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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 27

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 27.—That the Whole Plenitude of the Human Race Was Embraced in the First Man, and that God There Saw the Portion of It Which Was to Be Honored and Rewarded, and that Which Was to Be Condemned and Punished.

With good cause, therefore, does the true religion recognize and proclaim that the same God who created the universal cosmos, created also all the animals, souls as well as bodies.  Among the terrestrial animals man was made by Him in His own image, and, for the reason I have given, was made one individual, though he was not left solitary.  For there is nothing so social by nature, so unsocial by its corruption, as this race.  And human nature has nothing more appropriate, either for the prevention of discord, or for the p. 244 healing of it, where it exists, than the remembrance of that first parent of us all, whom God was pleased to create alone, that all men might be derived from one, and that they might thus be admonished to preserve unity among their whole multitude.  But from the fact that the woman was made for him from his side, it was plainly meant that we should learn how dear the bond between man and wife should be.  These works of God do certainly seem extraordinary, because they are the first works.  They who do not believe them, ought not to believe any prodigies; for these would not be called prodigies did they not happen out of the ordinary course of nature.  But, is it possible that anything should happen in vain, however hidden be its cause, in so grand a government of divine providence?  One of the sacred Psalmists says, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what prodigies He hath wrought in the earth.” 576   Why God made woman out of man’s side, and what this first prodigy prefigured, I shall, with God’s help, tell in another place.  But at present, since this book must be concluded, let us merely say that in this first man, who was created in the beginning, there was laid the foundation, not indeed evidently, but in God’s foreknowledge, of these two cities or societies, so far as regards the human race.  For from that man all men were to be derived—some of them to be associated with the good angels in their reward, others with the wicked in punishment; all being ordered by the secret yet just judgment of God.  For since it is written, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,” 577 neither can His grace be unjust, nor His justice cruel.


Footnotes

244:576

Ps. 46.8.

244:577

Ps. 25.10.


Next: Book XIII

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