De Sacramentis 1.1.7

1.1.7. “On the distinction made by form.” Although Hugh has already begun in the previous chapter, particularly in his discussion of God’s creation of light on the second day, to address God’s work of disposition in six days, he seems to see himself formally turning to this subject in the present chapter. (The previous chapter had ended with the statement that “on the first creation, before nature came into form and disposition, we wish these words to suffice,” and the present chapter begins with “Next, we must treat in order how this disposition itself was accomplished. This is perhaps a good example of the comparative lack of systematicity that would lead St. Thomas, for example, in the following century to undertake a new kind of summa of the Christian faith.) Having treated the subject of creation, in other words, Hugh now turns to the subject of the divine work of disposition. As Hugh describes God’s labor over six days, he “disposed, and ordered, and reduced to form all that he had made.” The main concern of the present chapter, however, is the aforementioned distinction between creation and disposition. Whereas creation is ex nihilo and occurs at the very beginning, the work of disposition presupposes the work of creation, so that “he should not by any means think that, when first these things are said to have been made, they were created from nothing, but rather he should understand that they were formed from the matter itself, which was first created from nothing.” When Scripture thus refers to things being “created” during the six days, “the reference is not to the matter by which they begin to be, but to the form by which they begin to be what they are.”

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