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
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Testament. I think that nothing has been more clearly foretold than that they should be avoided in that serpent, or rather that it should be avoided in them. For no men promise more loquaciously and boastfully the knowledge of good and evil, and they are confident that they will demonstrate that discernment in man as in the tree that was planted in the middle of paradise. Moreover, who more than they utter the words, "You will be as gods"? In their proud vanity, trying to win others to that same pride, they assert that the soul is by nature that which God is. And to whom more than to them pertains the opening of the eyes of the flesh? For they have abandoned the interior light of knowledge and force men to worship this sun which pertains to the eyes of the body. In general, all heretics deceive by the promise of knowledge and find fault with those whom they find believing in all simplicity. 179. Because the objects of their persuasion are things utterly carnal, they try to bring men to what I might call the opening of the eyes of the flesh so that the interior eye is blinded.


CHAPTER 26

The Serpent Is the Manichaean Heretic

They are also displeased with their own bodies, not because of the punishment of mortality that we have merited by sinning, but so as to deny that God is the creator of bodies, as if they found this nakedness displeasing when these eyes of the flesh were opened.

39. Nothing marks and points them out more clearly than the words of the serpent, "You will not die the death; for God knew that on the day that you eat your eyes will be opened." 180. They believe that the serpent was Christ, and they imagine that some god of the nation of darkness, as they say, gave that

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179.
Twice in this chapter Augustine favorably mentions simple faith. He contrasts the simplicity of the Catholic faith with the Manichaean deceitfulness, and he points out that the objects of their persuasion are utterly carnal and that they open carnal eyes while blinding the interior eye of the mind.
180.
Gen 3.4-5.

-135-

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On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, An Unfinished Book
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