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

that this whole work belongs to the day and that after this work, as if the day were finished, evening came. Because the night belongs to its day as well, one day is not said to have passed until the night has also passed when morning has come. Thus the remaining days are calculated from morning to morning. For now, when morning has come and one day has passed, there begins the work that follows upon the morning that has come, and after that work there comes evening and then morning and another day passes. In this way the rest of the days pass from then on.


CHAPTER 11

How the Waters Are Divided by the Firmament: Verses Six to Eight

17. "And God said, 'Let there be the firmament in the middle of the water, and let there be a division between the waters.' So it was done. And God made the firmament, and God divided the water that is above the firmament from the water that is below the firmament, and God called the firmament heaven, and God saw that it was good." 56. I do not recall that the Manichees are accustomed to find fault with this. The waters were divided so that some were above the firmament and others below the firmament. Since we said that matter was called water, I believe that the firmament of heaven separated the corporeal matter of visible things from the incorporeal matter of invisible things. 57. For though heaven is a very beautiful body, every invisible creature sur‐

____________________
56.
Gen 1.6-8.
57.
Though Augustine cannot recall any Manichaean objections to this verse, he cannot resist saying something about the waters above and below the firmament, that is, about incorporeal and corporeal matter. For Augustine there is matter in everything but God, for it is the principle of mutability, and God alone is absolutely immutable; cf. C 12.6.6. For an excellent account of Augustine's view of matter, cf. Solignac's note on C 12.3.3-6.6 in BA 14.599-603. Augustine derived the doctrine of spiritual and corporeal matter from Plotinus; cf. Enneads 1.8.9; 2.4.8; 2.7.2; 6.9.7. Cf. also A. H. Armstrong, "Spiritual and Intelligible Matter in Plotinus and Augustine," AM 1.276-283. It is only the few that understand how invisible waters surpass this sky; the little ones presumably have to believe until they can understand.

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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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