XXI. (64) So now when the air and the water had received their appropriate races of animals as an allotment that was their due, God again summoned the earth for the creation of that share which still remained: and after the production of plants, the terrestrial animals still remained. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth cattle and beasts, and creeping things of each kind.” And the earth did as it was commanded, and immediately sent forth animals differing in their formation and in their strength, and in the injurious or beneficial powers that were implanted in them. (65) And after all He made man. But how he made him I will mention presently, after I have first explained that he adopted the most beautiful connection and train of consequences according to the system of the creation of animals which he had sketched out to himself; for of souls the most sluggish and the most weakly formed has been allotted to the race of fishes; and the most exquisitely endowed soul, that which is in all respects most excellent, has been given to the race of mankind, and one something between the two to the races of terrestrial animals and those which traverse the air; for the soul of such creatures is endowed with more acute sensations than the soul of fishes, but is more dull than that of mankind. (66) And it was on this account that of all living creatures God created fishes first, inasmuch as they partake of corporeal substance in a greater degree than they partake of soul, being in a manner animals and not animals, moving soulless things, having a sort of semblance of soul diffused through them for no object beyond that of keeping their bodies live (just as they say that salt preserves meat), in order that they may not easily be destroyed. And after the fishes, he created winged and terrestrial animals: for these are endowed with a higher degree of sensation, and from their formation show that the properties of their animating principle are of a higher order. But after all the rest, then, as has been said before, he created man, to whom he gave that admirable endowment of mind–the soul, if I may so call it, of the soul, as being like the pupil to the eye; for those who most accurately investigate the natures of things affirm, that it is the pupil which is the eye of the eye.

XXII. (67) So at last all things were created and existing together. But when they all were collected in one place, then some sort of order was necessarily laid down for them for the sake of the production of them from one another which was hereafter to take place. Now in things which exist in part, the principle of order is this, to begin with that which is most inferior in its nature, and to end with that which is the most excellent of all; and what that is we will explain. It has been arranged that seed should be the principle of the generation of animals. It is plainly seen that this is a thing of no importance, being like foam; but when it has descended into the womb and remained there, then immediately it receives motion and is changed into nature; and nature is more excellent than seed, as also motion is better than quiet in created things; and nature, like a workman, or, to speak more correctly, like a faultless art, endows the moist substance with life, and fashions it, distributing it among the limbs and parts of the body, allotting that portion which can produce breath, and nourishment, and sensation to the powers of the soul: for as to the reasoning powers, we may pass over them for the present, on account of those who say, that the mind enters into the body from without, being something divine and eternal. (68) Nature therefore began from an insignificant seed, and ended in the most honourable of things, namely, in the formation of animals and men. And the very same thing took place in the creation of every thing: for when the Creator determined to make animals the first created in his arrangement were in some degree inferior, such as the fishes, and the last were the best, namely, man. And the others the terrestrial and winged creatures were between these extremes, being better than the first created, and inferior to the last.

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