PHILOSOPHY 527: THE PHILOSOPHY OF ST. AUGUSTINE STUDY QUESTIONSCONFESSIONS
William G. Most
1. When and where was A. born?
2. Names of his Father and Mother?
3. When was A. baptized? Why at that time?
4. What are the two poles in our response to God?
5. A. says God repays debts though owing no one? How can He owe? How can He pay without owing?
6. A. says to God: You order me to love you.How can one order love?
7. What does Ps. 18 mean by our hidden faults?
8. A. says of his birth: I know not from where I have come here. What does he not know?
9. What does A. mean by wordy arts?
10. What did A. pray for especially in early school?
11. A. says God is ruler of sins. What sense?
12. A. says he was seasoned with salt. In what sense?
13. A. speaks of the piety of his Mother. What is the sense?
14. Which in A.s family was not Christian?
15. What did people mean when they said about A. : He is not yet baptized?
16. A. says: It was well for me . . . yet they who forced me did not do well, but it turned out well for me. Sense?
17. How can A. says of himself as a school boy: So small a boy, so large a sinner?
18. In what way is every disordered soul its own punishment? Give examples. 19. What does A. mean by a spirit that walks and does not return?
20. Who was the someone called Aeneas?
21. What writer does A. say was sweetly vain, yet bitter to him?
22. A. says he did not distinguish the serenity of love from the mist of lust. What is love?
23. A. says: My soul . . . cast itself outside of me. What is the background?
24. What does it mean to say the soul goes forth?
25. Around the time of his conversion, what would A. say is the way to salvation?
26. Around the time of his conversion, what did A. think of the possibility of seeing God?
27. What is the role of the liberal arts in seeing God?
28. Why did A. chiefly object to the theater?
29. What turned A. to the love of philosophy? What did he mean by philosophy?
30. Describe the beliefs of the Manichees. When did A. fall in to Manicheism?
31. What factor chiefly attracted A. to the Manichees at first?
32. When he was 19, what did A. think was the nature of evil?
33. According to the Manichees, why do figs weep if plucked?
34. What special assurances did Monica get of the future conversion of A. ? From whom?
35. What led his Mother to be willing to live in the same house with him?
36. In Confessions 3. 11, A. says God let him roll ever deeper? In his view, what was lacking to him?
37. Why did a formerly Manichee Bishop tell Monica that A. was unteachable?
38. Why did A. feel guilty about teaching rhetoric? Was he right?
39. Why did A. move from Thagaste to Carthage?
40. Who was Faustus? What dealings did A. have with him?
41. What led A. to question his Manichee faith?
42. Who was not altogether ignorant of being ignorant? What would one have if he had that in all respects?
43. Why did A. leave Carthage for Rome?
44. They are the more wretched, the more they are allowed to doA. said this about whom?
45. Whom did A. deceive when he left Carthage for Rome?
46. A. says to God: You are willing to become a debtor to those to whom you forgive their debts. How does this work out?
47. A. said: It was not we who sinned, in the Manichee view. How did it work?
48. What philosophers did A. meet in Rome, but, oddly, did not join? Why was it odd?
49. While at Rome, of what nature did A. think God and the soul were?
50. What caused A. to want to leave teaching at Rome?
51. What led A. to listen to sermons of Ambrose?
52. Ambrose said: That letter kills, the spirit gives life. What did Ambrose mean? What did the text originally mean? From where?
53. Who solved for A. the Manichean objections against the Old Testament? How?
54. What kind of Scriptural interpretation did A. hear from Ambrose? What school used that kind? What school used a different kind?
55. Whom did A. find was reading silently? Why did this surprise A. ?
56. How did God keep A. from going farther into evil at Milan?
57. Whom was A. tempted to envy when he was worried over a major speech?
58. Who was Alypius?
59. Who fell into cruel pleasure at gladiator fights? How did it happen?
60. Why was A. hesitant to marry in his 30th year?
61. How did it happen that A.s Mother when he was 30 saw some false vision?
62. When A. was 30, he says his heart was cut, torn, and trailed blood? From what?
63. Explain Neoplatonism? What did it do for Augustine? What did it not do?
64. What books did A. read when he was about 30?
65. What did the Neoplatonists call God? Chief writer of theirs? Why did their system seem to A. to be like the Christian logos?
