Freedom and Necessity: St. Augustine's Teaching on Divine by Gerald Bonner

By Gerald Bonner

Aurelius Augustinus (354-430), bishop of Hippo Regius (the glossy Annaba in Algeria), is taken into account one of many impressive thinkers in Western Christian civilization, Catholic and Protestant alike. relatively influential has been his pessimistic doctrine of divine predestination, which holds that just a small share of humanity has been chosen through God for salvation, whereas the overpowering majority, together with all unbaptized folks, are damned. but, ironically, Augustine’s exposition of the Eucharistic harmony of the opt for within the physique of Christ, his Christology, and his emphasis on love because the central mark of the Godhead have supplied a trend for Christian devotion and spirituality down throughout the a while. This booklet seeks to give an explanation for this paradox in Augustine’s theology by means of tracing how those assorted emphases arose in his proposal, and speculating as to why he recommended, in spite of everything, his theology of predestination. The e-book is meant not just for college kids of theology and church historical past, yet even extra for readers drawn to Christian doctrine. Written in uncomplicated language, it offers sufficient references to unique resources for these wishing to extra pursue the topic. the writer, a historian grew to become theologian, has studied Augustine for greater than sixty years and seeks neither to extenuate nor to sentence him, yet to depict his proposal. His booklet will turn out fruitful for all who interact it.

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As a Manichee he could regard many elements in the material world as the work of the Prince of Darkness, and therefore ugly in themselves and in their relation to the good. As a catholic Christian, believing that God was the sole creator, and that all that God had created was very good (Gn. 1:31), he could no longer hold that view. However, he argued that what may appear to be ugly in itself, and therefore evil, might be beautiful in its relation to other things. In his early treatise On Order he used as an example the case of a mosaic, a particularly favored artistic creation in the late Roman world.

30,6: “Vt adoptionem, inquit, filiorum recipiamus. Adoptionem propterea dicit ut distincte intelligamus unicum dei filium. ” CSEL 50,96. 7. Civ. 22,30,4: “Quid enim sine illo fecimus, nisi quod in ira eius defecimus? (Ps. 89 [90]:9 LXX). A quo refecti et gratia maiore perfecti, vacabimus in aeternum, videntes quia ipse est Deus, quo pleni erimus quando ipse erit omnia in omnibus (1 Cor. ” CCL 48,865. 8. Ench. ” CCL 46,100. 9. Cor. et grat. 10,28: “Quod ergo pauci in conparatione pereuntium, in suo vero numero multi liberantur, gratia fit, gratis fit, gratiae sunt agendae quia fit, ne quis velut de suis meritis, extollatur, se omne os obstruatur (Rom.

For it does seem unfair that not 12. Ench. 24,95. CCL 46,99; cf. grat. et lib. arb. 23,45. PL 44,910. 13. s. 52 (2001): 920–24. ”14 Augustine’s immediate purpose was to prevent any possible reliance on good works as a cause for salvation and so commend humility to his readers; hence his frequent quotation of the Apostle: O man, who art thou that repliest against God? (Rom. ” This assertion has become so familiar to Christians over the centuries that it is difficult to appreciate its impact on the pagan world in which early Christianity grew up: a non-material God brings matter into existence from nothing.

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