What Augustine Says

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What Augustine Says

Revised, Second Edition

Norman Geisler

2013

 

 

 

This 230-page e-book is an electronic book in the PDF format.  It is also available on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

We do are not offering a printed version at this time but the PDF is optimized for printing on 8.5″x 11″ paper.  Also, the first edition of this book (1982) can be purchased as a printed book from Wipf and Stock.

 

 

 

Contents

 

Preface. 11

Sources and Abbreviations. 12

Chapter 1: Faith and Reason. 13

I. Reason initially precedes faith. 13

A. Reason helps one judge whether authority is credible. 13

B. Reason precedes faith in reality, not in time. 14

C. Reason tells us that it is reasonable to believe what we cannot ascertain by reason. 14

D. Reason helps us understand the contents of what is to be believed. 15

E. Reason helps us to believe what we cannot see. 15

F. Reason removes objections to belief. 15

G. Reason persuaded by evidence can call one to faith. 16

II. Faith precedes full understanding. 16

A. Faith logically precedes understanding. 16

B. Faith logically proceeds toward understanding. 17

III. Faith rewards reason with clear understanding. 18

A. Faith overcomes deception, the result of sin. 18

B. Only faith can overcome deception. 19

IV. Reason is adequate to demonstrate God’s existence. 20

A. The existence of God can be proven by reason. 20

B. All truth is God’s truth. 23

C. Plato would be a Christian today. 24

D. Reason is inherently more excellent than faith. 24

V. Reason confirms faith with evidence. 25

A. Faith is confirmed through historical miracles. 25

B. with is confirmed through fulfilled prophecy. 28

C. with is confirmed through the conversion of pagans. 29

D. Faith is confirmed through the nature of the Bible. 29

VI. Faith is more profound than reason. 30

A. Faith and reason are distinguishable. 30

B. Faith transcends reason. 30

VII. Faith and reason complement each other. 31

A. Faith and reason are separate sources of truth. 31

B. Faith and reason never contradict 31

VIII. Faith and reason can be used to show truth in an extraordinary manner. 32

Chapter 2: The Bible. 33

I. The Inspiration of the Bible. 33

II. The Authority of the Bible. 36

III. The Inerrancy of the Bible. 39

A. The Bible does not contradict itself. 39

B. The Bible contains no errors. 40

C. The Bible refutes the claims of higher criticism.. 44

IV. The Canonicity of the Bible. 46

A. The Extent of the canon. 46

B. The Closing of the canon. 47

C. The Principles of Canonicity. 48

D. Augustine’s mistaken views on the canon. 49

E. Augustine’s inconsistency on the canon. 50

Chapter 3: God’s Attributes. 51

I. God’s nature. 51

A. Aseity. 51

B. Immutability. 53

C. Indivisibility. 57

D. Omnipresence. 58

E. Omnipotence. 59

F. Immateriality. 59

G. Eternality. 60

II. God’s relation to time. 61

A. The nature of time. 61

B. The relation of time and the act of creation. 66

C. God’s knowledge of time. 71

D. God’s will and time. 73

E. God’s acts and time. 73

Chapter Four: Christ. 75

I. Humanity: Christ as man. 75

A. Christ’s human nature was full and complete. 75

B. Christ’s human nature was necessary for our salvation. 80

C. Christ as man is the second Adam. 82

D. Christ as man necessitates the resurrection of the dead. 83

E. Christ as man judges man on the basis of His humanity. 83

II. Deity: Christ as God. 83

A. Christ’s divine nature is full and complete. 83

B. Christ as God is inseparable from the Father. 86

C. Christ’s actions are as God’s. 89

D. Christ as God is the Mediator for men with God. 91

III. Humanity and Deity: Christ as God and man united in one person. 92

A. Christ incarnate is simultaneously human and divine. 92

B. Christ has both “form of God” and “form of servant.”. 93

C. Christ as the Word (logos) is begotten of the Father. 97

D. Christ as man and God exists in both time and eternity (see also 240-242, 259-261). 99

Chapter 5: Human Beings. 101

I. The creation, of human beings. 101

A. Human beings were created by God. 101

B. Humans are made in God’s image. 103

C. God has created man to have dominion over the animals. 106

D. Whether the soul is originated through creation or by propagation is yet to be decided. 106

E. Humans are meant to be in subjection to God. 108

F. Human happiness depends on God. 108

II. The nature of human beings. 109

A. Humans are a composite being: soul and body. 109

B. Man possesses a material part: the body. 109

C. Man possesses immaterial parts. 113

D. Material and immaterial are related. 118

E. Human nature is good in itself (see also chapter 8, Evil). 122

F. Human nature has been corrupted by evil (see also 602-611). 123

III. The fall of the Human Race (see also 496-510). 124

A. The whole human race was involved in original sin. 124

B. Humans are born in sin. 125

C. Original sin brought condemnation on the entire race. 125

D. The whole human race was corrupted by original sin. 126

E. The human race is wholly corrupted by sin. 127

F. Original sin resulted in death. 127

G. The soul lost its mastery over the body. 128

Chapter 6: Salvation. 129

I. God and salvation. 129

A. The order of God’s decrees. 129

B. Predestination. 131

C. Election. 134

