ephrem-isaac-aphrahatDavid says:—Thou, Lord, hast been our dwelling-place for generations, before the mountains were conceived and before the earth travailed, and before the world was framed.

And thou knowest, my beloved, that all created things that are above and that are beneath were created first, and after them all, man.

For when God determined to create the world with all its goodly things, first He conceived and fashioned man in His mind;

and after that Adam was conceived in His thought, then He conceived the created things; as he said:—Before the mountains were conceived and the earth travailed;

because man is older and more ancient in conception than the creatures, but in birth the creatures are older and more ancient than Adam.

Adam was conceived and dwelt in the thought of God; and while in conception he (man) was held in His (God’s) mind, He (God) by the word of His mouth created all the creatures.

And when He had finished and adorned the world, when nothing was lacking in it, then He brought forth Adam from His thoughts, and fashioned man by His hands; and Adam saw the world completed.

And He (God) gave him authority over all that He had made, just as a man who has a son and desires to make for him a marriage feast, betroths to him a wife and builds for him a house, and prepares and adorns all that is needed for his son; then he makes the marriage feast and gives his son authority over his house.

So after the conception of Adam, He brought him forth and gave him authority over all his creation.  Concerning this the Prophet said:—Thou, Lord, hast been our habitation for generations, before the mountains were conceived, and before the earth travailed and before the world was framed.  From age unto age Thou art the Lord.

That no one should suppose that there is another God, either before or afterwards, he said:—From age and unto age, just as Isaiah said:—I am the first and I am the last (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12).

And after that God brought forth Adam from within His thought, He fashioned him, and breathed into him of His Spirit, and gave him the knowledge of discernment, that he might discern good from evil, and might know that God made him.

And inasmuch as man knew his Maker, God was formed and conceived within his thought, and he became a temple for God his Maker, as it is written, Ye are the temple of God.  And (so) He Himself said:—I will dwell in them and walk in them.

Aphrahat the Persian (c.270-c.345): Demonstrations, 17 – On Christ the Son of God (7). (The icon accompanying this extract depicts Ephrem the Syrian, Isaac the Syrian, and Aphrahat).

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