XLIX. (237) Therefore, after Moses has mentioned the facts of birds not being cut in two pieces or divided, he proceeds to say, “And the birds came down and descended upon the bodies which were Divided;”{74}{#ge 15:11.} using indeed expressions which are synonymous, but still representing the variance which exists in the facts in a most visible manner to those who are able to see. For it is contrary to nature that birds should come down, when they have been given wings for the purpose of soaring on high. (238) For, as the earth is the most appropriate place for land animals, and above all for reptiles, which do not endure even to crawl upon it, but seek caves and lurking places, avoiding the regions which are above, on account of their kinship with the things which are below; so, in the same manner, the air is the appropriate abode for the winged race, the element which is by nature light is the proper home for those creatures which are light by reason of their being feathered. When, therefore, those creatures, whose nature it is to traverse the air and who ought to roam through the aether, descend and come down upon the land, they are unable to live a life according to their nature. (239) On the other hand, Moses approves, in no ordinary degree, of whatever reptiles are able to take a leap in an upward direction. At all events he says, “Ye shall eat of these winged reptiles which go upon four feet, and which have legs above their feet so as to be able by them to leap up from the Ground.”{75}{#le 11:21.} But these reptiles are the emblems of souls, which like reptiles being rooted in the earthly body, when they are raised up, get strength to soar on high, taking the heaven in exchange for the earth, and immortality in exchange for destruction. (240) We must, therefore, think that they are full of every description of misery, which, having been brought up in the air, and in the aether which is the purest of all things, have changed their abode (not being able to bear the satiety of divine things), and have descended to that mortal and evil district, the earth. And there are innumerable imaginations concerning an innumerable variety of things which roam about upon it also; some voluntary, and some out of ignorance, which are in no respect different from winged creatures, and which Moses compares to the birds that come down. (241) And of these imaginations those which take the upward course belong to the better class, since virtue, which conducts the mind towards heaven and the divine country, travels with them. But those which take the downward course belong to the worse class, since wickedness guides them and drags them in the contrary direction by force. And their very names do, to a great extent, show the opposite character of the places. For virtue (areteµ) has derived its name not only from the word (airesis) choice, but also from the fact of its being lifted up (para to airesthai), for it is lifted up (airetai) and borne on high because it always loves heavenly things; but wickedness (kakia) is so called from its tendency to go downwards (apo tou katoµ kechoµreµkenai), and also because it compels those who practise it to fall down to the bottom (katapiptein). (242) Accordingly the thoughts of the soul which are at variance with one another, flying towards and descending upon the earth, both come down themselves and also throw the mind down too, mingling with bodies in a disgraceful degree, and with things which are perceptible by the outward senses, not discernible by the intellect, imperfect not entire, perishable and not living. For they mix themselves up not only with bodies, but also with the divisions of the bodies which have been divided in two parts. And it is quite impossible that things which have been divided in this way should ever again admit of adaptation and union; since the nerves of the spirit, which were the strongest natural bond in them, are cut in two.