth, the sea and living things, and not add the order of the days nor what was created first and what later. ...

John of Damascus

AD 749
Fire is one of the four elements. It is light and more buoyant than the others, and it both burns and gives light. It was made by the Creator on the first day, for sacred Scripture says, “And God said: Be light made. And light was made.” According to what some say, fire is the same thing as light…. And into the luminaries of the firmament the Creator put the primordial light, not that he was in want of any other light but that that particular light might not remain idle. For the luminary is not the light itself but its receptacle. ...

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
Let there be lights made in the firmament: Some might say that the lights should have been produced at the same time as the firmament, that is to say, on the second day. But Moses describes what is obvious to sense, out of condescension to popular ignorance, as we have already said (67, 4; 68, 3). For although to the senses there appears but one firmament; if we admit a higher and a lower firmament, the lower will be that which was made on the second day, and on the fourth the stars were fixed in the higher firmament. According to Ptolemy the heavenly luminaries are not fixed in the spheres, but have their own movement distinct from the movement of the spheres. Wherefore Chrysostom says (Hom. vi in Gen.) that He is said to have set them in the firmament, not because He fixed them there immovably, but because He bade them to be there, even as He placed man in Paradise, to be there. Lights: Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii), "Let no one esteem the heavens or the heavenly bodies to be ...
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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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