Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 21 [IX.]--It is the Good God That Gives Fruitfulness, and the Devil That Corrupts the Fruit.
What, therefore, is this man's meaning, in the next passage, wherein he says concerning Noah and his sons, that |they were blessed, even as Adam and Eve were; for God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and have dominion over the earth'|? To these words of the Almighty he added some of his own, saying: |Now that pleasure, which you would have seem diabolical, was resorted to in the case of the above-mentioned married pairs; and it continued to exist, both in the goodness of its institution and in the blessing attached to it. For there can be no doubt that the following words were addressed to Noah and his sons in reference to their bodily connection with their wives, which had become by this time unalterably fixed by use: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.'| It is unnecessary for us to employ many words in repeating our former argument. The point here in question is the corruption in our nature, whereby its goodness has been depraved, of which corruption the devil is the author. That goodness of nature, as it is in itself, the author of which is God, is not the question we have to consider. Now God has never withdrawn from corrupted and depraved nature His own mercy and goodness, so as to deprive man of fruitfulness, vivacity, and health, as well as the very substance of his mind and body, his senses also and reason, as well as food, and nourishment, and growth. He, moreover, |maketh His sun to arise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;| and all that is good in human nature is from the good God, even in the case of those men who will not be delivered from evil.