On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, An Unfinished Book

By Saint Augustine; Roland J. S. J. Teske | Go to book overview

duce silence, so too in many passages of the divine Scriptures God is correctly said to produce darkness, because he either does not give, or withdraws light from whatever times or places he wishes. 53. All these expressions are adapted to our intellect. For in what language did God call the light day and the darkness night? Was it in Hebrew, or Greek, or Latin, or some other? In the same way we can ask regarding everything he named the language in which he named them. For with God there is pure intellect, without the noise and diversity of languages. 54. Still, "he called" was said in the sense that he made them to be called, because he separated and ordered all things so that they could be distinguished and receive names. Later in its proper place we will inquire whether "God called" should really be taken in this sense. For the more we approach the Scriptures and become familiar with them, the better we know their modes of expression. In the same way we say that the father of a family built this home, that is, he had it built. Many expressions of this sort are found throughout all the books of the divine Scriptures.


CHAPTER 10

How It Is Correctly Understood, According to Verse Five, That One
Day Began and Passed

16. "And evening came and morning came, one day." 55. The Manichees also wrongly interpret this verse, supposing that it meant that the day began with the evening. They do not understand that work by which God made the light and made a division between the light and darkness and called the light day and the darkness night. They do not understand

____________________
53.
Cf., for example, Exod 10.21-23.
54.
Augustine has just pointed out that these things were said for our intellect which needs spoken words since the Fall. On the other hand, God is pure intellect. He does not speak in any human language. Augustine again uses metonymy; he interprets "he called" to mean "he made them to be called." In paradise we drank directly from the fountain of truth without need for human words; for this point cf. below, 2.4.5.
55.
Gen 1.5.

-63-

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On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, An Unfinished Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Fathers of the Church - A New Translation *
  • The Fathers of the Church - A New Translation *
  • On Genesis - Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees and on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: an Unfinished Book *
  • Contents *
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Select Bibliography xi
  • Introduction *
  • Introduction 3
  • Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees *
  • Book One 47
  • Chapter 1 47
  • Chapter 2 49
  • Chapter 3 52
  • Chapter 4 54
  • Chapter 5 56
  • Chapter 6 57
  • Chapter 7 58
  • Chapter 8 60
  • Chapter 9 62
  • Chapter 10 63
  • Chapter 11 64
  • Chapter 12 65
  • Chapter 13 66
  • Chapter 14 68
  • Chapter 15 71
  • Chapter 16 72
  • Chapter 17 74
  • Chapter 18 76
  • Chapter 19 77
  • Chapter 20 78
  • Chapter 21 80
  • Chapter 22 81
  • Chapter 23 83
  • Chapter 24 88
  • Chapter 25 89
  • Book Two 91
  • Chapter 1 91
  • Chapter 2 95
  • Chapter 3 96
  • Chapter 4 98
  • Chapter 5 99
  • Chapter 6 101
  • Chapter 7 102
  • Chapter 8 104
  • Chapter 9 107
  • Chapter 10 109
  • Chapter 11 111
  • Chapter 12 112
  • Chapter 13 114
  • Chapter 14 115
  • Chapter 15 117
  • Chapter 16 119
  • Chapter 17 121
  • Chapter 18 122
  • Chapter 19 123
  • Chapter 20 125
  • Chapter 21 126
  • Chapter 22 129
  • Chapter 23 131
  • Chapter 24 132
  • Chapter 25 134
  • Chapter 26 135
  • Chapter 27 137
  • Chapter 28 139
  • Chapter 29 140
  • On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book *
  • Chapter 1 145
  • Chapter 2 147
  • Chapter 3 148
  • Chapter 4 151
  • Chapter 5 156
  • Chapter 6 161
  • Chapter 7 163
  • Chapter 8 165
  • Chapter 9 167
  • Chapter 10 168
  • Chapter 11 169
  • Chapter 12 171
  • Chapter 13 173
  • Chapter 14 176
  • Chapter 15 179
  • Chapter 16 182
  • Indices *
  • General Index 191
  • Index of Holy Scripture 196
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