|Where did St Augustine write about Genesis? There may be a passage in Confessions. There certainly are parts in City of God and in Questions about the Heptateuch (Pentateuch, Joshua and Judges). There may be parts of Revisions. There is De Genesi ad Literam in twelve books, De Genesi ad Literam one incomplete book and De Genesi ad Literam against the Manichees. There may of course also be passages in Letters. And in each case of the three works named De Genesi ad Literam, the title so far means "on Genesis [taken] at the letter", and in each case this refers to the fact that it also has spiritual senses - like Eve taken from a rib of Adam while he slept denoting Church taken from the opened side of Jesus Christ while he hung dead on the Cross.
Now, thing is, Kent Hovind said that evolutionists contradict Jesus and Saint Paul. In both cases there are people who try to get around this using Saint Augustine. And in both cases I would say that if St Augustine gives an inch, they take an ell. If you know a certain proverb, I would say that gives them, but not St Augustine a certain similarity to the Devil.
Jesus said: From the beginning of Creation God created them man and woman.* Now, if someone playing around with St Augustine likes, he can say: "sure, in the beginning of creation, the way St Augustine speaks of the six days, God created all there is in its roots, and then after that there were billions of years until Adam was actually formed in time and matter and Eve too, but they had already been formed in their causes billions of years before that. That does not make Jesus a liar."
Hold it a minute! This is in De Genesi ad Literam book five and onwards at least into book six.
St Augustine did say the six days and the seventh days were essentially atemporal. He also says that taking them as temporal, as six and the seventh time 24 hours lapse is, if not quite adepquate, at least good enough for beginners. He does most certainly not say that the kind of indeterminate lapse of material and temoral time between Adam's individual body being created and him getting married to Eve could amount to billions of years. Still less that God would successively have created world after world without man and all different from ours and from each other before landing on the one with man. On the contrary, his basis for taking the six days and seventh days as other than normal days is Genesis 2:4-5. That passage contains "day" in the singular.**
OK, says St Augustine, then there were not six different days, only one day. Repeated six times. And that means it was not temporal.
It also says of this day "before any herbs were germing".**
OK, says St Augustine, who had had a Platonic education before becoming Christian, this means what God created in the six days were not yet any individual items of anything. Growth still had to happen. Biological process did not start till after the six days.
But he gives a parallel passage*** to support this reading of Genesis 2:4-5.** This parallel passage*** says God created everything at once. It is pretty obviously in visible or at least apparent contradiction with Cuvierism, with the idea now proposed by Hugh Ross, the idea of God first creating one world like fauna and flora and climate and all, then the next, then the next and each successive one containing traces of the earlier ones.
If St Augustine was by any chance wrong, then "day" in Genesis 2:4-5** would be using the word yôm in a looser sense, like "occasion". And the parallel passage*** would be using "at once" in a somewhat looser sense too. As, obvious to us now, opposed exactly to Cuvierism or successive stages of creation evolving on top of each other. As opposed to creating trilobites on one occasion, then waiting for millions of years, then creating dinosaurs on another occasion, and again waiting millions of years, then creating Australopithecus on one occasion and waiting a million of years to see how he was doing, then creating Adam and Eve. With death in between all those occasions, which brings us to the next point. But first one pause on the topic of six days.
Even if St Augustine was exactly right about atemporality of six days, as St Thomas Aquinas points out, this does not exclude that the first seven days of actual material time mature all the items created "in their causes" in the atemporal six days" as well as the rest in a temporal so to speak repetation or rehearsal of the atemporal six days.
St Paul said: By the sin of one man, death came into the world.° Same kind of guy would say: "sure, death as a punishment for humans came with the fall, but since St Augustine says animals would have died even before that, we can accept evolution."
Right, he said that carnivores were carnivores and would have eaten by killing even if Adam had not sinned. Note that his argument is a very total fixism and non-evolution of the carnivorous species. If a lion was exactly a lion as we know them, and if a wolf was exactly a wolf as we know them, or even a cat and a dog exactly a cat and a dog, as we know them, and if each species of finches of the Galapagos islands was created seperately on the fifth day and had a separate couple of ancestors on the Arc of Noah, then St Augustine has proven there were animals eaten before Adam sinned. And animals eaten obviously means animals dying.
But in that other scenario that evolutionists give, animal death is not limited to some deaths to feed some animals, it is actually made the chief instrument for weeding out the varieties not wanted for "next step in evolution".
St Augustine weakens "by the sin of one man, death entered the world" but he never reverses it to - as do the evolutionists - "by death man entered into the world".