66. What philosopher enabled A. to get a concept of God and soul as spirits?
67. Who was probably the Neoplatonic author A. read at Milan?
68. How did A. first learn that evil is not a substance? What is evil?
69. What had Victorinus done that helped A. ? What penalty did V. suffer?
70. For what is Simplicianus noted?
71. Early in Book 8 of Confessions, A. says he had no more intellectual difficulties against Christianity? Why did he not join them?
72. What brought on the interior struggle before A.s conversion? Describe it. How did he account for his wills inability to act?
73. Who told A. about St. Anthony and the monasteries near Milan? how did A. react to this, and to the hermits in Germany?
74. Who prayed: Give me chastity, but not now?
75. Where is the place A. says one does not go on foot?
76. How does A. explain the interior struggle before his conversion?
77. What was a child singing when A. was in a struggle in the garden?
78. What book did A. pick up in his struggle in the garden? What did he read in it?
79. Where did A. retire to prepare for baptism?
80. What comment did A. make later about the works he wrote during his preparation for baptism? Name 3 of these works. Which was against the skeptics?
81. From what was A. cured by prayer while in his retreat before baptism?
82. Who walked without shoes on the icy soil of Italy? Why did he do it?
83. What is the theory that A. explains in his De Magistro (On the Teacher) ?
84. Who were the two who died not long after baptism with A. ?
85. What unusual experience did A. have after his baptism, at Ostia? Who shared it with him? What was its nature?
86. A. with his Mother at Ostia remarked: When will this be? What did he mean by that?
87. Not long before her death, A.s Mother made a remark which surprised him. What was it? Why was he surprised?
88. A.s reaction after the death of his Mother is probably affected by a certain philosophy, which one?
89. Describe the death of A.s Mother, his reactions, and probable implications. 90. What fault did A. fear he may have committed after death of his Mother?
91. Did A. believe in purgatory? What remark did he make after his Mothers death that implies it?
92. What does A. have to say about merits? Does he believe there are merits?
93. What was the special final request his Mother made before her death?
94. What special word did A. use to refer to sin? Scriptural roots?
Study QuestionsCity Of God
101. Outline the thought of the City of God? What are the two cities? Their relation to the Church? to the predestined?
102. What was the first and most direct reply A. gave to the claim that Alaric could not have taken Rome had the old gods been still worshipped? when was it captured? when had that happened in the past?
103. How did Christ save pagans during that sack of Rome?
104. Which pagan authors said that states are ruined by moral decay?
105. Why, according to A. , did God let both good and bad suffer in the sack of Rome? What makes it possible, according to A for a bad man to be punished by evils in this life?
106. What does A. say pagan gods should have done for their worshippers in moral matters?
107. What does A. say made the rules of philosophers of not much use for Rome?
108. What argument does A. draw from the actions of Marius and Sulla?
109. Why, according to A. , did the true God resist the efforts of pagan philosophers?
110. Which pagan priests sometimes castrated themselves in their rites?
111. Which are the only kind of evils pagans are unwilling to suffer according to A. ?
112. Where did Roman legend say a delegation went to borrow laws? What do we think of the story?
113. Was Rome ever captured in the times before Christ? By whom? When?
114. Name some of the pagans who waged civil wars in Rome. 115. Who does A say gets the least harm from bad rulers? The most harm?
116. To whom does A. say the pagan gods would have given an empire if they had had the power?
117. Why according to A. did the true God give an empire to Rome?
118. To what did pagans believe their gods were subject?
119. Which divinity did Virgil say wanted to make Carthage greater than Rome?
120. To what did Gods promises in the Old Testament seem to refer? To what does A. think spiritual men even then understood they referred? True?
