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

will be watered by the interior spring of water springing up. For, if we want to understand the words, "But a spring came up from the earth and watered the whole face of the earth," 33. as referring to some spring of this visible water, it is not likely that we find throughout the whole world so many springs of streams or rivers continuing to flow, while only that one has dried up which watered the whole face of the earth. 34.


CHAPTER 6

The Terms Signifying Invisible Things

7. Hence, these few words present to us the whole of creation before the soul's sin. For the expression "heaven and earth" signifies the whole visible creation, and the expression "day" all of time, while the expression "green things and food of the field" signifies the invisible creation, and the expression "the spring coming up and watering the whole face of the earth" signifies the flood of truth satisfying the soul before sin. This day, which we said signifies the whole of time, teaches us that not only the visible, but also the invisible creation can perceive time. This is made clear to us with regard to the soul. We have proof that it is subject to change in time from the great variety of its loves and from the fall by which it became wretched and from the restoration by which it returns again to happiness. Hence, it did not merely say, "When there was made the day on which God made heaven and earth," which terms indicate the visible creation, but it also added, "the green of the field and food." 35. This latter expression, we said, signifies the invisible creation, such as the soul, because of its vigor and life. Thus it said, "When there was made the day on which God made heaven and earth, and all the green and the food of the field," so that we might

____________________
33.
Gen 2.6.
34.
The improbability of the spring that watered all the earth drying up leads Augustine to understand that spring as other than this visible water.
35.
Gen 2.4-5.

-101-

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