Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford)

The Mind Map

Life

Augustine was born in 334, the son of a Christian mother and a pagan father who farmed a few acres at Thaagaste. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.0)

A fluent and voluminous writer on theology, philosophy, and sex, his writings made him influential and controversial both in his lifetime and in the subsequent history of Christendom. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.0)

The very title carries a conscious double meaning, of confessions as praise as well as of confession as acknowledgement to God, intended to be overheard by anxious and critical fellow-Christians. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.1)

Intention of the book

When he came to the confessions he observes that they serve to excite the human mind and affection towards God; the act of writing the book had done that for himself at the time, and ‘ that is the effect when it is read now’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xiii)

Influence

Cicero and virgil whose writings he knew almost by heart. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.0)

Cicero - book entitled Hortensius - It altered my prayers, Lord, to be towards you yourself. It gave me different values and priorities. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.39)

Ciceros exhortation was the advice ‘not to study one particular sect but to love and seek and pursue and hold fast and strongly embrace wisdom itself, wherever found’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.39)

Diary 

Little by little I began to be aware where I was and wanted to manifest my wishes to those who could fulfil them as I could not. For my desires were internal; adults were external to me and had no means of entering into my soul. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.7)

Best friend died. - ‘Grief darkened my heart’. Everything on which I set my gaze was death. My home town became a torture to me; my father’s house a strange world of unhappiness; all that I had shred with him was without him transformed into cruel torment. My eyes looked for him everywhere, and he was not there. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.57)

I found myself heavily weighed down by a sense of being tired of living and scared of dying. I suppose that the more I loved him, the more hatred and fear I felt for the death which had taken him firm me, as if it were my most ferocious enemy. I thought that since death had consumed him, it was suddenly going to engulf all humanity. That was, to the best of my memory, my state of mind. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.59)

I had felt my soul and his soul were ‘one soul in two bodies. So my life was to me a horror. I did not wish to live with only half myself, and perhaps the reason why I so feared death was that then the whole of my much loved friend would have died. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.59)

So I stood up while in profound astonishment he remained where we were sitting. I threw myself down somehow under a certain fig tree, and let my tears flow freely. Rivers streamed from my eyes, a sacrifice acceptable to you. And (though not in these words, yet in this sense) I repeatedly said to you: ‘How long, O Lord? How long, Lord, will you be angry to the uttermost? Do  not be mindful of our old iniquities’. For I felt my past to have a grip on me. It uttered wretched cries:’How long, how long is it to be?’ ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow.’ Why not now? Why not an end to my impure life in this very hour?’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.152)

At the following verse I uttered a cry from the bottom of my heart: ‘in peace... The selfsame’, and at the words ‘ I will go to sleep and have dreams’. Who will bar our way when the world is realized which is written ‘death is swallowed up in victory’? For you are supremely ‘ the selfsame’ in that you do not change. (....) For ‘you Lord, have established me in hope by means of unity’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.162)

Then when she breathed her last, the boy Adeodatus cried out in sorrow and was pressed by all of us to be silent. In this way too something of the child in me, which had slipped towards weeping, was checked and silenced by the youthful voice, the voice of my heart. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.174)

If anything I say to men is right, that is what you have first heard from me. Moreover, you hear nothing true from my lips which you have not first told me. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.179)

Time

Time is not inert. It does not roll on through our senses without affecting us. Its passing has remarkable effects on the mind. See: it came and went ‘from day to day’, and by its coming and going it implanted in me new hopes and other experiences to be remembering. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.60)

The creation of time

Then it may compare eternity with temporal successiveness which never has any constancy, and will see there is no comparison possible. It will see that a long time is long only because constituted of many successive movements which cannot be simultaneously extended. In the eternal, nothing is transient, but the whole is present. But no time is wholly present. It will see that all past time is driven backwards by the future, and all future time is the consequent of the past, and all past and future are created and set on their course by that which is always present. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.229)

The existence on of time 

If then, in order to be time at all, the present is so made that it passes into the past, how can we say that this present we cannot truly say that time exists except in the sense that it tends towards non-existence. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.231)

Time is a distension

Nevertheless, even so we have not reached a reliable measure of time. It may happen that a short line, if pronounced slowly, takes longer to read aloud than a longer line taken faster. The same principle applies to a poem or a foot or a syllable. That is why I have come to think that time is simply a distension. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.240)

What is the future and the past?

