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

ness of the revelations, there was given me a needle in the flesh, an angel of Satan who buffeted me." 195. "And so," they ask, "is the devil good, because he is useful?" On the contrary, he is evil insofar as he is the devil, but God who is good and almighty draws many just and good things out of the devil's malice. For the devil has to his credit only his will by which he tries to do evil, not the providence of God that draws good out of him. 196.


CHAPTER 29

He Compares the Teachings of the Church
with the Errors of the Manichees

43. Finally, we are discussing with the Manichees the question of religion, and the question of religion is: what does piety demand that we think concerning God? Since they cannot deny that the human race is in the misery of sin, they say that that nature of God is in misery. 197. We deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing is in misery and that it came to this state, not under compulsion, but by the will to sin. They say that the nature of God is forced by God himself to do penance for sins; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing is forced, after it sinned, to do penance for its sins. They say that the nature of God receives pardon from God himself; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing receives pardon for its sins, if it turns from its sins to its God. They say that the nature of God is by necessity changeable; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing has been changed by its own will. They say that the sins of others harm the nature of God; we deny this and say that sins harm only the nature

____________________
195.
2 Cor 12.7.
196.
This battery of crisp questions and answers forms a sort of brief catechism for the Catholic believer to use when faced with the standard Manichaean complaints.
197.
Augustine works out the implications of the Manichaean position that the soul is literally divine, a part of God, in contrast with those of the Catholic faith that the soul is a creature.

-140-

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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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