De Sacramentis 1.1.17

1.1.17 “On the work of the second day, when the firmament was made.” Having gone over the light made on the first day (again), Hugh returns to the firmament made on the second day (again). He observes that God did not move on to the work of the second day before evaluating or “judging” the work of the first day, calling it “good.” As for the firmament, he says that this was “created from nothing in that matter of the universe,” by which it is not precisely clear whether he means that the firmament was created immediately from nothing amidst the matter of the universe or that it was created mediately from the matter of the universe which was originally created from nothing. Hugh’s meaning, however, would seem to be the latter, given his earlier argument (see 1.1.4, for example) that only the initial bringing into being of the unformed heavens and the earth properly involved an act of creation, and that the work of the subsequent six days, accordingly, was a work of mere “disposition” or formation of that original matter. This would further imply that the firmament for Hugh is no mere division or separation of waters from waters, but is a material being itself. He writes, for example, of “its circumference intervening, as it were, as a middle body” and thus it “separate[s] and divide[s] that great and immense gathering of waters from one another.” The picture Hugh leaves us with is that of Earth surrounded by a series of concentric spheres, the first or innermost of which is one set of “waters” (one is tempted to call this the sea covering the Earth, but this is not quite right—see 1.1.21), the second is the firmament (Hugh hasn’t specified what it is made of yet—see next chapter–but this would appear to be “the sky,” and thus presumably made of air), and the third is another, outer sphere of waters (the “heavens,” our “outer space”).

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