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Hippolytus of Rome

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Saint Hippolytus of Rome
Hippolytus martyrdom.jpg

Hippolytus martyrdom
Born 170 AD169 AD
3930 He
4173 AM
, Rome, Roman Empire
Died 235 AD235 AD
3995 He
4238 AM
, Sardinia, Roman Empire
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Feast August 13 (Roman Catholicism)
January 30 (Eastern Orthodoxy)
Patronage Bibbiena, Italy; horses; prison guards; prison officers; prison workers

Hippolytus of Rome (Latin: Hippolytus Romanus) (170 AD169 AD
3930 He
4173 AM
235 AD235 AD
3995 He
4238 AM
). The importance of Hippolytus as a theologian of the Roman church greatly exceeds the details of his life that have come down to us. Hippolytus is remembered primarily for his ostentatiously titled work: The Refutation of All Heresies, and for his Commentary on Daniel. Only a few fragments of his Commentary of Genesis survive, and there is little in his extant writings referring to the doctrine of creation. He believed that God created ex nihilo on the first day of the creation week, and formed the world from what He had made on the remaining five days.[1] 

Hippolytus held to the “sabbatical millennium” view of world history:

For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5,500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.”[Gen. 2:2] For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.”[Psalm 90:4] Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: “five are fallen; one is,” that is, the sixth; “the other is not yet come.”[Rev. 17:10][2] [Brackets mine]

Strangely, we might think, he interprets the breeze that blew in the evening in Eden (Gen. 3:8) as signalling God’s approach rather than being a daily event.[3] However, John Calvin, writing in 1534 reached the same conclusion.[4]

The Flood

Hippolytus adds to the account of the Flood by having Noah separate the male and female animals in the ark.[5] Referring to Noah’s ark Hippolytus writes concerning its resting place:

And there is a town of the name Kardu, and that hill is called after it, which is indeed very lofty and inaccessible, whose summit no one has ever been able to reach, on account of the violence of  the winds and the storms which always prevail there.  And if any one attempts to ascend it, there are demons that rush upon him, and cast him down headlong from the ridge of the mountain into the plain, so that he dies.  No one, moreover knows what there is on top of the mountain, except that certain relics of the wood of the ark still lie there on the surface of the top of the mountain.[6]

The presence of the Ark on the mountain can therefore not be proved and it seems that the search for such proof is here being actively discouraged. The existence of the Ark on Ararat had become by this time an article of faith.


  1. Hippolytus, Commentary on Genesis, Gen. 1:6 (Ante-Nicene Fathers [ANF], Vol. 5, p.163).
  2. Hippolytus, 4 (ANF, Vol. 5, p.179).
  3. Hippolytus, Genesis, Gen. 3:8 (ANF, Vol. 5, p.163).
  4. John Calvin, Genesis, 1534, trans. John King. London: The Banner of truth Trust, 1992. pp.160-161.
  5. Hippolytus, Genesis, Gen. 7:6 (ANF, Vol. 5, p.197).
  6. Hippolytus, Genesis, Gen. 8:1 (ANF, Vol. 5, p.198).

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