|COMMENTARY ON ST. AUGUSTINE|
|William G. Most
|II—City Of God
In 410 AD Alaric and the Goths took and sacked Rome. It was the first time in nearly a thousand years (since 390 BC). It was a shock to both pagans and Christians who considered the city eternal. St. Jerome wrote, Epistle 60. 17: "We sense that God has long been offended, and we do not appease Him. By our sins the barbarians are strong, by our vices the Roman army is overcome. ..."
Pagans were a minority by this time, but they raised the cry: This could not have happened had the old gods been worshipped rightly. Emperor Gratian in 382 had been the first Emperor to refuse to accept the insignia of the pagan Pontifex Maximus, and he withdrew financial assistance to pagan cults, and removed the statue of Victory from the Senate. A year before, Theodosius in the East had forbidden divination. In 392 Theodosius officially closed pagan temples, and in the next year, forbade even private worship of pagan gods.
Charges for calamities against Christians were nothing new, as we see, for example, in Cyprian To Demetrianus (251/52), and in Minucius Felix, Tertullian and St. Ambrose. At the instance of his friend Marcellinus, A undertook the first part of this work. But even before finishing the first book, if not before starting, A realized that more than an ad hoc answer was needed. In 1. 35 we meet a promise to write, "about the rise and course and due ends" of the two cities. He saw a foundation must be laid for a completely new way of looking at the history of the world. So in 413-26 he wrote this work. Some think it his greatest. It did have immense influence in the East for a thousand years.
In 11. 1 A says that the inspiration for the two cities came from Scripture. Yet some claimed he was imitating Plato's Republic. But that cannot be, for Plato's plan is an unrealized ideal, and further, a plan for an earthly city, with its goal in this world, while the City of God has its goal only in the world to come. Nor does Plato have two cities.
Nor can we compare it to Manicheism—the kingdom of darkness is evil by nature, while the earthly city is not evil by nature, but by a love that treats things as an end in themselves.
In general, each city includes both men and angels, good and bad. Yet there is a problem, which A seems never to have faced, namely: are the members of the City of God the same as the members of the Church? or the predestined? In 16. 2 he speaks of "His Church, which is the City of God." Yet in 18. 33 A recognized that the pagan Sibyl was a member of the City of God, and so was Job (18. 47).
The plan of the work is very orderly—unusual for Augustine. There are two large divisions:
I. Books 1-10 answer pagan charges. 1-5 say the gods are no good for this life; 6-10 say they are no good for the future life.
II. The Two Cities:
A) Their origins: 11-14
Juno—She was hostile to the Trojans because Paris, son of Priam, King of Troy, had refused to throw the decision to her in a beauty contest. We note the amorality of pagan gods. She never got over her anger. After the fall of Troy, several shiploads of refugees set out, under the leadership of Anchises, father of Aeneas, and later of Aeneas. Juno got the king of the winds to wreck the ships near Carthage, then being built. Aeneas went to Carthage, fell for Dido. , leader of the colony. But later, because he knew the fates called—and he was always, pius, devoted or dutiful—he moved on to Italy. Dido built a funeral pyre, lit it, jumped in as his ships were sailing out. The Aeneid was a glorification of the eternal destiny of Rome.
Panthus—From Virgil 2. 319-21. The scene is the burning of Troy, taken by means of the wooden horse trick. Panthus was a priest of Apollo at Troy, son of Othrys.
Troy—From Virgil 2. 292, spoken by the spirit of the great warrior Hector (who had run around the walls of the city three times, pursued by Achilles, who killed him). The spirit of Hector gives the sacred statues to Aeneas—they need protection, are not able to give any!
Not good divinities—a play on Latin numina bona....omina mala—not good divinities, but a bad forecast.
Conquered under conquered defenders—fine argumentation, by focusing of ideas, putting key words close for contrast.
Perversity of their morals—In Livy 23. 45 Marcellus exhorts his men: "Even those who face you have lost their sap in luxury and Campanian vice—worn out by a winter of drinking and whoring and every other excess." Tacitus, Histories 2. 69 said that strength was corrupted by luxury, in contrast to ancient discipline and the precepts of our ancestors, with whom Rome stood better by manliness than by money. Polybius 6. 57 said that when a state gets rich and powerful, "the manner of life of its citizens will get to be more extravagant and....the competition for office....will become more fierce than it should be. And....this state of things....will turn out to be the beginning of deterioration."
Even such men were spared because of Christ —they took refuge in Christian churches, and the invaders recognized the right of sanctuary there.
1. 8. causes His sun to rise—Mt 5. 45.
Scorning the riches—Romans 2. 4 ff.
Render to each according to his works—this is Romans 2. 6. citing Psalm 62. 12. The background is covenant. If we ask why God gives good things under covenant, the most basic reason is only mercy (parallel to justification by faith, without earning it); on the secondary level, i. e. , given the fact that He freely made a covenant, i f humans fulfill the condition, He owes it to Himself to reward them.
He wanted these temporal goods and evils to be common—A is speculating on the motives of God, and the far-reaching scope of His providence, as he did in Confessions.
Great difference how one uses—A is giving the right attitude: things of this world are not of much account, as we see since even the bad get them. So let us use them to get eternal goods.
Wicked man is punished by this sort of failure—the very weakness that lets him be corrupted by success (his attachment) is what makes him vulnerable to be punished by losing such things. We recall Confessions 1. 12: every disordered soul is its only punishment.
If at the present time He punished every sin—again the careful figuring of motives of Providence. This service would make them greedy. Cf. St. Francis de Sales Commenting on the danger of loving the consolations of God rather than the God of consolations.
2. 4—the theme of this book is that the gods gave no moral guidance.
True God rightly neglected—not totally, but yet the forces of nature take their course—a disordered soul is its only penalty. Cf. Romans 1. 21 ff.: "For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. ... Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves." This the downward spiral. Cf. Isaiah 29. 14.
Help their worshippers to live well by some laws—God gives commands not because obedience helps Him, but for two reasons: 1)He loves what is objectively good—and that says creatures should obey the Creator; 2)He wants to give good to us, His commands tell us how to be open and able to receive, and at same time, steer us away from the evils that are found in the very nature of things. Cf. 1 Cor 6. 12.
Took care of the sacred rites of their gods—Romans were scrupulous in their observance. If an omen came, the priests were infallible in telling how to avert it. If it did not work, they must not have done the rites precisely enough.
Threaten penalties....promise rewards—the general Roman religion did not include sanctions by the gods for most things. Jupiter was a big adulterer and a liar. There was a large disconnection of religion and morality, and the gods were thought to be amoral.
2. 7. Romans not original in philosophy. Thus their best ethics, the De officiis of Cicero was largely borrowed from Greek Panaetius. Cf. De officiis 1. 2. 6 and Epistle to Atticus 12. 52. 3, speaking of his philosophical works: "They are copies....I only add words, and I have plenty of them." Seneca was just a Stoic, Lucretius a copier of Democritus and the Epicureans etc. Cicero was really an eclectic.
Greece a Roman province—in 146 B. C. Greece was made a protectorate under the governor of Macedonia. Augustus set up Greece as the senatorial province of Achaia (there is some debate—this is most probable opinion).
Discoveries of men —Stoic ethics were no too bad, based on the four cardinal virtues. Aristotle's was weak: he lacked the right basis, trying to use the (golden) mean.
In the nature of things—What was right or wrong by nature, in natural law. Aristotle in Ethics 2. 6 said there are some things that are always wrong: murder, theft, adultery. Cf. Romans 2: 14-16.
In the rules of reasoning—rules of logic, especially as found in Aristotle's logic.
Divinely helped—There are two modes of divine help: 1)ordinary in which human faculties are rather active under divine movement, that of the First Cause; 2) in which human faculties do little and God does most of it while the human is largely passive—in inspiration, natural or supernatural.
Resisted their pride—Cf. 1 Peter 5: 5: "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." This is a favorite theme with A. Cf. Sermo 69. 1. 2: "Think first of the foundation, humility—the greater will be the building, the more deeply one digs the foundation. Cf. also below 14. 13.
Rising from humility to the heights—A likes this paradox, but it is true.
Divine honors for such men—Greeks and Romans did divinize men, but not in the sense of considering them transcendent beings.
Galli castrate themselves—Rhea, mother of Jupiter, Neptune and other gods, was worshipped in horrid rites under various names, especially Cybele and the Great Mother. Her priests at Rome were called Galli, named after the stream Gallus in Phyrgia whose waters were said to make men mad.
Persius—a satirist 34-62 AD. This is satire 3. 37. Cato was Censor (234-149). Many pagans worried about the examples of the gods: Aristophanes, Clouds 1082: "You, a mortal, how could you be greater than a god?" Theocritus Idylls 8. 59-60; Menander Hero, Fragment 2, W. Jaeger, Paideia II. 212 ff.
2. 21. what is left?—quotes from Cicero's De re publica on various forms of government. About 1/3 is now extant. This is from Book 5.
Ennius—239-169 BC, father of Latin hexameter epic, quoted by Cicero earlier in the same book.
2. 22 most learned authors —A is thinking especially of Cicero, just quoted, and Sallust, to be cited in 3. 17 below. Rome declined in morals at the end of 2nd Punic War, and went down faster in middle of 2nd century.
Games....ludi—the word is ambiguous, but even things like track meets were considered religious.
Gracchi—Tiberius and Gaius, tribunes 133 and 123-21. Killed as a result of senate's opposition to their agrarian reforms, and their excesses.
Marius, Cinna, Carbo—Marius in the war against Jugurtha schemed to get command for himself and did, became consul for 107, and the Tribal Assembly appointed him, encroaching on the Senate. Marius almost gave up draftees, took volunteers with no property qualifications, made large promises of extra land and money, on his own. So the army was mostly loyal to him.
His quaestor was Sulla, from a decayed patrician family. Sulla risked his life to go to Bocchus, king of Mauretania, father in law of Jugurtha, and got him to betray Jugurtha. This ended the war. Marius returned in triumph in 105, found he had been elected consul in his absence.
Marius not got command from the Assembly for war against the Cimbri, who had defeated old type armies. Was elected consul 104, 103, 102, 101. Beat the Cimbri.
Then to get consulship for 6th time he allied with Saturninus and Glaucia (a tribune and a praetor). All won. S. & G put through a repeat of some of the worse features of the Gracchi. Senate tried to block, got tribunes to veto. Saturninus used violence—veterans of Marius. Marius was alarmed and broke with S & G. They ran for tribune and consul for 99. G had his chief rival murdered. Public opinion was aroused, senate asked Marius to restore order. S & G were put in a public building to keep safe, but enemies tore off the roof and stoned them. Marius went into political eclipse.
Sulla elected consul for 88 and got command against Mithridates. Marius was 68, schemed to get the command for himself. Equestrians backed him, and a tribune, Sulpicius Rufus. A reign of terror followed. After Sulla left for the East, the Assembly gave the command to Marius. Sulla denied the legality of the act, marched on Rome, both Sulpicius and Marius were outlawed. Marius escaped to Mauretania, but soon returned to Italy, where Cinna , consul for 87, had taken up arms against the Sullan party. Cinna had been driven out of Rome but entered it with Marius. Marius and Cinna named selves consuls for 86 without an election. On 18th day of his term, Marius died of pleurisy at age 71.
In 85 war in the East was over, and Sulla planned to return. Cinna and Carbo were consuls of 85, and raised an army to oppose him, and illegally prolonged their term for 84. The army mutinied at Brundisium in spring of 83. Pompey joined Sulla. Civil war came. Sulla won in 82, held very bloody proscriptions. About 4700 were murdered. Murder and confiscation all over Italy. So Sulla settled 150, 000 veterans on land. Sulla made dictator for unlimited term late in 82. Many laws passed: Tribunes lost right to initiate laws in assembly, veto was limited. Sulla resigned in 79, died in 78.
Sallust—In his Jugurtha 95 and Catiline 11.
Virgil, Aeneid 2. 351-52. Spoken by Aeneas, seeing Troy is going to fall.
Burned by Gauls—traditional date is 390, probably really 387. All but the Capitoline was taken—geese aroused Manlius at approach of Gauls at night and he saved Capitoline.
Solemnity to geese—Sacred geese were still kept at Cicero's time, at public expense: cf. his Pro Roscio Amerino 20, 56-57.
Great authors—Cicero especially, and also Sallust.
3. 1. gods gave no help against physical evils.
The only evils they are unwilling to endure—they did not mind moral evils, objected to physical evils.
3. 17. Sallust says —this is a fragment from book 1 of his lost Histories. this is high moralizing—odd from a man twice charged with extortion. And yet he is right in what he says here.
Another truer state—he has in mind the City of God—there are two cities.
Where were they?—repeated many times, like a refrain, very effective device.
Consul Valerius—according to Livy 3. 15-18 he was consul in 460 BC with Gaius Claudius, was killed while defending the temple of Jupiter against an army of about 2500 exiles and slaves led by the Sabine Appius Herdonius. Then the gods were still worshipped!
Best and greatest king—echo of the words Jupiter optimus maximus.
Legates to return—Livy 3. 31-32 says legates were sent to Athens to study Greek laws. Most scholars now reject or doubt the tale. It is believed the laws, at least largely native, were codified about middle of 5th century BC. Further, Rome showed great talent for laws, Athens was the reverse. Polybius 6. 44: "The Athenian populace is always more or less like a ship without commander."
Spurius Maelius—during a famine, middle of 5th century BC, he brought grain from Etruria and either gave it away or sold it cheap. Was accused of wanting to be king, told to appear before the aged Dictator Quintius Cincinnatus. He refused. Servilius, Magister Equitum, slew him in the forum. Details of this as also of Spurius Cassius and Marcus Manlius are traditional and cannot be checked. For sure, there was social unrest and fear of kings. Probably the substance is true. Cf. Livy 4. 12-15.
Veii—a town not far from Rome. War for nearly 11 years starting in 402 (traditional date is 407). Then for first time pay was given to soldiers.
Furius Camillus—Tradition says he conquered the Veii, Fidenates and Faliscans, was charged with unfair distribution of booty of Veii, forced into exile, but recalled to defeat the Gauls when they sacked Rome in 387.
3. 30. civil wars—worst probably was that of Caesar and Pompey, father in law vs son in law, in 49-48 BC. A is probably thinking of Lucan 1. 1-2, which he had quoted in 3. 12: "We sing of wars through the Emathian (Thessalian) fields, that were more than civil wars, and right given to crime."
Marius & Sulla—see notes above on 2. 22.
Sertorius—He had served under Marius against the Teutons. Later in 88 fought on side or Marius and Cinna. In 83 went to Spain, defeated Sulla's general Paccianus. Was assassinated in 72 BC.
Catiline—formed a conspiracy to take over Rome in 62, fell in battle against Anthony in 62. Cicero gained fame for exposing the conspiracy. Sertorius was proscribed by Sulla—Catiline nourished.
Lepidus—consul in 78BC. Urged repeal of many of laws of Sulla. In next year fought against Catulus the other consul, no success. Was defeated in battle by Catulus and Pompey in 77, fled to Sardinia where he died.
Pompey and Caesar—war in 49-48 BC. Pompey lost, fled to Egypt, killed while trying to land there.
He did not have the same—Pompey was already famous when Caesar was just beginning his rise. Sulla said (in Plutarch, Life of Caesar) there was many a Marius in young Caesar.
Civil wars of Augustus—After death of Caesar, civil wars between on one side, Octavian, later called Augustus, Anthony and Lepidus, on other side, Brutus and Cassius. Octavius was made Caesar's heir at age 18, with no experience. He got the advice of Cicero, paid Caesar's bequests with his own money.
