Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans.
Knowles, David ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972



St Augustine of Hippo

born AD 354

...epoch of importance and distinction for the Christian Church, for it saw the transformation of the Roman emperor from a pagan persecutor into a protector and moderator of Christianity

...development of monasticism in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor.

Fathers of the Church in the golden age of patristic theology. Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine.

born between 329 (Basil) and 354 (Augustine)

first and second generations to attain maturity after the Empire had become officially Christian.

...widening of the gap already existing between East and West. Henceforward the two halves...went each its own way.


Greek civilization influenced more and more by the manners and ways of thought of Anatolia, Persia and Syria...

...movement of men and ideas between East and West in the fourth century, and in the West the ancient civilization still existed...

Africa...modern Tunisia and the coastal region of eastern Algeria

...colonized by Rome...Third Punic War (146 BC)...

...destruction of Carthage had practically eliminated the Punic population, but the native Berbers remained at the base of the Roman Plantation...

...well planned cities and towns continuing all the public buildings and amenities...

...ills that were afflicting the Roman West in General--excessive taxation, despoliation by the central government, lack of domestic independence and enterprise, shrinkage of population and the legal freezing of all classes and occupations from the coloni and the proletariat to the curiales, the patricians who owned property round the city in which they lived.

...a few very large estates of Roman aristocrats, a large number of villae, native villages in the hills and a number of seaports along the coast, of which Hippo Regus was second only to Carthage.

The Christian Church in Africa, of obscure origins, had risen to the surface in the early third century...Tertullian...

...passed across the limits of orthodoxy into the Montanist heresy


[Tertullian] created a Latin vocabulary for Christian theology...

Cyprian...first great theologian of Church order

...recognized the primacy of Rome as the unifying principle...

Donatists, who refused to readmit to communion those who had in any way lapsed during the Dioclitianic persecution

...regard themselves as the only pure and true Church. Schism resulted and endured for a century, dividing the African Church...

Donatism became largely the Curch of the native population, and it is still a matter of controversy whether economic causes and dislike of the Roman dominion were behind the movement.

Augustine...At seventeen he went to Carthage and studied rhetoric...

x of the Roman Empire in the West was entirely literary and rhetorical. It was the ghost of the education for civic life originally devised by the Greek teacher Isocrates, the contemporary of Plato...

...three stages. In the primary stages the child learnt to read, write and cipher. In the second stage the boy absorbed the Greek classics, in particular Homer, together with the rules of grammar and composition. In the third stage he studied geometry (Euclid), numbers and their proportions, and harmony and the relationship of sounds. At this stage also he took courses of general knowledge...

Science and higher mathematics, in particular astronomy, were reserved for a few specialists. Philosophy was studied mainly at Athens, Rhodes and Alexadria. Medicine and law were taught separately to those who adopted them as professional subjects.

Cicero--advocate, consul, politician, man of letters and diffuser of Greek thougth--and Julius Caesar--advocate, literary critic, historian, general and statesman--cannot be despised. But almost immediately after the death of the two great men just mentioned Roman education underwent a significant change...

...flowering of Latin literature in the late republic and early Empire caused the substitution of Latin for Greek in the discipline of grammar and rhetoric...

...bureaux of the imperial government replaced the forum and the offices of the old Roman career (the cursa honorum) as focus of administration. Oratory ceased to mould policy...

Education became increasingly bookish and rhetorical. The Roman genius never favoured abstract thought, and philosophy was either, as with Cicero, a popular simplification of Greek thought, or as with the Stoics, a quasi-religious background to a normal life.

By Augustineıs day...Greek...was an optional subject


Virgil (usually represented by the Aeneid) was in a class by himself. Horace was rarely quoted, and Catullus never. Ciceroıs philosophical works were a private discovery of Augustine when a young man.

In philosophy and theology alike he was to be an autodidact

Nothing in Augustineıs life is stranger than his acceptance of Manicheism, a dualistic religion, mythical and spiritual, in which the powers of good and evil were co-eternal and independent.

...rhetorical education had been to prejudice him against the Christian Scriptures as being stylistically mediocre...

...cultural twilight of pagan Africa...

Athenian supremacy to the early Roman Empire, had, at its highest levels and in eminent individuals, a rational outlook and a civilized security that rejected instincctively a mythical or a preternatural explantion of lifeıs problems. But in Augustineıs Africa the security was not so apparent...

