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even among those who on principle assume that the soul is a creature, opinions differ as to the mode of its creation. Some hold that God directly created only the soul of Adam and that the souls of other men are produced per traducem. This theory (which undoubtedly favors St. Augustine's doctrine concerning the transmission of Adam's sin to his descendants) is materialistic, for it considers the soul as capable of being communicated and divided. Others maintain that souls were created, but existed before bodies; they were not introduced into them until after the Fall; the object of their captivity being the expiation of the errors of a previous life. This doctrine, which Plato holds, is disproved by the fact that we have not the slightest recollection of any such state of pre-existence. Plato finds that even illiterate persons will, upon proper questioning, assert great mathematical truths, and concludes therefrom that such persons existed prior to the present, and that the ideas aroused in their minds by our inquiries are but reminiscences. But his hypothesis loses its force when we remember that such ideas may be developed by the Socratic method in all minds endowed with common

If they are reminiscences, it would have to be assumed that all men were geometricians and mathematicians in their pre-existent state ; which, judging from the small number of transcendental mathematicians among the human race, seems very improbable. Plato's argument in favor of pre-existence would perhaps have more weight in case great mathematical truths could be extracted only from a few minds. Finally, there is a third conception, according to which souls are created as soon as bodies are created. This theory is more in line with spiritualistic principles, although it is not so good a support for the dogma of original sin as the others,

The immortality of the soul necessarily follows from its rational nature. Reason brings the soul into immediate


communion with eternal truth; indeed, the soul and truth constitute but one and the same substance, as it were. The death of the soul would mean its utter separation from truth; but what finite being would be powerful enough to produce such a violent rupture ? and why should God, who is truth personified, produce it? Are not thought, meditation, and the contemplation of divine things independent of the senses, independent of the body and of matter? Hence, when the body turns into dust, why should that which is independent of it perish with it?!

In rejecting the notion of pre-existence, St. Augustine also abandons the theory of innate ideas, or rather, he modifies it. He assumes, with Plato, that when God formed the human soul, he endowed it with eternal ideas, the principles and norms of reason and will. Thus interpreted, St. Augustine accepts the doctrine of innate ideas. He denies, however, that these ideas are reminiscences or survivals of a pre-existent state, and he does so on the ground that if such a theory were true, we would not be creatures, but gods. He rejects the doctrine of pre-existence because it implies an existence that has no beginning. He also becomes more and more suspicious of the theory of innate ideas, because the theory might lead one to conclude that ideas existed originally in the human soul and were not implanted a posteriori by a being outside of the soul. St. Augustine's chief aim is to elevate God by debasing man; to represent the latter as a wholly passive being who owes nothing to himself and everything to God. In the words of the Apostle: - What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hast not received it?"2 Man as such is the personitication of impotence and nothingness. Whatever he possesses, he has received from others.


i De immortalitate animae, I., 4, 6. 2 St. Paul, 1 Corinthians, IV. 7.

The human soul is passive, receptive, contemplative, and nothing more. It receives its knowledge of sensible things through the senses; it receives its moral and religious notions through the instrumentality of the Spirit. It owes its conception of the external world to the terrestrial light surrounding its body, and its knowledge of celestial things to the heavenly light which forms its spiritual en vironment. However, this interior light, which is nothing but God himself, is not outside of us; if it were, God would be an extended and material being; it is in us without being identical with us. In it and through it we perceive the eternal forms of things, or as Plato calls them, the Ideas, the immutable essences of passing realities. God himself is the form of all things, that is, the eternal law of their origin, development, and existence. He is the Idea of the ideas, and, consequently, the true reality, for reality dwells not in the visible but in the invisible; it is not found in matter but in the Idea.1

