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On The Heavens   

the radii. Therefore the place in which it terminates will be a hollow

place. The water then will collect there until equality is

established, that is until the line AE is equal to the two radii. Thus

water forces its way to the ends of the radii, and there only will

it rest: but the line which connects the extremities of the radii is

circular: therefore the surface of the water BEC is spherical.

It is plain from the foregoing that the universe is spherical. It is

plain, further, that it is turned (so to speak) with a finish which no

manufactured thing nor anything else within the range of our

observation can even approach. For the matter of which these are

composed does not admit of anything like the same regularity and

finish as the substance of the enveloping body; since with each step

away from earth the matter manifestly becomes finer in the same

proportion as water is finer than earth.


Now there are two ways of moving along a circle, from A to B or from

A to C, and we have already explained that these movements are not

contrary to one another. But nothing which concerns the eternal can be

a matter of chance or spontaneity, and the heaven and its circular

motion are eternal. We must therefore ask why this motion takes one

direction and not the other. Either this is itself an ultimate fact or

there is an ultimate fact behind it. It may seem evidence of excessive

folly or excessive zeal to try to provide an explanation of some

things, or of everything, admitting no exception. The criticism,

however, is not always just: one should first consider what reason

there is for speaking, and also what kind of certainty is looked

for, whether human merely or of a more cogent kind. When any one shall

succeed in finding proofs of greater precision, gratitude will be

due to him for the discovery, but at present we must be content with a

probable solution. If nature always follows the best course

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