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    March 10th, 2012 @ 6:37 pm by Kevin

    How, then, shall I respond to him who asks, “What was God doing before he made heaven and earth?” I do not answer, as a certain one is reported to have done facetiously (shrugging off the force of the question). “He was preparing hell,” he said, “for those who pry too deep.” It is one thing to see the answer; it is another to laugh at the questioner–and for myself I do not answer these things thus. More willingly would I have answered, “I do not know what I do not know,” than cause one who asked a deep question to be ridiculed–and by such tactics gain praise for a worthless answer.

    Rather, I say that thou, our God, art the Creator of every creature. And if in the term “heaven and earth” every creature is included, I make bold to say further: “Before God made heaven and earth, he did not make anything at all. For if he did, what did he make unless it were a creature?” I do indeed wish that I knew all that I desire to know to my profit as surely as I know that no creature was made before any creature was made. — Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 11, Chapter 12

leave a comment on this post (3 Comments)

  1. What was God doing before He made heaven and earth? Maybe He was figuring out HOW to make heaven and earth!

    (about wisdom)
    The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth… (Proverbs 8:22-24)
    The Hebrew definition of “brought forth” in this passage means to twist, whirl, dance, writhe, fear, tremble, travail, be in anguish, or be pained. What a woman feels in child birth is just a taste of what God “was doing” before He created heaven and earth!
    Proverbs 4:7 states that wisdom is the principal thing, the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:1. So it could be reworded as, in wisdom, God created the heavens and the earth.

    Not to one-up Augustine or anything, who wasn’t much of a fan of Hebrew. Just something to chew on =)

  2. The title is totally misleading. St. Augustine most firmly states that there is a hell where one will be punished – by themselves. Which has always been the orthodox view: Maybe reading some serious literature on Hell would make you rethink what Hell is.

    He would not have tolerated people questioning the existence of hell, except in the sense that since hell is full of evil, and evil is nothingness, then hell is full of nearly nothings – but that’s a separate matter. Hell is real, and a result of sin, saith the Augustine.

  3. Augustine didn’t speak Greek or Hebrew fluently. He depended on Latin and thus failed to properly understand words like “aion,” “aionios,” “sheol,” “gehenna,” “olam,” “olamim,” “hades,” and “tartaros.”

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