Referring to this quote:

He was busy creating hell for people who ask such questions. -- St. Augustine(in reply to "What was God doing before creation?")

Did St. Augustine actually say that?

  • 1
    There's also christianity.stackexchange.com if you didn't know about it. There, you can probably get better answers regarding context and meaning.
    – user11643
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


This is part of Book 11, Chapter 12 of the Confessions of St Augustine. Augustine said he would not say this, but said that somebody else had. In one translation:

Behold, I answer to him who asks, "What was God doing before He made heaven and earth?" I answer not, as a certain person is reported to have done facetiously (avoiding the pressure of the question), "He was preparing hell," says he, "for those who pry into mysteries." It is one thing to perceive, another to laugh—these things I answer not. For more willingly would I have answered, "I know not what I know not," than that I should make him a laughing-stock who asks deep things, and gain praise as one who answers false things. But I say that Thou, our God, art the Creator of every creature; and if by the term "heaven and earth" every creature is understood, I boldly say, "That before God made heaven and earth, He made not anything. For if He did, what did He make unless the creature?" And would that I knew whatever I desire to know to my advantage, as I know that no creature was made before any creature was made.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .