Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book XI/Chapter 30

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Chapter XXX.—Again He Refutes the Empty Question, “What Did God Before the Creation of the World?”

40. And I will be immoveable, and fixed in Thee, in my mould, Thy truth; nor will I endure the questions of men, who by a penal disease thirst for more than they can hold, and say, “What did God make before He made heaven and earth?” Or, “How came it into His mind to make anything, when He never before made anything?” Grant to them, O Lord, to think well what they say, and to see that where there is no time, they cannot say “never.” What, therefore, He is said “never to have made,” what else is it but to say, that in no time was it made? Let them therefore see that there could be no time without a created being,[1] and let them cease to speak that vanity. Let them also be extended unto those things which are before,[2] and understand that thou, the eternal Creator of all times, art before all times, and that no times are co-eternal with Thee, nor any creature, even if there be any creature beyond all times.


  1. He argues similarly in his De Civ. Dei, xi. 6: “That the world and time had but one beginning.”
  2. Phil. iii. 13.