Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 6th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Augustine’s use of Romans 1.25

St Augustine of Hippo

St Augustine of Hippo (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

But I set not my mind on the idols of Egypt, whom they served with Thy gold, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.1

Augustine pulls this directly from Romans 1.25:

They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and have offered reverence and worship to created things instead of to the Creator. Blessed is he for ever, Amen. (REB)

I have not researched all of Augustine’s use of this singular verse, but it is interesting he uses it at least here, correctly, to refer to idol worshiping rather than the notion of homosexuality.

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  1.  Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo and E. B. Pusey, The Confessions of St. Augustine 7.9 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


2 Responses to “Augustine’s use of Romans 1.25”
  1. Mark Allison says

    Interesting. But Augustine certainly refers to Romans 1 in “Confessions” in a less nuanced manner:

    “But Thou avengest that which men perpetrate against themselves, seeing also that when they sin against Thee, they do wickedly against their own souls; and iniquity gives itself the lie, either by corrupting or perverting their nature, which Thou hast made and ordained, or by an immoderate use of things permitted, or in “burning” in things forbidden to that use which is against nature; or when convicted, raging with heart and voice against Thee…”

    • Given Augustine’s notions of idols and the whatnot, could this still be in the same line? If our nature was good and naturally inclined to God, then the perversion would be that we swing away from God to serve idols

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