...primitive population was still there in the background. The opulence and seeming eternity of the Roman Empire were beginning to appear as threadbare and as vulnerable...

...wealthiest citizens and officials were either half-hearted worshippers of the old gods or followers of a decadent Neoplatonism...


His education had been entirely pagan...

...professed throughout a long life, the problem of sin and evil both in himself and in the whole world of spiritual being. The Manichean system was dualistic, with opposing powers of good and evil and with the human soul a fragment of light, enclosed in a material, and therefore evil, body.

We have it from Augustine himself that for many years of his adolescence he could not conceive of a spiritual being...

...he was enlightened by the philosophical writings of Cicero and by Neoplatonism, and then further illumined by the Gospel of St. John...

...emotional and for long sensual and committed to a dependence upon sexual gratification which his higher self resisted, needed a moral as well as an intellectual conversion... and prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he resolved the conflict in his mind and soul in 387, and was babtized... Carthage, then in Rome and finally at Milan, had taught rhetoric...

...governorship of a province. Such a career, now almost within his grasp, Augustine renounced...


One of the impulses leading towards Augustineıs conversion had been the example of monastic life in imitation of the monks of Egypt that had been visible at Milan.

...Hippo Regius and began to live as a monk with some companions...

...395 consecrated bishop of the city... by day, he went steadily through the sublime meditations on the Gospel of St. John ...

Gradually Augustine, by his personality and reputation, increased his congregation and reduced the Donatists. His position as judge and arbitrator developed and he was treated as a colleague and counsellor by the local aristocracy, both Christian and pagan. He was a man of many friends and a vast correspondence. For himself, he remained an ascetic, monastic figure, living a celibate life with his clergy...

St Augustine never left Africa again...

...leader of Catholic Africa first against theDonatists and then agaisnt the Pelagians. The long Donatist struggle...bitter business in which the imperial government, approved finally by the Church, used force to combat violence. The Donatists at the peak of their influence were in fact a rival church, like the Cathari of southern France centuries, later, with nationalist African and revolutionary tendencies.

Palagius, a native of Britain active in Rome and elsewhere c 400-418, was accused of watering down the traditional doctrine of original sin and of teaching that man, by his unaided free will, could fulfil the commandments of God and merit grace. The exact extent of his teterodoxy is still debated, but he was fiercely resisted by Augustine and Jerome. The controversy occupied Augustine for some twenty years and earned him the title of Doctor of Grace, but it makes no appearance in the City of God.


Augustine... welcomed the intervention of the government and countenanced repression...

In 410 Rome had been captured and sacked by Alaric and his Goths and slaves all thinking men in the Latin world it was apsychological shock without parallel. Rome ahd been the mistress of Italy for more than six centuries...

Rome as a papal city from the days of Constantine. In fact, she had remained largely pagan, above all in the highest social levels. The great senatorial families, whether genuinely ancient or relatively new, clung obstinately to their traditions and to the gods of Rome, of whose temples they wer official priests and custodians. A renaissance of classical literature...confirmed in their opposition to Christianity by the Neoplatonic philosophy, which provided a view of the universe which could be made to seem more rational, more spiritual even, than the legends enshrined in the sacred books of the Jews and Christians...

...attributed it, as have some modern historians, to the Christian infiltration...

...fled to Africa

Christian imperial commissioner, Marcellinus, a friend of Augustine appealed to the bishop as the only one capable of meeting the pagan attacks in a language they would understand...

Augustine... ŒAt this time Rome was overwhelmed in disaster after its capture by the Goths under their king Lalric. Those who worship the multitude of false gods, whom we usually call pagans, tried to lay the blame for this disaster on the Christian religion, and began to blashpheme the true God more fiercely and bitterly than before. This fired me with zeal for the house of God and I began to write the City of God to confute thieir blasphemies and falsehood. This took a number of years for other tasks intervened ...but the great work on the City of God was at last finished in twenty-two books.


ŒThe first five books refute those who attribute prosperity and adversity to the cult of the gods or to the prohibition of this cult. The next five are against those who hold that ills are never wanting to men, but that worship of the gods helps towards the future life after death. The second part of the work contains twelve books. The first four describe the birth of the two cities, one of God the other of this world. The second four continue thier story, and the third four depict their final destiny.'

Augustine began the book early in 413... to the spring of 426...sending it to his friend, the African priest Firmus, friend also of St. Jerome.

