Although Augustine’s journey led him to God in whom he found a home, nonetheless, he neither achieved nor claimed to have achieved complete self-knowledge or an existence free of suffering and struggle. Consider the following examples interspersed throughout the Confessions and reflecting different periods in Augustine’s life:
Book 2: “I had become to myself a land of famine” [factus sum mihi regio egestatis].
Book 4: “a human being is an immense abyss”
Book 10: Following his contemplation of the nature of memory, self, and mind, he writes: “[i]n the end, who can fathom this matter, who understand how the mind works? This much is certain, Lord, that I am laboring over it, laboring over myself, and I have become for myself a land hard to till and of heavy sweat” [factus sum mihi terra difficultatis et sudoris nimii].
Later in book ten, which of course is subsequent to the famous conversion event recounted in book eight of the Confessions, we find Augustine the bishop still wrestling with the “danger of sensuality” and “temptations of the flesh,” praying and seeking God’s mercy. “But you, O Lord my God, hear me: look upon me and see, have mercy upon me and heal me, in whose eyes I have become a puzzle [quaestio] to myself and in this puzzling am wearied [est languor meus].” Even after he abandoned his former way of life and had gained a deeper understanding of God and of himself, Augustine in no way claims to have achieved complete self-transparency or self-mastery; rather, mihi quaestio factus sum is his constant refrain.
Furthermore, Augustine’s existential awareness of himself as incomplete, wanting, and yet an ongoing poiēma of divine artistry is evidenced in his prayers interspersed throughout book ten. “Do not, I entreat you, do not abandon your unfinished work, but bring to perfection all that is wanting in me.” Augustine then adds a few paragraphs later, although it is true that a person knows his thoughts and motivations better than others attempting to interpret him, nonetheless, “there is still some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit.” Commenting on this passage as well as others in book ten with similar themes, Jean-Luc Marion relates human incomprehensibility to God’s incomprehensibility—that is, our inability to comprehend fully all that we are is a consequence of our status as image bearers of God. As Marion observes,
[I]f God is incomprehensible, then humankind, who resembles only Him (and above all not itself), also will bear the mark of His incomprehensibility. […] To know human beings demands, therefore, referring them to God as incomprehensible, and thus by derivation to establish an incomprehensibility in relation to image and likeness (my translation).
Accordingly, given our essence as image-bearers of the incomprehensible God, it should come as no surprise that our own self-understanding and self-knowledge will always be incomplete. Knowledge of self and knowledge of God are both shrouded in mystery.
Marion develops a theological and exegetical argument based on Augustine’s own claims (see, for example, Conf. 13.22.32) and on the fact that in the Genesis text, humans, unlike the other created entities (birds, cattle, and other non-rational animals etc.), are created not according to their own kind or species but according to the image and likeness of God. Marion interprets this as indicating a “place” of unknowing or incomprehensibility at the center of humans following from the substitution of creation according to a human essence or species (“secundum suam similitudinem”) with creation according to “its resemblance to an other than itself; or rather, to an other of maximum alterity, since God is in view (my translation).” In other words, any “definition” that might be attributed to humans is referred to our having been made in the image and likeness of one whose essence cannot be comprehended exhaustively. We are the image and likeness of an Other of “maximum alterity.” Consequently, interpreted within this larger theological framework, Augustine’s ongoing struggle (even as a mature Christian) to understand himself and his remaining a quaestio sibi is reasonable—even if, and necessarily so, mysterious. Accordingly, Augustine concludes this section with a prayer, which reflects well his status as a questioning, relational self-on-the-way: “Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know.”
 Conf. 2.10.18; 74 [CSEL 33, 43]. The image in book two of “a land of famine” comes from St. Luke’s account of the prodigal son. A famine had spread throughout the land, and the son, having squandered his father’s gift, now found himself in great need (Luke 15:14); the image in book ten of “a land hard to till and of heavy sweat” refers Gen. 3:17, 19. Following the first pair’s disobedience, the Lord cursed the ground; consequently, human labor from this point on would be wrought with a level of difficulty and strain presumably absent in the prelapsarian state.
 Conf. 4.14.22, 106.
 Conf. 10.16.24-5, 253 [CSEL 33, 244].
 On the historicity of Augustine’s description of his conversion, see Courcelle 1963, “Historicité de la scène du jardin,” 193–97. Courcelle discusses how Augustine combined literary, symbolic, and allegorical images with historical facts to communicate his conversion experience with Christ; moreover, Courcelle concludes that what we have in the literary historical narrative of the Confessions is not “a simple adherence to a system of thought,” but a “a revelation of Christian ascetic philosophy” (ibid., 197; my translation).
 Conf. 10.33.50, my translation. Tu autem, domine deus meus, exaudi: respice et vide et miserere et sana me, in cuius oculis mihi quaestio factus sum, et ipse est languor meus [CSEL 33, 264].
 In his epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul, writes: “For we are God’s work of art [poiēma] created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10, my translation).
 Conf. 10.4.5, 240. Here Augustine paraphrases and personalizes St. Paul’s words in Phil. 1:6.
 Ibid., 10.5.7; 241. See also, Marion, Au lieu de soi: l’approche de saint Augustin, esp. 350–52.
 Jean-Luc Marion, Au lieu de soi: l’approche de saint Augustin, 350–51. [S]i Dieu reste incompréhensible, l’homme, qui ne ressemble à rien d’autre qu’à lui (et surtout pas à soi-même), portera aussi la marque de son incompréhensibilité. […] Connaître l’homme demande donc de le référer à Dieu en tant qu’incompréhensible et donc d’en fonder par dérivation l’incompréhensibilité, au titre de l’image et de la ressemblance,“ 350–51.
 “[…] selon sa ressemblance à un autre qu’elle-même ; plus encore, a un autre d’une altérité maximale, puisqu’il s’agit de Dieu ” (ibid., 343).
 Conf. 10.5.7; 241. See also, Marion 2008, esp. 342–65.