On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, an Unfinished Book

By St. Augustine; Roland J. S. J. Teske | Go to book overview

sealed spring," 101. where that enticer toward perversity is certainly not admitted. Still he deceives by means of the woman. Nor can our reason be brought to the consent that is sin, except when delight is aroused in that part of the soul which ought to obey reason as its ruling husband. 102.

21. Even now nothing else happens in each of us when one falls into sin than occurred then in those three: the serpent, the woman and the man. For first the suggestion is made, whether by thought or by the senses of the body, by seeing or touching or hearing or tasting or smelling. When this suggestion has been made, if our desire is not aroused toward sinning, the cunning of the serpent will be excluded. If, however, it is aroused, it will be as though the woman were already persuaded. At times reason checks and suppresses in a virile way even desire that has been aroused. When this happens, we do not fall into sin, but we are crowned for our modest struggle. But if reason consents and decides that what desire has stirred up should be carried out, man is expelled from the whole happy life as if from paradise. For the sin is already imputed to him, even if the deed is not carried out, since conscience is held guilty by reason of the consent. 103.


CHAPTER 15

How Temptation Brings One Down

22. We must carefully consider how the serpent persuaded them to sin, since this question is especially pertinent to our salvation. Scripture reports these things precisely so that we

____________________
101.
Cant 4.12.
102.
Augustine sees Genesis as exemplifying in the two first humans what happens in each of us—both male and female—namely, that our reason is brought to consent to sin by the arousal of the soul's appetitive side.
103.
Apparently we now face temptation in exactly the same condition as did Adam and Eve, that is, with no inherited "ignorance and difficulty," such as we find in DLA 3.18.52. For further references, cf. Goulven Madec's note, "La condition malheureuse," in BA 6 (3rd ed, 1976), 578-583. Or is Augustine speaking of our sinning in Adam? For he says that we too are expelled from the happy life after we sin.

-117-

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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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