...Œthe City of God on pilgramage in this worldı, which seems to be opposed to the pagan city of Rome, and Augustine says he will explain Œthe origin, development, and appointed end of those two citiesı. This he does, indeed, but not till the last books of the work...


At last, in Book xv, chapter 1, we have something like a definition. ŒI classify the human race into two branches: the one consists of those who live by human standards, the other of those who live according to Godıs will...By two cities I mean two societies of human beings, one of which is predestined to reign with God from all eternity, the other doomed to undergo eternal punishment with the devil.ı

...ambiguity which A never clearly resolves, between two societies or visible groups in theis world, and the members from each of these two groups as separated into two invisible societies of those predestined to glory and those doomed to punishment in the next world...

...those who believe in Christ, the City of God, are in fact the Church, just as those that disbelieve are in fact the Roman authorities and the pagans of the Empire, but there is no confromtation of Church and State. We can see the reason for this: the constituent qualities of the two cities are their two objects of love, the love of God leading to contempt of self, and the love of self leading to contempt of God (Bk xiv, 28). The two cities are therefore two loves and these are an inward and spiritual, not an outward and political distinction.

...bishops who are the successors of the apostles...

For all truths not contained in Scripture we can obtain certainty from plenary councils of all the bishops...


Job is given as a striking example in the days of the Old Testament, but Augustine adds that he and others outside the visible city who yet belong to the City of God must have somehow received a personal revelation.

...recent syllabuses of the study of political thought...

...taken directly or remotely from Cicero, as is the distinction between positive legal enactmetns and the eternal law of nature which is the same in all men, the law which St. Paul and after him Augustine take to be written in the hearts of all.

...slavery and of any sort of coercive a Œconsequence of sin...found in some of the fathers immediately preceding Augustine in date, such as Ambrose and ŒAmbrosiasterı...accepted and considerably developed by Augustine. Slavery he is a consequence of sin and therefore tolerable as an institution, though it is not necessarily, in this or that individual case, approved by God. Government with the sanction of force is likewise not a primitive institution of God for the human race but a punishment for sin.


...main contribution to poliical thought lies in his definition of what he terms Œa peopleı (populus) and Œa commonwealthı (res publica) and what we call Œa Stateı.

A commonwealth, he maintained, was not just any and every company of men, but a company associated in a recognized system of rights and community of interests. Scipio went on to say that this implied a just administiration of whatever kind it might be--monarchy, aristocracy or democracy--but if this was wanting then the commonwealth was not merely a bad one, it was no a commonwealth at all...

Augustine...ıIf justice be absent, what is a kingdom but a crowd of gangsters? And what is a gang but a minor kingdom?' (Bk 1v,4)

...and there can be no true justice where the commands of God are not observed.

a commonwealth is a multitude of rational beings voluntarily associated in the pursuit of common interests. By this definition Rome could be called a commonwealth or republic...even though justice must be absent...

...however bad the ruler may be he derives his authority from God (Bk v,21) ...


Certainly there is an entire absence of any doctrine of Church-State relationship in the City of God. No doubt it would be anachronistic to expect anything of the kind. Yet to most historians who consider the beginnings of that age old confrontation, the conversion and subsequent patronage, not to say tutelage of the Church by Constantine marks an epoch, a point of no return, when the Church was fist faced with a secular master, benevolent though he might be. Augustine says not a word on this matter...

...little evidence of the influence of the City of God upon later medieval theorists

Christian writers, not excluding Peter and Paul, tend to confuse, or at least not to distinguish between, Œthe divine authority of the institution of government and the divine authority of the individual ruler

...human government as such is unquestioned. It is essential to any Christian or indeed any theistic conception of human life in society...

The authority of the actual ruler to command this or that is another matter.

St. Gregory the Great goes far towards teaching that the established powers must be obeyed, right or wrong, and the history in Europe of the theory and practice of the Divine Right of the monarch is evidence of the permanence of the appeal of this teaching.

Between these extremes [totalitarian or anarchic] must lie the truth, viz., the justice of Plato, Scipio and Augustine...reason enlightened by Chrisian teaching...


...even to men like this (sc. Nero) the power of dominion is not given except by the providence of God, when he decides that manıs condition deserves such masters. Godıs statement on this point is clear, when the divine Wisdom says: ŒIt is through me that kings rule, and through me that tyrants possess the land.ı It might be supposed that Œtyrantsı here is used not in the sense of Œwicked and irresponsible rulersı, but in the ancient meaning of Œmen of powerı...but this is precluded by an unambiguious statement that God Œmakes a hypocrite to reign because of the perversity of the peopleı.

