St Augustine on the Word of God

Augustine of Hippo.jpgHere is St. Augustine, reflecting on the uniqueness of the Word made flesh in his book, Confessions VII.9:

So you made use of a man, one who was bloated with the most outrageous pride, to procure me some of the books of the Platonists, translated from the Greek into Latin. In them I read ­– not, of course, word for word, though the sense was the same and it was supported by all kinds of different arguments – that  at the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word abiding with him, and the Word was God. He abode, at the beginning of time, with God. It was through him that all things came into being, and without him came nothing that has come to be. In him there was life, and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to mater it. I read too that the soul of man, although it bears witness of the light, is not the Light. But the Word, who is himself God, is the true Light, which enlightens every soul born into the world. He, through whom the world was made, was in the world, and the world treated him as a stranger. But I did not find it written in those books that he came to what was his own, and they who were his own gave him no welcome. But all those who did welcome him he empowered to become the children of God, all those who believe in his name.

In the same books I also read of the Word, God, that his birth came not from human stock, not from nature’s will or man’s, but from God. But I did not read in them that the Word was made flesh and came to dwell among us.

From Augustine, Confessions, trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin (New York: Penguin Books, 1961), 144-145.

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