St. Augustine's idealism, which comes from Plato and anticipates Malebranche's vision in God and Schelling's intellectual intuition, was, like his philosophy in general, subjected to the influence of the theological system championed by him during the latter part of his life. The inner light, which reveals to the thinker God and the eternal types of things, seems to him to grow dimmer and dimmer, the more convinced he becomes of the fall and radical corruption of human nature. Reason, which, before the Fall, was the organ of God and the infallible revealer of celestial things, is obscured by sin; the inner light changes

; into darkness. Had it remained pure, God would not have had to incarnate himself in Jesus Christ in order to reveal himself to humanity. Reason would have wholly sufficed to reclaim the lost human race. But the word was made

1 De civ. Dei, XIII., 24; De lib. arbitrio, II., 3, 6; De immort. anim., 6.

flesh, and, the inner light being obscured, the Father of fight appealed to our senses in order to transmit through them what reason was no longer able to give us. In this way, Augustine the theologian transforms the idealism of Augustine the philosopher into sensualism.

The moral ideas of St. Augustine suffer the same changes. His conceptions rise far beyond the general level of patristic ethics, when Plato inspires his thought. In his polemic against moral philosophy, Lactantius had declared in true Epicurean fashion: Non est, ut aiunt, propter seipsam virtus expetenda, sed propter vitam beatam, quæ virtutem necessario sequitur,1 and Tertullian had written the words : Bonum atque optimum est quod Deus præcepit. Audaciam existimo de bono divini præcepti disputare. Neque enim quia bonum est, idcirco auscultare debemus, sed quia Deus præcepit.? St. Augustine's reply to Lactantius is, that virtue and not happiness constitutes the highest goal of free activity, or the sovereign good. He opposes to eudæmonism ethical idealism. Against the indeterminism of Tertullian he raises the objection that the moral law does not depend on any one, but that it is itself the absolute. The divine will does not make goodness, beauty, and truth; absolute goodness, absolute beauty, and absolute truth constitute the will of God. Is the moral law good because God is the highest lawgiver? No. We regard him who has given us the moral law as the highest lawgiver, because it is good. A thing is not bad because God forbids it; God forbids it because it is bad. St. Jercme and St. Chrysostom condoned and even authorized official falsehood. Permit falsehood, and you permit sin ! answers the Bishop of Hippo.4

St. Augustine is perfectly aware of the insoluble difficulties which the problem of human freedom considered in its relations to divine prescience, and the question of the i Inst. Dir., III., 12.

? De pænitentia, IV. 3 De lib. arbitr., I., 3.

4 Contra mendacium, c. 15.

origin of evil present. If God foresees our actions, these lose their fortuitous character and become necessary. Then how are we to explain free-will, responsibility, and sin ? If God is the source of all things, must we not also assume that evil proceeds from his will? And even if evil were only privation, the absence of good, would not this lack of virtue be caused by the refusal of the divine will to enlighten the soul and to turn it in the direction of the good ?

The philosophical reasons inclining St. Augustine towards determinism are supplemented by religious reasons. He feels that he is a sinner and incapable of being saved through his own efforts. The natural man is the slave of evil, and divine grace alone can make him free. Now, divine grace cannot be brought about by man; it is entirely dependent on God's freedom. God saves man because he desires it, but he does not save all men. He chooses among them, and destines a certain number for salvation. This election is an eternal act on his part, antecedent to the creation of man. That is, some men are predestined for salvation, others are not. St. Augustine ignores the question of predestination for damnation, as far as he can, but it is logically impossible for him to escape this necessary consequence of his premise.

However superior his teaching may be to that of Pelagius his adversary, it is plain that, as soon as his thought enters upon the path of theological fatalism, it gradually sinks to the level of the ethics of Lactantius and Tertul. lian. The determinism in which his metaphysical specu lations culminate is absolute, embracing man and God in its scope ; while the determinism postulated by his religious consciousness applies only to man and leaves God absolutely undetermined. For Augustine the thinker, abso

1 De civ. Dei, XX. ; Je gratia Dei et lib. arb., 6; De prædestinatione sanctorum, 18: De præd. et gratia, 2.

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