The City of God
by Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo. ) (2009)
"The human mind can understand truth only by thinking, as is clear from Augustine."--Saint Thomas Aquinas Saint Augustine of Hippo is one of the central figures in the history of Christianity, and this book is one of his greatest theological works. Written as an eloquent defense of the faith at a time when the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse, it examines the ancient pagan religions of Rome, the arguments of the Greek philosophers and the revelations of the Bible. Pointing the way forward to a citizenship that transcends worldly politics and will last for eternity, this book is one of the most influential documents in the development of Christianity. 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 the charge that Christianity was to blame for the fall of Rome (which had occurred just three years earlier). Indeed, Augustine produced a wealth of evidence to prove that paganism bore within itself the seeds of its own destruction. However, over the next thirteen years that it took to complete the work, the brilliant ecclesiastic proceeded to his larger theme: a cosmic interpretation of history in terms of the struggle between good and evil. By means of his contrast of the earthly and heavenly cities--the one pagan, self-centered, and contemptuous of God and the other devout, God-centered, and in search of grace--Augustine explored and interpreted human history in relation to eternity.
For if even a human workman, who has, for some reason, made a deformed statue, can recast it and make it very beautiful, and this without suffering any part of the substance, but only the deformity to be lost,—if he can, for example, remove some unbecoming or disproportionate part, not by cutting off and separating this part from the whole, but by so breaking down and mixing up the whole as to get rid of the blemish without diminishing the quantity of his material,—shall we not think as highly of the almighty Worker? Shall He not be able to remove and abolish all deformities of the human body, whether common ones or rare and monstrous, which, though in keeping with this miserable life, are yet not to be thought of in connection with that future blessedness; and shall He not be able so to remove them that, while the natural but unseemly blemishes are put an end to, the natural substance shall suffer no diminution? (p.805)
KeywordsTheology, Church History, Christianity, Church Fathers, God, Religious Views On Work
ThemesCatholicism, Religious Views on Work
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