II. Christ and salvation. 137

A. Christ: the basis of true universal faith. 137

B. The extent of Christ’s atonement 137

C. The nature of Christ’s atonement: penal substitution. 139

D. The effects of Christ’s atonement 143

E. Christ as priest-mediator. 148

F. The necessity of Christ’s incarnation for His death. 150

III. The Holy Spirit and salvation. 152

A. God’s Holy Spirit is the effectual agent in the effectual call. 152

B. God’s Holy Spirit is the continuous witness of God’s love for man. 154

IV. God’s revelation and salvation. 155

A. Creation is a witness to the creator. 155

B. Scripture is a witness to the Saviour. 155

V. The witness and help of others in salvation. 158

A. The benefits of the prayers and witness of others. 158

B. The relation of works and salvation. 159

C. Relation of baptism and forgiveness of sins. 160

Chapter 7: Free Will and Grace. 163

I. The nature of free will. 163

A. Free will is first defined. 163

B. Free will is a created good. 163

C. Free will implies the ability to do evil. 163

D. Free will entails moral responsibility. 164

E. Free will involves the power not to sin. 164

F. Free will involves the power to believe or not believe. 164

G. Free will allows one to perform free acts. 165

II. Free will and the fall. 168

A. Sin arises when the will chooses a lower good (see 625). 168

B. Human beings fell voluntarily, without compulsion. 169

C. Fallen humans have lost the freedom to do good without God’s help. 170

D. Fallen persons retain free will to do evil. 171

E. Fallen persons retain freedom to accept God’s grace. 172

III. The need for grace to aid free will. 173

A. All evil comes from an evil will. 173

B. Grace is needed to overcome an evil will. 173

C. Only the redeemed are truly free. 174

D. Grace is needed to keep God’s laws. 175

E. Grace is needed to perform any good act. 176

E. Even faith is a gift of God. 176

G. But God’s gifts are received by free choice. 177

H. However, there is no merit in our free will. 180

IV. The nature and function of grace with free will. 181

V. Some problems in human understanding of grace and free will. 182

C. Does God desire all men to be saved?. 183

E. Is God’s saving grace resistible?. 185

F.  Is God’s saving grace compulsive?. 187

G. Why is it just to save only some?. 189

H. Is it fair to condemn infants who have made no free choice?. 190

Chapter 8: Evil. 193

I. Every substance as such is good. 193

A. All of God’s Creation is Good. 193

B. There is no evil substance (see 602-604). 194

C. All who depart from goodness show they were created good. 195

D. No departures from goodness are from God. 195

II. The Supreme Good is Incorruptible. 196

A. Created Good Results From a Good Creator. 196

B. The Supreme Good is Eternal and Incorruptible. 196

C. The Supreme Good is Separate From Corruptible Substance. 197

III. Only created Goods are Corruptible. 198

A. All substance is created by God. 198

B. Created goods are corruptible because they are mutable. 198

C. Created goods differ in degree. 199

D. Corruption results from abandoning untreated good. 199

IV. Evil is not a Substance. 200

A. Evil tends toward nonexistence. 200

B. Evil has no positive nature. 200

C. All created substance is good. 200

V. Evil is a Corruption of Substance. 201

A. Evil is defined as “corruption.”. 201

B. Evil as corruption is contrary to nature. 201

C. Corruption is the result of sin. 202

D. The source of this sin is the will (see also 618-628). 202

VI. Evil is not caused by God. 203

A. God is incorruptible, therefore He cannot cause corruption. 203

B. God did not cause the first evil will. 203

C. God cannot be the cause of evil. 204

D. God is not to be blamed for the creature’s faults. 204

E. God permits evil so that we will desire the future blessed life. 204

VII. The Abuse of Freedom is the Cause of Evil. 205

A. Evil came through freedom (see 473-500). 205

B. Evil is freely turning from the infinite good to the lesser good (see 601). 205

C. Pride is the beginning of evil. 207

D. Man’s misuse of freedom is possible due to his being made out of nothing. 207

E. All men are affected by the first parents’ turn from good (see 373-385). 207

VIII. Evil Never Completely Corrupts Good. 208

A. Every damaged nature was originally good. 208

B. Evil is defect in created good. 208

C. Evil is never total. 208

IX. Evil is Part of a Total Picture of Good. 209

A. God foresaw but permitted evil. 209

B. It was good for God to permit evil. 210

C. God accomplishes a greater good by permitting evil. 210

Chapter 9: Ethics 213

I. The Love Ethic. 213

A. Supreme love. 213

B. The love of God. 213

C. The love of self. 214

D. Love and virtues. 215

E. Virtue and Christianity. 218

F. Virtue, a precondition of truth. 218

II. Ethical Dilemmas. 218

A. General Conflicts. 218

B. Special Cases. 220

III. Specific Ethical Issues. 221

A. War. 221

B. Suicide. 222

C. Lying. 222

D. Rape. 224

E. Sex. 224

F. Nudity. 225

G. Gluttony. 225

H. Ethics and Progressive Revelation. 226

Appendix One: Early and Late Augustine on Free Will and Grace. 228

Key Influences on Augustine’s Change of View on Free Will and Grace. 228

Some Contrasts between the Early and Later View of Augustine on Grace and Free Will 228

Key Books Involved in the Early and Late View on Grace and Free Will 229