Charlemagne, who could not read, delighted to listen to readings from the City of God, and a recent French historian, Mgr F.X. Arquilliere, has characterized the Carolingian Empire and the political thought of the early Middle Ages as Augustinisme politique.

...incorporated in the actual practice of government...

Church would be a loose confederacy of bishoprics controlled externally by the ruler, but recognizing the spiritual unity of their body in terms of union with the See of Peter as the ultimate source of doctrine and spiritual jurisdiction.

...from Otto I onwards, and the whole fabric of the church became enmenshed in feudalism and simony, that this Augustinian structure patently ceased to be viable, and the papacy came forward...

Augustinian City of God, whose only true citizens were the company of the predestined, gave place to the hierarchical Church made up of the elements that had each its juridical position--bishops, clergy, vowed religious and layfolk, all under the jurisdiciton of the biship of Rome.

...distinction between th Augustinian and the Gregorian Church


...comparison of the City of God with the Dictatus papae...of Gregory VII...

Augustine... no attempt to consider the operational fabric of the great body in which he held a bishopıs office.

He recognized also the special place held by Peter among the apostles, and by the bishop of Rome as his successor, construed, shows that in practice he recognized Rome as the centre of authentic doctrine.

Augustine remains in the centre of his own spiritual life, ready to share, but not to define.

In the course of his exposition of the Christian outlook on the universe of being, Augustine comes necessarily into contact with Greek philosophy, for philosophy in the later phases of the Roman Empire had become in a sense fused with religion...

...deities and spirits of the late Roman pagan pantheon could be regarded as popular translation of transcendental spirits of Neoplatonism, and still more readily of the daemons of the decadent Neoplatonism of the fourth century...

...ignorant of the writings of Plato and Aristotle could himself join the select company of the worldıs greatest thinkers and be a prime agency in weaving Greek thought into Christian theology.

...scepticism of the New Academy and [interest in] later Neoplatonism, that shattered for him the image of Manicheism and led him towards the Gospel.

...what Augustine always refers to as the teachings of Plato or Œthe Platonistsı was in fact that of Plotinus (205-70) as seen in the Enneads.

[Plotinus] Œproducedı Platoıs system, or sketches of a system, into a clear-cut and schematic body of thought embracing theology, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.

...not unlike that of Aquinas in the thirteenth century with regard to Aristotle. transformed scattered insights and visionary probings into a logical but closed circle; the other transfused a detailed mechanical system with flexible spiritual power. Plotinus replaced Platoıs vague Form of Good with a transcendent One. Aquinas made of Aristotleıs impersonal First Mover the transcendent-immanent Creator.


accepted the teaching of the Platonists as successful attempts to reach the truth about the universe so far as manıs mind could go.

Augustine, in the City of God, deal more explicitly and more historically with Greek philosophy than anywhere else in his writings...

...analysis of the Presocratics and Socrates himself, for example, which he may have largely taken from Cicero is remarkably accurate...

...of Platoıs dialogues either in succession or as material for a system he was entirely ignorant. Even more complete was his ignorance of Aristotle. ancient school carried on a living tradition of Aristotle, save in the matter of his logic, which was taken as an instrument and method of thought by all schools, including the Neoplatonists. Whereas the tradition of Plato, or of what was thought to be Platonic doctrine, travelled down the centuries at Athens and was diffused into Christianity by the Neoplatonists, that of Aristotle proceeded eastwards to Antioch, Syria and Persia, and was carried back by the Arabs to north Africa and Muslim Spain and so to Paris and the West.


Plotinus...degrees of spiritual being emanated in a hierarchical procession from the One, and could return to him, and which left room for a mystical union of love with the supreme Being, proved vulnerable

...Christianity to influence and power increased the anti-Christian bias visible in Plotinus...

...second and third generations [Neo platonists] into alliance with the pagan aristocracy and intellectuals of Athens and Rome...relationship with the old Roman religion which was the palladium of the pagan senatorial families, and an endeavour was made to explain the whole pantheon in terms of Neoplatonism.

Porphyry, the disciple of Plotinus...

Chaldean Oracles listed a vast number of supernatural beings who became part of the Neoplatonist tradition, in addition to whom much use was made of a class of spiritual beings, the demons...

...long discussion of demons by Augustine (Bk ix, 2ff)

[Augustine] dependent upon portions of Porphyry and the still more derivative Apuleius without commentaries...


