|The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol. 1 (Ancient Christian Writers)|
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The interpretation of the creation narrative in the Book of Genesis was a subject that repeatedly occupied Augustine's mind throughout the years from his earliest days as a layman following his baptism in Milan in A.D. 387 until his advanced years when he was Bishop of Hippo. The reason for his preoccupation is not far to seek. As a young man in Carthage he had been an auditor in Manichean religion, and because of this experience he had become deeply aware of the need to refute the dualism of the Manichees and to defend the reliability of the Old Testament against their attacks. In opposition to the Manichean doctrine of two ultimate principles, the principles of light and darkness, he constantly defended the teachings of Genesis that God created from nothing all that is outside of Himself and that He saw that it was good.