Octavian met Anthony and Lepidus, they agreed in 43 to make a Second Triumvirate, giving selves supreme powers, declaring proscriptions—including Cicero.
Octavian and Anthony beat Cassius and Brutus at Philippi in 42. Anthony claimed the East, fought the Parthians in 40-38, married Cleopatra in 33. Lepidus got Africa, but was soon forced into retirement.
Octavian got Italy, Gaul, Spain. Fought the friends of Anthony and Sextus Pompey, defeated all. He won the people by professing republican principles. Persuaded senate to declare war on Cleopatra by publishing a will attributed to Anthony in which Anthony left the East to Cleopatra and their heirs.
Octavian beat Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31. They fled to Alexandria, committed suicide. Octavian took Egypt, went back to Rome in 29.
Clement—Caesar famed for his clemency. He forgave even bitter enemies. At the final battle of Pharsalus he shouted to his men: "Spare your fellow Romans" and then allowed them to save one enemy soldier each, whoever he might be. Suetonius (Julius 75) says not a single Pompeian was killed at Pharsalus once the fighting had ended, except Afranius and Faustus and young Lucius Caesar. It is though that not even these three were killed at his instance. Eventually towards the end of his career, Caesar invited back to Italy all exiles whom he had not yet pardoned, permitting them to hold high office. He went so far as to restore the statues of Sulla and Pompey which the city crowds had thrown down and smashed.
Other Caesar—Octavian, who was made Caesar's heir.
4. 3. temple of Janus—It was almost always open, closed only in time of peace. Tradition said it was closed in time of King Numa, then in 235 BC end of First Punic War, in 31 BC, 25 BC and one unknown date, by Augustus.
4. 28. Stage plays depicted misdeeds of the gods.
Would have given so great a gift to the Greeks —Romans let the gods be insulted, but forbade citizens to be so treated in the plays. Greeks allowed citizens to be attacked (up[ to about end of 5th century BC). Gods, at least the greater ones, did not appear on the Greek stage.
Stage actors not disgraced—in Greece, to be in a play was a religious act. But Romans put some civil disabilities on actors.
4. 33. order of time—God is not in time. Cf. 11. 6.
In servitude—pagans believed in fates to whom even Jupiter was subject. In Virgil, Aeneid 10. 469-73 Pallas in battle against Turnus prays to Hercules. But Jupiter explains he cannot help: "Under the high walls of Troy, so many sons of gods fell; in fact, along with them fell Sarpedon, my offspring. His fates call Turnus, and he has come to the end of the time assigned him". Cf. also Aeneid 1. 18 on Juno favoring Carthage.
Spiritual men even then understood—he means that some reinterpreted the material promises of Sinai in a more spiritual sense as time went on. Most scholars now think Jews did not know of retribution in future life until 2nd century B. C. Then it appears in Wisdom 3. 1 "The souls of the just are in the hand of God." Also 4. 7: "The just man though he die early shall be at rest."
There is a strong tendency to say to say Jews up to that time did not believe in survival after death. But this is error, for they firmly held to necromancy. Argument rests on claim the Jews held a unitary view of man, and that nefesh does not mean soul. But they saw two things: 1)Man seems to be a unit; 2)there is survival, as shown by belief in necromancy. They held both, did not know how to put these two together until 2nd cent. B. C.
4. 34 as the waves came back on themselves—there seem to be two images in Exodus. 14. 21 speaks of the Lord driving the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land—but in v 29 there was a wall of water. The writer probably had two traditions, did not know which was true, so stated both, but did not affirm both. (Cf. concept of literary genre here).
If they had not sinned against Him—In 1 Kings 9. 6-9 God tells Solomon after the building of the temple: "But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statues which I have given you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, I will then cut off Israel from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb among all people. And this house will become a mass of ruins: everyone who passes by will be surprised and will whisper, and they will say: Why has the Lord done in this way to this land and this house? They will reply: Because the forsook the Lord their God who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt and took other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this evil upon them." Cf. also Dt. 29: 22-29 and Jer 22: 5-9.
5. 1. force of the position of the stars—astrology. A once believed in it. In Confessions 7. 6. 8-10 we learn that it was at Milan that he got rid of it. Vindicianus, a wise old physician in Carthage had tried to get A away from it. But in Milan Firminus, a well educated man, consulted A on the outcome of some business, and seemed to expect A to use astrology. The father of Firminus made a test when Firminus was born. He observed that one of his servants had a child at the very time, and so by astrology, the two children should have had the same fate. But in time, Firminus became rich and in honor while the slave boy continued in his low state. A repudiated his belief in astrology from that day onward.
What does this opinion bring about....? if the stars run all, why pray to any god?
5. 12. greedy for praise....from Sallust, Catiline 7. A means that God wanted to reward Roman virtues, which were great up to 265 BC but they were all vitiated by pride. So He could not give them a supernatural reward, but gave them an empire. Pride can counterfeit all virtues, even humility. Cf Mt 6. 6: "They have received their reward."
From the beginning there were injustices—a long struggle was needed for plebeians to get civil rights, until 287 BC, the Lex Hortensia. —But A does not understand compartment psychology. The ancient Romans were indeed very virtuous in general, but unjust to the lower class. Yet they were unaware of that, it seems, for it is not rare for a person to have two areas in life, in each of which he follows different principles. And, as said, their virtues were vitiated by pride.
Secession—Livy 2. 32-33 says the plebeians seceded to the Mons Sacer in 494, returned only when they had gained creation of two tribunes. Diodorus 11. 68 gives a different account—four tribunes in 471 BC. Modern scholars are more inclined to believe Diodorus.
Only as long as—Tradition said Tarquin the Proud, the last king, was cast out by about 509, and a war with Etruscans and Veii followed, ending with the battle of Lake Regillus c. 484 BC. We can probably accept the general substance of the tradition: Livy 1. 60 to 2. 20.
Second Punic war —218-201 BC. Stages in struggle for rights:
1)tribunes, at time of secession.
2)Terentilius Harsa, tribune in 462, threatened to limit the imperium (power) of consuls . In 454 a commission was sent to Greece to study law. On return a board of 10 set up in 451 wrote 10 tables of Laws. In 450 another commission, began to rule harshly. Plebeians seceded again, the board of 10 was abolished. Valerius and Horatius were consuls in 449. The story is suspicious on most points. But laws had not been written and the formulae of legal actions were still the secret of the patricians. There were Law of Twelve Tables all right.
3)Valero-Horatian laws of 449 condemned anyone aiming at establishing a magistracy not restricted by appeal. Tribunes and aediles became sacrosanct. Livy claims (3. 55) that a resolution of the Council of the Plebeians was made binding on all. But it is unclear, for Livy says the same thing was enacted in 339 and in 287—could have fallen into disuse in between by patrician resistance, or there may have been restrictions before 287.
4) The Canuleian Law legalized marriage of a patrician and a plebeian.
5)In 444 it was proposed to open the consulate to plebeians. Tradition says the senate then abolished office of consul, substituted Tribunes of Soldiers with Consular Power—but it is obscure, hard to know what to believe.
6) In 421 quaestors were raised to four and opened to plebeians, but the first plebeian got it in 409.
7)In 376 Licinius and Sextius, tribunes, proposed restoring consulate and making one a plebeian. A struggle for 10 years follows. In 367 the Sextio-Licianian laws opened consulate to plebs. First really got it in 366.
8) A plebeian became dictator in 356 and censor in 351.
9)Publilian Laws of 339 provided one censor must be plebeian—And the patrum auctoritas (meaning is vague, approval of some aristocrats) must be given in advance to laws proposed by a magistrate in the Centuriate Assembly, and plebiscites were binding on all.
10)At least by the Hortensian Law of 287 all Assemblies were free of the patrum auctoritas.
No one is born—a play on words in Latin: nullus oritur, quia nullus moritur.
On pilgrimage—alludes to Hebrews 13: 14: "We have not here a lasting city."
Enrich the public treasury—in early Rome, private fortunes were small, public treasury rich.
5. 17. did the Romans do any harm?—provincial administration had become very corrupt in the later republic period, improved greatly in the empire period. Italy itself began to drop to the level of the provinces under Trajan. By the time of Diocletian, Rome itself had few and small privilege.
Society of citizenship—was extended slowly at first. The Antonine Constitution of Caracalla in 212 seems to have given it to all free men.
Many senators—The senatorial class in the provinces had since Constantine grown to huge dimensions....it had long ceased to have any connection with the exercise of senatorial functions. Many of its members had never seen Rome.
That the better should be the more honored—often honor goes to the less deserving, A thinks. Even then, honor is smoke without substances. Where is Caesar now? and the crowds that cheered for him?
Asylum of Romulus—Livy 1. 8 says Romulus opened Rome as a refuge for all who cared to come—needed population for the new city—free men, slaves, adventurers etc. It is not likely Romans would just invent such a story, not very wonderful ancestry!
6. 1. single duties—there was even a god for the hinge on the door (Cardo), and for the boundary of the fields (Terminus) not to menton Pavor (Fear) and Pallor (paleness).
Learned men—A is thinking of Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27BC) whose ideas he refutes at length esp. in books 6-7. Varro wrote probably 74 works, total of about 620 books. Was teacher of Cicero. Only two now extant, De Re Rustica, and De Lingua Latina (parts only). A attacks his Antiquities 41, books. The first 25 are on human affairs, the last 16 on divine affairs. Of the 16, only the last 3 are on the gods themselves. In the first of the last 3, he treats the certain gods, in the second, the uncertain gods, and last, the select gods.
Varro also spoke of 3 kinds of theology: 1)civil—official state worship; 2)mythical—that of the poets, and 3) natural—His own sort of allegorical explanations of the stories about the gods—for intelligent people in Rome by about 100 BC stopped believing these stories, yet they were in state worship, and so Romans wanted to keep them. (In Greece belief stopped about 400 BC). This was a sort of great renewal—keep the shell, change the content.
In book 6 A shows Varro rejected mythical theology openly, and implied rejection of civil, but did not dare to speak clearly - though Seneca did. A refutes mythical and civil in book 6, and attacks natural at various points in book 6, but esp. in book 7 where he takes up each of the select gods for a devastating condemnation.
Bacchus for water....wine from Lymphs—good for a laugh in comedies, for the patrons were reversed. A uses the name Liber for Bacchus here.
Daemones—we keep the word in Latin here, since English would be demons—not what Plato really had in mind, though A charges Platonists did. The daemones are intermediates between gods and men, having a fine body, and a soul. Much about them in books, 8, 9, 10.
Life....vine—a play on words in Latin: vitam....vitem.
Eternal life—Romans did not pray to them for eternal life. But A is making the point here that just as in books 1-5 they were seen to be useless for this life, so they are even more useless for eternal life.
6. 2. Cicero....one eager for words—a dig. In Confessions 3. 4. 7, as we saw, A spoke of "a book of a certain Cicero, whose tongue almost all admire, but not so his heart." Yet the book A had, Hortensius, influenced A greatly. A here is being a bit mean.
6. 10. urban theology—same as civil. Mythical is same as theatrical.
Seneca—c 4BC to c 65 AD. A moderate Stoic, often quoted by the Fathers of the Church, since he has many maxims quite Christian. St. Paul at Corinth (Acts 18. 12) was brought before Gallio, brother of Seneca, fared well. Some thought Gallio told Seneca and S became Christian—so someone faked (or did it as a school exercise) letters between St. Paul and Seneca. St. Jerome mentions the letters in On Illustrious Men 12.
Writings....way of life—he could write against false gods, but dared not refuse to worship them.
Gods above and below moon—later Platonists said the daemones were above and below moon.
A god without a body—Plato said, rightly, that God has no body, cf. Laws 897 C where God is called "the best soul." Plato may also have identified God with the Idea of Good. Cf. W. Jaeger, Paideia II. p. 285.
Without a soul—Strato of Lampsacus was head of the Peripatetic school 287-69. Taught a gross materialism—no spiritual beings at all—probably inspired by atomism of Democritus. Cf. Copleston, History of Philosophy I. 425-26.
Titus Tatius—Legend made him king of the Sabines, who shared royal power with Romulus. Cf. Cicero, Republic 2. 7. 13.
Tullus Hostilius—legendary 3rd king of Rome. Livy 1. 27 says he vowed temples to Pavor (fear) and Pallor (paleness) in battle against Albans when he was frightened. Worshipped as causing fear and paleness in the enemy.
Sewer goddess....Cluacina. Tatius found a statue of a goddess in the sewer (cloaca) and, not knowing its name, called it Cluacina. Livy (1. 38) claims a sewer was built by Tarquinius after the time of Titus Tatius. A probably got the story from Lactantius Institutes 1. 20: "Tatius consecrated an image of Cloacina, which had been found in the great sewer." The whole chapter has much on odd Roman divinities.
Woodpecker—Picus was son of Saturn, grandfather of Latinus, changed by Circe into a woodpecker, a prophetic divinity.
Tiberinus—the river god.
7, 3. select gods—in the last book of Antiquities, Varro listed twenty select gods: Janus, Jupiter, Saturn, Genius, Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Vulcan, Neptune, Sol, Orcus, Liber, Tellus, Ceres, Juno, Luna, Diana, Minerva, Venus and Vesta.
A shows they were selected:
Not for outstanding assignments, but because better known.
not for nobility, but by chance—but, Fortune was left out.
Not for virtue, not for rational happiness—Venus was selected, Virtue was not.
Not because more seek the item: Minerva( craftsmanship) was selected, but not Pecunia (money).
Not selected by wise men—virtue not selected, Venus was.
Not by the mob—Pecunia (money) not selected.
Fortune had bad fortune—no reason at all for the selections.
Sallust—in Catiline 8.
7. 4. Janus—god of beginnings and endings—so made with 2 or even 4 faces.
Saturn fleeing—Saturn had eaten most of the gods. Jupiter was away. When he got back, he made Saturn disgorge them, and expelled him. Cf. Virgil 8. 319-58. There was an old tradition that there were remains of an old city on the Janiculum, and also on the Capitoline (Saturnia). Cf. Varro, De lingua Latina 5. 7. 42 and Ovid, Fasti 1. 235-46.
Facey—Latin is frontosior. A seems to have coined it for a joke here.
7. 17. authority of ancestors—The tendency then was to think that what was older is better. Today we have the opposite. Both are wrong—one should check everything. Cf. Tatian, To the Greeks 29 saying he happened on "certain barbaric [not Greek] writings too old to be compared with the opinions of the Greeks.", i. e. , better because older.
Xenophanes of Colophon—flourished in the 2nd half of 6th century BC. Has been considered—prob. not rightly—as founder of Eleatic school of pantheistic monism. He taught all things are matters of opinion. What he said was just opinion which was like to the truth. He also worried about bad affects on morals of examples of the gods: cf. comments on Persius in note on 2. 7.
8. 5. Plato—On his world of Ideas, see note on Confessions 3. 1. A as it were baptized the notion by turning it into the world of exemplary causes in the mind of God, that is, before God creates, He has in his mind an idea of what He wills—then He says; Let it be. For A's views, see his On diverse Questions 83. 46 1-2 and City of God 7. 28 and 19. 3. Also his work On the true religion 36. 66. In On Genesis literally 2. 6. 10—7. 15 he has three states: (1)the Idea of the thing in the Word of God; (2)the knowledge the angels have of the thing, (3)its finite actuality.