And maybe for a very good reason. You see, St Augustine was a convert from Manichean heresies. To them, to the heretics adherring to them, man precisely as a biological being is a product of a kind of spiritual death or fall. The souls that stayed quite alive never made it to be men, they remained body-less spirit children of the purely spiritual "God". Man as living on earth is the product of such beings getting trapped by the "other god" of death and materiality. So, to a Manichean as much as to an Evolutionist it would seem true enough to say "by death, man entered into the world". But St Augustine had washed off that shit from his mind, when he asked St Ambrose for baptism.
As an ex-Palmarian, I know what it means to stake the view of creation on St Augustine. The Papacy or Antipapacy at Palmar de Troya has issued a creed in which a recent creation, but that one "in one moment" is raised to status of dogma of the creed.
The people who just barely avoid contradicting Our Lord Jesus Christ and St Paul by taking an ell where St Augustine gives an inch, to me they are very clearly sham Augustinians on that precise point.
So, I have taken my distance from Palmar de Troya, even before I left Sweden. When I did, I started reaffirming literality of six days as most probable since supported by most Church Fathers.
Some people similarily - like Palmar de Troya - place St Augustine over the other Church Fathers - for sake of whose authority St Thomas Aquinas insisted on the possibility of harmonising by a rehearsal of the heptapartite initial not yet successive moment of Creation with subsequent heptapartite week in time of maturing with miraculous rapidity what had been created "in its seeds" or "in its causes" in the "one moment week". They similarily place St Augustine over the other Church Fathers, but only when it suits them. That is where they are not like Palmar de Troya, which refrains from going beyond St Augustine away from other Church Fathers on this one.
Dom Gérard Calvet, who was founder and first abbot of Le Barroux, Sainte Madeleine Monastery (one kilometre or so above Le Barroux village and castle), clearly had read the fifth book of the twelve book work on Genesis. He finds the prologue of St John's Gospel make better sense that way.
Any tree "was life" in God the Son from all eternity as knowledge about treeness is part of God's Wisdom and hence eternal life. Then - possibly - it was created in its treeness in the third recurrence of the one-moment day. A one moment in which God decided that trees should be among the infinite possibilities He knew that He also brought to actuality. Then individual trees were created up to present - very probably with the first ones created on the third lapse of 24 hours of actual time.
Now, Dom Gérard Calvet did support this reading of St John's prologue. He was certainly a devout Catholic, a real friend of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was also a friend of two people - Father Bryan Houghton, who described Evolutionism as rehashed Buddhism, but also Gustave Thibon, who thinks a certain evolution with its painfulness is an essential to the production of Christian saints, of hallowed souls. Now, I have not read much of Gustave Thibon, but I do fear he may have been a supporter of Thestic Evolution. Father Bryan Houghton clearly was not.
The Pseudo-Jesuit Pierre Theilhard de Chardin (a favourite intellectual enemy of Father Bryan Houghton), as we all know, was a supporter thereof.
Whether Dom Gérard was a Theistic Evolutionist or not, I leave, for the present to God's privy. If he was, "he was wrong on that one" - amicus Gerhardus, magis amica veritas.
But I thought it worth mentioning the fact that people who have read St Augustine with even less attention than I used yesterday - including those who have read only selected quotes - may feel able to plead not guilty to the charge that evolutionism makes Our Lord Jesus Christ and St Paul look wrong or misinforming. They should not need to immediately take heat as heretics from people who may be orthodox on Genesis but wrong on even more important matters.
However, I should not neglect to inform these evolutionists who think they are no heretics, who think they respect scrupulously the words of Christ through the Catholic interpretation of St Augsutine, that the same St Augustine might have a point about why the Church is on the brink of being submitted to persecution by certain powers. City of God. Got it? Now look up Book I. Got that one too?°° Now, there is a chapter called chapter IX.
I am one of the guys that St Augustine calls weak. I still hope to have children. I do not like the prospect of my family getting persecuted - whenever I shall get it. But I do say what I think about Evolutionism. Or about Heliocentric false philosophies too. Some guys are what St Augustine calls strong. They are monks or bishops, like Dom Gérard or Monsignor Lefèbvre were in their mortal life. And some of them are still a bit queezy about correcting the evil mighty ones. Read through that chapter and see what such behaviour brings in terms of misfortunes that the good share with the bad when living together in a society.
BpI, Georges Pompidou
Sunday after St Lawrence
and before Assumption of the BVM
A little PS: