“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I first say? Where shall I begin my story? Shall I show forth the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I exalt the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken, each being overturned by its successor.
It is vain to refute them; they are sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the Universe; a primary error that involved them in sad consequences.
Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Other imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union, the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider’s web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth, and o sea so weak an origin and so little consistency!
It is because they knew not how to say “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that was all given up to chance.
St. Basil, “The Hexaemeron” in Letters and Selected Works, vol. 8 of The Church Fathers – Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, trans. Blomfield Jackson (Hendrickson Publishers: 2012) p. 53