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

number "five" doubled, as I said, makes the number "ten." But from adolescence on, when reason begins to prevail in man, there is added to the five senses knowledge and action, by which life is ruled and governed, so that now there begins to be the number "seven." This number, likewise doubled because of the two sexes, emerges clearly in the fourteen generations which the next three ages each have, like the ages of the adolescent, the young man and the mature man. But, as is the case with us, the period of old age is defined by no fixed number of years. Rather, after those five ages, however long one may live, it is counted as old age. In that age of the world we find no generations, and thus the last day is also concealed since the Lord has declared that it should be hidden for our good. 123.


CHAPTER 25

A More Profound Allegory of the Seven Days

43. In good works and a just life each of us has something like these six distinct days, after which he ought to hope for rest. On the first day each of us has the light of faith, when he first believes in visible things. Because of such faith the Lord has deigned to appear visibly. On the second day he has the firmament, so to speak, of learning by which he discerns between carnal and spiritual things, as between the lower and the higher waters. On the third day he separates his mind from the stain and waves of carnal temptations, as the dry land [is separated] from the storms of the sea. Thus he bears the fruits of good works and can already say, "With the mind I obey the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." 124. On the fourth day he produces and distinguishes in that firmament of learning various spiritual knowledges. He sees the unchangeable truth that shines in the soul like the sun, and he sees how the soul becomes a partaker in this truth and confers order and beauty on the body, just as the moon illu‐

____________________
123.
Cf. Matt 24.36.
124.
Rom 7.25.

-89-

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