Who can deny that the past does not now exist? Yet there is still in the mind a memory of the past. None can deny that present time lacks any extension because it passes in a flash. Yet attention is continuous, and it is through this that what will be present progresses towards being absent. So the future, which does not exist, is not a long period of time. A long future is a long expectation of the future. And the past, which has no existence, is not a long period of time. A long past is a long memory of the past. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.243)

The human

I wish that human disputants would reflect upon the triad within their own selves. (...) The three aspects I mean are being, knowing, willing. For I am and I know and I will. Knowing and willing I am. I know that I am and I will. I will to be and to know. (...) In these three, therefore, let him who is capable of so doing contemplate how inseparable in life they are: one life, one mind, and one essence, yet ultimately there is distinction, for they are inseparable, yet distinct. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.279)

Lord addressed both categories in the words ‘Increase and multiply’. By this blessing I understand you to grant us the capacity and ability to articulate in many ways what we hold to be a single concept, and to give a plurality of meanings to a single obscure expression in a text we have read. It is said ‘the waters of the sea are filled’, because their movement means the variety of significations. Likewise the earth is filled with human offspring: its dryness shows itself in human energy and the mastery of it by reason. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.296)

Mind and Body

The mind is one thing, the body another. Therefore it is not surprising if I happily remember a physical pain that has passed away. But in the present case, the mind is the very memory itself. For when we give an order which has to be memorized, we say ‘It was not in my mind’ and ‘ It slipped my mind’. We call memory itself the mind. Since that is the case, what is going on when, in gladly remembering past sadness, my mind is glad and my memory sad? (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.191)

Memory

Memory preserves in distinct particulars and general categories all the perceptions which have penetrated, each by its own route of entry. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.186)

I say these words to myself and, as I speak, there are present images of everything I am speaking of, drawn out of the same treasure-house of memory. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.187)

Note also that I am drawing on my memory when I say there are four perturbations of the mind - cupidity, gladness, fear, sadness and from memory I produce whatever I say in discussing them, when I am dividing particular cases according to their species and genus, and when I am offering a definition. I find in memory what I have to say and produce it from that source. Yet none of these perturbations disturbs me when by act of recollection I remember them. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.191)

 

How memory works 

Who would willingly speak of such matters if, every time we mentioned sadness of fear, we were compelled to experience grief or terror? Yet we would not speak about them at all unless in our memory we could find not only the sounds of the names attaching to the images imprinted by the physical senses, but also the notions  of the things themselves. These notions we do not receive through the experience of entrance. The mind itself perceives them through the experience of its passions and entrusts them to memory; or the memory itself retains them without any conscious act of commitment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.192)

I mention memory and I recognize what I am speaking about. Where is my recognition located but in memory itself? Surely memory is present to itself through itself, and not through its own image. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.192)

Caverns of memory 

Caverns of my memory. Some are there through images, as in the case of all physical objects, some by immediate presence like intellectual skills, some by indefinable notions or recorded impressions, as in the case of the mind’s emotions, which the memory retains even when the mind is not experiencing them, although whatever is in the memory is in the mind. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.194)

 

On dreams 

Food pictured in dreams is extremely like food received in the waking state; yet sleepers receive no nourishment, they are simply sleeping. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.41)

Memory and animals

Beasts and birds also have a memory. Otherwise they could not rediscover their dens and nests. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.194)

A reflection on what dialectics truly is. 

The art of dialectical debate - It is not that I retain the images and leave the object outside me. It is not a sound which has passed away, like a voice which makes its impression though the ears and leaves behind a trace allowing it to be recalled, as if it were sounding though in fact it is no longer sounding. (...) Nor does it resemble an odour which, as it passes and evaporates in the winds, affects the sense of smell and so puts into the memory an image of itself, which we recover through an act of recollection. Nor is it like food which cannot actually be taste. Nor is it analogous to something which the body touches and feels, which the body touches and feels, which even after contact with us has ceased, can be imagined by the memory. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.188)

‘Does P exist? What is P? What kind of thing is P? (...) ‘ If they are coloured, we have informed you about them.’ ‘ My ears say: ‘If they made any sound, we were responsible for telling you.’ My nostrils say: ‘If they gave off any odour, they passed our way. ‘ The sense of taste also says: ‘If they are tasteless, do not ask me.’ Touches says: ‘If the object is not physical, I have no contact with it, and if I have no contact, I have no information to give on the subject.’ Then how did these matters enter my memory? I do not know how. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.189)

The answer must be that they were already in the memory, but so remote and pushed into the background, as if in most secret caverns, that unless they were dug out by someone drawing attention to them, perhaps I could not have thought of them. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.189)

