St. Augustine and being: A Metaphysical Essay by James F. Anderson

By James F. Anderson

The thoroughly metaphysical size of Augustine's suggestion has obtained little distinct recognition between students - even "Scholastics. " The Thomist metaphysicians - in particular we "Anglo-Saxon" ones - obtain first honors for being the main neglectful of all. Why? I t is a confusing phenomenon relatively within the mild of the actual fact (recognized by way of virtually each Thomist) that the very life of Thomas the theologian is impossible except his pre-eminent Christian mentor within the highbrow lifestyles, the Bishop of Hippo. it's a complicated phenomenon simply because, even if the Christian metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas isn't the Christian metaphysics of Augustine, those metaphysics couldn't be easily against each other, else the theologies in which they workout the imperative functionality of important rational organs may themselves be discordant. yet what first rate "Scholas­ tic" could deny that, of their crucial educating approximately God and the issues of God, the idea of those masters is remarkably congruent? may perhaps I recommend that one of many significant purposes for this paradoxical overlook of Augustinian metaphysics at the a part of Thomists (above all, within the English-speaking international) is their simplistic assumption that while Aquinas was once an Aristotelian in phi­ losophy, Augustine was once a Platonist, although in theology they have been considerably at one - as though there can be theological contract, officially talking, even the place there's metaphysical war of words, officially speaking.

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1 But Augustine gives to that method fresh content in the light of Christian doctrine, proceeding not to the Plotinian impersonal One but to the subsistent Truth in Person. 3 The world of Augustine is a mirror wherein thought sees the reflection of God in all created things. What are they but beckoning signs of Hirn? " 4 Augustine's general "proof" of the existence of Truth, or God, consists in one continuous dialectical movement, including an initial doubt, its refutation, the discovery of the external world through sensible knowledge, the surpassing of this order in the discovery of the intelligible world by reflection upon the nature of truth, and finally the transcending of all particular truths in order to rise to their source which is Truth itself.

T. I, p. 159. " 01'. , p. 267, n. 2. 12 (PL 42,610); On Faith and Greed, II, 2 (PL 40, 181). CREATION AND FORMATION 37 former: in giving form God simultaneously gives esse, and in giving esse He simultaneously gives form. " 1 Why? Because form gives a thing that determinate unity without which it could not be. " 5 Thus "peace," which for Augustine is a properly analogical term applicable to all things, signifies balance, harmony, equilibrium, concord in every sphere of being involving order, whether animate or inanimate, corporeal or incorporeal, appetitive or intellectual, civic or domestic, human or divine.

Quae facta sunt, mutabilia sunt, quia de nihiIo facta sunt, id est, non fuerunt, et Deo faciente, sunt, et bona sunt: a bonD enim facta sunt; nec omnino essent mutabilia bona ulla, in quantum sunt, nisi esset a quo crearentur, immutabile bonum. " Incomplete Work Againstjulian V, 60 (PL 45, 1495). " ... " On the Nature 01 the Good, X (PL 42, 554-55). • ut ... bona ... sine malis esse possint, sieut Deus ipse verus et summu, .... " The City 01 God, XIV, 1LI (PL 41,418). " Ibid. BEING AND NON-BEING 25 is the theatre of continual destructions; else life would be impossible.!

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