He was able unaided to see the difference between the traditional deities of Olympus and the rationalized gods of the late Roman intelligentsia, but he had no means of distinguishing between the Greek conception, however imperfect, of deity and the simple animism of the pastoral and domestic fairies and goblins of Roman folklore.

...greater importance to the contemporary Œdemonsı of decadent Neoplatonism than they deserved.

...much deep thought in the City of God that has been absorbed wholly or in part by Christian tradition

...creation is in origin good, but also that evil can never, strictly speaking be natural to a created being.

So there is no problem of the origin of sin; sin has no being; it is a failing to turn to God. It has no cause other than a failure to do good, just as the slip of a typist need have no cause save the possibility of failure in eye or nerve, a possibility which is built in to all bodily faculties. Evil has, however, a certain positive quality because it is not a ... action but a choice, a love, and if our love is not given to God, it is given to our own self-satisfaction.


Nor is the world-process cyclic; it is a straightforward progress of time...

...resurrection of the body and that of eternal punishment (Bk xx) and of the peace which is the aim of our striveng even of our wars (Bk xix)

...table furnished with his body and blood...the sacrifice which supersedes all the sacrifices of the old covenantı (Bk xvii, 19)

...sacrifice of the Mass.He is contrasting the sacrifices of paganism and that of the old law...


...Church, being the body of which he is head, learns to offer itself through him...

After quoting Virgilıs account of the purificatory punishment of sin ...he maintains that for grievous sin the punishment is retributive and not also purificatory, but that some suffering can be purificatory Œboth in this life and in the otherı


Augustine and his contemporary and correspondent Jerome...earliest in time of that group of writers and thinkers ...Founders of the Middle Ages. We can extend the list as we choose, but Boethius and Cassiodorus would certainly be included. All of them lived at a time and in a region whence the full life of ancient civilizaiton had vanished, but which retained most of its literature and some of its ways of thinking...

Augustine...mediated a heavy dose of Neoplatonism and consequently, of Platonism, to the medieval Church.

In his construction of a work and its parts he is medieval rather than classical. Whereas both Greek and Latin prose writers know how to begin and end a work, and how to order its parts, A, trained as a rhetor rathr than as a writer of prose, has little sense of economy or proportion.

...City of God, which is not so much a single work as a series of reflections on a large central topic, Godıs design for the salvation of mankind, composed over a long stretch of years with many interruptions.

But if the political thought and even the conception of the City of God found in Augustine had little influence on his world, many ideas and many pages of the great work sank deep into the Christian consciousness...

Book viii, ch 3, the teaching of Socrates,

ch10, Christianity and Platonic thought;

Book xi, ch6, the non-entity of evil;

Book xix, ch7, the misery of war;

ch13, the peace of the universe;

ch14, order, law and earthly peace;

Book xix, ch27, ŒAs we forgive those who trespass against usı

Book xxii, ch24, the beauties of creation and the beauty of manıs mind;

ch26, How the common man is Œsaved as by fireı.

Augustine. The City of God. New York: Image Books, 1958.

Book XIV

Ch 1


...for all the difference of the many and very great nations throughout the world in religions and morals, language, weapons, and dress, there exist no more than the two kinds of society, which according to our Scriptures, we have rightly called the two cities.One city is that of men who live according to the flesh. The other is of men who live acording to the spirit.

Ch 2

...mistake imagining that it is the Epicurean philosophers who live according to the flesh simply because they place manıs highest good in material pleasure...


...mistake to imagine, because the Stoics place manıs highest good in the soul (and because Œsoulı and Œspiritı mean the same), that, therefore, it is the Stoics who live according to the spirit.

...both of these classes live according to the flesh...

ŒAnd the Word was made fleshı...


Paul the Apostle wrote to the Galatians: ŒNow the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: immorality, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, jealousies, anger, quarrels, factions, parties, envies, murders, drunkenness, carousings, and suchlike. And concerning these I warn you, as I have warned you, that they who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God.ı

...interpret the word Œfleshı as meaning the whole of human nature.



Yet, it is an error to suppose that all the evils of the soul proceed from the body.

Virgil...following Plato...

ŒA fiery vigor of celestial birth
Endows these seeds so slowed by weight of earth
Or bodyıs drag; and so they ever lie
In bondage to dull limbs that one day die



ŒThus do they fear and hope, rejoice and grieve,
Blind in the gloomy jail they cannot leave.ı


Our faith teaches something very different. For the corruption of the body, which is a burden on the soul, is not the cause but the punishment of Adamıs first sin.

