Plutarch De animae procreatione in Timaeo 5

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First therefore, I shall propose my own sentiments concerning these things, desiring to gain credit no otherwise than by the most probable strength of arguments, explaining and reconciling to the utmost of my ability truth and paradox together; after which I shall apply both the explication and demonstration to the words of the text. In my opinion then the business lies thus. The world, saith Heraclitus, neither did any one of all the Gods nor any mortal man create,—as if he had been afraid that, not being able to make out the creation by a Deity, we should be constrained to acknowledge some man to have been the architect of the universe. But certainly far better it is, in submission to Plato’s judgment, to avow, both in discourse and in our songs of praise, that the glory of the structure belongs to God,—for the frame itself is the most beautiful of all masterpieces, and God the most illustrious of all causes,—but that the substance and materials were not created, but always ready at the ordering and disposal of the Omnipotent Builder, to give it form and figure, as near as might be, approaching to his own resemblance. For the creation was not out of nothing, but out of matter wanting beauty and perfection, like the rude materials of a house, a garment, or a statue, lying first in shapeless confusion. For before the creation of the world there was nothing but a confused heap; yet was that confused heap neither without a body, without motion, nor without a soul. The corporeal part was without form or consistence, and the moving part stupid and headlong; and this was the disorder of a soul not guided by reason. God neither incorporated that which is incorporeal, nor conveyed a soul into that which had none before; like a person either musical or poetical, who does not make either the voice or the movement, but only reduces the voice with harmony, and graces the movement with proper measures. Thus God did not make the tangible and resistant solidity of the corporeal substance, nor the imaginative or moving faculties of the soul; but taking these two principles as they lay ready at hand,—the one obscure and dark, the other turbulent and senseless, both imperfect without the bounds of order and decency, —he disposed, digested, and embellished the confused mass. so that he brought to perfection a most absolute and glorious creature. Therefore the substance of the body is no other than that all-receiving Nature, the seat and nurse of all created beings.