In his Retractations 1. 1. 4 he said: "The praise by which I extolled Plato or the Platonics or the Academic philosophers, so much that it was not right to do for impious men—this rightly displeases me." This is rather harsh to call them impious. Plato's idea of God was very close to ours, except that He was not a Creator. In Plato's Theatetus 176 we read: "Therefore we should fly away from earth to heaven as soon as we can; and to fly away is to become like God, so far as it is possible; and to become like Him is to become holy, just and wise. ... God is never in any way unrighteous, He is perfect righteousness; and he of us who is most righteous is most like Him." With A's harsh words contrast St. Justin Martyr, Apology 1. 46: "We have been taught that Christ is the first born of God, and we have declared that He is the Divine Word, of whom every race of man were partakers, and those who lived according to the Word are Christians, even though they have been thought to be atheists, as among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and men like them."
Plato probably held that the Idea of Good is God. Cf. Republic 7. 2317: "The Idea of Good appears last of all, and is seen only with effort. When it is seen, it is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, the parent of light and of the Lord of Light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual world."
Participation—this is the really Platonic way of expressing our relation to God and the Ideas.
8. 10. two kinds of philosphers—the Italic seem to mean the Pythagoreans. The Ionic: Thales, Anaximander , Anaximenes, Diogenes, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Socrates and Plato.
According to the elements of this world—from Colossians 1. 8. The elements could be either spirit powers spoken of by Gnostics and Jewish apocalyptic speculators or prechristian religion.
For what is known—from Romans 1. 19-20: "For what is known about God is manifest to them. For God has manifested to them. For His invisibly things, from the creation of the world are seen, being understood by those things that have been made, as also His eternal power and divinity, so that they [atheists] are inexcusable."
Since, knowing God....From Romans 2. 21-23.
8. 14. living things—A is here following the usage of Apuleius, De Deo Socratis . Apuleius was a noted rhetorician and Platonist of the 2nd cent. AD. Worked elements of Platonism into old pagan polytheism.
Daemones—Plato himself uses the word in two different senses: (1)created gods to whom tasks on earth are assigned by the Supreme God. (2)Spirits of deceased men of the Golden Class (a meaning fond in Hesiod). A tends to identify the daemones of Apuleius with devils: cf. 9. 19. A is not sure if they have bodies or not: 21. 10. The Fathers in general are not in agreement on the question of bodies for devils or angels. St. Justin, Apol. 2. 5: Then angels transgressed this appointment and were captivated by love of women and begot children who are those that are called demons." And his Dialogue 57: "It is evident to us that they have food in the heavens....for concerning the sustenance of manna....Scripture says that they ate angels' food." (Alluding to Ps. 78. 25.
Gods are superior to men and daemones—Plato believed in one Supreme God, then gods (who have bodies: Timaeus 41), then daemones, then humans. Plato thought even the stars were rational and divine: Timaeus 40.
Immortality of body—he means daemones. As to the gods, Plato said in Timaeus 41 that the Supreme God addressed them and said they could die, having a body, but he would not permit it. After that, he told them to fashion the mortal bodies of men and of lower animals, saying that he himself would furnish the immortal principle, the soul. He then made souls, put one into each star, revealed their future life on the planets when they would have mortal bodies. Those who live well will return to the original star; those who live badly will take a lower form at their next birth.
Prohibiting—Cf. Plato, Republic at start of book ten, 595: "All poetical imitations are ruinous to the way hearers understand, and the knowledge of their real nature is the only remedy for them." Reason: This world is a poor imitation of the world of Ideas, and the poetical imitations imitate a poor imitation: Republic 597-98: "the imitator....is far form the truth." He seemed to soften this view in Laws II. 653-59.
8. 15. snakes....said to put off—we notice that A does not flatly accept the legend.
8. 16. A here is giving a critique of a passage form Apuleius, De Deo Socratis 13: "Daemones are living beings as to genus, as to mind, they are rational, as to soul, they are passive, as to body, they are aerial, as to time, eternal. Of these five things that I have mentioned, three are the same with us, the fourth is proper to them, the last one they have in common with the immortal gods. But they differ from the immortal gods in passion. Hence I have not absurdly called them passive, because they are subject to the same disturbances of soul as we are. —In this way he would explain the adulteries of Jupiter.
The "god of Socrates" is mentioned in Plato, Apology 31: "You have heard me tell at various times and places of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity that Meletus ridicules in his indictment. This sign, which is a sort of voice, first began to come to me when I was a child; it always forbids, but never commands me to do anything which I am going to do. This is what keep me from being a politician."
8. 18. no god associates with men—From Plato, Symposium 203. Apuleius had quoted this line of Plato in his On the god of Socrates 4. Cf. Aristotle, Ethics 8. 7: "It is true that we cannot fix a precise limit in such cases [of distance between friends], up to which two men can still be friends; the gap may go on widening and the friendship still remain. But when one becomes very remote, as the god is remote from man, friendship can continue no longer." No wonder St. Paul said in 1 Cor 1. 23 that Christ crucified was nonsense to the Greeks, and a scandal to the Jews. The very incarnation was shocking—and worse, that He accepted such a death. Dt. 21. 23 says any one who died on the wood is cursed. Cf. Gal 3. 13: Christ became a curse for us.
They—Apuleius—perhaps A has not read this part of Plato.
A thousand arts of doing harm. In Aeneid 7. 337-38 Juno speaks to Allecto the Fury, to incite her against the Trojans: "You have a thousand names, a thousand arts for doing harm." Juno is still angry that her bribe was rejected.
We have against them Plato—cf. comment on prohibiting above.
His words—Apuleius, On the God of Socrates, cap. 12.
The poets—Apuleius in cap 11 had given a few examples: Minerva in Iliad aiding the Greeks against Achilles, and Juturna in Aeneid aiding her brother.
9. 3. gods, daemones—a loose usage. More commonly there are four levels in Plato's thought: Supreme God, created gods, daemones, humans.
Lower parts of their souls—A did not believe in quantitative parts of souls, but did distinguish several levels of operation of the soul. Cf. De quantitate animae 33. 70-76 (PL 32. 1073-77).
Inveterate in evil and incurable—this makes clear A equates them with devils. Because of the clarity of intellect (not hindered by union with a material brain) angels cannot reconsider and change. So the devils are fixed in evil.
9. 15. not weakening—R. Bultmann, New Testament and Mythology, p. 11: "The kenosis of the pre-existent Son (Phil 2. 6ff) is incompatible with the miracle narratives as proof of his messianic claims.". Bultmann is in sad error: God cannot stop being God. But Jesus gave up the use of divine privileges for His own comfort, but would use them for others, in healings etc.
Cannot be mediators—Only Jesus has both divine and human natures and so by that is mediator. But this does not exclude the use of secondary mediators, whose very ability to act comes from the necessary Mediator. Cf. Summa 3. 26. 1. The principle of I. 19. 5. c—that God in His love of order wills to have one thing in place to serve as a reason or title for giving a second thing, even though the title does not move Him -shows that in love of good order God can be pleased to multiply titles for His gifts to us. Within that framework, in the objective redemption (work of once for all earning title to all forgiveness and grace) He is pleased to add the title generated by Blessed Mother—this is taught by 17 texts from Popes and Vatican II. Within subjective redemption (work of giving out all forgiveness and grace) He is pleased to again employ her, plus all the other Saints.—All these things are the effect of His love of good order, and His love of us (making titles richer for us).
He destroyed those proud immortals—not in sense of ending their being or stopping their use of their natural powers altogether, but in that He rebalanced the objective order damaged by sin, to make possible the grant of forgiveness and grace within good order (cf. Rom 3. 31).
9. 19. Cornelius Labeo. Prob. late 3d century. Disputed if he was a Neoplatonist. He surely knew the lore of pagan religion (cf. DCD 2. 11) and considered Plato a semi-god (2. 14). Disputed whether or not Labeo himself engaged in anti-Christian polemic. In calling him a demon worshipper A need not mean Labeo intended to worship Satan as such—which many do today—but that as a matter of fact the demons are behind idol worship and honor to daemones: cf. 1 Cor. 10. 20.
Prefer to call them daemones—Greek daemon does not have the bad connotation of English demon—hence our reason for keeping the Greek word. On the existence of angels: (1)In early OT texts e. g. , Judges 6. 11-24 we see an alternation between God and the messenger of God speaking. So someone could suspect the latter phrase was only a literary variation. (2)But in later OT and all NT they are clearly separate supernatural beings—though it took time for Fathers to learn they have no bodies. We should understand Scripture as the first readers would have done, and so we know there are angels. (3)Vatican II, Lumen gentium 12 says that if the whole Church has ever accepted something as revealed, the belief is infallible. Pius XII in Humani generis: DS 3891 teaches their existence.
You have a demon—Jews used these words to insult Christ: Mt 11. 18; Jn 8. 48.
9. 23—remote from human contact—cf. note on 8. 18. Plato, Symposium 203: "No god associates with men."
10. 7. by whose participation—a sharing in the divine nature, expressed by the Platonic word participation. In his Commentary on the Epistle of John, A says (Epistola Ioannis ad Parthos 2. 2. 14): "Do you love the earth? you will be earthy. Do you love God? What should I say? You will be god. I do not dare to say it on my own, let us hear the Scriptures: 'I said, you are gods, and all sons of the Most High. '" The quote is Ps 82. 6—the "gods" are human judges, elohim. 2 Peter 1. 4. speaks of us as "sharers in the divine nature." This means that sanctifying grace is really a transformation of the soul, making is basically capable of the direct vision of God in the next life. In it there is no image -no image could represent God—so He Himself takes the place of such an image: cf. DS 1000 and Summa Suppl. 92. 1. Premises for this are found, not developed in A On the Trinity 9. 11. 16 and Epistle 147, esp. par 53.
By whose eternity they are firm—seems to mean they share in His immutability. So heaven (or hell) does not just go on and on—rather the soul simply is inexpressibly filled and happy, or the opposite.
Whose sacrifice in 10. 19 A speaks more about sacrifice: the gift, or outward sign, which is visible, represents and expresses the interior attitude of the giver, chiefly obedience to the will of God.
Glorious things—Psalm 87. 3. It speaks of the earthly Jerusalem— A mistakes it for his own concept of City of God.
In pilgrimage—the thought of Hebrews 13. 14: "We have not here a lasting city. ..."
Curia....care—A is guessing at etymology, and is quite wrong. Things that seem obvious are frequently false, while things that seem unrelated are often related.
He who sacrifices—Exodus 22. 19.
10. 12. theurgy—the word means "working on the gods". It really was magic, trying to compel a god. Plato had distinguished things of sense and of reason. Plotinus added a third class of things beyond reason. So magic rites seem not according to reason, but, he meant, they are beyond reason. Cf. Enneads 4. 4. 40-44,
To adhere to Him....only beatific good—cf. Plato Theatetus 176, cited in notes on 8. 1 above.
Marvels through angels—A thinks that God does not do miracles directly, but through angels. Cf. Book III of On the Trinity.
Those who say—that God does not work visible miracles—this means Apuleius and other Platonists, who say the supreme and even the inferior gods have no contact with human affairs. Daemones serve as mediators and do miracles. Cf. Apuleius On the god of Socrates 7 and Plotinus, Enneads 2. 5. 6.
Miracles of visible natures have become commonplace—Cf. On John 6. 1: "Because His miracles by which He rules the whole world had become commonplace by constant experience....He reserved to Himself certain things which He would do at suitable times, beyond the usual course and order of nature, so that they for whom the daily things had become commonplace might be amazed in seeing not greater but unusual things." We see that he wiped out the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary. He did this also when he said in Sermo 142. 1. 1: "That so many men, who were not, are born daily, is a greater miracle than that a few rose [from the dead] who had existed [before]. It is true, greater power is seen in the former than in the latter. But the former is done in accord with natural laws, the latter is done beyond them. He similarly erased the line between ordinary and extraordinary in regard to graces: Cf. W. Most, New Answers to Old Questions p. 227. These things drove him to deny the universal salvific will of God. Cf. ibid 227-31.
Man is a greater miracle—A had trouble explaining how man is a unity of soul and body—arising from Plato's concept of man as a soul imprisoned in a body. Thus in On the morals of the Church 1. 27. 52: "Man then, as he appears to man, is a rational soul using a mortal and earthly body." But in On the Trinity 5. 7. 11: "Man is a rational substance consisting of soul and body." On the problem of how the body can affect the soul, so that the soul knows what goes on in the body: De quantitate animae 23. 41: "What happens to the body does not escape the notice of the soul."
When He moves things in time He is not moved—God's decrees are eternal, and He does not change in making them. Yet He can order things to take place at a certain point on the time scale.
10. 16. lacking this but endowed with any other goods—Cf. Enneads 1. 6. 7: "The one who attains this [vision of God] is blessed, seeing a blessed vision; but he is unfortunate really who does not attain it. For not the one who fails to attain money or beautiful bodies or power or rule or a kingdom, but [he who fails to attain] this one thing is unfortunate."
Theurgists or rather, destruction-workers—a play on words: theurgi vel potius periurgi.
By reason—by noting who are guilty of pride—the worst vice of all.
10. 19, they who think—this is a result of the idea that no god associated with men and that daemones are mediators. Cf. Apuleius On the dogma of Plato 23: "We say that the wise man is the follower and imitator of God". Also Porphyry, Epistle to Marcella 19: "Neither tears nor prayers move God. Nor do sacrifices honor God....but a godly mind....is joined to God." These lines of Apuleius and Porphyry are true, but they forget that what A is going to say in a moment: that external sacrifices are a sign of interior dispositions and even promote them.
These things....are signified by The OT major prophets spoke against empty externalism. Hosea 6. 6: "It is obedience to the covenant [hesed] that I desire, more than sacrifice." Amos 5. 5 and 21 ff.: "I hate, I despise your feasts and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon....But let justice [mishpat] roll down like waters and righteousness [sedaqah] like an overflowing stream." Isa 29. 13: "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
The higher powers—A seems to mean choirs of angels. Cf. his To Orosius 11. 14. Many have thought St. Paul in Col. 1. 16 and Eph 1. 21 etc. spoke of choirs of angels—really, Paul was using the words of his opponents, and he thinks the powers are evil spirits.
Examples in the holy letters . Extremely loose reference! Cf. Judges 13. 16 and Apoc. 22. 8-9.
Paul and Barnabas— Acts 14. 7-17.
Porphyry—in his Letter to "Anebo, which A describes, but does not quote in 10. 11.
10. 20. the form of a slave—alludes to Phil 2. 7.—daily—local custom varied, but at some places there was daily Mass. Cf. Epistle 54. 2. 2.
Sacrament—this word did not become precise until the 12th century.
The body—the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. On the altar He offers Himself—that is, He presents again His obedience to the Father. Really, His obedient attitude is continuous since His death, for death makes permanent the attitude of will in which one leaves this world. So on the part of Christ, only the outward sign is multiplied in the Mass. Yet the Members of Christ are called on to join their acts of obedience since the last Mass to His (and to pledge future obedience too). Thus the members as it were get practice in obeying, and so learn to offer themselves as A says.
St. Paul teaches we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ and like Hum. LG 3 said: "....by His obedience He brought about redemption." Paul VI, on Oct 5, 1966 in General Audience said: "....obedience....is first of all a penetration and acceptance of the mystery of Christ, who saved us by means of obedience. It is a continuation and imitation of this fundamental act of His: His acceptance of the will of the Father. It is an understanding of the principle which dominates the entire plan of Incarnation and Redemption. Thus obedience becomes assimilation into Christ, who is the Divine Obedient One." What a mockery when priests think they need to disobey liturgical law to make the Mass meaningful—using disobedience to celebrate His obedience!
Signs of this true sacrifice—he means prefigurations, prophecies by action rather than by word. Much on this sort of thing in 16: 2, 26, 32.
