Chap. XIV. — The World Compared to the Sea.

The sea is a picture of the world, and the Torah and the Prophets are the rivers of living waters that nourishes the sea, the world. The different types of islands are the different types of churches, ones that protect people from the wrath of the sea and judgments of God by the doctrines of truth. As opposed to the islands or churches that are heretical and not lovers of truth.

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Consider, further, their variety, and diverse beauty, and multitude, and how through them resurrection is exhibited, for a pattern of the resurrection of all men which is to be. For who that considers it will not marvel that a fig-tree is produced from a fig-seed, or that very huge trees grow from the other very little seeds? And we say that the world resembles the sea. For as the sea, if it had not had the influx and supply of the rivers and fountains to nourish it, would long since have been parched by reason of its saltiness; so also, the world, if it had not had the law of God and the prophets flowing and welling up sweetness, and compassion, and righteousness, and the doctrine of the holy commandments of God, would long ere now have come to ruin, by reason of the wickedness and sin which abound in it. And as in the sea there are islands, some of them habitable, and well-watered, and fruitful, with havens and harbors in which the storm-tossed may find refuge, — so God has given to the world which is driven and tempest-tossed by sins, assemblies — we mean holy churches — in which survive the doctrines of the truth, as in the island-harbors of good anchorage; and into these run those who desire to be saved, being lovers of the truth, and wishing to escape the wrath and judgment of God. And as, again, there are other islands, rocky and without water, and barren, and infested by wild beasts, and uninhabitable, and serving only to injure navigators and the storm-tossed, on which ships are wrecked, and those driven among them perish, — so there are doctrines of error I mean heresies which destroy those who approach them. For they are not guided by the word of truth; but as pirates, when they have filled their vessels, drive them on the fore-mentioned places, that they may spoil them: so also, it happens in the case of those who err from the truth, that they are all totally ruined by their error.

~Theophilus- To Autolycus Book II Vol. 2

XIX. — Earthly Things May Be the Type of Heavenly, but the Latter Cannot Be the Types of Others Still Superior and Unknown; nor Can We, Without Absolute Madness, Maintain That God Is Known to Us Only as the Type of a Still Unknown and Superior Being.

The existence of all creation cannot be truly measured or comprehended by any human thought or intellect. The heretics have put boundaries on something that cannot be measured. 

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  1. Now the gifts, oblations, and all the sacrifices, did the people receive in a figure, as was shown to Moses in the mount, from one and the same God, whose name is now glorified in the Church among all nations. But it is congruous that those earthly things, indeed, which are spread all around us, should be types of the celestial, being [both], however, created by the same God. For in no other way could He assimilate an image of spiritual things [to suit our comprehension]. But to allege that those things which are super-celestial and spiritual, and, as far as we are concerned, invisible and ineffable, are in their turn the types of celestial things and of another Pleroma, and [to say] that God is the image of another Father, is to play the part both of wanderers from the truth, and of absolutely foolish and stupid persons. For, as I have repeatedly shown, such persons will find it necessary to be continually finding out types of types, and images of images, and will never [be able to] fix their minds on one and the true God. For their imaginations range beyond God, they having in their hearts surpassed the Master Himself, being indeed in idea elated and exalted above [Him], but in reality turning away from the true God.

 

  1. To these persons one may with justice say (as Scripture itself suggests), To what distance above God do ye lift up your imaginations, O ye rashly elated men? Ye have heard “that the heavens are meted out in the palm of [His] hand:” (Isa_40:12) tell me the measure, and recount the endless multitude of cubits, explain to me the fullness, the breadth, the length, the height, the beginning and end of the measurement, — things which the heart of man understands not, neither does it comprehend them. For the heavenly treasuries are indeed great: God cannot be measured in the heart, and incomprehensible is He in the mind; He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand. Who perceives the measure of His right hand? Who knoweth His finger? Or who doth understand His hand, — that hand which measures immensity; that hand which, by its own measure, spreads out the measure of the heavens, and which comprises in its hollow the earth with the abysses; which contains in itself the breadth, and length, and the deep below, and the height above of the whole creation; which is seen, which is heard and understood, and which is invisible? And for this reason, God is “above all principality, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named,” (Eph_1:21) of all things which have been created and established. He it is who fills the heavens, and views the abysses, who is also present with every one of us. For he says, “Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? If any man is hiding in secret places, shall I not see him?” (Jer_23:23) For His hand lays hold of all things, and that it is which illumines the heavens, and lightens also the things which are under the heavens, and trieth the reins and the hearts, is also present in hidden things, and in our secret [thoughts], and does openly nourish and preserve us.

 

  1. But if man comprehends not the fullness and the greatness of His hand, how shall anyone be able to understand or know in his heart so great a God? Yet, as if they had now measured and thoroughly investigated Him, and explored Him on every side, they feign that beyond Him there exists another Pleroma of Aeons, and another Father; certainly not looking up to celestial things, but truly descending into a profound abyss (Bythus) of madness; maintaining that their Father extends only to the border of those things which are beyond the Pleroma, but that, on the other hand, the Demiurge does not reach so far as the Pleroma; and thus they represent neither of them as being perfect and comprehending all things. For the former will be defective in regard to the whole world formed outside of the Pleroma, and the latter in respect of that [ideal] world which was formed within the Pleroma; and [therefore] neither of these can be the God of all. But that no one can fully declare the goodness of God from the things made by Him, is a point evident to all. And that His greatness is not defective, but contains all things, and extends even to us, and is with us, everyone will confess who entertains worthy conceptions of God.

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book IV Vol. 1

XX. — The Peace and Harmony of the Universe.

The days of creation show the harmony and peace God always intended us to live by. God created all things to show us as a parable to how we are to be in harmony with Jesus Christ. This is the manifestation of God’s government on the earth is when the heavens and earth are subject to Him in peace.

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The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of abysses, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast unmeasurable sea, gathered together by His working into various basins, never passes beyond the bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said, “Thus far shalt thou come, and thy waves shall be broken within thee.” (Job_38:11) The ocean, impassible to man, and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Lord. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters fulfill, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, furnish without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to His compassion’s through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.

~St. Clement- First Epistle to the Corinthians Vol. 1

XV. The Seventh Day Consumation

The seventh day, in the days of creation foreshadows the consummation at the end of the age as it was different than all the other days. Showing also how man is perfected on the sixth day.

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And the fact that it was not said of the seventh day equally with the other days, “And there was evening, and there was morning,” is a distinct indication of the consummation which is to take place in it before it is finished, as the fathers declare, especially St. Clement, and Irenaeus, and Justin the Martyr and philosopher, who, commenting with exceeding wisdom on the number six of the sixth day, affirms that the intelligent soul of man and his five susceptible senses were the six works of the sixth day. Whence also, having discoursed at length on the number six, he declares that all things which have been framed by God are divided into six classes, — viz., into things intelligent and immortal, such as are the angels; into things reasonable and mortal, such as mankind; into things sensitive and irrational, such as cattle, and birds, and fishes; into things that can advance, and move, and are insensible, such as the winds, and the clouds, and the waters, and the stars; into things which increase and are immovable, such as the trees; and into things which are insensible and immovable, such as the mountains, the earth, and such like. For all the creatures of God, in heaven and on earth, fall under one or other of these divisions, and are circumscribed by them. — From the writings of Anastasius.

~Justin Martyr- Other Fragments from the Lost Writings of Justin Vol. 1