Chapter 8 of the World, Simplified

The Creation of the Universe Icon

God put inequality and confusion among the parts of matter at the beginning.

The parts were then reduced to:

  • one size, and
  • one middling motion.

It thus took the form of the aethereal air.

Before it was moved by God, the hardest and most solid body in the world*.

*Superphysics Note: As a triangle

This equality could not be totally perfect because:

  1. There is no void at all in the aethereal world.

This makes it impossible for all the parts of matter to move in a straight line. Instead, they all went into some circular motions since all of them were just about equal and as easily divertible.

God first moved them diversely. This made them turn in many different centers instead of a single one.

Consequently, they were naturally less agitated or smaller, or both, toward the centers.

All of them tended to continue their motion in a straight line. The strongest (i.e. the largest among those equally agitated and the most agitated among those equally large) had to describe the greatest circles, i.e. the circles most approaching a straight line.

The matter contained in between three or more of these circles were at first much less divided and less agitated than all the other.

At the beginning, God placed every sort of inequality among the parts of this matter. This led to all sorts of sizes, shapes, and dispositions to move or not to move, in all ways and in all directions.

But that does not prevent them from having afterwards been rendered almost all fairly equal, principally those that remained an equal distance from the centers about which they were turning. For, since some could not move without the others’ moving, the more agitated had to communicate some of their motion to those that were less so, and the larger had to break and divide in order to be able to pass through the same places as those that preceded them, or in order to rise higher.

Thus, in a short time all the parts were arranged in order, so that each was more or less distant from the center about which it had taken its course, according as it was more or less large and agitated in comparison with the others.

Size always resists the speed of motion.

The parts more distant from each center were the ones more agitated because they were smaller than the ones near the center.[41]

Exactly the same holds for their shapes. In the beginning, they had all sorts of shapes. They had many angles and sides, like the pieces that fly off from a stone when it is broken.

Afterwards, in moving and hurtling themselves against one another, they gradually had to break the small points of their angles and dull the square edges of their sides. This continued until they had almost all been rendered round, just as grains of sand and pebbles do when they roll with the water of a river.

Thus, there is no more difference among those parts that are close and those that are far, except:

  • that they can move a bit more quickly one than another
  • that they are a bit larger or a bit smaller, and
  • that they do not prevent one’s attributing the same form to all of them.

Only one must except some which, having been from the beginning much larger than the others, could not be so easily divided or which, having had very irregular and impeding shapes, joined together severally rather than breaking up and rounding off. Thus, they have retained the form of the aethereal earth which composed the planets and the comets.

The matter that came out from around the parts of the aethereal air, to the extent that they broken and dulled the small points of their angles in rounding off, necessarily had to acquire a much faster motion than theirs and along with it a facility for dividing and changing shape at every moment to accommodate itself to the shape of the places where it is. Thus, it took the form of the aethereal fire.

It had to acquire a much faster motion than theirs. This is because it had to go off to the side through very narrow passages and out of the small spaces left between the parts of the aethereal air as they collided head-on with one another, it had much more of a path than they to traverse in the same time.

What there is of the aethereal fire beyond what is needed to fill the small intervals that the parts of the aethereal air (which are round) necessarily leave around them must draw back toward the centers about which those parts turn, because [the parts of the second] occupy all the other, more distant places.

At those centers, the remaining aethereal fire must compose perfectly liquid and subtle round bodies which, incessantly turning much faster than, and in the same direction as, the parts of the second element surrounding them, have the force to increase the agitation of those parts to which they are closest and even (in moving from the center toward the circumference) to push the parts in all directions, just as they push one another.

This action we perceive as light. We shall take one of those round bodies composed purely of the matter of the first element to be the sun, and the others to be the fixed stars, of the new world I am describing to you.

We shall take the matter of the aethereal air turning about them to be the heavens.

Imagine, that the points S, E, ε, and A are the centers, that all the matter contained in the space FGGF is a heaven turning about the sun marked S, that all the matter of the space HGGH is another heaven turning about the star marked ε, and so on for the others.

Thus, there are as many different aethereal dimensions as there are stars. Since the number of stars is indefinite, so too is the number of heavens.

The firmament is the breadthless surface separating all the heavens from one another.

The parts of the aethereal air toward F, or toward G, are more agitated than those toward K, or toward L. In this way, their speed decreases little by little from the outside circumference of each heaven to a certain place (such as, for example, to the sphere KK about the sun, and to the sphere LL about the star ε) and then increases little by little from there to the centers of the heavens because of the agitation of the stars that are found there.

Thus, while the parts of the second element toward K have the chance to describe there a complete circle about the sun, those toward T, which I suppose to be ten times closer, have not only the chance to describe ten circles (as they would do if they moved only equally fast), but perhaps more than thirty.[42] Again, those parts toward F, or toward G, which I suppose to be two or 3,000 times more distant, can perhaps describe more than 60 circles.

Whence you will be able to understand immediately that the highest planets must move more slowly than the lowest (i.e. those closest to the sun), and that all the planets together move more slowly than the comets, which are nonetheless more distant.

The size of each of the parts of the aethereal air is equal among all those between the outside circumference FGGF of the heaven and the circle KK, or even that the highest among them are a bit smaller than the lowest (provided that one does not suppose the difference of their sizes to be proportionately greater than that of their speeds).

By contrast, from circle K to the sun, it is the lowest parts that are the smallest, and even that the difference of their sizes is proportionately greater than (or at least proportionately as great as) that of their speeds. Otherwise, since those lowest parts are the strongest (due to their agitation), they would go out to occupy the place of the highest.

Note finally that, given the manner in which I have said the sun and the other fixed stars were formed, their bodies can be so small with respect to the heavens containing them that even all the circles KK, LL, etc., which mark the point to which the agitation of those bodies advances the course of the matter of the second element, can be considered merely as the points that mark the heavens’ center. In the same way, the new astronomers consider the whole sphere of Saturn as but a point in comparison with the firmament.


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