11. 1 City of God: Here begins the second major division, that on the two cities. A misunderstands OT many times taking what refers to the earthly Jerusalem as meaning the City of God. Cf. Psalm 87: 3; 47: 2, 3, 9; 46: 5.
God of gods—A seems to think it means a great God over subordinate gods. But it is a Hebraism, meaning the God par excellence. Similar is king of kings, Hebrew of the Hebrews etc.
Light which is common to all—participation in Him who IS, is the source of being, full light etc. In contrast, the devils, seeking to be their own source, moved away from the real source of being, and had only "needy power", though they retained what power is natural to spirits—but no more.
Pious and holy gods—using words loosely, like the Neoplatonists. Perhaps using the term as it is found in John 10: 34-35—where the OT cited really means human judges [elohim].
Origin, course in time, due ends —this is an outline of the books to come—4 books for each division.
Mixed—like the cockle in the parable.
11. 6. time and eternity—Plato, Timaeus 37-38 had called time the image of eternity, noting that time involved change, and so has present, past, and future, while eternity has no change , and so has only present. A had read Cicero's translation of Timaeus: see DCD 13. 6. Plotinus, Enneads 3. 7, esp 7. 11 developed Plato's idea. A believes time exists only if a changeable creature exists, and eternity has no change. A metaphorically calls time a stretching of the soul (Confessions 11. 26) extending back to take in past, forward to take in future, and so in a way unifies them, and so imitates eternity.
There is a third kind of duration, aevum of which A had at best only confused ideas. Cf. 11. 9 where he treats the creation of angels. On aevum see Summa 1. 10. 3-5. For a history of theories of time cf. New Scholasticism 21 (Jan, 1947) pp. 1-70 and J. F. Callahan, Four Views of Time in Ancient Philosophy, Cambridge Ma. 1948.
There would have been no times—Manichees asked what God did in time before He made the world: On Genesis against the Manichees 1. 2. 3. A answers there was no time before a changeable creature existed. Plotinus used arguments similar to those of the Manichees to prove the eternity of the world: Enneads 2. 1. 4. Philosophy cannot prove a beginning, since God always has the power to create. But such a world would be eternal only in a loose sense, since including change. Cf. Confessions 12. 11. 12 and Summa 1. 10. 3.
Great mystery—A has a problem: if God rested after 6 days, h ow can new beings appear? See 11. 9 below.
11. 9. never away—Not that they had the beatific vision before their trial—that would make them immune to sin.
Whether or in what order—Genesis does not mention creation of angels—not within its scope. A would have done better had he had the concept of aevum.
God rested—Again, A takes it too tightly. It is just part of the framework of the literary genre of the passage, which does not mean God does not create any more. He does create each individual soul. A avoided this by the idea of rationes seminales, in last paragraph of this section.
A is not fully fundamentalistic. He knows that when God made man, He did not take clay into physical hands: Cf. Literal commentary on Genesis 6. 12. But A also notices Sirach 18. 1 which, as A read it (close to LXX), said: "He who lives forever, created all things at once (simul)." He held the knowledge of the angels transcends temporal succession. The angels have evening knowledge, of things in themselves, and also the knowledge of them in the vision of God, which is morning knowledge: cf. Literal commentary on Genesis 4. 14. 41ff.
When the stars were made—Job 38. 7. A ignores the poetic genre.
Whatever inhered in it radically—The notion of rationes seminales is found early in Greek philosophy—well developed in Stoics and Plotinus. In A they seem to mean powers, both active and passive, placed in inorganic matter by God. They are found in two of the four elements, earth and water. Their activity is elicited by external natural conditions, in accord with natural laws, without the need of a special act of God each time. The rationes were determined in advance by God for each species of all future beings. They are the counterparts of the ideal rationes in the mind of God. Cf. J. McKeough, The Meaning of the Rationes Seminales in Saint Augustine, Washington, 1926.
Not first day, but one day—A does not know Hebrew has only one kind of numeral.
12. 1. not from different natures—that would be Manichean. Evil is only a privation of good.
Pride of self—fallen angels wanted to be the source of their own happiness.
Rational or intellectual creature—humans learn things step by step—angels know things directly in the First Cause, and so need no such process. Further, their intellect is not limited by link to a material brain as ours is. Cf. Literal Commentary on Genesis 2. 18. 17-19 and 4. 32. 49.
12. 15. A indulges in a fanciful interpretation of Psalm 11(12) esp. last 2 verses, as he read them: "You Lord will keep us and guard us from this generation forever. The wicked walk in a circle: according to your depth you have multiplied the sons of men."
These circles—A probably had in mind cyclic theories. Many philosophers taught the world would not be totally destroyed, but purified. Such was the idea of Plato, Timaeus 22—cf. Statesman 269 and Laws 677. Plato also taught a cycle of rebirths for the individual though the philosopher could eventually escape rebirth: cf. Phaedrus 247-49, Phaedo 70 ff. and 114. There was also a cyclic aspect to the Platonic Great World Year, which does not seem to be in A's mind here: cf. Timaeus 38-39.
Other philosphers taught an unending cycle of destructions and restorations of the whole world. Prob. earliest is Anaximander (c. 610-545). Aristotle, On the Heavens 1. 10 279B says it was held by Empedocles and Heraclitus. It is also found in the Stoics, cf. Diogenes Laertius, Zeno 8. 137, and even in Origen, First Principles 3. 5. 3. (See note on 21. 23 "pardon to the devil").
A says the theory tries to escape the difficulty of how God, who is unchangeable , made the world in time. Cf. DCD 12, esp. caps. 12-14, 18, 21 and Confessions 11. 10. 12-14. A gave his solution in DCD 11. 6. He gives a different treatment to the Psalm in Enarrationes in Ps. 11. 8-9.
For the cyclic idea among primitives cf. Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return.
No eternity of liberation—cyclic theories even mean an end to heaven—all goes back to the starting line again.
12. 22. without any newness in His will—all His decisions are eternal, even if their carrying-out may be within time.
Nature in between—man has a spiritual soul in common with angels, material body in common with animals.
Without death—a preternatural gift. More on this in 13. 1-2.
He made her from him—John Paul II, in his audience of Nov 7, 1979 explained it thus, within the genre of "myth" [not meaning fairy tale, but an ancient story to bring out some things that really happened]: "It can be said that the language in question is a mythical one. ... man ('adam) falls into 'sleep' in order to wake up 'male' and 'female' . , ....Perhaps therefore the analogy of sleep indicates here not so much a passing from consciousness to sub-consciousness, as a specific return to nonbeing....that is, to the moment preceding the creation, in order that, through God's creative initiative, solitary 'man' may emerge from it in his double unity as male and female."
13. 1. not like the angels—A believes Adam had the ability not to die (posse non mori) before the fall, while the angels had the inability of dying (non posse mori). Risen bodies at the end will have the non posse mori. Cf. DCD 22. 30. For Adam depended on the tree of life, and his body was animal, and hence in itself mortal: DCD 13. 20. An angel, even if (as A seems to think at times) he might have a body, would be immortal by the gift of God. In the background may be Plato, Timaeus 41, where the great God tells the inferior gods they will be immortal by His will, even though made up of body and soul.
13. 2. a certain kind of death—cf. DCD 19. 26: "....just as the life of the flesh is the soul, so the blessed life of man is God."
Second death—The term comes from Apoc. 20. 14-15—it means hell. First death is a) separation of soul and body; b) desertion of soul by God. Second death—punishment of soul and of risen body.
13. 4. —If anyone wonders—The Pelagians raised the difficulty, said Adam would have died even if he had not sinned. Cf. A On heresies 88.
Another work—On the merits and remission of sin 2. 30. 49.
Faith would be weakened—in faith we believe what we cannot see—if physical immortality followed on Baptism, we would see without doubt.
The greater ages—time of persecution.
13. 13. formerly the same Before the fall, they were naked, and also after it. But before it did not bother them—so an implication: they lost a gift that made it easy to keep the drives in proper order. This was the coordinating gift, or gift of integrity.
Reciprocal penalty —the disobedience of the body is penalty for the disobedience of the soul.
Flesh began to desire against the spirit—Gal 5. 17.
Vitiated nature—If God had given only basic humanity, there would be in it many drives, each operating blindly and mechanically, without regard to the other drives/needs or the whole person. By sin they lost the coordinating gift mentioned above, and the gift of grace. Sin took humanity not down to total corruption, as Luther thought, but only back to where they would have been if they had only level one, basic humanity. Without the coordinating gift, emotions can tend to cloud the mind and pull
On the will: hence it is said that the mind is darkened and the will weakened—but only in a relative sense. John Paul II, General Audience of Oct 8, 1966: ". . according to the Church's teaching, it is a case of a relative and not an absolute deterioration, not intrinsic to the human faculties....not of a loss of their essential capacities even in relation to the knowledge and love of God." Compare the note on 3. 11 on Confessions, on "you permitted me to roll deeper".
14. 4. lives according to man— The expression is from 1 Cor 3. 3. It means living according to merely human standards, which are not high enough. Above in 1 Cor 2. 14 St. Paul had spoken of the natural man, in contrast to the spiritual man who follows the Spirit.
A probably means living according to the Idea God has for us to conform to. Cf. On 88 Various questions q. 46. 1-2. He as it were baptized Plato's world of Ideas, changing it into the ideas in the mind of God, logically present for each thing before He ordered it to be. In so far as a creature matches this idea, it has being—to go away from it is to go away from the source of being. Cf. On the morals of the Catholic church 2. 6. 8: "Those things which tend to being tend to order. When they have attained it, they attain being itself....things that are not simple [without parts] by harmony of parts imitate unity....So whatever is corrupted, tends towards nonbeing."
Stand in the truth—Scripture tends to equate truth with goodness, and sin with lie. Cf. John 8. 44 and Rom 1. 25. Things that match God's idea (explained above) are what we would call in English, "true to form".
But if the truth—Rom 3. 7 and 3. 4.
Not so living as to be able to BE—cf. above on conforming to the Ideas in the mind of God, and also, Literal Commentary on Genesis 4. 12. 22: "The power of the Creator and His strength that holds everything is the cause of existence for every creature. ... For it is not like the case of a builder who departs when he has built, and even though he stops and goes away his work stands—not so. The world will not be able to stand for a flick of the eye if God takes away His power from it." And also ibid. 1. 5. 10: "If it turns away from unchangeable Wisdom, it lives stupidly and miserably—that is its lack of form. For it is formed by turning to the unchangeable light of Wisdom, the Word of God. For by whom it exists in some way and lives, it is turned to Him so that it may live wisely and blessedly."
That is a lie....it is ill with us—Cf. Psalm 4. 3. Sin promises happiness, but instead, every disordered soul is its own penalty—Confessions 1. 12.
14. 9. emotions—the Stoics said reason was the only good, and so emotions cannot be tolerated, we must uproot them. They made three seeming exceptions: rational elation, rational disinclination, and rational desire . Cf. Diogenes Laertius 7. 116 and DCD 14. 8
Greek Stoics tried to be absolute about this, the Romans moderated it. Cicero, On Friendship 13. 48: "if grief occurs in the soul of the wise man—and it surely does, unless we think humanity has been uprooted from his soul.
Of what sort they are going to be—There will be no sorrow, only complete joy, and the body will be fully subject to the spirit, so that the flesh will no more lust against the spirit.
They are so proud—pride can mimic all virtues, even humility, and can suppress emotions.
14. 13. self-exaltation—pride really claims to be God, for it claims to be able to produce some good by its own power alone—that would be creation. But only God can create.
You cast them down—Psalm 73. 18, as A read it: "You cast them down when they were being lifted up." Translation is debated.
Especially proclaimed in its king—Cf. Mt 11. 29: "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of Heart." Christ could have proclaimed Himself the model of any or all virtues—He specially mentioned humility, since as we saw above, on self-exaltation, pride implies a claim to be God.
As Sacred Scripture says—Cf. Sirach 10. 13: "The beginning of all sin is pride."
Like gods. . they could have been that. —They already had a share in the divine nature, but cast it away by the sin of seeking what they already had! Cf. 2 Peter 1. 4.
14. 15. spiritual even in the flesh—after resurrection, the spirit will completely dominate the body: cf. 1 Cor 14. 55. Yet the body will be flesh even though St. Paul speaks of it as a spiritual body. Had he meant it was not flesh he would have had no need to write chapter 15 of 1 Cor against the Corinthians who objected to a physical resurrection, but would not mind a spiritual one.
By justice of God was given over to himself—the thought of "every disordered soul is its own penalty. Cf. Confessions 1. 12 Romans chapter 1.
A thing of no difficulty—in two ways: 1)the thing ordered was not heavy in itself. 2)there were no disorderly emotions, instead they had the coordinating gift.
Second man—Christ. The language is from 1 Cor 15. 47 about the New Adam.
Obedient unto death—cf. Phil 1. 8. In contrast, Adam was disobedient even to death!
14. 27. to each his own things—this is Cicero's definition of justice, from De officiis 1. 7. 20-21.
Why should God not make use?—A's reasoning is weak and incomplete here. When God decided to create our race, He had to give free will—or it would not be the human race. That opened the door to great evils, and to great goods . Similarly in creating the angels. But God gives us a guardian angel to compensate for the difficulty from satan.
Hardened—an angel cannot look back and see things differently and so repent—his mind has absolute clarity at the time of sinning, and so can never go back on it. Our spiritual intellect is limited by its link to the material brain.
If he trusted in the help of God—A believes rightly that even the ability to trust comes from God's grace, which is offered to all.
Who would dare to believe it was not in God's power—implies again the idea of congruous call. Cf. note on Confessions 3. 11: "you permitted me to roll".
14. 48. two loves—Cf. Confessions 13. 9. 10: "My love is my weight, by which I am carried wherever I am carried." The idea is similar to a gravitational pull.
Glories in the Lord—from 1 Cor. 10. 17. There are two levels: on the most basic level, any bit of good I am and have and do comes from God: cf. 1 Cor 4. 7: "What have you that you have not received?" Coming entirely from my own power there is only sin. But on the secondary level, where I look at what God has given me, I am an adopted son of God, sharing in the divine nature: 2 Peter 1. 4.
Goods of body or soul or both—A probably has in mind the many alternatives listed in DCD 19. 4.
Did not honor Him—long allusion to Rom 1. 21-23.
That God may be all in all—echo of 12 Cor 15. 28.
15. 5. first founder of an earthly city—Cain in Gen 4. 1-17 founds a city, names it for his son Enoch. A thinks of it as the type [prophecy in action rather than in words] or start of the City of the World.
In founding that city—A is accepting the legend of the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus, as in Livy 1. 1-8—Romulus killed Remus, yet for long the Romans called Romulus a god. Later they came to reject this: cf. Cicero, De officiis 3. 10 and Horace, Epode 7. 17-20. The traditional Roman date was 753 BC—whatever is right that is not, for archaeology shows no such change at or near that point.
A certain poet—Lucan, Pharsalia 1. 95.
Diabolical envy—To envy is to seriously wish another may lack a good, not that it may be ill with him (that would be hate) but so my good and honor may not be diminished. Differs from aemulation: wanting to have the same myself, without depriving the other.
15. 7. bad division—an external sacrifice should express interior dispositions. It seems Cain did not have the good interior, instead, wanted to use God to help himself.
He can be bought—Plato, Republic I. 364 ss tells of pagans who thought they could bind the gods to do their will—compare theurgy and magic. Cf. A. On Christian Doctrine 1. 4. 4.
15. 8. Scripture—Genesis 4. 17: Cain build a city, names it for his son Enoch. A knew the lists in Genesis were not complete, included enough to show the line of descent of the two cities. WE now know that ancient genealogies were not just family trees, but were to bring out other things: Cf. R. Wilson, in Biblical Archaeologist, Winter, 1979, 42. pp. 11-22.
