(46) What is the meaning of the expression, “And Noah opened the roof of the ark?” (Genesis 8:13). The text stands in need of no explanation. But with reference to its meaning, because the ark is symbolically our body, we must consider that that is spoken of as the roof of our body, which covers it and for a long time preserves its strength; such is concupiscence, by which the body is preserved and made to last, in a moderate degree, that is, and in accordance with the law of nature; as also it is dissolved by pain. When therefore the intellect is attracted by a desire for heavenly things it wishes to spring upwards, and in that way it bursts asunder every appearance of concupiscence; so that that thing being as it were removed which threw a veil of shade over it and obscured it, it might be able to apply its senses to undisguised and incorporeal natures.
(47) Why is it that the earth was dried up in the seventh month, and on the twenty-seventh day? (#Ge 8:14). Do you not see that he here calls that month the seventh, which a little while before he styles the first? for the seventh, as far as related to time, is the same, as I have said before, as that which is the first in nature, being the beginning of the equinox. But it is with great propriety that the beginning of the deluge is fixed to the seventh month, and the twenty-seventh day of the month; and again, the end and cessation of the deluge is fixed to the same seventh month and the same day; for, both the deluge and the removal of life took place at the equinox; the principle of which we have indicated a little time ago; for the seventh month is found to be synonymous with months and days of this time, and then again, the twentyseventh day occurs with the same meaning, when the ark rested on the mountains. This is the month which by nature is the seventh, but in point of time the first, which in fact is the month of the equinox. Therefore, at the equinoxes a power of selection is given for seven months and twenty-seven days; for the deluge took place in the seventh month, on which the vernal equinox takes place; so that it is in time the seventh, but in nature the first. And the cessation of the deluge and the display of mercy belong to the same measure, when the ark rested on the tops of the mountains; again in truth in the seventh month, but not the same month, but in that in which the autumnal equinox occurs; that is to say, the seventh by nature, but the first in point of time. But the most perfect cure, the fact of the evil being wholly dried up, is again fixed to the seventh month and the twenty-seventh day of the vernal season; in order that both the beginning and the end of the deluge might find its boundary at the same season; and that the middle season when human life is repaired, is fixed to the intermediate season. In the meantime that expression is more certainly to be observed, namely, that the whole year, by a strict computation of days, made the deluge equal to the exact time of the remedy; for it began in the six hundredth year of Noah’s age, in the seventh month, and on the twenty-seventh day; so that the whole space of the intermediate time completed a perfect year, the beginning being placed at the vernal equinox, and the flood also ending equally at the same epoch of the vernal equinox. And in this manner, after all things on earth, things full of fruit, had undergone destruction, as I have said before, now that the persons who used the fruits were also destroyed, the earth being wholly relieved of all evil was again found full of seeds and fruit-bearing trees, according to the production of spring; for he thought it reasonable that, as the earth after it had suffered the deluge was in a similar condition when dried again to that in which it was before, so it should now show itself, and pay the debt which it owed to nature. Nor ought any one to wonder that in one day the earth when left to itself produced every thing by divine virtue, both seeds and trees, all complete, entirely and suddenly, with perfect and excellent herbs, and grain, and plants, and fruits; since in the creation of the world on one day of the six he finished and brought to perfection the whole generation of plants. But the present fruits were already perfect in themselves, and produced all kinds of fruits in a manner suitable and corresponding to the season of spring; for all things are possible to God, who scarcely requires time to effect any thing.