Moreover, the memory contains the innumerable principles and laws of numbers and dimensions. None of them has been impressed on memory through any bodily sense-perception. They give out no sound or odour. They cannot be tasted or touched. I have heard the sounds of the words which signify these things when they are the subject of discussion. But the sounds are one thing, the principles another. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.190)

On learning to talk 

This I remember. But how I learnt to talk I discovered only later. It was not that grown-up people instructed me by presenting me with words in a certain order by formal teaching, as later I was to learn the letters of the alphabet. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.10)

On his childhood

No one else could do that except you, the one from whom every kind of being is derived. The supreme beauty, you give distinct form to all things and by your law impose order on everything. This period of my life, Lord I do not remember having lived, but I have believed what others have told me and have assumed how I behaved from observing other infants. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.10)

I feel no sense of responsibility now for a time of which I recall not a single trace (baby) (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.10)

Relation of kids with adults

But we loved to play, and punishments were imposed on us by those who were engaged in adult games. For ‘the amusement of adults is called business. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.12)

 

Charachter & Life

Good character

There was at that time an extremely powerful senator. He wanted as usual to use his influence to obtain something which by the laws was unlawful Alypius resisted. (...) Everyone was amazed at so exceptional a character who neither wished to have as a friend nor feared to have as his enemy a powerful person. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

‘he who is faithful in little is faithful also in much’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

If we were immortal and lived in unending bodily pleasure, with no fear of losing it, why should we not be happy? What else should we be seeking for? I did not realize that is exactly what shows our great wretchedness. For I was so submerged and blinded that I could not think of the light of moral goodness and of a beauty to be embraced for its own sake - beauty seen not by the eye of the flesh, but only by inward discernment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.110)

The wicked charterer

The human race is inquisitive about others people’s lives, but negligent to correct their own. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.1180)

The haughtiness of pride, the pleasure of lust, and the poison of curiosity are the passions of a dead soul. The soul’s death does not end all movement. It’s ‘death’ comes about as it departs from the fount of life, so that it is adsorbed by the transitory world and conformed to it. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.291)

On a wise man

Rebuke (express sharp disapproval or criticism ) a wise man and he will love you. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.99)

‘Behold piety is wisdom’, and ‘ Do not wish to appear wise’. ‘Those who asserted themselves to be wise have been made foolish’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.134)

The happy life

Since no one can say that this is a matter outside experience, the happy life is found in the memory and is recognized when the words are uttered. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.198)

The happy life is joy based on the truth. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.199)

Society

A just human society is one which submits to you. But happy are those who know that you are the source of moral precepts. All the acts of your servants are done either to show what present need requires or to prefigure the future. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.48)

If they were to be deprived of all good, they would not exist at all. If they were to exist and to be immune form corruption, they would be superior because they would be permanently incorruptible. What could be more absurd than to say that by losing all good, things are made better? So then, if they are deprived of all good, they will be nothing at all. Therefore as long as they exist, they are good. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.124)

The society in which Augustine was raised took for granted the supportive and non-public role of women. Yet near the end of the Confessions he would insist that men and women are entirely equal in mind and soul. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xix)

The temptation is to wish to be feared or loved by people for no reason other than the joy derived from such power, which is no joy at all. It is a wretched life, and vanity is repulsive. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.213)

Talking with one another we expressed detestation for the storms and troubles of human life, and had almost decided on withdrawing from the crowds and living a life of contemplation. This contemplative leisure we proposed to organize in the following way; everything that we could raise we would put into a common treasury and from everyone’s resources would create a single household chest. In sincere friendship nothing would be the private property of this or that individual, but out of the resources of all one treasury would be formed; the whole would belong to each, and everything would belong to everyone. We saw that we could have about ten people in the same community. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.108)

But later the thought began to occur to us whether this would be acceptable to the wives whom others among us already had, and which we ourselves wanted to acquire, the project therefore collapsed. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.109)

Confessions

Clean me from my secret faults, Lord, and spare your servant from sins to which I am tempted by others ‘ I believe and therefore I speak’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.6)

On Bad actions

Sin

My sin consisted in this, that I sought pleasure, sublimity, and truth not in God but in his creatures, in myself and other created beings. So it was that I plunged into miseries, confusions, and errors. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.23)

On why I became evil

Now let my heart tell you what it was seeking there in that I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.29)

On murder

No one would commit murder without a motive, merely because he took pleasure in killing. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.30)

On the pleasure of theft

And now, Lord my God, I inquire what was the nature of my pleasure in the theft. The act has nothing lovely about it, none of whether in the memory or in the senses or in physical vitality. Nor earth and sea full of newborn creatures which, as they are born, take the place of those which die; not even in the way that specious vices have a flawed reflection of beauty. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.31)

On why we do it

I directed my mind to understand what I was being told, namely that the free choice of the will is the reason why we do wrong and suffer your just judgment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.113)

On bad habits 

On Sexual desire

But all philosophy with a serious claim to be respected as wise moralist - Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans - were of one mind in the being impressed by its risks and danger and by the capacity of sexual desire to disrupt and even destroy the most rational of plans and intentions.