121. How does A. answer the claim of pagans that God must lack power since He could not save the Jews from Rome?
122. What was the attitude of A. to astrology? Had he ever believed in it?
123. What is the chief factor in the growth of Rome, according to A. ?
124. What is the dominant trait of pagan Roman character, according to A. ?
125. Pride can counterfeit many virtues? Which can it not counterfeit?
126. What does A. think of the effect of Roman rule on conquered peoples?
127. What does A. say is smoke without substance?
128. To what in earliest Rome does A compare the City of God?
129. Who in Rome would be apt to pray to Bacchus for water?
130. What did Varro do about pagan theology? Why? What was A.s attitude to him?
131. What are the three kinds of theology according to Varro? What are the select and non-select gods?
132. Who was the greatest theologian of pagan Rome? What did he do with pagan myths? Why?
133. What was another name or description for "natural theology? of Varro?
134. Who does A. say dedicated a sewer goddess?
135. Who, according to A. , should logically be chief among the select gods? Why?
136. Which god was the most facey according to A. ? Why?
137. Which god received the title Pecunia? Why, according to Varro?
138. What does A. say was the final position of Varro on the gods?
139. Which philosophers among the pagans does A. chiefly admire? What did they say about God? About worshipping Him?
140. What are daemones according to the Platonists? According to A. ? Relation to the Olympian gods? where do they live, according to Apuleius?
141. How do daemones act in regard to human passions, according to Apuleius?
142. Which of these do the Platonists say will associate with men and listen to them: supreme god? inferior gods? daemones?
143. Who is the chief Platonist whom A. quotes in regard to the daemones?
144. What does A. say is required of a mediator? Apply to angels. 145. When the Psalms speak of a City of God, to what do they really refer? To what did A. think they referred?
146. What was theurgy? what did it attempt?
147. What argument did Platonists use to show God does not work miracles?
148. A. says man is the greatest miracle. What logical consequence does this statement have?
149. What beings call for sacrifice to themselves?
150. Explain A.s theory of sacrifice. What are the two parts and their relative importance. How does this view show why the Old Testament prophets objected to Jewish sacrifices?
151. What does A. mean by pious and holy gods?
152. What kinds of duration does A. know besides time? What kind does he miss? Why was the world made only after so long a time?
153. What problem did A. see in the fact that God creates things today? How did he try to solve it?
154. What is Fundamentalism? Was A. a Fundamentalist? Why?
155. How can God make things in time without a change in His will?
156. What does A mean by the death of the soul?
157. Death is the effect of original sin. Baptism removes original sin. Why then are not the baptized made immortal?
158. Why were Adam and Eve ashamed after sinning?
159. A. says: The penalty of disobedience was disobedience. Explain. 160. A. says human nature was vitiated by original sin. In what sense?
161. What does it mean to live according to man?
162. In what sense is sinning a lie? In what sense is it an approach to nothing?
163. Which philosophers wanted to avoid all emotion?
164. What is self-exaltation?
165. What virtue does A. say is especially proclaimed in Christ?
166. A. says Adam if he had not sinned would have been spiritual even in the flesh. Sense?
167. Who was disobedient even to death. Why the expression?
168. What does A. say is needed so we can trust in Gods help?
169. Who was the first founder of the earthly city?
170. Why did God not accept the sacrifice of Cain?
171. Genesis says Cain built a city when there were only a few person on earth. How does A. explain?
172. What is a type? Of what was the Ark of type?
173. What meaning does A. see in the name Babylon? How did Babylon show its pride?
174. What does the birth of Isaac signify?
175. What does A. find most remarkable in Abraham? Compare to St. Pauls idea. 176. A. says Isaac was a likeness of who or what?
177. To what three things can Old Testament prophecies refer? Give an example. 178. What sign does dying Jacob give for the coming of Christ?
