|The City of God: Saint Augustine Style |
|Word Count: 2000 |
A man clad in the garb of a bishop makes his thoughts known in the city of Hippo which he has resided over as a clergyman for some time. His past is not a straight arrow to his position, often riddled with delving into the pleasures of life but he forsook those to submit to God. Often the most devout and trustworthy of the saints have experienced the trials of life and Saint Augustine is no exception to this. Saint Augustine of Hippo, the bishop, was one of the foremost philosophers of early Christianity. He had a profound influence on the development of Western thought and culture. Augustine is one of the main figures through and by whom the eventual widespread merging of the Greek philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious and scriptural traditions occurred. At a pivotal time in Western history, St. Augustine lent his opinions and thoughts to the public that they might understand the true status of the situation. The resulting book turned out to be one of his greatest theological works, The City of God.
At one point, around 410 A.D. it was the belief of the Romans that Rome would never fall though that very year the collapse of the Roman Empire came about as a result of attack and invasion. The collapse of their once great empire led the Romans into a state of disarray. There existed a pagan faith as well as the Christian faith whereas both had a fair amount of supporters but no sure reason why their nation had failed. Herein lied the problem, the pagan followers blamed the Christians ultimately for the fall of the empire for their lack of faith in tradition and their conversion to the new Christian faith. Essentially, they claimed that the Gods themselves had forsaken the empire because of the growing popularity of the Christian faith. Furthermore, the pagans blamed the Christian God for failing to protect the empire since according to Constantine’s proclamation he was the one true God.
One of the great cornerstones in the history of Christian thought, The City of God is vital to an understanding of modern Western society and how it came into being. Begun in A.D. 413, the book’s initial purpose was to refute charges that Christianity was to blame for the fall of Rome. However, over the next thirteen years that it took to complete the work, the brilliant Augustine proceeded to his larger theme: a interpretation of history in terms of the struggle between good and evil by comparing the earthly and heavenly cities. These cities were divided by their characteristics and the people that would populate them where: one pagan, self-centered, and contemptuous of God and the other devout, God-centered, and in search of grace. He also explored and interpreted human history in relation to eternity. The book itself examines the ancient pagan religions of Rome, the arguments of the Greek philosophers and the revelations of the Bible. Although, there is one book in particular we will examine which is Book XIII. Book XIII begins with an examination of the fall of man and the mortality that arises from this fall. St. Augustine asserts