Augustine says God Can't Talk; that he Interprets the Bible by Plato; and that God gave him a Toothache

* Augustine's True Confessions: Colorado calls Augustine on his toothache. On today's program Bob Enyart quotes from the most-popular Christian theologian in history, St. Augustine (that is, if one excludes non-Christians for otherwise the pagan philosopher Plato might hold that rank), who in his book, Confessions, wondered why God had given him such a severe toothache. During the program, Bob wondered why God wants glory mostly from toothaches from people who don't floss as compared to from people who do? (See also

* Almighty God Can't Speak, Says Augustine: First, because of his commitment to humanist pagan Greek philosophy, and against a thousand passages of Scripture, Augustine was convinced that the almighty God cannot speak. 

But how did [God] speak? ...the voice came from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son”... For that voice... began and ended. The syllables sounded and passed away, the second after the first, the third after the second… From this it is clear and plain that it was the action of a creature, itself in time, which sounded that voice... it compared those words which sounded in time with thy eternal word sounding in silence… Was it decreed by thy Word that a body might be made from which such words might come?
(For the full passage without the ellipsis, see below, or see Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book 11, Chapter 6, Section 8 NPNF1 1:165–66)

And likewise in the same passage Augustine wrestles with his absurd claim (based on his erroneous philosophical belief that he inherited from Plato that God is outside of time) that God could not say, "Let there be light", and also, that God could not create in any sequential fashion, like making Man after He made the Earth, and even then ceasing from His creative acts.

* Interpret the Bible by Plato, Says Augustine: And, instead of interpreting Scripture by Scripture, he interpreted Scripture by Plato. He has perhaps more influence than any other theologian, even after sixteen centuries. He initially saw that Paul's Gospel of Grace stood in contrast to Israel's Covenant of Law. However, he cherished his education in pagan Greek philosophy. Tragically, he reinterpreted the Bible, and specifically Paul's writings, through the murky lens of platonic thought. As he confessed:

So now I seized greedily upon the adorable writing of Your Spirit, and especially upon the apostle Paul. And I found that those difficulties, in which it had once seemed to me that he contradicted himself and that the text of his discourse did not agree with the testimonies of the law and the prophets, vanished away. In that pure eloquence I saw One Face, and I learned to rejoice with trembling. I found that whatever truth I had read in the Platonists was said here with praise of Your grace: that he who sees should not so glory as if he had not received⎯and received, indeed, not only what he sees but even the power to see, for what has he that he has not received? And further, that he who sees is not only taught to see You who are always the same but is also strengthened... (Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine , Kansas City, Kansas: Sheed & Ward, Inc., 1942, Book 7, Chapter 21, p. 124.)

Augustine confessed that Platonic truth helped him to interpret Scripture. Yet in Plato's Republic the wicked pagan philosopher recommended that the state should decide when a woman can have a baby, that at birth the state should permanently take away babies from their parents, and that a baby born without the state's consent should be killed. And to psychoanalyze Augustine, the "contradictions" he saw in Paul's writings were not with the Scriptures but with Greek philosophy. (See Bob's life's work on this very topic at He suggested the "problem" was with Scripture only as an excuse to introduce the "solution", that when he interpreted Paul's epistles in the light of Plato, the "problems" went away. That is, as Augustine himself concludes, the deity is "always the same", that is, to him, immutability is everything! (Whereas, of course, absolute immutability is an unbiblical doctrine. And see "Christian" theology's obsession with Greek philosophy discussed in Bob's written debate with D. James Kennedy's New Testament professor Sam Lamerson.)

* Augustine Twisted Up Over "Ineffability": Augustine wrestled with the false doctrine of ineffability, that God is unknown and unknowable. (That doctrine is self contradictory, that is, self-referentially incoherent, for if you could know nothing about God you could not know that He was unknowable.) In Ryan Mullin's The End of the Timeless God he quotes Augustine after commenting, "Augustine's attempt is as good as any other to state the doctrine of ineffability, and he is forced to admit that it entails a contradiction."

