(1) Why does Moses, revolving and considering the creation of the world, say: “This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were created?” (#Ge 2:4). The expression, “when they were created,” indicates as it seems an indeterminate time not accurately described. But this argument will confute those authors who calculate a certain number of years reduced to one, from the time when it is possible that the world may have been created. And again, the expression: “This is the book of the generation,” is as it were indicative of the book as it follows, which contains an account of the creation of the world; in which it is intimated that what has been related about the creation of the world is consistent with strict truth.
(2) What is the object of saying, “And God made every green herb of the field, before it was upon the earth, and every grass before it had sprung up?” (#Ge 2:5). He here by these expressions intimates in enigmatical language the incorporeal species; since the expression, “before it was upon the earth,” indicates the arriving at perfection of every herb, and of all seeds and trees. But as to what he says, that “before it had sprung up upon the earth,” he had made every green herb, and grass, et caetera, it is plain that the incorporeal species, as being indicative of the others, were created first, in accordance with intellectual nature, which those things which are upon the earth perceptible to the outward senses were to imitate.
(3) What is the meaning of saying: “A fountain went up from the earth, and watered all the face of the earth?” (#Ge 2:6). But here the question is how it could be that the whole earth was watered by one fountain, not only on account of its size, but also because of the inequality of the mountainous and champaign situations? Unless, indeed, just as the whole force of the king’s cavalry is called “the horse,” so the whole multitude of the veins of the earth which supply drinkable water, may perhaps be called the fountain, inasmuch as they all bubble up like a fountain. And that expression is peculiarly appropriate which says that the fountain watered, not the whole earth, but its face; as in the living being it waters the chief and predominant part (the mind or the countenance). Since that is the most important part of the earth which can be good and fertile and productive, and that is the part which stands in need of the nourishment of fountains.