179. What did sterile Anna, later fertile, stand for?
180. What Jewish king received a gift of wisdom, but fell into idolatry?
181. Who built the first Jewish temple? what did his name mean?
182. Why did Solomon begin to rule before the death of David?
183. What does A. call Rome?
184. What did God provide at the time of the rise of Rome?
185. Why did Aggaeus (Haggai) say the glory of the new temple would be greater than that of the old?
186. Does A. think any non-Jews were members of the City of God? Who?
187. What pagan thought pagan gods were just idealized men?
188. What are the four cardinal virtues? Who originated the classification?
189. Which philosophers thought it could be a duty to kill oneself?
190. What is peace? Relation to justice? What kind of man is unwilling to have peace? Peace has same basis as what else in A.s thought?
191. Can a person be blessed in this life?
192. When will Gods judgment be clear?
193. Who in Scripture speaks of two resurrections? What is the first one?
194. What is chiliasm? Did A. ever hold it?
195. What does A. think the Beast in the Apocalypse stands for? Is he right?
196. How does A. argue to prove the possibility of hell? How does he explain how fire can affect spirits?
197. A. says the world is a greater marvel than all things in it. What is the logical effect of the statement?
198. What great sign in the sky does A. say ancient writers reported?
199. Does A. think angels and devils have bodies?
200. What problem does A. have to meet form the Gospel? With what measure you shall measure, it shall be measured again to you?
201. Who taught hell is not everlasting?
202. Who in ancient times taught salvation without works? What does St. Paul say on this point?
203. How does A. try to prove the Apostles must have worked miracles?
204. How does A. link the start with the end of the human race?
205. Does A. say men can become gods? In what sense?
206. In what sense can men become the Sabbath?
207. What is predestination in general? What two kinds are there? Of which kinds does Scripture speak explicitly? Did the Fathers see this distinction? What is negative reprobation?
208. What is the chief objection to predestination without considering merits? What is the chief objection to predestination with considering merits? Which position did A hold on predestination? on reprobation?
209. What is Massa Damnata? What was its source?
210. What was the view of the Greek Fathers on negative reprobation without considering demerits? Of the Western Fathers before A. ? Of St. Prosper of Aquitaine?
219. What did A. say of 1 Tim. 2. 4? Why? What relation does this have to his rubbing out the line between ordinary and extraordinary?
220. Did A. ever by implication contradict negative reprobation without considering demerits? Give an example. 221. What did A. say of the source of our merits in general? What relation to Phil. 2. 13?
222. What was A.s theory of the delectatio victrix? What element does it fail to account for?
223. If we take A.s theory of predestination without merits, and add his implicit approval of no reprobation without demerits, how could we make these elements fit together?
224. What did A. say of Gods attitude to Esau? His attitude to Tyre and Sidon?
Answers to Study Questions on St. Augustine: Phil 527
4. The two poles: 1) Love, closeness, warmth 2) Sense of majesty, greatness, transcendence. A. greatly stresses the second of these, much neglected today, in 1. 1.
5. God repays debts when He keeps His promises in covenant and other promises. He can owe only in the secondary sense, i. e, given fact He has made a covenant: "If you do this, I will do that". But He pays without owing because in basic sense, no creature can establish a claim on Him: all is unmerited generosity.
6. Love of creatures is: To will good to another for other's sake. But we cannot wish God well off. We give Him pleasure when we obey: 1) This makes us open to receive His generosity, and steers us away from the penalties built into the nature of things 2) It fulfills demands of the objective order of goodness, which His Holiness loves.
7. Ps 18 means Hebrew sheggagah, unwitting violation of God's law, for which a make-up is needed: cf. Lev. 4. A. would not understand that concept.
9. Wordy arts mean rhetoric.
11. God is ruler of sins in that He brings good out of evil.
15. They meant: let him sin, it all comes out in the wash: Baptism.
18. There are penalties built into nature of things, e.g., a hangover after a drunk; a loveless marriage after much premarital sex often happens, since they are not really willing good to each other: they are using each other, putting each other into danger of eternal misery, instead of willing good to each other.