And he begot—the words come frequently in Genesis, and indicate very long lives. The numbers could be symbolic. Cf. the Sumerian king lists, which give 8 kings with a total reign of 241, 200 years before the deluge, and after the flood, first dynasty of Kish had 23 kings, total 24, 510 year. J. Walton, "The Antediluvian Section of the Sumerian king List and Genesis 5" in Biblical Archeologist, fall, 1981, pp. 207-08 suggests perhaps a scribe got high numbers by confusing decimal and sexagesimal systems of notation.
Flood— large silt layers have been found in Sumeria, but they show a local, not widespread flood: cf. J. Finegan, Light from the Ancient Past, Princeton, 1974, 2d ed. 27-36. It is not necessary to hold that the flood was universal.
15. 18—Here A tries to show a prophetic significance of the meaning of the names of Abel, Seth and Enos as types, based on his understanding of Hebrew names: Abel =grief; Seth = resurrection; Enos = man. Various etymologies are found in antiquity. St. Jerome in his Book on the Hebrew Names (PL 23. 817, 828, 822) gives among other meanings, those used here by A. This work of Jerome's is not highly esteemed today—but we are uncertain too.
And a son was born—Genesis 4. 16. The Vulgate does not have "hoped" but "began". "hoped" reflects the LXX.
We are saved by hope—Romans 8. 24-25."Apostle" always means St. Paul.
Mystery—Latin has sacramentum—word used loosely up to 12th century for hundreds of things. Today the word is being used loosely again by many.
Election of grace—predestination to full membership in the People of God. But A and the Fathers in general confuse predestination to that and predestination to heaven.
Apostle....another prophet—St. Paul in Rom 10. 13 citing Joel 2. 32.
Saved—the word has 3 meanings in Scripture: 1) rescue form temporal evils; 2) enter the Church; 3) reach heaven. The second sense is meant here. The meaning of infallible salvation used by fundamentalists has no intellectual basis at all, is not even mentioned in Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the NT, s. v. , saved, salvation.
Cursed—Jer 17. 5.
Other city which is not dedicated in this time—A means the city of God, which has no city in this world, is on pilgrimage. He takes Cain to mean possession, and Enoch to mean dedication. Cain's city was dedicated in this world.
15. 26. Scripture says—Genesis 6. 9.
Reality —Manichees said Christ did not have a real body. Cf. Against the Epistle of Manichaeus 8. 9 and Confessions 5. 9. 16. As a result the Manichees did not make much of Easter, but did of the feast of Bema, day on which Manes was really killed. They put a chair on a platform, Bema, representing his teaching.
Length—A tries to show the proportions are the same for the ark and for a human body.
Cubits—measure from elbow to tip of fingers—and so varies in size with individuals. In Israel was prob. about 17, 1/2 inches. The dimensions would give 450, 000 cubic cubits, a large space.
A sees the hand of God's providence in many things, in Confessions. Cf. Wisdom 8. 1: "Wisdom reaches from end to end mightily and arranges everything smoothly". And Wisdom 11. 21: "You have arranged everything in measure and number and weight. Cf. W. Most, "The Scriptural Basis for St. Augustine's Arithmology" in CBQ 13 (1951) pp. 284-95.
16. 2. hidden—A means that the fulfillment made things clear, speaking of the prophetic blessing and curse of Noah on his sons: Genesis 9. 20-27.
From whose seed—in the line of human descent, Christ is traced to Sem and beyond: Lk 3: 23-28.
Named—A takes Sem to mean named (Shem).
Song of Songs —Canticle of Canticles 1. 2.
The learned son—cf. Proverbs 10. 4 according to the LXX 10. 4, not according to the Vulgate. From Qumran it seems that text of the OT was not firmly fixed at once, so that the LXX is a reliable but different text.
Occasion for learning—A again is admiring Providence. Really, heresies have often been the occasion for clarifications.
16. 4. Babylon, confusion—Genesis 11. 9 says Babylon means confusion. This was a popular etymology taking, Babel for Hebrew balal, confuse, instead of Babylonian Babilu, gate of God. The writer may have made a pun to ridicule the Babylonian word. Cf. Genesis 11. 1-9.
The history of the gentiles—Pliny, Natural History 6. 30. 121; Herodotus 1. 178-83; Aristotle, Politics 3. 3. 1276a.
Nebroth—another form of Nemrod. Cf. Gen 10. 9-10.
Up to the sky—cf. skyscraper. Much anthropomorphism here: God comes down. Temple towers were common in Babylonia.
Frog and locust—Cf. Exodus, chapters 8 and 10 for this usage.
Against the Lord Gen 10. 9. The sense is really "before the Lord" A must have used an old translation that had contra from Greek enantion—which can mean either against or before.
16. 26. son of promise—The Mother of Isaac had been sterile, he was born by a promise of God. The son of Agar did not come by way of promise, merely natural course. So the case of Isaac stands for grace, which is needed to bring forth children to the City of God. There are other cases of special intervention, e. g, Anna mother of Samuel and mother of John the Baptist.
16. 32. congratulated—cf. James 1. 12: "Blessed is the man who suffers temptation, for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life."
Obey not argue—Abraham might have pointed out God's promise that he would be father of a great nation by Isaac, and have asked which thing to do. But Abraham went ahead in strong faith, walking in the dark. A thinks Abraham expected a resurrection—
Possible, not necessarily so. Hebrews 11. 17-19 thinks Abraham expected resurrection, but Hebrews is homiletic genre, where some looseness is common.
Your seed shall be called—line of People of God to descend through Isaac, not Ishmael: Gen 21. 12-13.
Apostle....That is—Romans 9. 8.
Apostle....He did not spare—Rom 8. 32.
16. 41. Judah your brothers—A is following a text of Gen 49. 8-12 older than the Vulgate.
From germination—A does not explain the words here, but in Against Faustus 12. 42 A uses it to stress the reality of the birth and hence of the humanity of Christ—Manichees denied reality of His body.
A prince will not be lacking....until the things come—A's translation of the last part is incorrect, as are many versions today. Unfortunately they neglect Jewish tradition especially as found in the Targums (ancient Aramaic versions of OT, mostly free, with fill-ins showing how they understood it). With the Targums we translate: "the scepter will not depart from Judah, until Shiloh comes"—that is, the Messiah. Not only the Targums but other rabbinic sources, both Midrashic and Talmudic (e. g. , Genesis Rabbah 98: 8 and Sanhedrin 98b) take the passage as Messianic. A major Jewish scholar today, Jacob Neusner in Messiah in Context, p. 242) said: "It is difficult to imagine how Gen 49: 10 can have been read as other than a messianic prediction." Strange that Catholic scholars have trouble here when even a Jew can see it! It was fulfilled graphically—there was always some sort of leader from Judah until 41 BC when Rome imposed Herod on them, who was half Arab, half Idumean, and surely not of the tribe of Judah. Had the Jews not been so sadly unfaithful so many times, probably a fine line of Davidic kings would have come down to that time.
He will bind his colt to the vine—A does not explain this here. In Against Faustus 12. 42: "'He tied his colt to the vine' that is, His people, in sackcloth preaching and crying out: 'Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near'. We know that the people of the Gentiles, compared to the colt of an ass, were subject to Him, and on which He also sat, leading it into Jerusalem, that is, into the vision of peace, teaching the meek his ways."
Lion—Cf. Apoc 5. 5: "Behold the lion conquers, of the tribe of Judah, the root of David."
I have power—John 10. 18.
Destroy this temple—John 2. 19.
And bowing—John 19. 30.
Sacrament—here used in both broad and strict sense (Baptism).
Inebriating chalice—from Psalm 23. 5 as A read it: "You have made my head rich with oil, and my inebriating chalice—how excellent it is."
The milk—alludes to 1 Cor 3: 2: "I have give you milk to drink, not solid food....for you are still fleshy." (Corinthians were still immature).
17. 3. signs and words—A gives an extensive treatment of the rules for interpretation of Scripture in the first three books of On Christian Doctrine. In 1. 2. 2 he explains sign . It includes anything that signifies something: actions, things, persons, words.
Partly—There ar three kinds of prophecies: 1) some refer to blood descendants of Abraham; 2) some refer to City of God, in heaven or on earth, 3)some refer partly to each.
A good example of the technique is in 17. 7: when a prophecy which seem to refer directly to descendants of Abraham does not fit in all respects, we see its fullness applies to the City of God.
17. 4. Saul's rejection—there were two incidents. In 1 Sam 13. 8-14 Samuel is slow in coming, Saul offers sacrifice. Samuel tells him the Lord has rejected him as king, his dynasty will not continue. In 1 Sam 15. 22-29. Samuel orders Saul to wipe out Amalek because of what they did to Israel when Israel was coming from Egypt. But Saul keeps livestock and the king, saying he will use the animals for sacrifice. Samuel says Saul is rejected: To obey is better than sacrifice.
This might be a case of variant traditions—writer found both accounts of how Saul was rejected, did not know which to pick, let reader see both, without asserting either was true. Or, there would be a second disobedience and then a confirmation of the rejection. On variant traditions cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, chapter 15.
We note that David too sinned, and his dynasty was not rejected, but confirmed. So we distinguish the interior economy—Things leading to final salvation from the external—positions and favors in the external order. In the internal, God offers graces abundantly to all, forgives readily. In the external He acts differently, for His own reasons in each case, for salvation is not at stake.
On the ban (herem): Basically it was death penalty for grave sins. As to children etc. —God's gift of life is moment to moment—He could just stop giving—or use a human agency for the same purpose.
Rejection of Heli—In 1 Samuel 2. 25-36, Heli's sons had been evil, taking part of offerings before they were offered. Heli did not correct them: God punished both Heli and his sons.
Anna at first sterile—this stands for grace, as we saw above in the case of Isaac.
17. 7. A had quoted earlier in chapter 7 the prophecy of Samuel about Saul—using the LXX text, which differs from the Vulgate. Here is A's text (after Saul had disobeyed, as in 1 Sam 15):
"The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel from your hand today, and will give it to your good neighbor who is better than you, and Israel will be divided into two: and He will not change or regret, for He is not like man, t hat He should regret. Man threatens and does not keep with it."
A takes "into two" to stand for two classes of Israelites, accepting or rejecting Christ. The original prophecy referred to the division of Saul's kingdom. Yet A is right in that the definitive division did not come until later.
The handmaid and the free woman are Hagar and Sara. Cf. Gal 4. 21-31.
Cast out the handmaid—Sara speaks in Genesis 21. 10.
Sin of Solomon—he fell into paganism under influence of foreign wives. God told Solomon He would divide the kingdom after death of Solomon—one tribe to Rehoboam his son, ten tribes to Jeroboam cf. 2 Kings 11. 1-13. The story of the split is in 1 Kings chapter 12: people were punished by getting a foolish king.
Exile by the Chaldeans—in 587 BC Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II: cf. 2 Kings 25. 1 ff. Cyrus of Persia let them return in 539. Before the Jews had been agricultural—in exile they turned to business. Many did well, did not care to return. Samaria had fallen to Sargon in 721, end of Northern Kingdom and exile.
Now Hebrew people is not divided—A means that the prophecy cannot refer to Jews as a race after Christ, since they are not divided into two nations, but merely scattered. So the division is into those who do or do not adhere to Christ. This division, A says, is eternal: God will not repent. A would not deny that St. Paul foretold the conversion of Jews to Christ at the end.
17. 8. this so great a promise—refers to 2 Sam 7. 8-16—compare Psalm 71 (72). Nathan in 2 Sam foretold a descendant of David who was to build a temple. A notes Solomon only partly fits—he built a temple—but was not faithful, and so it must refer to Christ. 2 Sam 7. 12 says that the descendant would come after the death of David—but Solomon began to rule before the death of David. So it could not entirely fit Solomon. Must refer to Christ.
Full of foreign women—cf. 1 Kings 11. 1-10.
Once wise—God had appeared to Solomon, offered any gift. S asked for wisdom: 1 Kings 3. 5-14. This did not take away his freedom, and so he could and did fall into sin.
In his own person gave a shadowy prophecy —he was a type.
Ps. 71(72) 8: —"And he will rule from sea to sea, and from the river even to the bounds of the earth."
Solomon began to reign—the story is in 1 Kings 1. 28-40.
And it will happen—2 Sam 7. 12.
17. 13. so great a good—peace. Alludes to the prophecy of Nathan quoted at the end of chapter 12 from 2 Sam 7. 10-11, as a read it: "And I will make a place for my people Israel, and will plant it, and it will dwell by itself. And it will not be concerned any more, and the son of iniquity will no longer go on to humiliate it, as from the beginning, from the days in which I established judges over my people Israel."
Solomon....40 years—1 Kings 11. 42.
Aod—Judges 3. 30: "And the land was at rest for 80 years."
This name means "seeing God"—St. Jerome disagrees with this etymology, but mentions it since he admits many have stated it, in Book of Hebrew Names. In his Book of Hebrew Questions on Genesis 32, he says the real sense is "a prince with God." Today there is no agreement on the real etymology.
18. 22. another Babylon—A thinks Babylon was the capital of the city of this world, and Rome was the successor. Cf. DCD 18. 2.
It pleased God—we recall DCD 5, chapters 12, 13, 16, 17: A thinks God gave an empire to Rome as a reward for natural virtues—could not give a supernatural reward, since Rome's virtues were marred by pride.
Already there were strong peoples—when Rome rose, in contrast to the time when Assyria rose—A thinks opposition to Assyria was not great—cf. next note—Not much more than 1000 years passed before Ninus—we do not know if the flood was universal, nor do we know its date . There is the further question of the literary genre of that passage in Genesis—probably historical. A is following especially St. Jerome's translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius, and Varro, esp. his On the nation of the Roman people (as we see from 18. 2 & 8). Jerome repeats the legend that the Assyrian empire was founded by Ninus, who conquered all Asia but India. That tale is found in Greek and Latin writers—the only ones to use the name Ninus. There is no trace of Ninus in the Assyrian records. Diodorus Siculus, 2. 1 tells the legend most fully, and says (2. 2. 2) he is following chiefly Ctesias, a Greek who spent 17 years at the Persian court, returning to Greece about 398 BC. Ctesias had a bad reputation in ancient times. Plutarch said he filled his books with "a great farrago of nonsense." It is probable that the name and the story of Ninus is an aetiological legend, i. e. , invented to explain the name Nineveh.
Assyria had a brief period of power under Tiglath Pileser I c. 1115—1077. The real period of supremacy of Assyria starts under Tiglath Pileser III, 745-27, and lasted until the fall of Nineveh in 612 B. C.
18. 27. these days....the age of the prophets Osee (Hosea), Amos, Isaiah, Micah, Jonah and Joel. Hosea: 760-22; Amos fl. 760; Isaiah 740-700; Micah 740—687. Dates for Joel and Jonah heavily debated.
A says he learned for Scripture that the first four of these prophets belonged to the times of Kings Ozias (Uzziah), Joathan) Jotham), Achaz and Ezechias (Hezekiah) of Juda. They fill most of the 8th century, and overlap into the seventh. A found dates for Jonah and Joel in the Chronicle of Eusebius, translated by Jerome.
Assyrian kingdom failed—Nineveh fell in 612. B. c. Rome then was small and under kings.
Abraham—his date is very uncertain. Perhaps 18th century BC.
Blessing of all nations—cf. Gen 12. 3.
18. 28. It will be—Hosea (Osee) 1. 10 (Hebrew number: 2. 1). It originally referred to the restoration from the exile.
