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 28

As an Epilogue He Refutes the Individual Slanders
of the Manichees

42. What then do these men have to find fault with in these books of the Old Testament? Let them ask in their customary way, and let us answer them as the Lord deigns to provide. "Why," they ask, "did God make man whom he knew would sin?" Because he could produce many good things from the sinner, ordering him according to the directive of his justice, and because his sin in no way harms God. If man had not sinned, there would be no death, but because he sinned, other mortals are corrected as a result of his sin. For nothing so calls men back from sin as the thought of imminent death. 192. "He should have made him," they say, "so that he would not sin." By no means should he have done so! For man was made so that, if he were unwilling, he would not sin. "The devil," they say, "should not have been allowed to approach the woman." On the contrary, she should not have allowed the devil to approach her; she was made so that, if she were unwilling, she would have prevented his approach. "The woman," they say, "should not have been made." This is to say that something good should not have been made. For she is certainly something good and so good that the Apostle says that she is the glory of the man, and that all things are from God. 193. Again they say, "Who made the devil?" He made himself ; for the devil was made by sinning, not by nature. "Or," they say, "God should not have made him if he knew that he would sin." On the contrary, why should he not have made him? For through his own justice and providence he corrects many as a result of the malice of the devil. Or have you perhaps not heard the Apostle Paul saying, "And I handed them over to Satan so that they might learn not to blaspheme"? 194. And of himself he says, "And lest I be raised up by the great‐

____________________
192.
The Maurists note that this sentence is missing from seven of the better manuscripts.
193.
Cf. 1 Cor 11.7, 12.
194.
1 Tim 1.20.

-139-

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