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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982


SMITHER, Edward L.. Augustine on redemption in Genesis 1-3. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.35, n.1, pp.1-4. ISSN 2074-7705.

Many theologians, including those concerned with theology of mission, frame the drama of God's story and mission (missio Dei) through the three major acts of creation, fall and redemption. Others add that the new creation ought to be regarded as a fourth act. Although this framework describes the entire biblical narrative, creation, fall and the hope of redemption are, of course, quite present in the first three chapters of Genesis. In this article, I endeavoured to engage with the commentaries of the African church father Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) to grasp his thoughts on redemption in Genesis 1-3. In his Genesis works, Augustine was primarily concerned with clarifying the doctrine of creation and, relatively speaking, had far less to say about redemption. That said, Augustine was, quite interested with Scripture's story of redemption in his magnum opus De Civitate Dei [City of God]. Thus, in this article, I explored two major questions: firstly, why did Augustine pay so little attention to redemption in Genesis 1-3? Secondly, how did he articulate and relate redemption in these chapters? It was shown that whilst his primary focus was to articulate creation, his thoughts on redemption were probably limited some because of the insufficiency of his Old Latin Bible translation and perhaps because of other distractions in ministry. Furthermore, it was argued that Augustine's doctrine of redemption was a subset of his discussion on creation - specifically, that the second Adam (Christ) brought new life to God's image bearers affected by the fall of the first Adam. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: My aim was to establish Augustine's thoughts on redemption as a point of dialogue for theologians of mission endeavouring to clarify a theology of mission. As most mission theologians do not consult Augustine in their work and as most early Christian scholars do not read Augustine missionally, this study offered fresh insights for both groups of scholars.

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