29. Reading Cicero's Hortensius turned him to love of philosophy. The roots of philosophy mean love of wisdom. He reasoned: Christ is the Wisdom of the Father. Philosophy is love of Christ. (error)
30. There are two eternal kingdoms, light and darkness. Infinite in extent except where they border on each other. Denizens of darkness got up a military expedition to get some light. Good god was frightened, sent out Primal Man (not same as Adam) to fight, let him be captured to prepare way for a greater victory later onwhich never came. As a result, this world was made, a mixture of light and darkness. Particles of light are particles of God. When set free e. g, by the Elect Manichees eating crops, the particles are picked up by moon. When it is full it dumps in the sun, comes back as a crescent. Two classes of Manichees: Elect, who should keep all rules: plant and harvest nothing since plants, having light in them, can feel, not marry. Hearers, who did these things anyway. Had a hierarchy similar to ours. Matter is evil. Evil is a substance. We have two wills, good and evil. The told A. they would prove everything, no need of faith. They failed. He fell in age 19.
32. At 19 he thought evil was a positive thing, a substance (it really is a privation, lack of what should be there) . He had had this belief since childhood. Manichees said same. (Got out of it by help of Neoplatonists later) .
37. Was unteachable because too proud.
41. He read astronomy books, which gave different account of phases of moon.
44. His bad gang with which he went when young were the more wretched, since penalties in nature of things hit them.
46. See answer to #5.
48. He met New Academy in Rome, who were skeptics. At that time he did not believe Manicheism, did not know what to think.
52. Text was 2 Cor 3. 6. Ambrose meant: must use allegorical sense, not literal sense. Real meaning was that the Law brings death (for in a focused viewleaving out fact grace was available even before Christit makes heavy demands, gives no strength, so we fall) . Spirit is the regime of faith, which brings life.
54. Ambrose used allegorical interpretation, from school of Alexandria. School of Antioch tried to find what sacred writer really meant to say.
56. God sprinkled bitterness into his illicit pleasures.
60. He was afraid it might hinder his search for truth.
61. She saw false visions by autosuggestions: wanting to see them.
63. Neoplatonism says God is the One: All comes from him by emanations: Nous (mind, which A. thought was same as divine Logos, the Word) , then World Soul, then individual souls. Matter is last stage, emanations all petered out. So our senses deceive us should pull inside, return by mystical contemplation to unity with the One. Evil is privation. He learned that. It did not help his bad morals.
65. They called God the One. Chief writer was Plotinusalso Porphyry.
68. From Neoplatonists. Evil is privation.
69. Heroic example of Victorinusgave up career to be Christianmoved A. by example. He also had translated Plotinus from Greek.
71. His bad morals held him back.
72, Hearing of examples of Victorinus, St. Anthony of Egypt, monks near Milan, two imperial officials who left all to be hermits.
75. To conversion. Language comes from Plotinus Enneads.
80. Said they still reeked of the school of pride. He wrote: Soliloquies, Against Academics (Skeptics) , On Order, On the Happy Life.
82. Alypius: for penance and to tame his disorderly emotions.
85. A kind of contemplation. It was not infused contemplation, nor same as that in Plato, Symposium.
86. He meant when would they reach the vision of God. He thought that would probably be differed until end of time, except for martyrs. Many held that view then.
88. Affected by Stoicism: wrong to show feeling, and should think: she has gone to a better place.
89. He held back tears the rest of the day, fell into them next morning. He felt guilty, did not understand even Jesus wept at tomb of Lazarus.
92. Epistle 194: "When God crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts. " Very true.
102, The fleeing Trojans who paved way for Rome had depended on fallen gods, whom they had to rescue from burning Troy, not vice versa.
104. Ennius, first hexameter poet, and Cicero, greatest orator, in his De Re publica.
105. To show that present goods and evils are not the ultimate since both good and bad get both. Good can profit from the evils, wicked are punished.
109. God resisted them because of their pride.
116. The would have given it to Greeks, since they treated gods better in stage plays than the Romans did. Greeks ridiculed both gods and men. Romans only men.