...not the corruptible flesh that made the soul sinful; on the contrary, it was the sinful soul that made the flesh corruptible.

Else, we free the Devil from all such passions since he has no flesh...but he is most certainly filled with pride and envy.

...pride--a vice which rules over the Devil who has no flesh...

...can only be the works of the flesh in the sense that they are the works of man...

Paul often refers to man under the name of Œflesh.ı



When a man lives Œaccording to manı and not Œaccording to Godı he is like the Devil.


...two contrary and opposing cities arose because some men live according to the flesh and others live according to the spirit, we could equally well have said that they arose because some live according to man and others according to God.

...the animal man does not perceive the things that are of the spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him...



We ought not, therefore, to blame our sins and defects on the nature of the flesh, for this is to disparage the Creator. The flesh, in its own kind and order, is good. But what is not good is to abandon the Goodness of the Creator in pursuit of some created good, whether by living deliberately according to the flesh, or according to the soul, or according to the entire man, which is made up of soul and flesh and which is the reason why either Œsoulı alone or Œflesh Œ alone can mean a man.

...unlike the Manichaeans, Platonists are not so senseless as to despise earthly bodies as though their nature derived from an evil principle. The Platonists attribute to God, the Maker, all the elements together with their qualities that make up this visible and tangible universe. Nevertheless, they think that our souls are so influenced by Œthe earthly limbs and mortal membersı of our bodies that from these arise the diseases of desires and fears, of joy and sadnes--the four perturbations (as Cicero calls them) or passions (to use the common expression borrowed from the Greeks) which comprehend the whole defectiveness of human behavior.


...(Platonists themselves, through the mouth of their noble spokesman, teaching that this direful desire has so little to do with the body that it compels even the soul already purified of every bodily disease and now subsisting independently of any kind of body to seek an existence in a body.


Manıs will, then is all-important ...


...the will of a man is attracted or repelled by the variety of things which he either seeks or shuns, so is it changed or converted into one or other of these different emotions.

...neither hating the man because of his corruption nor loving the corruption because of the man, he should hate the sin but love the sinner. For, once the corruption has been cured, then all that is lefft should be loved and nothing remains to be hated.


From the main topic, the importance of the will and its act of love, Augustine digresses to examine the Stoic theory of virtue as non-disturbance from the passions. Stoic apathy is not fully possible now in this life, but before the first sin Adam and Eve were undisturbed by passions.



...the first bad will, which was present in man before any of his bad deeds, was rather a falling away from the work of God into manıs own works than a positive work itself...

...this bad will or, what is the same, man in so far as his will is bad is like a bad tree which brings forth these bad works like bad fruit...

...contrary as it is to nature and not according to nature, since it is a defect in nature...

...nature, of course, is one that God has created out of nothing, and not out of Himself, as was the case when He begot the Word through whom all things have been made... was a soul made out of nothing which God united to the body when man was created...

In the long run, however, the good triumphs over the evil...

...while good can exist without any defect, as in the true and supreme God Himself, and even in the whole of that visible and invisible creation, high in the heavens above this gloomy atmosphere, evil cannot exist without good, since the natures to which the defects belong, in as much as they are natures, are good.


...will. Its choice is truly free only when it is not a slave to sin and vice. God created man with such a free will. once lived according to God in a Paradise that was both material and spiritual...

...proud and, therefore, envious spiirit who fell from the heavenly Paradise when his pride caused him to turn away from God to his own self and the pleasures and pomp of tyranny, preferring to rule over subjects than be subject himself.

This Lucifer, striving to insinuate his sly seductions into the minds of man whose fidelity he envied, since he himself had fallen, chose for his spokesman a serpent in the terrestrial Paradise, where all the animals of earth were living in harmless subjection to Adam and Eve. It was suited for the task because it was a slimy and slippery beast that could slither and twist on its tortuous way. So, subjecting it to his diabolical design by the powerful presence of his angelic nature and misusing it as his instrument, he, at first, parleyed cunningly with the woman as with the weaker part of that human society, hoping gredually to gain the whole. He assumed that a man is less gullible and can be more easily tricked into following a bad example than into making a mistake himself.


...not equally deceived by believing the serpent, they equally sinned and were caught and ensnared by the Devil.



...obedience, the virtue which is, so to speak, the mother and guardian of all the virtues of a rational creature...

