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

for the sake of some sorts of sacrifices. They made some marks in the dust, and they found them intact the next year. This could not have happened if that place was exposed to wind or rain. Moreover, because the thinness of the air on that peak did not provide them with breath, they could not remain there without applying wet sponges to their nostrils from which they could draw the thicker and usual breath. These men also reported that they had never seen a bird in that place. Therefore, it is not without reason that the most trustworthy Scripture mentions that not merely the fish and the rest of the living things that live in the waters, but also the birds were born from the waters, because they can only fly through this air that is formed from the moisture of the sea and the earth.


CHAPTER 16

Why Harmful Animals Were Created

25. "And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living soul according to each kind of quadruped and reptile and beast of the earth.' And so it was done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kind, and the cattle according to their kind and all the reptiles of the earth according to their kind. And God saw that they were good." 78. The Manichees also stir up this question and ask, "What need was there for God to make so many living things, either in the waters or on the land, that are not necessary for men? And also many that are harmful and frightening?" When they say this, they do not understand how all things are beautiful to their creator and maker, who uses all of them for governing the universe which he rules by the supreme law. 79. For if an untrained person enters the workshop of an artisan, he sees many tools whose uses he does not know, and if he is quite

____________________
78.
Gen 1.24-25.
79.
The Manichees object to the uselessness of many animals as well as the harmful or frightening character of others. Augustine answers that all things are beautiful to God who made them and that God uses them for the governance of the universe.

-72-

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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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