Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Hippolytus/The Refutation of All Heresies/Book VI/Part 10

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Chapter IX.—Simon’s Interpretation of the Mosaic Hexaëmeron; His Allegorical Representation of Paradise.

When, therefore, Moses has spoken of “the six days in which God made heaven and earth, and rested on the seventh from all His works,”[1] Simon, in a manner already specified, giving (these and other passages of Scripture) a different application (from the one intended by the holy writers), deifies himself. When, therefore, (the followers of Simon) affirm that there are three days begotten before sun and moon, they speak enigmatically of Mind and Intelligence, that is, Heaven and Earth, and of the seventh power, (I mean) the indefinite one. For these three powers are produced antecedent to all the rest. But when they say, “He begot me prior to all the Ages,”[2] such statements, he says, are alleged to hold good concerning the seventh power.  Now this seventh power, which was a power existing in the indefinite power, which was produced prior to all the Ages, this is, he says, the seventh power, respecting which Moses utters the following words:  “And the Spirit of God was wafted over[3] the water;” that is, says (the Simonian), the Spirit which contains all things in itself, and is an image of the indefinite power about which Simon speaks,—“an image from an incorruptible form, that alone reduces all things into order.” For this power that is wafted over the water, being begotten, he says, from an incorruptible form alone, reduces all things into order. When, therefore, according to these (heretics), there ensued some such arrangement, and (one) similar (to it) of the world, the Deity, he says, proceeded to form man, taking clay from the earth. And He formed him not uncompounded, but twofold, according to (His own) image and likeness.[4] Now the image is the Spirit that is wafted over the water; and whosoever is not fashioned into a figure of this, will perish with the world, inasmuch as he continues only potentially, and does exist actually. This, he says, is what has been spoken, “that we should not be condemned with the world.”[5] If one, however, be made into the figure of (the Spirit), and be generated from an indivisible point, as it has been written in the Announcement, (such a one, albeit) small, will become great. But what is great will continue unto infinite and unalterable duration, as being that which no longer is subject to the conditions of a generated entity.

How then, he says, and in what manner, does God form man? In Paradise; for so it seems to him. Grant Paradise, he says, to be the womb; and that this is a true (assumption) the Scripture will teach, when it utters the words, “I am He who forms thee in thy mother’s womb.”[6] For this also he wishes to have been written so. Moses, he says, resorting to allegory, has declared Paradise to be the womb, if we ought to rely on his statement.  If, however, God forms man in his mother’s womb—that is, in Paradise—as I have affirmed, let Paradise be the womb, and Edem the after-birth,[7] “a river flowing forth from Edem, for the purpose of irrigating Paradise,”[8] (meaning by this) the navel. This navel, he says, is separated into four principles; for on either side of the navel are situated two arteries, channels of spirit, and two veins, channels of blood. But when, he says, the umbilical vessels[9] proceed forth from Edem, that is, the caul in which the fœtus is enveloped grows into the (fœtus) that is being formed in the vicinity of the epigastrium,—(now) all in common denominate this a navel,—these two veins through which the blood flows, and is conveyed from Edem, the after-birth, to what are styled the gates of the liver; (these veins, I say,) nourish the fœtus. But the arteries which we have spoken of as being channels of spirit, embrace the bladder on both sides, around the pelvis, and connect it with the great artery, called the aorta, in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge. And in this way the spirit, making its way through the ventricles to the heart, produces a movement of the fœtus.  For the infant that was formed in Paradise neither receives nourishment through the mouth, nor breathes through the nostrils: for as it lay in the midst of moisture, at its feet was death, if it attempted to breathe; for it would (thus) have been drawn away from moisture, and perished (accordingly). But (one may go further than this); for the entire (fœtus) is bound tightly round by a covering styled the caul, and is nourished by a navel, and it receives through the (aorta), in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge, as I have stated, the substance of the spirit.


  1. Gen. ii. 2.
  2. Prov. viii. 22–24.
  3. “Brooded over” (see Gen. i. 2).
  4. Gen. ii. 7.
  5. 1 Cor. xi. 32.
  6. Jer. i. 5.
  7. χωρίον (i.e., locality) is the reading in Miller, which Cruice ingeniously alters into χόριον, the caul in which the fœtus is enclosed, which is called the “after-birth.”
  8. Gen. ii. 10.
  9. This rendering follows Cruice, who has succeeded in clearing away the obscurity of the passage as given in Miller.