XIX. (94) Nevertheless, as Chryssipus says, some suppose that fire resolves all the arrangement of the universe when the elements are separated into itself, so that it becomes the seed of the world which is about to be made; and suppose in consequence that, of all the ideas which he and his sect have entertained on the subject, none are falsified. Granting, in the first place, that generation proceeds from seed, and that all dissolution is a resolving back into seed; in the second place, because it is argued by natural philosophers that the world is a rational nature, inasmuch as it is not only possessed of life, but is also endowed with intellect, and moreover even with wisdom; by these arguments he establishes that contrary proposition to that which he intends, namely, that it will never be destroyed. (95) But the proofs are ready at hand to those who do not fear to join in the investigation. Therefore the world resembles either a plant or an animal. But whether it is a plant or whether it is an animal, still, if it be destroyed by conflagration, it will never be itself its own seed. And the circumstances which take place among ourselves bear witness that nothing, whether great or less, when destroyed, has ever been separated in such a manner as to engender seed. (96) Do you not see how many materials of plants susceptible of cultivation there are, and how many kinds of wild plants too are diffused over every portion of the earth? Every one of these trees, as long as the trunk is in good health, together with its fruit, produces also a seed to propagate its species; but becoming destroyed after a lapse of time, and being wholly withered, roots and all, it never becomes resolved into a ripened seed. (97) And so too in the same manner the different kinds of animals, which it is not easy even to enumerate by reason of their multitude, as long as they survive and flourish vigorously, produce a seed, which is calculated to propagate their species; but when they are dead there is no longer any seed. For it would be absurd for a man when he is alive to employ only the eighth part of his soul, which is called the generative power, for the propagation of a being like himself, but after he is dead to exert the whole of himself for the same purpose; for death can never be more energetic or efficacious than life. (98) And besides, there is no single existing thing which is brought to perfection by seed alone without its appropriate nourishment. For seed resembles the beginning, and the beginning by itself does not make perfect; for beware of imagining that the ear of corn blossoms and ripens solely from the seed, which is cast by the husbandman on the ploughed field; for in truth, dryness and moisture, the twofold moisture which is derived from the earth, co-operate in the greatest degree towards its growth. And so the creature which is fashioned in the womb is not permitted by nature to be brought to life and perfection by the seed alone, but also by the nourishment shed upon it from without, which the woman who has conceived supplies. (99) Why then do I say this? Because in the case of such a conflagration as that of which I have been speaking, the seed alone will be left, there being no nutriment remaining, since everything which was to have supplied nutriment will have been resolved into fire; so that the world, which would be to be formed, according to the principle of regeneration, will have a lame and imperfect form and character, since that which is chiefly required to co-operate towards its perfection, on which, as on a staff, the seminal origin ought to, and naturally does, lean, is destroyed; but this would be absurd, as is shown, and made manifest from the clearest evidence. (100) Again, all those things which derive their origin from seed are of a greater magnitude than the seed which gives them their existence, and are seen to fill a more extended space; for very often trees, whose tops reach to heaven itself, shoot up out of a very small grain of seed; and the fattest and tallest animals grow from a very small quantity of moisture, which is laid as their foundation; but there happens that which was mentioned a little while ago, that these, at the time nearest to their birth are very little, but that subsequently they keep on increasing in size till they arrive at complete perfection. (101) But in the case of the universe the exact contrary will take place, for here the seed will both be greater and will also fill a larger space; and the ultimate perfection at which the thing formed arrives will be smaller, and will appear in a smaller space; and the world, originally derived from a seed, will not progress from a very small thing towards increase, but, on the other hand, will be diminished from a greater magnitude to a smaller; (102) and it is easy to see the truth of what is here said. Every body, when it is resolved into fire, is dissolved, and melted, and diffused; and when the flame which is in it is extinguished, it is then contracted and shrunk up to nothing; but there is no need of arguments to prove a thing which is so clear, as if it were obscure; and, indeed, the world, if consumed by fire, will become greater, inasmuch as all its essence will then be dissolved into the thinnest air; and it appears to me that the Stoics have foreseen this, and on that account have, in their arguments, assumed that a vacuum of infinite extent will be left abandoned on the outside of the world; that so, since it is fated to be subjected to a certain diffusion of boundless extent, it may not be in want of a place which may be capable of receiving that diffusion. (103) When therefore it has been extended and increased to such a degree, as to be very nearly equal to the infinite extent of the vacuum by the boundless and illimitable extension of its own diffusion, it then, according to them, is itself the principle of seed to itself; but when, according to a perfect regeneration of the parts, its entire substance […]{16}{there seems a line or two lost here.} being contracted in the extinction of the fire into dense air; but when the air again is contracted, and when it settles down into water, then again the water is still further condensed, so as to be changed into earth, which is the best of all the elements. But all these arguments are beyond the ordinary ideas of those who are able to consider and argue upon the consequences of these things.