117. The Romans had many great natural virtues, but all was vitiated since their motive was pride. So He could not give a supernatural reward, wanted to give something, gave Empire.
121. He says God had threatened them with defeat if they were unfaithful. They were.
125. Pride can counterfeit all virtues, even humility: one can act humble to be praised for it.
127. Human honor he says is a smoke without substance. It is part of his work against pride and for humility.
130. Romans had come to disbelieve old myths. He reinterpreted the myths in his "natural theology. " A. opposed Varro greatly.
131. Civil theology or urban theology (of the gods the state worships) ; Mythical Theology that of the poets and stage, natural theology: his reinterpretation. Varro made a list of select and non-select gods. A. showed there was no basis for the selection, not even Fortune, since Fortune was not selected.
139. Plato is the best, he says. He liked Plato's saying that we should love and imitate God.
140. Plato's picture of universe: 1) God, supremely good 2) gods, made of matter finer than clouds and spirit, too lofty to deal with us; 3) daemons, have flesh but highest quality, and soul. They like impure stage plays. Probably same as Olympic gods. 4) Humans. Apuleius says they live in the air, some above, some below the moon.
142. Only daemons listen to us, they take our prayers up, bring granted requests down. But they are morally foul: so it is ridiculous that gods listen to them, not to decent humans.
144. Mediator should be in between God and men having both divine and human nature. So angels cannot be mediators. This is a very strict sense. In broader sense there are secondary mediators.
145. When Psalms speak of City of God they mean Jerusalem. A. did not understand that, thought they meant a City of God in his new concept, a society of good angels and good men.
148. He says man is a greater miracle than anything done by man. He has rubbed out the line between ordinary and extraordinaryresult will be unfortunate in regard to theology of grace, as we shall see. Thinks if God did not work miracles for e. g., Tyre and Sidon, He did not want them to be saved. Miracles are extraordinary. If He does ample in ordinary order He does will their salvation. This mistake led A. to deny God wills all to be saved, contrary to 1 Tim 2. 4.
150. A sacrifice includes an outward sign and inward dispositions, which sign expresses. All the value comes from the interior. When prophets objected to sacrifices, they meant there was only externalism, no interior dispositions. Isaiah 29. 13: "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. " At Last Supper, external sign was seeming separation of body and blood. Interior, His obedience to Father. On Friday, actual separation, interior same. In Mass, same as Last supper, His obedience is continued since death makes permanent attitude of heart toward God.
153. Genesis says God rested on seventh day, so how can He work by creating things today? A. solved by theory of rationes seminales, sort of seeds planted in matter, to open at suitable times.
154. Fundamentalists ignore the literare genre of Scripture (patterns of writing. Key question: What did the Sacred Writer assert via his pattern?) . In writing on Genesis, A. knew that God does not have hands, and so rejects crude interpretation of the clay figure which God breathed on. Also understood that Cain could build a city even though few humans were mentionedScripture gives only enough, he says, to show line of descent of the two cities. But in asking on what day God created angels, A. is close to fundamentalism.
157. A. says if Baptism made us immortal, people would not need faithcould see for selvesand would be baptized for the wrong reason.
158. Before the fall they were naked, as after. But before it did not bother them, for they had a coordinating gift (same as Gift of Integrity) that made it easy to keep all drives each in their proper place. Losing it, sex rebelled.
159. The penalty of disobedience to God was the disobedience of their lower nature to them, as in. 158. Also disobedience of lower nature to them.
160. He means damaged by original sin. How much damage? Luther thought he meant totally corrupted, so as to be unable to keep out of mortal sin all the time. A. did not mean that. There are two other positions. First we notice God gave Adam three kinds of gifts: 1) basic human naturewhich would include many drives, each working on its own without regard to the others. So, without a coordinating giftor mortification, there would be disorder. 2) preternatural gifts: the coordinating gift (Gift of Integrity) and freedom from death 3) life of grace. Adam lost all but #1. so the correct position is that his sin took us only down to that level. Some would say there was a bit larger loss than even that. This last view is not permitted in Catholic theology.
