XXVII. (134) And the statement, “The Lord went down to see that city and that tower” must be listened to altogether as if spoken in a figurative sense. For to think that the divinity can go towards, or go from, or go down, or go to meet, or, in short, that it has the same positions and motions as particular animals, and that it is susceptible of real motion at all, is, to use a common proverb, an impiety deserving of being banished beyond the sea and beyond the world. (135) But these things are spoken, as if of man, by the lawgiver, of God who is not invested with human form, for the sake of advantage to us who are to be instructed, as I have often said before with reference to other passages. Since who is there who does not know that it is indispensable for a person who goes down, to leave one place and to occupy another? (136) But all places are filled at once by God, who surrounds them all and is not surrounded by any of them, to whom alone it is possible to be everywhere and also nowhere. Nowhere, because he himself created place and space at the same time that he created bodies, and it is impious to say that the Creator is contained in anything that he has created. Again, he is everywhere, because, having extended his powers so as to make them pervade earth, and water, and air, and heaven, he has left no portion of the world desolate, but, having collected everything together, he has bound them with chains which cannot be burst, {37}{the text has aoratois, “invisible,” but I have followed Mangey’s translation, who reads arrheµktois. The remainder of the sentence is exceedingly corrupt.} so that they are never emancipated, on which account he is especially to be praised with hymns. (137) For that which is higher than all powers is understood to exceed them, not merely in the fact of its existence. But the power of this being which made and arranged everything is with perfect truth called God, and it contains everything in its bosom, and pervades every portion of the universe. (138) But the divine being, both invisible and incomprehensible, is indeed everywhere, but still, in truth, he is nowhere visible or comprehensible. But when he says, “I am he who 37The text has aoratois, “invisible,” but I have followed Mangey’s translation, who reads arrheµktois. The remainder of the sentence is exceedingly corrupt. stands before Thee”{38}{#ex 17:6.} he appears indeed to be displayed and to be comprehended, though before any exhibition or conception he was superior to all created things. (139) Therefore, no one of the word which implies a motion from place to place is appropriate to that god who exists only in essence; such expressions, I mean, as going upwards or downwards, to the right or to the left, forwards or backwards. For he is not conceived of in any one of the above mentioned ideas, inasmuch as he never turns around or changes his place. (140) But, nevertheless, he is said to have come down and to have seen, he who by his foreknowledge comprehends everything, not only that has happened, but even before it happens; and this expression is used for the same of exhortation and instruction, in order that no man, indulging in uncertain conjectures about matters which he is not present to behold may, while standing afar off, be too prompt to believe idle fancies, but that every one may come close to the facts, and examining each one separately, may carefully and thoroughly consider them. For certain sight is more deserving to be looked upon as a trustworthy witness than fallacious hearing. (141) On which account a law has been enacted among these nations which have the most excellent constitution, that one must not give evidence on hearsay, because by its own nature the tribunal of the sense of hearing is liable to be corrupted. And Moses indeed says in the prohibitory part of his law, “Thou shalt not receive vain Hearing.”{39}{#ex 23:1.} Meaning not only this, that one ought not to receive false or silly reports by hearsay, but that, as far as the clear comprehension of the truth is concerned, the hearing is a long way behind the sight, being full of vanity.