Friday, October 23, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus: God, Kindly Disposed Toward Noah, Commanded Omni

What is the meaning of "The Lord smelled a pleasing ordor"? This indicates God's kindliness toward Noah - not that he was pleased with the smell. Nothing smells worse than burning bones but God commended the attitude of the offerer. God has no body divided into parts that we should imagine him with a nose, for smell comes through the nose. So he rewarded Noah with blessing, and since he was the seed of the human race, the root of human nature, and a second Adam, God gave him the blessing which the first Adam had received immediately after his creation: "Increase, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Fear of you and dread of you will be upon all the beasts of the earth, upon all the birds of the heaven, upon everything that moves on the earth, and upon all the fish of the sea; I have put them under your control." The word took effect. All things were in dread even of man's shadow: those that swim, those on land, those that fly. Then delivering the law about the eating of flesh, he commanded Noah to consume flesh as well as vegetables.

- Theodoret of Cyrus (around A.D. 393 to around A.D. 457), Questions on the Octateuch, Question 53 on Genesis, p. 113 (2007), Robert C. Hill translator.