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Augustine and Christianity

The influence of Augustine's views are timeless. What are the two contributions he made to the Christian world without addressing his views on the human body, sex and marriage and how did such views replicate in particular circumstances in his life. Are they traceable in certain moments of his life?

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Augustine (354-430), the well renowned philosopher and theologian, left his indelible mark through many contributions of philosophical and theological nature. His influence was such that Harnack thought that the miserable existence of the Roman Empire in the West was prolonged until Augustine's time, only to permit his influence to be exercised on universal history. Harnack was convinced that the influence of Augustine is timeless [Cavadini, J.C. (1999). Harnack, Adolf von. In A.D. Fitzgerald (Ed.), Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (414-416). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co.].
His versatility is due to his capability of obtaining useful and meaningful aspects from the classical world. In fact for him Christians should take whatever is valuable from the classical world just as the Jews took valuable things from Egypt before leaving the land with Moses. It is really difficult to choose only two from the various contributions he made; I think the following two are very significant: Grace and Eschatology. The doctrine of grace deals with freewill, while his doctrine of eschatology treats with his understanding of history.
A. Grace: Augustine's conception of Grace is well elaborated in his books entitled De gratia et libero arbitrio (On Grace and Free Will) and De Libero Arbitrio (On Free Choice of the Will). His argument was based on the fact that there are some people who suppose that the freedom of the will is denied whenever God's grace is maintained, and those who on their side defend their liberty of will so imperatively as to deny the grace of God. This grace, as they assert, is bestowed according to our own merits. Having said this let's see how he treated the three points.
? Freewill is denied whenever God's grace is maintained. The Holy Scriptures teach that God endowed man with free choice of will, a free determination of will for living rightly and acting rightly. Even God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will. In that case, he will obtain the promised rewards, if he observed the precepts. He elaborated this argument while writing against Pelagian heresy that postulated all human actions as predestined by God and therefore beyond the control of human will.
? As far as we are free the grace of God is not needed. Here he argues that grace is necessary together with freewill for man to lead a good life. He gave as example saying that it was to Timothy's freewill that the apostle pleaded, when he exhorted him in these words: Keep yourself pure (1 Tim 5:22). The same thing goes for his comment ...

Solution Summary

Augustine (354-430), the well renowned philosopher and theologian, left his indelible mark through many contributions of philosophical and theological nature. It is really difficult to choose only two from the various contributions he made; I think the following two are very significant: Grace and Eschatology. The doctrine of grace deals with freewill, while his doctrine of eschatology treats with his understanding of history.
A. Grace: Augustine's argument was based on the fact that there are some people who suppose that the freedom of the will is denied whenever God's grace is maintained, and those who on their side defend their liberty of will so imperatively as to deny the grace of God. He argued that grace is necessary together with freewill for man to lead a good life. The grace goes beyond our merits and is given not only when there is nothing good in us, but even when there are many evils.
B. Eschatology: In presenting the history Augustine was very original. He provided a linear model that presents history as the dramatic unfolding of a morally decisive set of non-repeatable events. The whole history or history of salvation is moving forward towards one end. The details are not for us to know but the direction and the conclusion can be foreseen or deduced.
There is also a long discussion about Grace and Eschatology in reference to his life. For Augustine conversion reconfigures each individual life as playing out the whole of sacred history in a microcosm. Therefore his own conversion, well explained in his book "Confessions", was read typologically applying Christ event.

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