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

toward himself, and this is the meaning of his having eaten from that tree. He saw his nakedness and was displeasing to himself because he did not have anything of his own.


CHAPTER 17

Their Rejection of Guilt and the Punishment of the Serpent

25. Then, as is the custom with pride, he does not accuse himself of having consented to the woman, but pushes the fault off upon the woman. Thus, as if out of a cleverness the poor fellow had conceived, he subtly tried to attribute his sinning to God himself. For he did not just say, "The woman gave to me," but added on, "The woman you gave to me." 117. Nothing is as familiar for sinners as to want to attribute to God everything for which they are accused, and this arises from that vein of pride. For man sinned in wishing to be like God, that is, to be free from his dominion, as God is free from all dominion, since he is the Lord of all. Because he could not be equal to him in majesty, now that he has fallen and is lying in his sin, he tried to make God his equal. Or rather he wants to show that God has sinned, while he himself is innocent. When the woman is asked, she passes the guilt on to the serpent. They act as if he had received his wife in order to obey her rather than to make her obey him, or as if she had not been able to keep God's commandment rather than listen to the words of the serpent.

26. The serpent is not now questioned, but he received his punishment first, because he cannot confess his sin and has no ground at all for excusing himself. There is no mention now of that condemnation of the devil which is reserved for the last judgment, 118. that one the Lord speaks when he says, "Depart into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the

____________________
117.
Gen 3.12.
118.
Augustine indicates that the devil will be condemned to everlasting fire only at the final judgment and that until then he is free to roam the earth.

-121-

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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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