Edited by Daniel M. Clough, M. A. - PB - 264 pages
This book is compiled according to the magnificent pattern established by Thomas Aquinas in the Catena Aurea. It is a well researched and thoughtfully composed listing of the Commentary of the saints and Fathers and Doctors of the Church who have written of the first three chapters of Genesis. Unlike aLapide, there is no commentary or analysis of the scripture from the compiler himself but it is a remarkably well done listing of what has been written by the greatest of commentators themselves and although there are some differences of opinion among the saint's writings here, yet, the whole of their accumulated commentary presents a remarkably unified picture of the 'mind of the Church' from the earliest times through the centuries on the first (and arguably most important) three chapters of God's Words to men.
Man is a contingent and limited being with a fallen nature, yet, because he is made in the image and likeness of God, his aspirations to knowledge are limitless since, once created, the duration of his being is endless. Man’s nature is seeking perfection in both knowledge and in being that can only be found in union with that which is not contingent or limited in any fashion—God.
Religion is the knowledge that man seeks, but which he cannot discover on his own. True religion rests upon one thing, God’s authority, and is revealed to men by three methods, Creation, Tradition and Scripture.
Daniel Clough compiles in this volume the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church of God on all three things:
Tradition, Scripture, and Creation. Here are the deepest thoughts of the greatest saints and scholars on the origins and ends (the Alpha and the Omega) of the world.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In these two statements from God lie the origins, the genesis, of all knowledge that the heart of man desires. This series of commentaries on the first three chapters of the book of Genesis is the place to begin our profound inquiry into that knowledge that will be completed, God
willing, in the beatific vision.
Table of Contents
Moses and the Origins of Genesis
The Literary Character of the Narrative
Errors Concerning Creation
Why God Created
Chapter 1: The Six Days of Creation
The Creation of All Things by God
Heaven of the Blessed
The Formless Earth
Mention of the Angels
The Fall of the Angels
The Seven Days
The Day of the Lord
The Sun, Moon, and Stars
The Birds and Fish
The Second Account
Chapter 2: The Creation of Man and Woman
The Special Creation of Man
The First Man
Body and Soul Together
Man Was Made Upright
The Formation of the First Woman
Chapter 3: The Temptation and Fall
The Divine Command
The Temptation by the Devil
The Fall from the State of Innocence
The Promise of a Future Redeemer
The Punishment and Expulsion from Paradise
This book was inspired by the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas where he presented the Gospel commentaries of the Fathers of the Church in a systematic fashion. This work will follow a similar style to what St. Thomas presented, but it will focus exclusively on the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. It will not only draw from the Fathers but from other saints as well. The formatting style for the quotations was also inspired by The Teaching of the Church Fathers, by Fr. John Willis. It began first as my notes, and then it became the book that it is now, which can serve as a reference for others in their study of the first book of the Bible.
Many of the modern commentaries on Genesis deal with theories regarding the literary origins of the text, and oftentimes include brief explanations of the text, but these do no more than scratch the surface. I had a desire to go deeper into the mystery of creation, and I found many more interesting things that were said by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. I compiled this book in order to make available to scholars and to everyone the great treasury of catholic tradition which has been drawn from many different sources.
The commentaries of the saints are drawn from in order to show forth examples of the living tradition in studies on sacred scripture. This living tradition is one of the principles laid down by Dei Verbum as being essential to a correct hermeneutic of interpretation. This principle was often repeated in papal teaching, most recently in the Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, of Benedict XVI.
As St. Caesarius of Arles says: “Now if our holy fathers of old with such great zeal and pious labor wrote innumerable volumes for the benefit of all the churches, how will we appear among them if we neglect to distribute to our children what we find has been compiled by them?” (Sermon 1:15)
My hope is that this book will aid in bringing about a renewal in biblical studies which relies more upon our catholic tradition and also brings with it refreshment of spirit. When we enter upon the task of studying the bible, it is easy to treat it as an ordinary literary document on the natural level alone, but it must be treated as a supernatural work. The writings of the saints help us because they, by their holiness of life and their intellectual rigor, remind us that the deeper we go into the study of creation, the more mysterious it can become; hence the need to humble ourselves before such an awesome mystery. May we come to learn more and more, and gain a greater grasp upon the truths revealed by God in the book of Genesis as explained in the writings of the saints. Thus starting from the beginning of God’s revelation, may it lead us onward towards our last end, which is union with God in Heaven.