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

CHAPTER 20

The Punishment of the Man

30. Likewise, what shall we say about the sentence that was pronounced against the man? Are we perhaps to think that the rich, for whom the necessities of life come easily and who do not labor on the earth, have escaped this punishment? It says, "The earth will be cursed for you in all your works, and you shall eat from it in sadness and groaning all the days of your life. It will bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the grain of your field. In the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread until you return to the earth from which you were taken, for you are earth and you will return to the earth." 132. It is certainly clear that no one escapes this sentence. For anyone born in this life has difficulty in discovering the truth because of the corruptible body. For as Solomon says, "The body which is corrupted weighs down the soul, and the earthly habitation presses down the mind that thinks many thoughts." 133. These are the labors and sorrows which man has from the earth. The thorns and thistles are the prickings of torturous questions or thoughts concerned with providing for this life. Unless these are uprooted and cast forth from the field of God, they generally choke off the word, so that it does not bear fruit in man, as the Lord says in the gospel. 134. Now it is necessary that we be admonished about the truth through these eyes and these ears, and it is difficult to resist the phantasms which enter the soul through these senses, although truth's admonition also enters through them. 135. In this perplexity whose brow would not sweat in order that he might eat his bread? For all the days of our life we are going to suffer, that is, of this life which is going to pass away. These words are spoken to one who cultivates his

____________________
132.
Gen 3.17-19.
133.
Wis 9.15.
134.
Cf. Mark 4.18-19.
135.
In paradise man did not receive admonitions about the truth through the bodily senses; rather the truth spoke directly to his mind. Now after sin we receive such admonitions through the senses which are also the source of distracting phantasms.

-125-

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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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