Monday, May 09, 2011

Augustine:  Orthodox?

"There are four views about souls:  (1) they come into being by propagation; (2) they are created individually for each person who is born; (3) they already exist elsewhere and are sent by God into the bodies of those who are born; (4) they sink into bodies by their own choice.  It would be rash to affirm any of these.  For the Catholic commentators on Scripture have not solved or shed light on this obscure and perplexing question; or if they have, I have not yet come across any such writing." - On Free Choice of the Will, book III.

Note that this still is a long way from allowing reincarnation into Augustine's theology, but vastly more flexible than I would have imagined.  The issue for Augustine is one of priority:

"What matters is that we have the faith to believe nothing false or unworthy about the nature of the Creator, for in our journey of piety we are aiming at him."

And to make this a bit more specific:

"But if any error arrogates to itself the role of divine authority, it is most forcefully refuted if it requires one to believe or affirm that there is any changeable form other than God's creation, or that there is any changeable form inn the nature of God, or that the divine nature is anything more or less than the Trinity.  Indeed, the pious and sober understanding of the Trinity is the focus of all Christian attention and the goal of all Christian progress."

The work of Jesus on the cross being the means by which we have the hope of attaining the presence and knowledge of God.

2 comments:

Delirious said...

Our beliefs fall somewhere between his. lol We believe that God the Father is the literal father of our spirits, and that we are his spirit children. We existed in a premortal world, and were present when the "war in heaven" occurred, and the devil and his angels were cast down. We there awaited our own mortal births.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" Romans 8:16

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" Heb. 12:9

Looney said...

Both of those verses I love, but I would give a bit different interpretation. The view that I am familiar with is that we become children of God only through a spiritual birth, and this doesn't happen until we accept and confess Jesus as our savior.

Other than Christ's pre-mortal existence, I generally don't take any position on the origin of souls.