Twas a Tale of Two Falls

A theological poem using the rhyme scheme known as anapaestic tetrameter found in Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Illustration for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost“ by Gustave Doré

Twas before the beginning when God formed a plan
to create heavens and earth and even a man.
Before earth’s big debut, there was a prior start.
The angels were created and given a part.
Praising the Ancient One in His glorious light. 
The winged creatures serve Him all day, there’s never night.

But wait. How can we know the order of these things?
Can angels rejoice before they’re made by the King?
For eternity has no before or after.
It’s one endless now without former or latter.
Now, if time is the space that’s between two events, 
then to order them ask: when did the clock commence?
Before earth and sky are spoken into being,
what else can give things chronological meaning?

Let’s go back to the start before our inception 
when angels were pure and were without deception.

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Ancient Theologians weigh in on Genesis: Basil’s reflections on creation (part 6)

This post is part of a series looking at Basil’s views on the creation account in Genesis. If you have not already read it, I recommend starting with part 1.

In prior posts we have seen how Basil understood the waters of creation. In this concluding post we will once more touch on these concepts as we look at how Basil understood the firmament itself.

The earth was created underwater


During his homily Basil explores why the earth was “invisible and without form”. The use of the term “invisible” instead of “empty” may indicate that Basil is using the LXX (ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος) instead of the Hebrew text. While it could be debated whether the Hebrew term encompasses the idea of being invisible or just that the earth was barren prior to the rest of creation, Basil is working off of that text and translation.

As nothing of all this [growth of all kinds of plants] yet existed, Scripture is right in calling the earth without form.

The formless earth was also invisible because it was submerged under a large body of water.

The earth was invisible … because being submerged under the waters which over-flowed the surface, it could not be seen, since the waters had not yet been gathered together into their own places, where God afterwards collected them, and gave them the name of seas.

… The earth was invisible. Why? Because the deep was spread over its surface. What is the deep? A mass of water of extreme depth. But we know that we can see many bodies through clear and transparent water. How then was it that no part of the earth appeared through the water? Because the air which surrounded it was still without light and in darkness. The rays of the sun, penetrating the water, often allow us to see the pebbles which form the bed of the river, but in a dark night it is impossible for our glance to penetrate under the water. Thus, these words the earth was invisible are explained by those that follow; the deep covered it and itself was in darkness.


 Let us understand that by water water is meant;

Basil (Homily III)

What is the firmament?

As Basil tackles the creation of the firmament (or expanse) which separates the waters, he notes that this entity is also called “heaven”. He reflects on the opening passage where it states that God created “the heavens and the earth” and asks “does the firmament that is called heaven differ from that [which] God made in the beginning?”

Basil acknowledges that within the church there are differing opinions.

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Ancient Theologians weigh in on Genesis: Basil’s reflections on creation (part 5)

This post is part of a series looking at Basil’s views on the creation account in Genesis. If you have not already read it, I recommend starting with part 1.

In the last post we saw Basil defend the beginning of the universe and time. Views that were not broadly accepted until approximately 100 years ago. Prior posts further demonstrated that Basil held the widely accepted idea that the universe was comprised of 4 or 5 elements. These elements are what Basil understood as being created in the beginning.

The opening of the creation account in Genesis, as we have noted, states that the water is already found in existence at the beginning. Furthermore, the account only states that the “heavens and the earth” are created “in the beginning”. These observations caused philosophers to question whether the elements were co-existent with God.

In the beginning, he says God created. [Moses] does not say God worked, God formed, but God created. Among those who have imagined that the world co-existed with God from all eternity, many have denied that it was created by God

– Homily I

Basil, rightly, rejects the idea of the elements co-existing with God. In order to defend his view he seeks to explain why the elements that comprise the universe are not enumerated in the creation account. To understand his explanation we must set aside what we know of the universe today and form a picture of how a fourth century person would view things.

Source: wikipedia

A small geo-centric universe

Basil accepted the prevailing theory of his day that the earth was the center of, what would be to us now, a very small universe. This idea was based on the theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy and it prevailed until the 17th century when a heliocentric model replaced it.

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