Thursday, May 29, 2014

"City of God" XI.30-32

Chapter 30:
As an example of how creation is only truly seen (as the angels in the City of God see) when we look at the Creator, Augustine gives us a brief exposition of the creation narrative from Genesis. Here, he explains that God could have created everything all at once, but instead expresses creation as a process that involves a perfect, rational, and wise number (six, in this case). We see simultaneously that Augustine is not tied down to a literal six-day creationism (not here, anyway), but that he is tied down to a creation that is 1) orderly; 2) rational; 3) progressive; 4) a direct work of God's power, intellect, and will.

Chapter 31:
Even the day of rest, the Sabbath, which involves no creation and no work, is a day governed by God's Reason and Wisdom since 7 is another perfect number. In fact, this "rest" is the normal state of heaven, and that from which both God and the angels (and, presumably, the glorified believers as well) operate. We, on the other hand, have not yet reached our rest, our Sabbath--we even have to work to get to meaning in Scripture:
It is even with toil we search into the Scriptures themselves.  But the holy angels, towards whose society and assembly we sigh while in this our toilsome pilgrimage, as they already abide in their eternal home, so do they enjoy perfect facility of knowledge and felicity of rest.  It is without difficulty that they help us; for their spiritual movements, pure and free, cost them no effort.
Chapter 32:
At the end of the day, so long as we delight in God and His work, we need not quibble too much over our interpretations of the creation story:
Let each one, then, take it as he pleases; for it is so profound a passage, that it may well suggest, for the exercise of the reader’s tact, many opinions, and none of them widely departing from the rule of faith.
That is, so long as we hold to the Trinitarian doctrines of Divine Creation, we may interpret Genesis 1 and 2 as we will. (Though of course, we should not come to the point where we are saying that the angels are co-eternal with God, that would be heresy--usually of the Gnostic variety.)

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