An analysis of the theme of evil in the confessions of st augustine

Analysis of the Confessions of St. Augustine In the Confessions, by Saint Augustine, Augustine addressed himself articulately and passionately to the persistent questions that stirred the minds and hearts of men since time began.

An analysis of the theme of evil in the confessions of st augustine

Augustine's Confessions Analysis Augustine titled his deeply philosophical and theological autobiography Confessions to implicate two aspects of the form the work would take.

To confess, in Augustine's time, meant both to give an account of one's faults to God and to praise God to speak one's love for God. These two aims come together in the Confessions in an elegant but complex sense: Augustine narrates his ascent from sinfulness to faithfulness not simply for the practical edification of his readers, but also because he believes that narrative to be itself a story of God's greatness and of the fundamental love all things have for Him.

That said, a direct address to God was a highly original form for Augustine to have used at the time.

An analysis of the theme of evil in the confessions of st augustine

This idea should also help us understand the apparently lopsided and unusual structure of the text. The first nine Books of the Confessions are devoted to the story of Augustine's life up to his mother's death, but the last four Books make a sudden, lengthy departure into pure theology and philosophy.

Thus, the story of the return to God is set out first as an autobiography, and then in conceptual terms. This idea of the return also serves as a good access to the philosophical and theological context in which Augustine is thinking and writing.

The most important influence here besides the Bible is Neoplatonism, a few major texts of which Augustine read shortly before his conversion. The Neoplatonist universe is hierarchical, but things lower on the scale of being cannot be said to be bad or evil.

Everything is good in so far as it exists, but things lower on the scale have a less complete and perfect Being. Augustine's lasting influence lies largely in his success in combining this Neoplatonic worldview with the Christian one.

In Augustine's hybrid system, the idea that all creation is good in as much as it exists means that all creation, no matter how nasty or ugly, has its existence only in God.

Because of this, all creation seeks to return to God, who is the purest and most perfected form of the compromised Being enjoyed by individual things. Again, then, any story of an individual's return to God is also a statement about the relationship between God and the created universe: A question to which much of the last four Books of the Confessions is devoted is how this relationship between an eternal God and a temporal creation could exist.

How could the return to God be a process that takes place over time, if God is an eternal essence to which we already owe our very existence? How did God create the world and 'when' could this have happened if God is eternal and unchanging?

The solution, for Augustine, involves a deep understanding of the simultaneity of eternity and time. Past and future exist only in our present constructions of them. From God's point of view, all of time exists at once--nothing comes 'before' or 'after' anything else temporally.

God created the universe not 'at' a specific time, but rather creates it constantly and always, in one eternal act. This idea puts the both the Neoplatonic worldview and Augustine's own act of 'confessing' in a new perspective.

There no longer needs to be any conflict between the idea of a return to God over 'time' as with the young and sinful Augustine on the one hand and everything's constant existence in God on the other. Thus, again, Augustine's text is remarkably and complexly coherent, despite its apparent eccentricities and shifts in content.

He is laying out the story of his life, opening himself as completely as possible to God and to his readers. In so doing, he is praising God for his salvation. Further, he is illustrating, with a temporal example, a specific view of the universe as unified across all time in an unchanging God.

We have left Christ out of this discussion, largely because the most challenging aspects of Augustine's thought often concern his use of the Neoplatonic system. Nonetheless, Christ is crucial to Augustine, although he has no place in Neoplatonism.AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS Newly translated and edited by ALBERT C.

OUTLER, Ph.D., D.D. The central theme in all Augustine’s writings is the.

SparkNotes: Saint Augustine (A.D. –): Themes, Arguments, and Ideas

sovereign God of grace and the sovereign grace of God. Grace, for Augustine, is character of evil, the relation of faith and knowledge, of .

problem of evil in Augustine’s Confessions. This analysis will be confined to Books 1 This analysis will be confined to Books 1 through 9 since those books in the work contain the narrative of his journey to the.

In the Confessions, by Saint Augustine, Augustine addressed himself articulately and passionately to the persistent questions that stirred the minds and hearts of men since time began.

The Confessions tells a story in the form of a long conversion with God.4/4(1). Analysis of the Confessions of St. Augustine. In the Confessions, by Saint Augustine, Augustine addressed himself articulately and passionately to the persistent questions that stirred the minds and hearts of men since time began.

Essay on St. Augustine's View of Evil Words | 5 Pages. since the time of St. Augustine of Hippo. In The Confessions of St. Augustine, he initiates this premise and argues in its favor. Saint Augustine focuses on three major themes in his autobiography: the nature of evil, time, and wisdom.

According to Saint Augustine, God cannot be the cause of evil. For God, he says, “evil.

SparkNotes: Confessions: Augustine's Confessions