...our first parents only fell openly into the sin of disobedience because, secretly, they had begun to be guilty.

What is pride but an appetite for inordinate exaltation?


...self-pleasing occurs when the soul falls away from the unchangeable Good which ought to please the soul far more than the soul can please itself.

Our first parents, then, must already have fallen before they could do the evil deed, before they could commit the sin of eating the forbidden fruit. For such Œbad fruitı could come only from a Œbad tree.ı That the tree became bad was contrary to its nature, because such a condition could come about only by a defeciton of the will, which is contrary to nature.

...a nature is a nature because it is something made by God, but a nature falls away from That which Is because the nature was made out of nothing

Yet, man did not so fall away from Being as to be absolutely nothing, but, insofar as he turned himself toward himself, he became less than he was when he was adhering to Him who is supreme Being. Thus, no longer to be in God but to be in oneself in the sense of to please oneself is not to be wholly nothing but to be approaching nothingness


There is, then, a kind of lowliness which in some wonderful way causes the heart to be lifted up, and there is a kind of loftiness which makes the heart sink lower...

...Œwhen they were lifting themselves up thou has cast them down.ı Psalms 72.18 Here, the Psalmist does not say: ŒWhen they had been lifted up,ı ...but Œwhen they are lifting themselves up, at that moment they were cast down,ı

...humility is the virtue especially esteemed in the City of God.

...difference which distinguishes the two cities of which we are speaking. The humble City is the society of holy men and good angels; the proud city is the society of wicked men and evil angels. The one City began with the love of God; the other had its beginnings in the love of self.



The pride of the woman blames the serpent; the manıs pride blames the woman.


For many reasons, then, the punishment meted out for disobeying Godıs order was just. It was God who had created man. He had made man to His own image, set man above all other animals, placed him in Paradise, and given him an abundance of goods and of well-being. God had not burdened man with many precepts that were heavy and hard.

...single precept that was momentary and utterly easy and that was meant merely as a medecine to make manıs obedience strong...

Man who was destined to become spiritual even in his flesh, if only he had kept the commandment.


...the punishment for that sin the only penalty for disobedience was, to put it in a single word, more disobedience. There is nothing else that now makes a man more miserable than his own disobedience to himself cannot do what he desires to do, for the simple reason that he refuses to obey himself; that is to say, neither his spirit nor even his body obeys his will...

...spirit is frequently troubled and his body feels pain...

if only our nature, wholly and in all its parts, would obey our will, we would not have to suffer these and all our other ills so unwillingly.


As for the objection that the only source of suffering that makes service impossible is the body...because it was to Him that we refused our obedience and our service that our body, which used to be obedient, now troubles us by its insubordination...

He has no such need of our service as we have need of the service of our body.

...when people talk of the sufferings of the body, what they really mean are the sufferings of the soul which are felt in, and because of, the body.

...some part of his soul is affected by what happens to his flesh

Pain of body is simply suffering of soul arising from the body

...anguish of spirit which is called sorrow is a disapproval of what is happening in opposition to our wills.

...sensation in the flesh corresponding to desire in the soul, familiar in the form of hunger and thirst, and commonly called libido when connected with sex-although, strictly speaking, lust is a word applicable to any kind of appetite

...classical definition of anger as a lust for revenge



There are, then, many kinds of lusts for this or that, but when the word is used by itself without specification it suggests to most people the lust for sexual excitement. Such lust does not merely invade the whole body and outward members; it takes such complete and passionate possession of the whole man, both physically and emotionally, that what results is the keenest of all pleasures on the level of sensatio; and, in the crisis of excitement, it practically paralyzes all power of deliberate thought.


Sometimes, their lust is most importunate when they least desire it; at other times, the feelings fail them when they crave them most, their bodies remaining frigid when lust is blazing in their souls...lust itself...refuses to obey


An explanation is offered for Genesis 2:25, Œthey were naked but they felt no shame.ı


Wherever sexual passion is at work, it feels ashamed of itself. This is so not only in the case of rape, which seeks dark corners to escape the law, but even where worldly society has legalized prostitution. Even when there is no fear of the law and passion is indulged with impunity, it shrinks from the public gaze. There is a natural shame which forces even houses of ill fame to make provision for secrecy, because, easy as it was for lust to get rid of legal restrictions, it was far too difficult ever to remove the darkness from the dens of indecency. The most shameless of men know that what they are doing is shameful; much as they love this pleasure, they hate publicity.