162. Sin is a lie: 1) it promises more than it delivers 2) it moves away from God, the source of our being, and so logically heads us toward non-being, and away from the divinely set pattern to which we should conform. We are not "true to form".
167. Adam was disobedient even to death. An echo of Christ's obedience even to death in Phil 2. 8.
168. God's help, grace, is needed to make us able to trust in Him. So our dependence is total.
171. A. says the purpose of Scripture is only to give enough to show the line of descent of the two cities, the City of God, and the City of this world.
178. When there is no longer a ruler from the tribe of Judah, it is time for Christ. This came in 41 BC. when Rome appointed Herod Tetrarch, later in 37 got title of King. He was not of tribe of Judah, by birth was half Idumean, half Arab.
182. He began to rule before death of David to show the prophecy was not fulfilled in him, but in Christ. Refers to 2 Samuel 7. 12.
185. The prophecy of Haggai 2. 9 that the new temple would be more glorious was not fulfilled by the material building, which was inferior, but yet Christ came to the temple, which made it greater.
190. Peace is the tranquility of order. Since it gives to each thing its own place, it is based on justice, the virtue that inclines us to give to each what is coming to him. No one does not want peace, but the wicked want their own sort of order. In A.s thought a thing has being to the extent that it tends to order: and so imitates unity. Cf. The Morals of the Catholic Church and the Morals of the Manicheans 2. 6. 8.
193. Apocalypse 20 speaks of two resurrections. A. says the first is that from sin. The second is the general physical resurrection. In between the holy ones reign on earth for 1000 yearsi. e. , they are masters of selves, not slaves to sin. 1000 yrs. stands for all time from ascension to parousia.
197. This is a rubbing out of the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary. The results were sad: see answer to # 148.
207. Predestination in general is an arrangement of Providence to see that this person gets: 1) to heaven or hellor 2) to see that this person gets full membership in the People of God. Scripture speaks directly only of the second. Negative reprobation is letting a soul go to hell. A. and the Fathers in general missed the distinction of the two kinds of predestination.
208. There is no solid objection to predestination without merits. Predestination with considering merits would be a vicious circle, for our merits are gifts of God as A. says in Epistle 194, and St. Paul in 1 Cor 4. 7.
A. held predestination without merits, reprobation also without considering demerits. The latter is incompatible with God's will that all be saved: 1 Tim 2. 4.
209. A. believed, by allegorical interpretation of Romans 9. 20-24 that our whole race became a "damned and damnable mass" by original sin. God could send all to hell without waiting for personal sin. But He blindly decrees to rescue a small percent to show mercy; to desert the rest to show justice. There is nothing at all in Scripture to support his view. It contradicts 1 Tim 2. 4: God wills all to be saved.
210. The Greek Fathers and Latin Fathers before A. all rejected negative reprobation without demerits. St. Prosper of Aquitaine did the same, though considered a great defender of A. He said that first the sinner deserts God, only then does God desert the sinner.
220. Six times he contradicted by implication negative reprobation without demerits. One case is the parable of the banquet to which all are invited, few come. He says those who did not come have only themselves to blame. In massa damnata the desertion by God would come first.
221. Ep. 194: "When God crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts. " Phil 2. 13 says we cannot even make a good act of will unless God so moves us.
223. Three logical moments in God's decrees: 1) He wills all to be saved, really and strongly 2) He looks to see who rejects His graces gravely and so persistently that they could not be saved: He lets them go. Negative reprobation in view of demerits.
224. A. thought God really hated Esau, destined him to hell without looking a demerits. He misunderstood Malachi as cited by St. Paul. A. did not know Hebrew and Aramaic lack degrees of comparison. So to hate often means to love less. He thought because Christ did not work miracles in Tyre and Sidon He did not want them to be saved: A's trouble was rubbing out line of ordinary and extraordinary. If God gives ample ordinary graces, He does will them to be saved.