Augustine came to think it an ingredient in the misery of the human condition that the sexual impulse is so frequently disobedient (...) it all too easily become destructive of both friendship and self-respect. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

On entretanment

I was captivated by theatrical shows. They were full of representations of my own miseries and fuelled my fire. Why is it that a person should wish to experience suffering by watching grievous and tragic events which he himself would not wish to endure? Nevertheless he wants to suffer the pain given by being a spectator of those suffering, and the pain itself is his pleasure. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.35)

Hence came my love for suffering, but not of a kind that  pierced me very deeply; for my longing was not to experience myself miseries such as I saw on stage. I wanted only to hear stories and imaginary legends of suffering which, as it were, scratched me on the surface. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.37) 

On drinking

I myself, while I hated a true misery here, pursued a false felicity there. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.81)

There is no pleasure in eating and drinking unless they are preceded by the unpleasant sensation of hunger or thirst. Drunkards eat salty things to make their desire uncomfortable. As drinking extinguishes the desire, there is delightful sensation. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.138) 

 

Relationships

Relations

Counselling of married couples in trouble occupied much of his time and care, and he was well aware of the inconstancy of the human heart, of the tendency to have minor and trivial affairs which he once stigmatized as ‘a male disease’, and of the existence of husbands who knew their wives to be unfaithful to them but nevertheless found their embraces too enthralling to part with. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

The ideal language is rich in the sense of marriage as the supreme example of intimate friendship in mutual respect. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

Marriage

‘Nevertheless those who are married shall have trouble in the flesh, and I would spare you’, and ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman’, and ‘ He who has no wife thinks on the things of God, how he can please God. But he who is joined in marriage thinks on the affairs of the world, how he can please his wife’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.25)

 

Friendship

The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved. But no restraint was imposed by the exchange of mind with mind, which marks the brightly lit pathway of friendship. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.24)

The danger of friendship

Friendship can be a dangerous enemy, a seduction of the mind lying beyond the reach of investigation. Out of a game and a jest came an avid desire to do injury and an appetite to inflict loss on someone else without any motive on my part of personal gain, and no pleasure in settling a score. As soon as the words are spoken ‘Let us go and do it’, one is ashamed not to be shameless. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.34)

Love and Pleasure

Love

To me it was sweet to love and to be loved, the more so if I could also enjoy the body of the beloved. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.35)

Seduction

She seduced me; for she found me living outside myself, seeing only with the eye of the flesh, and chewing over in myself such food as I had devoured by means of that eye. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.43)

Pleasure

Pleasure pursues beautiful objects- what is agreeable to look at, to hear, to smell, to taste, to much. But curiosity pursues the contraries of these delights with the motive of seeing what the experiences are like not with a wish to undergo discomfort but out of a lust for experimenting and knowing. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.211)

Appearance

Fine style does not make something true, nor has a man a wise soul because he has a handsome face and well-chosen eloquence. They who had promised that he would be so good were not good judges. He seemed to them prudent and wise because he charmed them by the way he talked. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.78)

God & Relogion

By a change for the better it has become converted to that which cannot change either for the better or for the worse. That is what you alone are. You alone are in absolute simplicity. To you it is not one thing to live, another to live in blessed happiness, because you are your own blessedness. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.275)

The word spoken to me was not “Where he is, there will you be also”, but “Where you are, there will he be also”. I confess to you Lord that to the best of my memory (and it is a matter which I have frequently discussed) I was more moved by your answer through my vigilant mother than by the dream itself. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.50)

How unhappy I was, and how conscious you made me of my misery. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.97)

The love of God

There is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God - a light, voice, odour, food, embrace of my inner man, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bound of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my god. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.183)

They love truth for the light it sheds, but hate it when it shows them up as being wrong. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.200)

The Christian 

‘Did you know that I am already a Christian unless I see you in the church of Christ.’ Victorious laughed and said: ‘Then do walls make Christians?’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.136)

