Written By Victor Stanley Jr. In Book XII of St. Augustine’s autobiography Confessions, the Bishop of Hippo seeks to discuss Heaven and Earth. Specifically in chapters two through eight Augustine deals with the idea of God endowing what he calls ‘formless matter’ with form. Throughout this section he seems to borrow heavily from Plato’s ideas of what are known as The Forms; for Plato these ‘forms’ are eternally existing, they are independent of the mind, they are transcendent i.e. non-spatial and non-temporal, they are intelligible, and they are perfect.
Written By Victor Stanley Jr. In Book I of St. Augustine’s Confessions he addresses the idea of original sin, that is the doctrine that man is born in sin, and is thus inherently wicked, corrupt, sinful, depraved, or various other terms that describe a similar state. In Book I, 7, 11 Augustine makes the statement that, “The only innocent feature in babies is the weakness of their frames; the minds of infants are far from innocent.” This is a key doctrine in the Christian faith
Written by Victor Stanley Jr. In Confessions VIII, 8, 20 through VIII, 10, 22 St. Augustine wrestles with the dichotomy of man’s seemingly divided will. While he advocates for freewill, his thought processes, as presented in the text, strongly suggest a lack of freewill. This is evident in lines such as, “The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed; the mind commands itself, and meets with resistance,” or “When the mind issues its command that the mind itself should will something, it fails to do so.”
Written by Victor Stanley Jr. Historical Criticism as an Apology for Christian Truth In Confessions VI, 5, 7 St. Augustine briefly addresses an epistemological issue dealing with truth. Augustine points out that some of the teachings of the Catholic Church “were not demonstrated rationally,” but makes the point that the Church did not practice the deceit of the Manicheans when it came to requiring belief in things that lacked substantial empirical evidence; for the Manicheans “promised knowledge and derided credulity, but then went on to demand belief in… absurd myths which certainly could not be demonstrated.” What follows this understanding is a great apology for accepting the claims of scripture,…