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

resolve it, why do they find fault with what they reject as any concern of theirs, though they are ignorant of what they admit is their concern? For that our Lord marvelled means that we should marvel, for we still need to be moved in this way. Hence, all such emotions of his are not signs of a troubled mind, but of a teacher at work. 50. So too, there are words of the Old Testament which do not prove that God is weak, but are a concession to our weakness. For nothing can be said worthily of God. Still there are said those things that we can grasp so that we may be nourished and come to those things which cannot be said by any human language. 51.


CHAPTER 9

He Deals with the Second Part of the Same Verse, and the First Part
of the Following Verse

15. "And God divided the light and the darkness, and God called the light day and he called the darkness night." 52. It did not say here, "God made the darkness," because darkness, as we said above, is the absence of light. Yet God made a distinction between light and darkness. So too, we make a sound by crying out and we make a silence by not making a sound, because silence is the cessation of sound; still in some sense we distinguish between sound and silence and call the one sound and the other silence. As we are correctly said to pro

____________________
the goodness of the light, the Manichees would have felt that their case was even stronger. Yet Christ marvelled at the faith of believers, even though he produced that faith and had foreknowledge of it. Since the Manichees accept the New Testament, they have to explain this marvelling of Christ's—which is reported in the part of the Scriptures they accept.
50.
Augustine often appeals to the cause-for-effect sort of metonymy. Christ's wondering is said to teach us that we should wonder; cf. below, 1.9.15.
51.
Though we can say nothing worthy of God, we still dare not remain silent. Cf. DT 5.1.1 where he begins to speak of "the Lord our God, of whom we ought always to think, but of whom we cannot worthily think. To him we ought to render our blessing at every moment in praise, though no utterance we speak befits him." Cf. also Vladimir Lossky, "Les éléments de théologie négative dans la pensée de saint Augustin," AM 1.575-581.
52.
Gen 1.4-5.

-62-

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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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