(6) What is the meaning of a door in the side: for he says, “Thou shalt make a door in the side?” (#Ge 6:16). That door in the side very plainly betokens a human building, which he has becomingly indicated by calling it, “in the side,” by which door all the excrements of dung are cast out. In truth, as Socrates says, whether because he learnt it from Moses or because he was influenced by the facts themselves, the Creator, having due regard to the decency of our body, has placed the exit and passage of the different ducts of the body back out of the reach of the sense, in order that while getting rid of the fetid portions of bile, we might not be disgusted by beholding the full appearance of our excrements. Therefore he has surrounded that passage by the back and posteriors, which project out like hills, as also the buttocks are made soft for other objects.
(7) Why has he said that the lower part of the ark was to be made with two and with three stories? (#Ge 6:16). He has here admirably indicated the receptacles of food, calling them the inner parts of the house; since food is corruptible, and what is corruptible belongs to the inward part, because it is borne downwards, since some small portions of meat and drink which we take are borne upwards, but the greater part is secreted and cast out into dung; and the intestines have been made in two and in three stories, because of the providence of the Creator in order to supply abundant support to his creatures; for if he had made the receptacles of food and its passage having a direct communication between the bowels and the buttocks, some awkward circumstances must have taken place; in the first place there would have been a frequent deficiency, and want and hunger, and sudden evacuations also arising from divers unseasonable events; in the second place there would have been an immense hunger, for when the receptacles are emptied, it is inevitable that hunger and thirst must immediately supervene, like absolute mistresses in difficulty from pregnancy, and then it follows also that the pleasant appetite for food must be perverted into greediness and into an unphilosophical state; for nothing is so very inconvenient as for the belly to be empty. And in the third place, there will be death waiting at the door; since those persons must speedily be overtaken by death who the very moment that they have done eating begin again to be hungry, and the moment that they have drunk are again thirsty, and who before they are thoroughly filled are again evacuated and oppressed by hunger; but owing to the long coils and windings of the bowels we are delivered from all feelings of hunger, from all greediness, and from being prematurely overtaken by death; for while the food which has been taken remains within us, not for such a time only as the distance to be passed requires, but for so long as was necessary for us, a change in it is effected; since by the pressure to which it is subjected, the strength of the food is extracted in the first instance in the belly; then it is armed in the liver, and drawn out; after that whatever predominant flavour there was is emitted upwards to the separate parts, in the case of boys in order to contribute to their growth, and in the case of fullgrown men to add to their strength; and then nature, collecting the remaining portions into dung and excrement, casts them out. Therefore a great deal of time is necessarily required for the arrangement of so many and such important affairs, nature effecting its operations without difficulty by perseverance. Moreover the ark itself appears to me to be very fitly compared to the human body; for as nature is exceedingly prolific of living creatures, for that very reason it has prepared an opposite receptacle similar to the earth for the creatures corrupted and destroyed by the flood; for whatever was alive and supported on the earth, the ark now bore within itself in a more general manner, and on that account God ordained it, being borne upon the waters as it was, to be as it were like the earth, a mother and a nurse, and to exhibit the fathers of the subsequent race as if pregnant with it, together with the sun and moon, and the remaining multitude of the stars, and all the host of heaven; because men beholding by means of that which was made by art, a comparison and analogy to the human body, might in that manner be more manifestly taught, for this was the cause of the various disputes among mankind; since there is nothing which has so much contributed to keep man in a servile condition as the essential humours of the body, and the defects which arise in consequence of them, and most especially the vicious pleasures and desires.