for the hurtful creatures, we are either punished, or disciplined, or terrified by them, so that we may not cherish and love this life." As to the "superfluous animals," he says, "Although they are not necessary for our service, yet the whole design of the universe is thereby completed and finished." Luther, who followed St. Augustine in so many other matters, declined to follow him fully in this. To him a fly was not merely superfluous, it was noxious—sent by the devil, and perhaps possessed by the devil, to trouble him when reading.
Another subject which gave rise to much searching of the Scriptures and long trains of theological reasoning, was the difference between the creation of man and that of other living beings.
Great stress was laid by theologians from St. Basil and St. Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas and Bossuet, and from Luther to Wesley, on the radical distinction indicated in Genesis, God having created man "in his own image"; what this statement meant was seen in the light of the later biblical statement that "Adam begat Seth in his own likeness, after his image."
In view of this and well-known texts incorporated from older creation legends into the Hebrew sacred books it came to be widely held that, while man was directly molded and fashioned separately by the Creator's hand, the animals generally were evoked in numbers from the earth and sea by the Creator's voice.
A question now arose naturally as to the distinctions of species among animals. The vast majority of theologians agreed in representing all animals as created "in the beginning," and named by Adam, preserved in the ark, and continued ever afterward under exactly the same species. Some difficulties arose here and there as zoölogy progressed and revealed ever-increasing numbers of species; but through the middle ages, and indeed long after the Reformation, this difficulty was easily surmounted: by making the ark of Noah larger and larger, and especially by holding that there had been a human error in regard to the unit of measurement for the ark, all difficulty was at first avoided.
But naturally there was developed among both ecclesiastics and laymen a human desire to go beyond these special points in the history of animated beings a desire to know what the creation really is.
- For St. Augustine, see De Genesi and De Trinitate, passim; for Bede, see Hexæmeron, lib. i, in Migne, tome xci, pp. 21, 36-38, 42; and De Sex Dierum Creatione, in Migne, tome, xciii, p. 215; for Peter Lombard on "noxious animals," see his Sententiæ, lib ii, dist. XV, 3, Migne, tome cxcii, p. 682; for Wesley, Clarlie, and Watson, see quotations from them and notes thereto in my chapter on Geology; for St. Augustine on "superfluous animals," see the De Genesi, lib. i, cap. xvi, 26; on Luther's view of flies, see the Table Talk and his famous utterance, "Odio muscas quia sunt imagines diaboli et hæreticorum."