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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"And God made all things at the same time." 78. Why did he in the previous case first see that it is good, and afterward give it a name, while here he first gave it a name and afterwards saw that it was good? Surely that difference indicates that there are no intervals of time in God's working, although they are found in his works. 79. Something is made earlier and later in accord with the intervals of time, and without these [intervals of time] there could not be a narrative account of what God made, although God could make these things without them. "And evening came and morning came the second day." 80. We have already dealt with this above, and I think the same reasons are valid here as well.


CHAPTER 10

32. "And God said, 'Let the waters which are below the heaven be gathered into one gathering, and let the dry land appear.' And so it was done." 81. This verse gives us highly probable grounds for believing that the water mentioned above is, as we thought, the very matter of the world. For, if everything were filled with water, from where or to where could it be gathered? 82. But if Scripture called some material confusion by the name "water," this gathering should be interpreted as its formation whereby the water received the form we now see that it has. The addition "Let the dry land appear" can be understood as the formation of the earth so that the earth might have this form that we see. For it was called invisible and without form when matter still lacked form. Hence, God said, "Let the water which is below the heavens be gathered," that is, let the corporeal matter be brought into form so that it might be this water that we perceive. "Into one

____________________
78.
Cf. Sir 18.1.
79.
Augustine seems to restrict the simultaneity of creation to the divine activity, while God's works are produced earlier and later in time. The narrative account demands their temporal extension, even if God could make them all at once; cf. above, 7.28, nt. 61.
80.
Gen 1.8.
81.
Gen 1.9.
82.
This is the Manichaean objection; cf. DGnM 1.12.18.

-168-

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