Chapter 4

Time and Space


The Creator rejoiced when He saw the creature which he had made moving and living, the created image of the eternal gods. He decided to make the copy still more like the original; and as this was eternal, he sought to make the universe eternal, so far as might be.

The nature of the Idea-being was everlasting.

But it is impossible to make the creature everlasting. So He resolved to have a moving image of eternity.

When He set the order of the heaven, He made this image eternal but moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity.

This image we call time.

There were no days, nights, months, and years before the heaven was created. But when he constructed the heaven he created them also.

They are all parts of time. The past and future are created species of time, which we unconsciously but wrongly transfer to the eternal essence. We say that:

  • he ‘was’
  • he ‘is’
  • he ‘will be’

But the truth is that ‘is’ alone is properly attributed to him, and that ‘was’ and ‘will be’ are only to be spoken of becoming in time. This is because they are motions, but that which is immovably the same cannot become older or younger by time, nor ever did or has become, or hereafter will be, older or younger, nor is subject at all to any of those states which affect moving and sensible things and of which generation is the cause.

These are the forms of time, which:

  • imitates eternity
  • revolves according to a law of number.

Moreover, when we say that what has become IS become and what becomes IS becoming, and that what will become IS about to become and that the non-existent IS non-existent—all these are inaccurate modes of expression.

Time, then, and the heaven came into being at the same instant. A dissolution of one dissolves the other.

It was framed after the pattern of the eternal nature, that it might resemble this as far as was possible; for the pattern exists from eternity, and the created heaven has been, and is, and will be, in all time.

Such was the mind and thought of God in the creation of time.

The sun, moon, and 5 other planets were created by him to distinguish and preserve the numbers of time. When he had made their several bodies, he placed them in the orbits in which the circle of the other was revolving,—in 7 orbits 7 bodies.

  1. The moon is in the orbit nearest the earth
  2. The sun is in the second orbit above the earth
  3. Venus or the morning star and the star sacred to Hermes, moving in orbits which have an equal swiftness with the sun, but in an opposite direction. This is the reason why the sun and Hermes and Lucifer overtake and are overtaken by each other.

We can discuss the other planets in the future when we have more time.

The planets are necessary to the creation of time. These thus attain a motion and become living creatures having bodies fastened by vital chains.

They learnt their appointed task, moving in the motion of the Diverse, which:

  • is diagonal
  • passes through and is governed by the motion of the Same

These planets revolved, some in a larger and some in a lesser orbit.

  • Those which had the lesser orbit revolve faster
  • Those which had the larger more slowly.

Because of the motion of the Same, those which revolved fastest appeared to be overtaken by those which moved slower although they really overtook them. This is because:

  • the motion of the Same made them all turn in a spiral
  • some went one way and some another

Those which receded most slowly from the sphere of the Same, which was the swiftest, appeared to follow it most nearly.

That there might be some visible measure of their relative swiftness and slowness as they proceeded in their 8 courses, God lighted a fire, which we now call the sun, in the second from the earth of these orbits, that it might give light to the whole of heaven, and that the animals, as many as nature intended, might participate in number, learning arithmetic from the revolution of the same and the like.

This is why the night and the day were created.

  • The month is accomplished when the moon has completed her orbit and overtaken the sun.
  • The year is accomplished when the sun has completed his own orbit.


  • has not remarked the periods of the other planets
  • has no name for them
  • does not measure them numerically against one another
  • thus does not know that the planetary wanderings, being varied and infinite in number, make up time.

Yet it is easy to see that the perfect number of time fulfils the perfect year when all the 8 revolutions, having their relative degrees of swiftness, are accomplished together and attain their completion at the same time, measured by the rotation of the same and equally moving.

After this manner, and for these reasons, came into being such of the stars as in their heavenly progress received reversals of motion, to the end that the created heaven might imitate the eternal nature, and be as like as possible to the perfect and intelligible animal.


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