Even the apostles—could be translated, "the apostles too". Cf. Romans 9. 25-30. St. Paul may be using the text loosely in rabbinic style—or is it multiple fulfillment? Cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, chapter 5.
Spiritually among the sons of Abraham—cf. Rom 4. 16:
Abraham , for he is the father of us all." We are sons by imitating his faith, says St. Paul. Mere physical descent from him will not save anyone. Cf. Gal. 3. 9. A explains this in DCD 16. 23.
And the sons of Juda—Hosea 1. 11 (In Hebrew is 2. 2). A takes it to refer to the Messiah. The Targum Jonathan seems to do that too, especially in view of the Targum on 3. 5.
He will heal us after 2 days—in the original, it meant the restoration. A applies it to the resurrection of Jesus.
18. 45. temple had been restored—it was rebuilt in 520-16 BC, on a more modest scale than that of Solomon. Was razed by Herod in 20 BC, and a anew one built on the site.
Great will be the glory—Haggai (Aggaeus) 2. 6. Physically it was not greater—but the coming of Christ to it made it such.
And I will move all nations—Haggai 2. 6. Before the quoted words, "Yet a little while and I will once more shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, and the desired one (hemdat) shall come, and I will fill this house with glory says the Lord of hosts". There is debate about the translation: desired one (Messiah) vs. desired things (treasures). Trouble comes from the fact that hemdat is singular, but its verb is plural. However, such irregularities are common enough in OT Hebrew. The singular version, referring to the Messiah, comes form Jerome, who got it from the Rabbis, who considered the line messianic. Even taking it as plural, it would seem to be messianic—the treasures of the nations will come into Jerusalem at the time of the Messiah.
Date of the prophecy was 520 BC—a little while!
Had no prophets—Some think parts of Zechariah are later than Haggai, but not much. Also a problem for Malachi and later parts of Isaiah—if one holds the view that there were three authors to Isaiah, a thing that is possible, but not proved.
Merited—the word is often used loosely, almost without meaning, in patristic works. Yet it could have strict sense here—They deserved such an evil king.
Herod—by birth was half Idumean, half Arab, not from tribe of Judah.
A prince will not be lacking—cf. the note on 16. 41 on this text.
18. 47. canon—list of inspired books.
There were men in other nations below he mentions Job . In DCD 18. 23 he mentions prophecies of the Sibyl of the last judgment and of the passion. He seems to think they would qualify here too. But the Sibylline text A knew seems to have been interpolated by Christians.
But it is important to notice: A recognizes that some are members of the city of God who did not externally belong to it. He speaks of them as men "who pertained to the true Israelites." This has a bearing on the teaching "No salvation outside the Church." On it, cf. W. Most, Our Father's Plan, appendix.
After rejection of his elder brother. —Esau was not chosen as part of the People of God, in Romans 9. A wrongly thinks it refers to eternal reprobation. On this see W. Most, New Answers to Old Questions.
From the race of Idumea—The OT says the land of Uz. If historical, would probably be located in the borderland between Edom and Arabia. But the genre of Job is not likely to be historical.
He is so praised—cf. Job 1. 8: "Have you not considered my servant Job, that there is not another like him on the earth?"
18. 49. in this wicked age—cf. 1 John 5. 19 and Eph 5. 16. The age is wicked since it does not run on the principles of Christ.
Reprobates—destined for eternal ruin.
In the net—cf. Mt 13. 47-50.
Shore—the Last Judgment.
God will be all in all—Cf. 1 Cor 15. 28.
18. 51. temples deserted—A series of restrictive laws against paganism had come, culminating in the prohibition of even private pagan worship, by Theodosius in 392 AD.
Heretics in his Book on Heresies , A lists 88 heresies.
Fearful discipline—A did approve of the use of force by the state against heretics who caused civil disturbances, such as the Circumcellions who were armed fanatic bands, sponsored by the Donatists, who used violence to enforce their will. Cf A's Epistle 93.
18. 54. made for itself false gods—Many pagan authors speak of humans being made gods, e. g, Callimachus, Hymn to Zeus which alludes to the Cretan story that Zeus was a prince who was slain by a wild boar and buried in Crete. In lines 8-9: "For the Cretans even built a tomb for you, O Lord, you did not die, f or you are forever." Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1. 12. 28 to 13. 29, especially: "If I tried to examine the old things and dig it out of those things which the Greek writers handed down, the very great gods of the nations, as they are considered, will be found to have gone from us into the sky." The idea was especially developed by Euhemerus, a Sicilian Greek, fl. c. 300 BC, in his Sacred History, early translated by Ennius into Latin.
19. 4. each of these....ultimate good and evil —In the first 3 chapters of book 19, A explained Varro's classification from his lost work On Philosophy of 288 possible answers to the question of what is the supreme good and the supreme evil. Varro and other pagans thought the supreme goal attainable in this life. The Stoics, Epicureans and Cynics also thought this. So did A early, esp in his On the happy life.
Just man lives by faith—Habakkuk 2. 4 and Gal. 3. 11.
Even right living is not of ourselves—it is not in our unaided power. Cf. DCD 14. 27.
Pleasure....lack of disturbance—A explains in chapter 1 : "....or pleasure, by which the sense of the body is moved in an enjoyable way, or repose by which it comes about that one suffers no bodily discomfort, or both, which however, Epicurus called by the one name of pleasure."
Prima naturae—The Stoics seem to have originated the term: the objects of the fundamental natural drives or instincts, as found even in an infant. The object chiefly aimed at was life and integrity of being, and things needed for this. Yet the Stoics were not clear on things. For a list, see Diogenes Laertius, Zeno 7. 104-07 which says that when an infant, a natural-born Stoics, is born, he instinctively chooses things according to nature. When reason awakens, he looks on the order and harmony resulting, and so then by reason he chooses what he did by instinct before. So virtue is not among the prima naturae , but comes in later, when teaching introduces it. The things so chosen are not good, they are indifferent, but because it is reasonable to choose them, they are relatively choice-worthy: proegmena.—The Stoics of course were denying their own basic principles here: something indifferent is not even relatively choiceworthy. Stoics held all is indifferent except to live habitually according to reason for reason's sake. If that were true, no one could make a rational choice, which requires making a mental list of the good and bad points of various options proposed. There are no good and bad points if all is indifferent except the one thing.
Antiochus of Ascalon (died c 68 BC), the Academic whom Varro claims to follow, said the Stoics had stolen from the Academy. His doctrine was similar but he did not make virtue the only good. Cicero in his De finibus is confused on prima naturae—at times following Antiochus, at times the Stoics, at times his own ideas. A's treatment is inexact.
Temperance—Cicero did not seem to think temperantia was an adequate translation for Greek sophrosyne, and so used other words with it: moderatio, modestia, frugalitas. Cf. his Tusculan Disputations 3. 8. 16.
In this section, A is working through the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude.
Flesh desires against the spirit—Gal. 5. 17.
Prudence—it chooses the right means for carrying out acts of the other virtues.
To each his own—a definition of justice.
The less the soul conceives God in its thought—thought of God and of eternity helps keep us straight. Please recall the note on the two spirals in Confessions 1. 4. It is a psychological principle that the more a thing fills the field of consciousness the more powerfully it attracts—advertisers use this to attract even in annoying commercials.
He is forced to kill himself—Stoics said that everything is indifferent except to live habitually according to reason for reason's sake. So it is indifferent if we are dead or alive. Cf. Cicero, Definibus 3. 18. 60: "In him in whom there are more things which are according to nature, his duty is to stay in life; but in him in whom there are or are foreseen as going to be more things contrary, his duty is to get out of life." That meant suicide. A laughs: Stoicism set out to find the supreme goal, one that would give complete satisfaction, one that a man could get without help of man or god. Now it finds that one can be so far from the goal that he should kill himself. Cato at Utica, seeing Caesar would rule the world, worked out this balance, and killed himself. Stoics considered him a sort of hero. —On the things contrary to nature or according to it, cf note on prima naturae above on 19. 4.
Wise man—The Stoics said one either did or did not live perfectly according to reason for reason's sake. If one did, he was the wise man—perfect in everything, perfect shoemaker even if he never made shoes etc. If not perfect, one was a fool—no middle ground. No Roman Stoic ever dared to say he was such. The Romans tempered the Greek rigidity, for if they did not, they would have to say their great national heroes were all fools. Cf. Cicero, Definibus 3. 7. 26: "Since then this is the goal, to live according to nature and to live fittingly, it necessarily follows that all wise men always live happily, completely, fortunately, and are hindered by nothing, are held back by nothing, lack nothing."
19. 10. their deceptions—of the devil, who even "transforms himself into an angel of light" as St. Paul said in 2 Cor 12. 14—
That is, he takes on the appearance of good to deceive souls.
Evil days—see again 1 John 5. 19 and Eph 5. 16.
Seems like simply misery—if one gets the right contrast of time and eternity, things of this world seem as nothing in comparison.
Virtue uses well even the evils—Cf. Romans 8. 28: "For those who love God, all things work together for good." All can be used as a means of likeness to Christ, that is, all but sin.
19. 12. no one unwilling to have peace—our wills are such that they cannot go after evil as evil, but only evil that has the appearance of good.
19. 13. well-ordered balance of parts— Cf. A's belief that a thing is or has being in so far as it is one. Cf. On the morals of the Catholic Church 2. 6. 8: "Those things that tend toward being, tend toward order. When they have attained it, they attain being itself, in so far as a creature can attain it. Things ....which are not simple, by harmony of their parts imitate unity. So whatever is corrupted, tends towards non being.
Its own place again, an echo of justice, which gives to each its own. Peace is based on justice, giving right place to all.
19. 20. blessed even now, but in hope—A once thought, in On the happy life, that he could reach the blessed life even in this life. He took that view back in Retractations 1. 2.
True wisdom—a dig at the Stoics "wise man".
Prudently discerns —A works in the four cardinal virtues.
20. 2 by what judgment of God—we do not know the details, of course, but we know the broad principles, from St. Paul: One is saved and made holy if and to the extent that he is a member of Christ and like Him—the more like Christ in this life, the more like Him in the next. And Romans 8. 28: "For those who love God, all things work together for good." The only thing that cannot be turned into gold for eternity is sin.
An early death—cf. Wisdom 4. 7-14: "The just man even if he dies early shall be at rest. For honorable age come not with time. ... Rather, understanding is the hoary crown, and an unsullied life is the same as reaching old age. The one who pleased God was loved; he who lived among sinners was transported, taken away, so that wickedness might not pervert his mind or sully his soul. For the witchery of trifling things obscures what is right. ... Having become perfect in a little while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul pleased the Lord, therefore He hastened to take him out of the midst of wickedness."
Man is made like vanity—Psalm 144. 4.
Judgments—Cf. Romans 11. 33: "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and unsearchable His ways." Paul was referring, not to predestination to heaven or hell, as some have thought, but to full membership in the people of God.
20. 7. two resurrections in DCD 20. 6 A interprets the first as the resurrection from sin, and the second as the bodily resurrection. The reign with Christ on earth is for all the time from His ascension to His return, in which the just are kings in not being slaves to sin.
Ridiculous fables—false ideas of a 1000 yrs reign on earth prob. go back to Jewish rabbis, who, comparing Psalm 90. 4 ("a thousand years before your eyes are like yesterday, ") with the 7th day of God's rest in Genesis, built a millennium theory. Some Christian writers, even some Fathers, fell into similar errors. Three forms: 1)Gross extreme —life would be coarse unrestrained sensual pleasure. Eusebius 3. 28 says Cerinthus, late 1st century, held this. Seems the Ebionites, Marcionites and some Apollinarians taught the same. 2)Moderate sensory pleasure—
Material but not immoral pleasure. Seems held by Papias. Eusebius 7. 14 says Lactantius held it (Institutes 7. 24). 3)Mild—
Spiritual joys. Tertullian Against Marcion 3. 24; St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5. 32. l ( but elsewhere Irenaeus interprets the 1000 yrs in an orthodox sense): Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching; St. Justin, Dialogue 80-81; St. Methodius of Olympus, Commodianus, Victorinus of Pettau, Quintius Julius Hilarion, and Augustine himself once held it: Sermon 259. 2. There were many opponents, e. g. , Origen, First Principles 2. 11. 2; Dionysius of Alexandria (Eusebius 3. 28); Jerome (On Mt. 3. 19) and Augustine.
Short time—beast gets power for 42 months, 3, 1/2 years: Apoc. 13. 5. Cf. also Apoc. 11. 2: Gentiles will crush the holy city for 42 months— the witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days. 42 months was the length of the persecution of Antiochus IV. It is also a symbolic number, half of 7. cf. also Daniel 7. 25. In Apoc 12. 14 the woman flees for 3, 1/2 years. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses 15. 12 says Antichrist will reign 3, 1/2 years.
One day like 1000 years: 2 Peter 3. 8 and Psalm 90. 4.
In the 6th 12000—It need not follow that A thought the whole span of history was just 6000 years. Cf. Jerome's figures on time elapsed since creation in Chronicle : PL 27. 507-08. A seems to mean 6 ages of the world, a s he says in DCD 22. 30. There the ages are not 1000 years each, for A follows Jerome. He admits in 22. 30 that the length of the last age is uncertain.
The perfect number —it is 1000. In the following passage A explains why 1000 is especially fitting. He liked numbers, saw in them the hand of Providence. Cf. Wisdom 11. 21 and 8. 1. He thought rational beings can share fully in wisdom, irrational things do not, so they share in number, and number makes them approach unity. Cf. Wm. Most in CBQ 13. 1951, pp. 285-95.
20. 9. those who did not adore—Apoc. 20. 4.
Wicked beast -the dragon gives the first beast great power, Apoc 13. 2. The dragon is the prince of this world (cf. Jn 12. 31) and can give power to whom he wills: cf. Lk 4. 5-6. The first beast in Apoc 13 and 17 is the Roman Empire. There is a second beast in 13. 11. It is likely that the first beast was a type of the political Antichrist, the second a type of the religious Antichrist. The second beast makes people worship the first beast - prob. refers to the cult of the Emperors of Rome. Dragon gives the 2nd beast power to work miracle.
As to 666—there are several possibilities: It may be that if 777 stands for all good, then if we take something away at all points, it becomes 666, symbol of all evil.
A seems to make the beast the wicked city = Rome as capital of the City of this World.
Cockle—In the parable of Mt 13. 24-30; 36-43.
Do not bear the yoke—cf. 2 Cor 6. 14.
20. 21. above—refers to Is 29. 19 and 66. 12-16 cited in first part of this chapter 21.
New sky and a new earth—Is 64. 17-19. Cf. Romans 8. 19-23. The world will not be destroyed at the end, but renewed and purified.
With a certain beneficial labor— A thinks God makes Scripture difficult so we may have to work more and so profit more: On Christian Doctrine 2. 6. 7-8. Pius XII, in Divino afflante Spiritu 1943, quoted A with approval: EB 563.
In addition, those who are well disposed will understand more and more, those who are wicked will become less and less apt to understand. Cf. Isaiah 29. 14.
Before this point—A had been commenting on Is 66. 12-16 and now, after inserting 65. 17-19 intends to return to commenting on 66. 12-16.
21. 5. marvels—A means natural marvels. He had listed many in chapter 4 and in first part of chapter 5, before our passage. He shows caution unusual for his age. In 21. 7 he says he does not rashly believe all the wonders he has listed. In 21. 4. he reports and experiment he made to see if peacock meat was really incorruptible as reported. And he sees through the shallowness of many "scientific" explanations of his day, which are really only putting a label on something: 21. 7. His chief sources are probably Pliny the Elder, Natural History , and Solinus.