He loves you less who together with you loves something which he does not love for your sake. O love, you ever burn and are never extinguished. O charity, my God, set me on fire. You command continence; grant what you command, and command what you will. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.202)

But while I pass from the discomfort of need to the tranquillity of satisfaction, the very transition contains for me an insidious trap of uncontrolled desire. The transition itself is a pleasure, and there is no other way of making that transition, which is forced upon us by necessity. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.205)

The call for perfection 

The corollary of your perfection is that the imperfection of created things is displeasing. So they seek perfection from you that they may please you, yet it is not that otherwise you would be imperfect and need to be perfected by their perfection. ‘Your good Spirits’ ‘was born above the waters’, but not borne up by them as if resting weight on them. When scripture makes them rest on himself. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.275)

To know truth 

By the Platonic books I was admonished to return into myself. (...) It was not that light, but a different thing, utterly different from all our kinds of light. It transcended my mind, not in the way that oil floats on water, nor as heaven is above earth. It was superior because it made me, and I was inferior because I was made by it. The person who knows the truth knows it, and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. Eternal truth and true love beloved eternity: you are my God. To you I sigh ‘day and night’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.123)

Then this alone could ravish and absorb and enfold in inwards joys the person granted the vision. So too eternal life is of the quality of that moment of understanding after which we sighed. Is not this the meaning of ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord’? And when is that to be? Surely it is when ‘we all use again, but are not all changed’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.172)

To see the creations

Animals both small and large see it, but they cannot put a question about it. In them reason does not sit in judgement upon the deliverances of the senses. But humans being can put a question so that ‘the invisible things of God are understood and seen through the things which are made’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.184)

Yet even thus, in its miserable condition, it prefers to find joy only in that truth by which all things are true - without any distraction interfering. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.200)

The Good

I no longer wished individual things to be better, because I considered the totality. Superior things are self-evidently better than inferior. Yet with a sounder judgement I held that all things taken together are better than superior things by themselves. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.125)

As you did not make all things equal, all things are good in the sense that taken individually they are good, and all things taken together are very good. For our God has made ‘ all things very good’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.125)

Questioning God

Questioning God’s creations 

He would be less than omnipotent if he could not create something good unless assisted by a matter which he had not himself created. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.116)

Questioning how could God create of nothing something 

‘It is very different, the difference is enormous. The sound are far inferior to me, and have no being, because they are fleeting and transient. But the word of my God is superior to me and abides for ever’. If therefore it was with words which sound and pass away that you said that heaven and earth should be made, and if this was how you made heaven and earth, then a created entity belonging to the physical realm existed prior to heaven and earth; and that utterance took time to deliver, and involved temporal changes. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.225)

Questioning Devil - God’s creation 

If the devil was responsible, where did the devil himself come from? And if even he began as a good angel and became devil by perversion of the will, how does the evil will by which he became devil originate in him, when an angel is wholly made by a Creator who is pure goodness?’ These reflections depressed me once more and suffocated me. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.114)

A critic on the Bible and its interpretations 

If I myself were to be writing something at this supreme level of authority I would choose to write so that my words would sound out with whatever diverse truth in quite explicit statement of a single true view of this question in such a way as to exclude other views - provided there was no false doctrine to offend me. Therefore my God, I do not want to be so rash as not to believe that Moses obtained this gift from you. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.271)

Science

Science - They can foresee a future eclipse of the sun, but do not perceive their own eclipse in the present. For they do not in a religious spirit investigate the source of the intelligence with which they research into these matters. Moreover, when they do discover that you are their Maker, they do not give themselves to you so that you may preserve what you have made. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.74

Science - They change your truth into a lie and serve the creation rather than the Creator. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.75)

The believer vs the scientist

In an analogous way the believer has the whole world of wealth and ‘possesses all things as if he had nothing’ by virtue of his attachment to you whom all things serve; yet he may know nothing about the circuits of the Great Bear. It is stupid to doubt that he is better than the person who measures the heaven and counts the stars and weights the elements, but neglects you who have disposed everything ‘by measure and number and weight. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.76)

Mani

Mani - It is vanity to profess to know these scientific matters, even if one understands them; but it is piety to make confession to you. Mani departed from this principle. He had very much to say about the world, but was convicted of ignorance by those who really understand these things. (...) He did not wish the opinion of his abilities to be low. He even tried to persuade people that the Holy Spirit, the comforter and enricher of faithful people, was with plenary authority personally present in himself. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.76)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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