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

CHAPTER 3

6. We can ask whether we should understand the words "In the beginning God made heaven and earth" 9. only in accord with history, or whether they also signify something in figures, and how they conform to the gospel and for what reason this book begins in this way. According to history one asks whether "In the beginning" means in the beginning of time or in the principle, in the very Wisdom of God. For the Son of God said that he was the principle. When he was asked, "Who are you?" he said, "The principle; that is why I am speaking to you." 10.For there is the principle without principle, and there is the principle along with another principle. 11. The principle without principle is the Father alone, and thus we believe that all things are from one principle. But the Son is a principle in such a way that he is from the Father. The first intellectual creature can also be called a principle for those things God made of which he is the head. Since a head is rightly called a principle, the Apostle did not call the woman the head of anything in that ranking of his. For he called the man the head of the woman, and Christ the head of the man, and God the head of Christ. 12. In that way creation is subject to the Creator.

7. Did it say, "In the beginning," because it was made first? Or was it impossible for heaven and earth to have been made

____________________
four senses, cf. DUC 3.5-9 and DGnL 1.1.1. On the four senses in Augustine, cf. Lubac, Exégèse médiévale, 1.177-187. Despite Augustine's introduction of this terminology from the tradition and its exemplification in the following chapter, he says virtually nothing more about the senses of Scripture in this work.
10.
John 8.25. Zycha's text reads quod et loquor, while DGnL 1.5.10 reads quia et loquor. Our text could be translated 'which also speaks' though quod can also be equivalent to quia; cf. JE 38.11 for a discussion of John 8.25.
11.
It sounds as though Augustine at this point held that there are two principles—the one with no principle and the other with a principle. Whatever the case is here, he later rejects the idea that the Father and the Son are two principles; rather as they are one God, so they are one principle; cf. EnP 109.13.
12.
Cf. 1 Cor 11.3.
9.
Gen 1.1.

-148-

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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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