Six: the number of the beast or the perfect number?


Chrismon 6 pointed cross: chi, rho, alpha, omega. Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, Syria

«Quapropter cum eum legimus sex diebus omnia perfecisse, et senarium numerum considerantes, invenimus esse perfectum, atque ita creaturarum ordinem currere, ut etiam ipsarum partium, quibus iste numerus perficitur, appareat quasi gradata distinctio; veniat etiam illud in mentem, quod alio loco Scripturarum ei dicitur, Omnia in mensura, et numero, et pondere disposuisti (Sap. xi, 21); atque ita cogitet anima, quae potest, invocato in auxilium Deo, et impertiente atque inspirante vires, utrum haec tria, mensura, numerus, pondus, in quibus Deum disposuisse omnia scriptum est, erant alicubi antequam crearetur universa creatura, an etiam ipsa creata sunt; et si erant antea, ubi erant».

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«When we read that God finished all the works of His creation in six days, and when we reflect on the number six and find that it is a perfect number, and when we realize that the works of creation occur according to a pattern, in steps, as it were, that match the aliquot (sic) parts of six, we should call to mind what Scripture says elsewhere: [You have] ordered all things in measure, number and weight. And let the soul that is able reflect on this, calling on God for help, the source of its strength and inspiration, and let it consider whether these three – measure, number, and weight – in which, according to Scripture, God ordered all things, existed somewhere before the creation of every creature, or whether they too were created; and if they existed before creation, let us ask where.»

– Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, 4, 3, 7.

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