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eternal Creator and the Creation in time. Augustine ties together his memory
of his past life, his present experience, and his ardent desire to comprehend
the mystery of creation. This leads him to the questions of the mode and time
of creation. He ponders the mode of creation and shows that it was de
nihilo and involved no alteration in the being of God. He then considers
the question of the beginning of the world and time and shows that time and
creation are cotemporal. But what is time? To this Augustine devotes a brilliant
analysis of the subjectivity of time and the relation of all temporal process
to the abiding eternity of God. From this, he prepares to turn to a detailed
interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2.
1. Is it possible, O Lord, that, since thou art in eternity,
thou art ignorant of what I am saying to thee? Or, dost
thou see in time an event at the time it occurs? If not,
then why am I recounting such a tale of things to thee?
Certainly not in order to acquaint thee with them through
me; but, instead, that through them I may stir up my own
love and the love of my readers toward thee, so that all
may say, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised."
I have said this before
and will say it again: "For love of thy love I do it." So
also we pray--and yet Truth tells us, "Your Father knoweth
what things you need before you ask him." Consequently, we lay bare our
feelings before thee, that, through our confessing to thee
our plight and thy mercies toward us, thou mayest go on
to free us altogether, as thou hast already begun; and that
we may cease to be wretched in ourselves and blessed in
thee--since thou hast called us to be poor in spirit, meek,
mourners, hungering and athirst for righteousness, merciful
and pure in heart.
Thus I have told thee many things, as I could find ability
and will to do so, since it was thy will in the first place
that I should confess to thee, O Lord my God--for "Thou
art good and thy mercy endureth forever."