Augustine’s Enchiridion 12: The Incarnation and the Holy Spirit

In chapter 12 Augustine considers the role of the Holy Spirit in the Incarnation. Though we say that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, we don’t call him the son of the Spirit. Should we say that his divine nature is the Son of the Father but that his human …

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Augustine’s Enchiridion: 10 & 11

We’ve seen that for Augustine the human condition is pretty dire. Humans, due to the sin of our first parents, find ourselves spiritually crippled and condemned to death, our wills utterly impotent on their own to change our situation. A rather grim situation. But of course, the Christian story is the story of God’s mighty …

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Augustine’s Enchiridion 9: Redemption, grace and free will

Having discussed the fall, Augustine begins to turn his attention to redemption. He makes an interesting suggestion at the beginning of Chapter 9 (later echoed by Anselm in Cur Deus Homo) that there is something fitting or even necessary that the angels who fell and are permanently banished from heaven should be replaced by a …

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Augustine’s Enchiridion 8: The Fall and its Consequences

Chapter 8 of Augustine’s Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love delves into one of the most influential, but also controversial, aspects of Augustine’s theology/philosophy: his doctrine of the Fall. Remember that a cardinal principle of Augustine’s thought is the essential goodness of creation. All things are, considered in themselves and their essential natures, good. Creation …

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Augustine’s Enchiridion, 5, 6, & 7

In these three chapters Augustine deals with the questions of error, lying, and certainty, especially with respect to matters of faith. In particular, Augustine here seems concerned with what later philosophers have dubbed the “ethics of belief.” In other words, he’s focusing more on what our moral duties are with respect to belief rather than …

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Augustine’s Enchiridion 3 & 4

Chapters 3 and 4 are compact but rich summaries of the heart of Augustine’s metaphysics. He deals here with God, creation, the goodness of created things and the problem of evil. It’s surely one of Augustine’s great accomplishments as a thinker to clearly establish the basic outline of a sound Christian metaphysics. While Augustine clearly …

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“Our hearts are restless until they rest in You”: St. Augustine

Today is St. Augustine’s feast day. He remains one of the most influential, as well as controversial, figures in the history of Christianity. Some blame him for all that’s wrong with “Western” Christianity: its alleged obsession with sin, legalism, hangups about sex, the frightful predestinarian picture of God, etc. Some of these charges are caricatures, …

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