317 is a good deed; but it is one that seeks to be known only after it is done, and is ashamed to be seen while it is being done. The reason can only be that what, by nature, has a purpose that everyone praises involves, by penalty, a pasion that makes everyone ashamed.


The shame now associated with procreation is noted, together with the view of the Cynic school that the marital act is good and so might well be performed in public. Criticizing this, Augustine speculates on the possibility of procreation without lust, on the peculiar things some people can do with their bodies (such as wiggling both ears), and on the ability of a man named Restitutus to assume a state of suspended animation. The point is made again taht no man can be perfectly happy in this life.

(**nb ear wiggling seems to suggest to A an ideal state where the body obeys the will)


Now, the point about Eden was that a man could live there as a man longs to live, but only so long as he longed to live as God willed him to live. Man in Eden lived in the enjoyment of God and he was good by a communication of the goodness of God. His life was free from want, and he was free to prolong his life as long as he chose. There were food and drink to keep away hunger and thirst and the tree of life to stave off death from senescence. There was not a sign or a seed of decay in manıs body that could be a source of any physical pain. Not a sickness assailed him fromm within, and he feared no harm from without. His body was perfectly healthy and his sould completely at peace. And as in Eden itself there was never a day too hot or too cold, so in Adam, who lived there, no fear or desire was ever so passionate as to worry his will. Of sorrows there was none at all and of joys none that was vain although a perpetual joy that was genuine flowed from the presence of God, because God was loved with a Œcharity from a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned.ı Family affection was ensured by purity of love; body and mind worked in perfect accord; and there was an effortless observance of the law of God. Finally, neither leisure nor labor had ever to suffer from boredom or sloth.


...surely, a man and his wife could play their active and passive roles in the drama of conception without the lecherous promptings of lust, with perfect serenity of soul and with no sense of disintegration between body and soul. Merely because we have no present experience to prove it, we have no right ot reject the possibility.

Perhaps these matters are somewhat too delicate for futher discussion. It must suffice to have done the best that I could to suggest what was possible in the Garden of Eden, before there was any need for the reins of reticence to bridle a discussion like this. However, as things now are, the demands of delicacy are more imperative than those of discussion.


...trouble with the hypothesis of a passionless procreation controlled by will, as I am here suggesting it, is that it has never been verified in experience is practically impossible even to discuss the hypothesis of voluntary control without the imagination being filled with the realities of rebellioius lust. It is this last fact which explains my reticence.

...there was no question of men meriting a place in His City. They could only be marked out by His grace; and how great that grace was they could see not only in their own deliverance but in the doom meted out to those who were not delivered from damnation. For no one can help but acknowledge how gratuitous and undeserved is the grace which delivers him when he sees so clearly the contrast between his priveleged, personal immunity and the fate of the penalized community whose punishment he was justly condemned to share.

...answer to the problem why God should have created men whom He foresaw would them and by means of them He could reveal how much was deserved by their guilt and condoned by His grace, and, also, because the harmony of the whole of reality which God has created and controls cannot be marred by the perverse discordancy of those who sin.



...there was no reason why God should not make a good use even of the bad angel who was so doomed to obduracy ... permitting the bad angel to tempt the first man who had been created good...

...the first man had been so constituted that if, as a good man, he had relied on the help of God, he could have overcome the bad angel, whereas he was bound to be overcome if he proudly relied on his own will in preference to this wisdom of his maker and helper, God; and he was destined to a merited reward if his will remained firm with the help of God, and to an equally deserved doom if his will wavered because of his desertion from God. on the help of God was a positive act that was only possible by the help of God, the reliance on his own will was a negative falling away from favors of divine grace...


God was in no uncertainty regarding the defeat which man would uffer; but what matters more, God foresaw the defeat which the Devil would suffer at the hands of a descendant of Adam...

...nothing in the future escaped the foreknowledge of God, yet nothing in the foreknowledge compelled anyone to sin...


...two societies have issued from two kinds of love. Worldly society has flowered from a selfish love which dared to despise even God, whereas the communion of saints is rooted in a love of God that is ready to trample on self.

In the city of the world both the rulers themselves and the people they dominate are dominated by the lust for domination; whereas in the City of God all citizens serve one another in charity

The one city loves its leaders as symbols of its own strength; the other says to its God: ŒI love thee, O Lord, my strength.ı

...even the wise men in the city of man live according to man...