A salt—found near Agrigentum, Sicily. Said to melt in fire and crackle in water—opposite to ordinary salt: Pliny 31. 41
A fountain—Pliny 5. 5 reports one in the territory of the Garamantes, a tribe in central Africa. Lucretius 6. 840-905 tries to explain such things as this.
A stone—It is called pyritis, said to be found in Persia: Pliny 37. 73.
A stone which if once set on fire—Was called Asbestos, said to be of gray-iron color, found in Arcadia: Pliny 37. 54.
The Omnipotent does things—we notice that (1) A rubs out the line between miracle and ordinary: cf above on DCD 10. 12.
(2)P. A. M Dirac, "The Evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature" in, Scientific American 208 (1963) 53: "It seems to be one of the fundamental features of nature that fundamental physical laws are described in terms of mathematical theory of great beauty and power, needing quite a high standard of mathematics for one to understand it. ... Our feeble attempts at mathematics enable us to understand a bit of the universe." Dirac was a major physicists of this time. Cf. Science News, June 20, 1981, pp. 394-99.
21. 7. the world itself is a greater marvel—again, A tends to blur lines of miracle and ordinary.
Those persons—Prob. means chiefly the Neoplatonists, who hoped eventually to be free from the body forever. Plotinus seems to accept Plato on reincarnation: Enneads 3. 4. 2. In DCD 10 we see Plotinus did hold reincarnation, but Porphyry did not.
The whole reason—A points out that what may pass for a scientific explanation may be just a description or a label, and not really explain anything. E. g. , to explain a rainbow as refraction is superficial: how and why does refraction operate?
21. 8. Venus—Cf. I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (1950) who thought Venus was once an asteroid or the like, which strayed into the solar system, came close to earth, changed to a planet. His ideas were strongly rejected by scientists, but today some of them are gaining acceptance. There are, as we see below, some remarkable reports.
In Kronus 6. 1. Fall 1980 we read of Chinese observations (pp. 71-73). Besides, The Soochow Astronomical Chart (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1945) reports an 8 centuries old inscription in stone speaks of past irregularities in the sky: "Once T'ai—P'ai [Venus] suddenly ran into Lang Hsing [Wolf Star, Sirius] though it is more than 40 degrees south of the Yellow Road [ecliptic]. Also on p. 72: "Among the Babylonian astronomical texts, the so called Dilbat tablet links the planet Venus with various fixed stars; it says that 'the Bow Star [Sirius] is Dilbat [Venus] in the month of Abu." Seems to mean Venus approached Sirius in the month of Abu.
Castor—prob. a contemporary of Varro, author of a chronological table of oriental, Greek and Roman history.
Ogyges—Pausanias 9. 5. 1 says he was a king in Boeotia (the usual story). A Scholion on Lycophron 1206 says he was king of Thebes in Egypt. Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 10. 10. 7 says the deluge came in his time.
21. 10. fire of hell—A here proposes an ingenious explanation. St. Thomas accepted it, in Contra gentiles 4. 90 and in Summa Supplement 70. 3. The Church has taught that there is a penalty of sense, but has not defined its nature. A statement of the S. Congregation for Doctrine, Letter on Certain Questions Concerning Eschatology of May 17, 1979 says: "She [the Church]
Believes that there will be eternal punishment for the sinner, who will be deprived of the sight of God, and that this punishment will have a repercussion on the whole being of the sinner."
Put within bodily members—A never solved the problem of union of soul and body. Plato spoke of man as a soul imprisoned in a body as a punishment.
21. 11. only so long as his crime took to commit—to kill takes a quick pull of the trigger—ridiculous to think punishment should last only that long.
Repayment of evil—the rebalancing of the objective order. This is different from revenge—which is willing evil to him as evil to him. Cf. note on 5. 12 of Confessions with a perfect hate.
21. 23. pardon to the devil—The views of the early Christian writer Origen are not fully clear because in controversies over his ideas, his originals were largely destroyed, and so we depend on a Latin version by Rufinus , whom we know deliberately softened some things. It is certain that Origen taught the preexistence of souls before this life: all were in one world, and according to diverse merits, some became stars in the sky, some angels, some devils, some humans. After death there is heaven and hell, but humans will eventually get out of hell after long ages and go to heaven. He at least seems too imply that even the devils will be saved. For his principle is this, from Psalm 110. 1: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." So all enemies must be reconciled to Christ—it will take longer for some than for others, but all will have that (cf. First principles 1. 6. 1). But this universal restoration is not final, it is a passing phase, for before this world there were other worlds, and after this, there will be still others (First principles 3. 5. 3).
No temporal end—cf. note above on 11. 6. ."time and eternity">
21. 25. those—Jovinian, contemporary of Augustine, taught that anyone baptized with the spirit as well as with water is infallibly saved, and so need not do any good works. Cf. St. Jerome, Against Jovinian book 2, esp. 2. 37:
"If you [Jovinian] had not come, the drunkards....could not have entered paradise. Cf. also A, On Heresies 82. A says this heresy soon died out.
No middle place—he means after the Last Judgment. He does teach purgatory. Cf. Enchiridion 69.
22. 5. not noble but lowly the Apostles were mostly uneducated.
A man lame etc. - Cf. Acts 3. 1-10; 4. 22; 19. 12; 5. 15; 5. 12; 9. 36-41.
Cicero—in his lost Consolation—but Cicero quotes himself in Tusculan Disputations 1. 27. 66.
He found this—Similar language is found in Plato, Laws 898-98, but Plato is speaking of the world soul. In Phaedrus 245 Plato uses similar language of the human soul.
Experience of our times—we are not sure which event he means, perhaps in the siege of Rome by Alaric.
God can recall what has fled—Over the centuries a few have tried to say that since the soul is the form (Aristotelian sense) of the body, the identity of the soul, plus any matter, is sufficient: Aeneas Gazensis, Petrus de Alvernia, Durandus, John of Naples, Billot, Van der Meersch, Michel Hugueny , Vandenberghe. The Church has never pronounced for or against the theory. Cf. L. Arand, St. Augustine, Faith, Hope and Charity in Ancient Christian Writers series, pp. 84-86 and notes, esp. note 293.
For certain, we can say that in a normal life span, anyone has matter for many bodies, since metabolism is constantly tearing down and rebuilding.
Body—the Fathers were uncertain on whether angels had bodies. Cf. A's Retractations 1. 26. and also DCD 21. 10.
22. 30. that—heaven.
God rested—the whole paragraph is a remarkable linking of Scriptural texts and illusions.
Being a rest—Psalm 46. 11 as A read it said: "Be at rest and see that I am God."
That which we wanted—the tempter had promised Eve: "You will be like gods": Gen 3. 5. Here in a grand sweep A connects the final end of the City of God with the beginning of the human race. What the devil derisively promised, Adam and Eve already had (2 Pet. 1. 4), but they threw it away in seeking it! In heaven, the City of God will regain it, though even now there is a beginning of that: 2 Pet 1. 4, being divine by participation, being filled with God, whom they see face to face (1 Cor 13. 12). In that vision there is no image (cf. DS 1000), for no image can represent God, but the souls will see God in the way He knows Himself, within infinite streams of knowledge and love. The divinity joins itself directly to the human intellect or soul, replacing an image. Cf. A's On the Trinity 9. 11. 16, and Epistle 147, esp. par 53, and Confessions 13. 15. 18, which speaks of the angels' vision of God: they do not need the written word, nor is their book ever closed—for God is that book. Cf. also DCD 9. 29.
Failed in his wrath—echo of Ps 90. 9 as A read it: "We have failed in your wrath."
He will be all in all—12 Cor 15. 28.
His rather than ours Cf. Epistle 194. 5. 19: "When God crowns our merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts." Cf. 2 Cor 3. 5 and Phil. 2. 13.
Sabbath—Heaven is the Sabbath, eternal rest.
You shall do no servile work—Deut. 5. 14 and Lev 23. 25.
And I gave my Sabbaths—Ezek 20. 12.
Seventh age—we note the inequality of the ages, and so see A does not have a theory of 6000 years before the end: "not in equality of length of time."
Matthew....14 generations—Cf. Mt 1. 1-17. 14 is the numerical value of the word David. Cf. note on 15. 8 on genealogies.
It is not for you to know—Acts 1. 7. Cf. also Mt. 24. 36. On the parallel text of Mk 13. 32 which says not even the Son knows, cf Wm. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, p. 123-24, quoting Pope Gregory the Great, who explained that Jesus knew the day in His humanity, but not from His humanity.
III—St. Augustine on Predestination and Grace
A) On predestination
Augustine is called the Doctor of Grace, and rightly, for he made some great advances in that area of theology. At the same time, he made some regrettable errors. We will examine both.
Definitions: Predestination means an arrangement by Divine Providence to see that someone gets either a) to heaven or; b) full membership in the Church. (We speak of full membership because there is also a substantial membership, without external adherence. Cf. Vatican II, On Ecumenism §3, and On the Church 16, and Wm. Most, Our Father's Plan, appendix.
Reprobation means the opposite decision, but may be negative—merely allowing a soul to fall into ruin—or positive—positive condemnation.
The Fathers and most theologians for centuries after that time failed to make this distinction, and so spoke of both as if they were on the same principles, e. g, in Commenting on the parable of the banquet in the Gospel, which really refers to full membership in the Church (by the Jews) they took it to refer to predestination to heaven: Augustine, On 88 Different Questions 68. 5.
God's principles in determining predestination: Some theologians, e. g, the "Thomists" said God decides predestination to heaven, or reprobation to hell, before considering merits and demerits (it really means without considering- for there is no time in God). Others, e. g. , the Molinists, said God decides after looking, that is, with consideration of merits and demerits.
All theologians up to recently have thought that if God decrees predestination without looking, He must decree negative reprobation the same way: a person is one or the other, two sides of the same coin. Actually, it is possible, as we shall see, to pull this dilemma apart and say He predestines without merits, reprobates because of demerits.
To say with the Thomists that He reprobates, even negatively, without looking, denies His universal salvific will (1 Tim 2. 4), for if we imagine Joe Doaks is one who is thus reprobated, God cannot do that and at the same time say He wills all men to be saved, for the all would include Joe Doaks. The founder of the Thomist system, D. Bañez admitted that—cf. W. Most, New Answers to Old Questions (hereafter NAOQ) §55. St. Augustine's view is basically the same as a that of the Thomists.
To say with the Molinists that He predestines in view of merits involves a vicious circle, for our merits are His gifts. Cf. Augustine, Epistle 194: "When He crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts". This is the same as 1 Cor 4. 7.
Factors predisposing St, Augustine to his position:
1)Tendency to allegorical interpretations: He first learned from St. Ambrose (Confessions 6. 4. 6) to use allegory to solve the Manichean attacks on the OT. Actually most of the Fathers worked by allegory. In A's case allegory, plus the fact that he failed to see that Romans 8. 29ff really was speaking of predestination to full membership in the Church, not to heaven /hell, led him to an unfortunate reading of Romans. As we said, the whole passage speaks of predestination to full membership in the Church. In chapter 9, St. Paul asks: Why did not the racial Jews get into the kingdom of Christ, the Church? He starts with Abraham, the father of their race, and sees two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, and finds St. Paul saying God chose Isaac, not Ishmael, to be a full member, not because of merits (St. Paul does not say what the positive reason was). But A thought Paul was speaking of predestination to heaven/hell. And A thought Paul, in speaking of the next generation (Esau and Jacob), meant God hated Esau in 9. 13 without looking at his demerits, and so destined him for hell. Then in 9. 19-22 A saw Paul's use of the comparison of the potter, who freely decided what kind of a vessel to make—honorable or dishonorable—out of the same gob of clay, and A by allegory thought the gob of clay meant the whole human race, made into a massa damnata et damnabilis (damned and damnable glob) by original sin: God could throw all into hell even without any personal sins, just because of original sin.
2)Denial of universal salvific will: A was predisposed to deny it is universal because: (a) In the natural order, he rubbed out the line between the ordinary and the miraculous, e. g, On John's Gospel 6. 1: "Because....His miracles, by which He rules the whole world....had become commonplace by constant experience....He reserved to Himself certain things which He would perform at opportune times, beyond the usual course and order of nature, so that they for whom the daily things had become commonplace might be amazed in seeing not greater but unusual things."
(b) He did the same with the line between the ordinary and the miraculous in the supernatural order—with much more serious effects. Thus in Sermon 141. 1. 1: "....who would dare to say that God lacked a way of calling, in which even Esau would apply his mind to faith, and join his will [to that] in which Jacob was justified." The framework is that of Romans 9, of which we spoke above. A thought Paul spoke of reprobation to hell, and that God really hated Esau without even looking at his demerits. But if we for the sake of argument leave that aside and consider it within the mistaken framework A thought was there—we would still say: Yes, God had a grace that would have converted Esau, but if God gave Esau ordinary graces with which Esau could have been converted, we cannot say God did not want Esau to be saved. But, not seeing this distinction, A thought that since God did not use an extraordinary grace on Esau, God did not want Esau to be saved - He hated Esau. Of course He did not. A did not know that Hebrew lacks the degrees of comparison (good, better, best etc. ) and so has different ways of saying such things. Where we would say: He loved one more, the other less, Hebrew could say: He loved one, hated the other.—Them whole matter implies the problem of the "congruous call" which we saw in the note on Confessions 3. 11, on "you permitted me to roll". Cf. also the text from Enchiridion 103 cited below in his comments on the salvific will.
(c) Actual texts on the salvific will: The above predispositions drove him to deny that God really wills all men to be saved. Therefore he interpreted 1 Tim 2. 4 in several ways, not one of them at all valid, but all denying the plain sense of the text. (1) Enchiridion 103 : "When we hear and read in Sacred Scripture that He wills all men to be saved....we must....so understand [it]....as if it were said that no man is saved except whom He wants [to be saved]. Or certainly it was so said....not that there is no man whom He is unwilling to have saved, He who was unwilling to perform the wonders of miracles among those whom He says would have done penance if He had done them; but in such a way that we understand 'all men' to mean the whole human race, distributed into various categories: kings, private citizens, nobles, ordinary men, lofty, lowly, learned, unlearned. ..."
Comment: It is sad to see A say that God is positively unwilling to save some. Those who would have done penance in sackcloth and ashes if they had seen miracles were the people of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 11: 21-22). But if God gave them ordinary graces, as He surely did, they still could be saved—A suffers from having rubbed out the line between miracles and ordinary graces, as we saw above. (2)On correction and grace 14. 44: "And that which is written, that 'He wills all men to be saved, ' and yet not all are saved, can be understood in many ways, of which we have mentioned some in other works, but I shall give one here. It is said in such a way....that all the predestined are meant; for the whole human race is in them." (3) Ibid. 15. 47: "that 'God wills all men to be saved' can be understood also in this way; that He causes us to wish [that all be saved]. ..." (4) Epistle 217. 6. 19: "....and so that which is said, that 'God wills all men to be saved' although He is unwilling that so many be saved, is said for this reason: that all who are saved, are not saved except by His will."
