These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
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Augustine of Hippo
Why after mentioning heaven and earth does this passage add “vegetation of the field and food” while remaining silent about so many other things that are in heaven and earth or even the sea, unless it wants “vegetation of the field” to be understood as an invisible created thing such as the soul? For “field” is often used figuratively in Scripture to represent the world…. Further on it adds “before they were upon the earth,” which means “before the soul sinned.” For once the soul was soiled with earthly desires, it was as if the soul was born on the earth, or its essence derived from the earth. Now God also makes the vegetation of the field, but by raining upon the earth; that is, he makes souls become green again by his word. But he waters them from the clouds, that is, from the writings of the prophets and apostles. .
The gentle face of the earth, that is, the dignity of the earth, may be correctly viewed as the mother of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, who was watered by the Holy Spirit, who is signified in the Gospel by the term water. .
Understand, O hearer, that although the days of creation were finished and God had blessed the sabbath day, which was sanctified, and he had completed his account, Moses still returned to tell the story of the beginning of creation even after the days of creation had been finished. “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth,” that is, this is the account of the fashioning of heaven and earth on the day when the Lord made heaven and earth, for as yet “no plant of the field was in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up.” Even if these things were not actually created on the first day—for they had been made on the third day—still Moses did not rashly introduce, on the first day, the report of those things that were created on the third day. For Moses said, “No plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of...
After speaking about the Sabbath rest, and how God had blessed and sanctified this day, Scripture returns to the narrative of the initial establishment of creation, this time passing over, with only a few words, things it had already spoken of and recounting at greater length matters it had previously omitted. Thus it begins to describe the history of creation for a second time: "These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created on the day that God made heaven and earth. None of the trees of the field was yet in existence, and the vegetation had not yet sprouted, seeing that He had not yet caused rain to fall on the earth, and Adam was not there to work on the earth. A fountain went up and irrigated the surface of the earth." [ Gen. 2:4 ]
You should realize, reader, that even though the days of creation were completed and Scripture had pronounced a blessing on the Sabbath day that had been sanctified and had brought it to a close, it now reverts to narrating the v...
Christ is that spring of which the prophet says, “It irrigates and waters the whole earth.” But Christ irrigates the whole universe, both visible and invisible; with the spring of life he waters the substance of everything that exists. Yet insofar as he is life, he is Christ; insofar as he waters, he is the Holy Spirit; insofar as he is the power of vitality, he is Father and God; but the whole is one God. ..
Day. Not that all things were made in one day: but God formed in succession; first, heaven and earth, then the ornaments of both. Every plant which on the first day did not spring up, (as water covered the surface of the earth,) on the 3d, by the command of God, without having any man to plant, or rain to water them, pushed forth luxuriantly, and manifested the power of the Creator. (Haydock)
Thus Christ founded his Church by his own power, and still gives her increase; but requires of his ministers to co-operate with him, as a gardener must now take care of the plants which originally grew without man's aid. (Du Hamel)
By observing that all natural means were here wanting for the production of plants, God asserts his sole right to the work, and confounds the Egyptian system, which attributed plants to the general warmth of the earth alone. (Calmet)
I mean, when it said heaven and earth, it included everything together in those words, both things on earth and things in heaven. So just as in its account of created things it doesn’t mention them all one by one but gives a summary of related items and makes no further attempt to describe them to us, so too it called the whole book the book about the origins of heaven and earth, even though it contains many other things, evidently leaving us to work out from the reference to these two that all visible things are of necessity contained in this book, both those in heaven and those on earth.
The earth in compliance with the Lord’s word and direction produced plants and was stirred into pangs of fertility without depending on the sun for assistance (how could it, after all, the sun not yet being created?), nor on the moisture from showers, nor on human labor (human beings, after all, not having been brought forth).
Notice again, I ask you, the insight of this remarkable author, or rather the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I mean, after narrating to us detail by detail all the items of creation and going through the works of the six days, the creation of human beings and the authority granted them over all visible things, now he sums them all up in the words, "This is the book about the origins of heaven and earth when they were created." It is worth enquiring at this point why it is he calls it the book of heaven and earth in view of the fact that the book contains many other things and teaches us about a greater number of matters about the virtue of good people, about God's loving kindness and the considerateness he demonstrated in regard both (99c) to the firstformed human being and to the whole human race, and about a lot of other things it would be impossible to list right now. Don't be surprised, dearly beloved; after all, it is the custom with Holy Scripture not to describe every thing to us ...
When "the earth brought forth the green herb." But concerning the production of plants, Augustine's opinion differs from that of others. For other commentators, in accordance with the surface meaning of the text, consider that the plants were produced in act in their various species on this third day; whereas Augustine (Gen. ad lit. v, 5; viii, 3) says that the earth is said to have then produced plants and trees in their causes, that is, it received then the power to produce them. He supports this view by the authority of Scripture, for it is said (Genesis 2:4-5): "These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that . . . God made the heaven and the earth, and every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew." Therefore, the production of plants in their causes, within the earth, took place before they sprang up from the earth's surface. And this is confirmed by reason, as follows. In thes...