If I have said anything [about God], it is not what I desired to say. How do I know this, except from the fact that God is unspeakable? But what I have said, if it had been unspeakable, could not have been spoken. And so God is not even to be called "unspeakable," because to say even this is to speak of Him. Thus there arises a curious contradiction of words, because if the unspeakable is what cannot be spoke of, it is not unspeakable if it can be called unspeakable. And this opposition of words is rather to be avoided by silence [BE: So then, why didn't he delete the paragraph he had just written?] than to be explained away by speech. -Augustine, On Christian Doctrine I.6

Make sense? Virtually the entire Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to the "Revelation" teaches that God has revealed Hiimself, and in places the Bible points out that He has done this not only through the Scriptures but also in the general revelation of creation and by writing His law in our conscience. It is not the Bible, but ventures in the exercise of ungodly philosophy that leads to such absurdities.

* 300? No, 400! See and for the centuries during which all Christian leaders, whenever addressing the topic, only supported an anti-Calvinist understanding of the will. (There's no reason here even to write "free will" or even the doubly redundant "libertarian free will", for the "will" is the ability to decide, and if someone posits something that is not free, then they are discussing something other than the will.)

* Confessions of Augustine Chapter 6: For brevity sake, the passage above has omissions. Here is the full passage...

But how did you speak? Was it in the same way in which a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son”? [Mt. 3:17, 17:5] That voice went forth and was completed; it had a beginning and an ending. Its syllables sounded and passed away: the second after the first, the third after the second, and the rest in order, until the last syllable sounded after all the rest, and after the last was silence. From this it is clear and evident that the movement of a creature pronounced that voice; it was a temporal thing serving your eternal will. These words of yours, made in accordance with time, were conveyed by the outward ear to the understanding mind whose inward ear is attuned to your eternal Word. Then the mind compared these words that sounded in time with your eternal Word in his silence, and it said, “They are far different. They are far different. These temporal words are far beneath me; nor do they really have being, since they flee and pass away. But the Word of my God is above me, and he abides for ever.” [Is. 40:8] So if it was by words that sounded and then passed away that you spoke, so that heaven and earth might be made, and in that way you made heaven and earth, then there was already some bodily creature before you made heaven and earth, and by the temporal movements of that creature your utterance was extended through time. But there was no body before heaven and earth—or if there was, you had certainly made it without any transitory speech, so that from it you would make the transitory speech by which you would say, “Let heaven and earth be made.” For whatever that might have been, by which such a speech would be made, it would {207} not have existed at all unless you had made it. By what word, then, did you make the body by which those words would be made?

And in an older translation:

But how didst Thou speak? In the way that the voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son? For that voice passed by and passed away, began and ended; the syllables sounded and passed away, the second after the first, the third after the second, and so forth in order, until the last after the rest, and silence after the last. Whence it is abundantly clear and plain that the motion of a creature expressed it, itself temporal, serving Thy eternal will. And these Thy words, created for a time, the outward ear reported to the intelligent soul, whose inward ear lay listening to Thy Eternal Word. But she compared these words sounding in time, with that Thy Eternal Word in silence, and said “It is different, far different. These words are far beneath me, nor are they, because they flee and pass away; but the Word of my Lord abideth above me for ever.” If then in sounding and passing words Thou saidst that heaven and earth should be made, and so madest heaven and earth, there was a corporeal creature before heaven and earth, by whose motions in time that voice might take his course in time. But there was nought corporeal before heaven and earth; or if there were, surely Thou hadst, without such a passing voice, created that, whereof to make this passing voice, by which to say, Let the heaven and the earth be made. For whatsoever that were, whereof such a voice were made, unless by Thee it were made, it could not be at all. By what Word then didst Thou speak, that a body might be made, whereby these words again might be made? Confessionschapter 6