By Carrie Gillespie May 5, 2011 First truly important philosopher in the Christian Platonic tradition Maintained ideals somewhere in between the classical world and medieval world His philosophy is a profound meditation on the relation between God and the human being Very focused on the ideas of free will and evil Manichaenism: Looked at reality in terms of an eternal struggle between good and evil. Body=evil, Soul=good. Humans can not help but to sin and there is no free will This let Augustine and other Manicheans atttribute their sins to a principle somehow outside of them selves Augustine became attracted to this belief at a young age. Soon Augustine was dissatisfied with this “solution” to evil and turned to neoplatoism instead Neoplatoism was an expansion of Plato’s ideals that focused more on religion Also focused on the concept of Immaterial Reality: The belief that evil is not a real feature of reality, but an incompleteness, or a lack of good. (i.e., a cavity is not a thing but a lack of calcium) After converting to Christianity Augustine remained influenced by neoplatonic ideas but changed his view on evil Now he believed that evil is not a lack of goodness, but the result of excessive self-love on the part of the sinner and the lack of sufficient love for God. Spent lots of time battling heresies and helping to form the identity of Christianity The most difficult heresy to battle was Pelagianism: This heresy over accentuates the role of free will in salvation and minimizes the role of God’s grace. It denied original sin and said humans have the ability to become righteous through free will alone. Was the opposite of the Manichees because it overemphasized free will, while Manicheanism minimized it. Augustine had the difficult task of finding the correct balance between these two extreme beliefs. If God is omniscient, then he knows the future. If he knows the future then it must unfold exactly in accordance with his knowledge. Therefore there is no freedom. If there is no freedom, then humans are not responsible for their actions. Therefore, it would be immoral to punish them for sins. Problem: Either God is omniscient but immoral, or he is benevolent but ignorant 1. 2. 3. For God there is no past or future. Only an eternal present. Everything exists in an eternal moment. God is outside of time. God’s knowledge of the world entails necessity, but to deny that necessity is incompatible with freedom. Freedom is the capacity to do what one wants and one can do what one wants even if God (or anyone else) already knows what that person wants.