Greetings. We are in the Netherlands, where I am teaching a class on Augustine at Tyndale Theological Seminary. Ran across the following in preparing for class. Augustine wrote a volume, Answer to an Enemy of the Law and the Prophets. Some real gems on how to approach the Bible, the nature of language about God, etc., is found in this great piece. On the rainbow in Genesis, did God need a sign because of a poor memory (i.e., because God needs to be "reminded")? No, says Augustine. In criticizing the person in error (who would suggest that God perhaps does have a poor memory), Augustine writes:
"The fellow does not know what he is saying at all, not because his memory is dead, but because his soul is dead." (I.20.43). My!
Augustine is nothing if not fascinating. Over the years, various folks (theistic evolutionists among them), have turned to Augustine. Most of us would like to have Augustine "on our side," if possible. As I work on my own Augustine book, I have attempted to explore some of these issues. In an interesting turn, Etienne Gilson somewhat turns the tables on the attempt to bring Augustine to the defense of Darwinism (unnamed). Here is what Gilson writes:
Concerning Augustine's notion of "seminal reasons" (which for Augustine permeate/mark all of created order): "Far from being called upon to explain the appearance of something new, as would be the case with creative evolution, they serve to prove that whatever appears to be new is really not so, and that in spite of appearances, it is still true that God 'created all things simultaneously' (creavit omnia simul). This is the reason why seminal reasons, instead of leading to a transformist hypothesis, are constantly called upon by Augustine to account for the stability of species."
Gilson goes on:
"The element from which the seminal reasons are made have their own nature and efficacy, and this is the reason why a grain of wheat produces wheat rather than beans, or a man begets a man and not an animal of another species. The seminal reasons are principles of stability rather than of change." (Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of Augustine 207).
Christmas in Cambridge (2016). On Christmas eve morn we went to the local bakery in Newnham, and enjoyed some goodies. A real blessing to be in Cambridge at Christmas.