The massa damnata theory: a) Explicit texts: (1)To Simplicianus 1. 2. 16: "Therefore all men are ....one condemned mass [massa damnata] of sin, that owes a debt of punishment to the divine and supreme justice. Whether it [the debt] be exacted, or whether it be condoned, there is no injustice." (2) Enchiridion 27: "....the whole condemned mass of the human race lay in evils, or even rolled about in them, and was precipitated from evils into evils. ..." (3) City of God 21. 12: "Hence there is a condemned mass of the whole human race....so that no one would be freed form this just and due punishment except by mercy and undue grace; and so the human race is divided [into two parts] so that in some it may be shown what merciful grace can do, in others, what just vengeance can do. ... In it [punishment] there are many more than in [mercy] so that in this way there may be shown what is due to all." (4) On nature and grace 4: "This grace of Christ, without which neither infants nor older persons can be saved, is not given by merits, but gratuitously. Hence those who are not liberated by it [grace] whether because they have not yet been able to hear, or whether they did not want to obey, or even since because of age they could not hear, [and] did not receive the bath of rebirth by which they would be saved, are justly damned: for they are not without sin, either what they contracted by origin, or what they added by bad morals." Therefore he means that unbaptized babies are damned. (5) Epistle 166. 6. 16: "But when we come to the punishment of little ones, believe me, I am caught in great difficulty, nor can I find at all what I should answer." (6)Enchiridion 93: "The punishment of those will be the mildest who have added nothing beyond the sin which they contracted by origin."
B) God does not consider foreseen merits: (1)On the predestination of the saints 17. 34: "Let us, then, understand the call by which the elect are made [elect]: [they are] not [persons] who are chosen because they have believed, but [they are persons] who are chosen so that they may believe. For even the Lord Himself made this [call] sufficiently clear when He said: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. '
Comment: [In context He spoke to the Apostles about being chosen as Apostles, not about predestination]. ... This is the unshakable truth of predestination and grace. For what else does that mean, that the Apostle says, 'As he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. '
Comment: [Text refers to predestination to full membership in the Church, not to heaven or hell]. For surely if it was said [that they were chosen] because God foresaw that they would believe, [and] not because He Himself was going to make them believers—the Son speaks against that sort of foreknowledge, saying: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, ' So they were chosen before the foundation of the world by that call by which God fulfilled that which He had predestined. 'For those whom He predestined, them also He called. ... '
Comment [Refers to full membership in the Church] Therefore God chose the faithful, not because they already were [faithful] but that they might be [faithful]. So by choosing, He makes them rich in faith , just as [He makes them] heirs of the kingdom."
Comment: [Every Scripture text is misused, by being taken out of context. So his reasoning proves nothing at all]. (2) Enchiridion 99: "For grace alone distinguishes the redeemed from the lost, whom a common cause from [their] beginning had joined into one mass of perdition. ..." (3) Epistle 194. 8. 35: "It is, moreover, marvelous into what precipices they hurl themselves, in their fear of the nets of truth, when they are pressed by these difficulties. 'It was for this reason' they say 'that He hated one of those not yet born [Esau] and loved the other [Jacob] because He foresaw their future works. ' Who would not be surprised that this most keen thought would be lacking to the Apostle? . ... This, then, was the place for him to say what these persons think: "For God foresaw their future works', when he said that 'the elder would serve the lesser'. But the Apostle did not say this, but instead, so no one would dare to boast of the merits of his works, he wanted what he did say to be able to teach the grace and glory of God."
Implications of a contrary theory: A never explicitly contradicted the massa damnata, yet in at last six places he implied a contradiction, by ruling out reprobation without considering demerits.
The dates of the following passages run all over his writing career, namely, in the order in which we will cite them: (1)between 388 and 398; (2)426; (3)411; (4)398; (5) 413-18; (6) 399.
Yet he held his massa damnata at least from 395 to 429, that is, over nearly all the span of his writing period. For in 429, the year before his death, in On the Gift of Perseverance 21. 55 he refers the reader back to Simplicianus in which he expressed, in 1. 2. 16, the same theory.
1)On 88 Different Questions 68. 4: "For not all who were called wanted to come to that dinner, which as the Lord says in the Gospel, was prepared, nor would they who came have been able to come if they had not been called. And so neither should they who came attribute it to themselves, for they came being called; nor should those who were unwilling to come attribute it to anyone but themselves, for, in order that they might come, they were called in free will."
Comments: The parable of the dinner referred really not to predestination to heaven, but to the fact that the Jews were called to the Messianic kingdom, but most of them did not come. Yet this passage does reveal A's attitude, since he thinks it refers to predestination to heaven. He distinguishes positive and negative. On the positive, those who came could not have come without a call. On the negative, the basic reason for not coming was not in anyone but themselves. Now if he had been doing his thinking in the massa damnata framework, the reason would have been that God first deserted them, and then they refused. We contrast that with the text of Enchiridion 99 which we saw above: "Grace alone distinguishes the redeemed from the lost. ..."
2)On correction and grace 13. 42: "Those, then, who do not belong to that most certain and most happy number [of the predestined] are judged most justly according to their merits. For they either lie under the sin which they contracted originally by generation. .... Or they receive the grace of God, but are temporary, and do not persevere; they desert and are deserted. For they were let go in their free will, not receiving the gift of perseverance, by a just and hidden judgment of God."
Comment: There are two cases here. In the second case, the persons have obtained remission of original sin, but they do not persevere. The reason is "they desert and are deserted." But in the massa damnata framework he would have said: God deserts them, and then they desert Him.
3)On merits and remission of sins 2. 17. 26: "Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them. It is from the grace of God, which helps the will of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please becomes sweet. The reason why they are not helped [ by grace] is in themselves, not in God, whether they are predestined to damnation because of the wickedness of their pride, or whether they are to be judged and emended, contrary to that pride, if they are sons of mercy."
Comment: In the massa damnata framework he would have said that the reason they were not helped was in God, who deserted them.
4)The Debate with Felix the Manichean 2. 8: "Felix said: You call Manes cruel for saying these things. What do we say about Christ, who said: Go into eternal fire? Augustine said: He said this to sinners. Felix said: These sinners, why were they not purified? Augustine said: Because they did not will [it]. Felix said: Because they did not will it—did you say that? Augustine said Yes, I said it: Because they did not will it."
Comment: The Manicheans said that at the end, what particles of light (particles of God) will not have been separated from matter, will be bound in a ball of fire forever. A brought that up to Felix. Felix tries to say Christ does the same. A replies the sinners were not purified because they did not will it. Felix is surprised, and repeats his question. A repeats too. In the massa damnata framework the answer would have been: Because God deserted them—their unwillingness would follow on that.
5)Tracts on the Gospel of John 53. 6: "'They were not able to believe' since Isaiah the prophet predicted it; and the prophet predicted it because God had foreseen that this would happen. But if I am asked why they were not able, I quickly reply: Because they did not want to. For God foresaw their evil will, and He from whom the future things cannot be hidden, announced it in advance through the prophet. But, you say, the prophet speaks of another cause, not of their will. What cause do you say the prophet speaks of? 'Because God gave them a spirit of compunction, eyes so that they did not see, and ears so that they did not hear, and He blinded their eyes and hardened their heart. ' I reply that their will merited even this."
Comment: Again, if A were speaking in the massa damnata framework, he would have said the opposite to what he actually said for he said they were not above to believe "because they did not want to" and "their will merited even" the hardening. (He is using John 12. 39 in reference to Isaiah 6. 10)
6) On instructing the ignorant 52: "The merciful God, wanting to deliver men, if they are not enemies to Him and do not resist the mercy of their Creator, sent His only-begotten Son."
Comment: Again, the basic condition for failure seems to be in men, not in God.
The Greek Fathers on negative reprobation without demerits: Absolutely all the Greek Fathers who wrote on the point, without exception, reject the idea that the first cause of men's eternal loss is God's desertion of them: St. Justin the Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, and St. John Damascene.
The Latin Fathers on negative reprobation without demerits: Again, all the Fathers before Augustine reject the idea, as the Greek Fathers do: St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Hilary of Poitiers. After Augustine, it is often said that St. Prosper of Aquitaine was the great defender of Augustine's ideas. But those who say that did not read carefully in St. Prosper. Here are his thoughts: (1) Responses to the chapters of objections of the Gauls 3: "....for this reason they were not predestined, because they were foreseen as going to be such as a result of voluntary transgression. ... Therefore, just as good works are to be attributed to God who inspires them, so evil works are to be attributed to those who sin. For they were not deserted by God so that they deserted God; but they deserted and were deserted....and as a result....they were not predestined....by Him who foresaw them as going to be such." St. Prosper taught the same ibid 7. 85: 'He foresaw that they would fall by their very own will, and for this reason He did not separate them from the sons of perdition by predestination." Similarly in his Responses to the chapters of objections of the Vincentians 12: "....because they were foreseen as going to fall, they were not predestined."
We conclude that St. Prosper was very faithful to the implications in the 6 passages of Augustine we saw above, but that he contradicted the massa damnata theory.
Conclusions on the work of St. Augustine on Predestination: He made a very unfortunate mistake in the massa damnata theory, as we have seen. Yet he did imply a correction of that mistake in the 6 passages we saw. But especially, he made great progress over all other Fathers on predestination in that he saw clearly that id does not depend on merits. Some of the others seemed to say it does. If it does not depend on merits, then he found no way to simultaneously say that reprobation did depend on demerits for as we said at the outset of this section, all theologians have taken it for granted that both predestination and reprobation must be on the same basis, i. e. , either both without consideration of merits and demerits, or both with that consideration.
At the end of this section we will show how it is possible to put the two positions together, that is, predestination not based on merits, reprobation based on demerits.
B) On human interaction with grace
Our total dependence on grace for all good: Here is a great advance by Augustine. For many others, especially the Greek Fathers, were not strong on this total dependence.
1)On the grace of Christ 25. 26: "For God not only has given [us] our ability, and aids it, but also, He 'works both the will and the performance, [Phil. 2. 13] 'not that we do not will, or that we do not act, but that without His help we neither will nor do any good."
2)On grace and free will 16. 32: "It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings it about that we will good. ... It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it about that we act, giving most efficacious power to our will."
3)Ibid 6. 15: "If then your merits are gifts of God, God does not crown your merits as merits of yours, but as gifts of His."
4)Epistle 194. 5. 19: "What then is the merit of a man before receiving grace, in accordance with which he receives grace? Since it is only grace that makes every good merit of ours, and Since when God crowns our merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts."
5)Unfinished work against Julian 2. 217: "[Grace] grants that the delight of sin may be conquered by the delight of what is right."
6)Tracts on Gospel of John 26. 4: "But if the poet could say, 'His own pleasure draws each one' [Virgil, Eclog. 2]—not necessity, but pleasure, not obligation, but delight—how much more strongly should we say that a man is drawn to Christ , who is delighted with truth, delighted with beatitude, delighted with justice, delighted with eternal life—all of which Christ is?"
Comments: Texts 5 and 6 refer to his theory of the delectatio victrix, the victorious delight: If God gives us more delight in what is good than temptation offers, then we are drawn to good. The problem is that this speaks only of a final cause, of a goal, which attracts. There is a certain truth in this, but it does not mention the efficient cause that moves a will—though the first 4 texts may imply that.
The position of St. Thomas Aquinas on Predestination. Let us imagine a man standing on the circumference of a circle, and finding two points from which he thinks he can project a line to hit the center, the right answer. Thomas saw two starting points, namely, 1 Tim 2. 4, which he began to follow in Contra Gentiles 3. 159 -63, and Augustine's interpretation of Romans 8. 29 ff. He saw that the answers would clash, and so he never clearly projected either line fully and definitely. For example, in Contra gentiles 3. 159: "They alone are deprived of grace who set up in themselves an impediment to grace." Similarly in his Commentary on Romans, chapter 9, lessons 2 & 3: "....foresight of sins can be some reason for reprobation on the part of penalty. ... in as much that is, as God proposed to punish the wicked for sins, which they have of themselves, not from God, but He proposes to reward the just because of merits which they do not have of themselves. Hosea 13. 9: " Your ruin is from yourself Israel, only in me is your help."—These passages do not fit with massa damnata, but with the implications we found in 6 texts of Augustine. On the other hand, in Contra gentiles 163: "....others, deserted by the help of grace, fail to reach the ultimate end. ... those to whom He planned from eternity that He would not give grace, He is said to have reprobated or to have hated, according to what is said in Malachi 1: 2, 3: 'I have loved Jacob, but hated Esau". ' Also, in the Commentary on Romans he said: "....those whom God frees through His grace, He frees out of mercy alone, and so He is merciful to certain ones whom he delivers; but to certain ones He is just, whom He does not deliver."
New Solutions from New Answers to Old Questions
Within God there are no real distinctions, no time. But one thing can b e logically previous to another. So we can see three logical steps in His decrees on predestination:
(1)He wills all to be saved: 1 Tim 2. 4. Since this is the same as saying HE loves us, we know it is sincere, and extremely strong, for He went so far as the terrible death of His Son to make salvation open to us. Romans 5: 8: "God proved His love for us."
(2)He looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently. By persistently we mean so much as to make salvation impossible, for it is only grace that can save a man. With regrets, with consideration of these demerits, He decrees reprobation.
(3)All who have not been reprobated in step 2 are positively predestined, not because of merits, which have not yet made their appearance, nor even, strictly, because of the lack of such resistance. No, the reason is that He, in step 1, had wanted this: these souls are not blocking it.
Therefore we see that predestination is without merit, as A wanted it, but reprobation is because of demerits, which A saw only implicitly in the set of 6 texts we examined.
The same result comes from an analysis of the most basic comparison of the Gospels: God is our Father. In an ordinarily good human family, (1)the Father (and Mother too) want all the children to turn out well. (2)the children do not have to earn the love and care—they get that because the parents are good, not because they are good. This is parallel to predestination without merit. (3)Yet the children could earn punishment, and if bad enough long enough, could earn disinheritance, which is parallel to reprobation because of demerits.
The result is like Romans 3: 26: "The wages [what we earn] of sin is death, the free gift of God [what we do not earn] is eternal life.
B)On human interaction with grace
We must keep in mind all the data of Scripture. St. Paul in makes two kinds of statements, and we must keep both: (1) 1 Cor 3. 5: "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as from ourselves; our sufficiency is from God. Phil. 2. 13: "It is God who works [produces] in you both the will and the doing." We see our total dependence on God, of which A spoke well: we cannot get a good thought, or make a good decision, or carry it out by our own unaided power. (2)2 Cor 6. 1: "We urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain."So we can, in some way, determine the outcome of a grace coming. All the exhortations of Scripture to repent, to turn to God, imply the same.
So we visualize the picture: (1)A grace comes to me, and without help from me it causes two effects: (a)it puts into my mind the good thought of what God wants me to do (cf. 2 Cor 3. 5); it makes me favorably disposed, though I do not yet make a decision. (2)At this juncture where I could reject, if I merely make no decision against the grace, then grace moves into phase two and two things happen together: it works in me both the will and the doing (Phil. 2. 13) and at the same time I cooperate by power being received from the grace at the same moment.
The same process can be expressed with Aristotelian terms: The First Cause sends to me a movement. Without my help it actualizes the potency of my mind to see something as good, and actualizes the potency of my will not as far as a decision, but only as far as a favorable attitude. If I do not reject, then phase two comes, in which the movement from the First Cause actualizes the potency of my will to make the good decision, while at the same time, I cooperate in that actualization by power being received at the same instant from the movement.
How does rejection operate: We recall that the movement actualizes the potency of my will to be favorable. But, when that is in place, if I see it, and it displeases me, then the actualization collapses back to potency. On that condition, God actualizes the potency of my will to reject.
So when I do good, my contribution at the critical point which determines the outcome is a metaphysical zero, the absence of a bad decision. I would need the power of creation, to do more. But this is in accord with St. Paul in 1 Cor 4. 7: "What have you that you have not received." That is, any bit of good that I am or have or do, is simply His gift to me.—It fits with A's Epistle 194: "When God crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts."
This proposal is very similar to what St. Thomas proposes in Contra Gentiles 159.
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