Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Augustine: On Hell.

"But enough has been said in reply to those who acknowledge the authority of the same sacred Scriptures as ourselves, but who, by a mistaken interpretation of them, conceive of the future rather as they themselves wish, then as the Scriptures teach." - City of God, Book 21, chapter 27.

I am nearing the end of Augustine's City of God for the second time.  Book 21 is all about Hell.  It is about the eternity of punishment in a literal fire for those who refuse to accept Christ and turn from their sins.  What astounds me about this is the amount of words to be expended on the topic.  This shouldn't have been necessary, but it turns out that a very large number of arguments had been generated against the notion that men could be punished for their sins.  Much of the arguing seems to have resulted from an attempt to reconcile the Bible with neo-Platonism.  One thing that stands out to me is the inferiority of the modernists in their re-formulation of the same old arguments.  They are usually incredibly simplistic compared to the arguments of 16 centuries earlier.  On the other hand, modern Bible believers have little patience for such discussions either.  Yet at the same time, both the modern Bible believer and the intellectual modernist/post-modernist believe that we are living in an enlightened era where studying these earlier writings is quite unnecessary.  I am gradually learning to accept the conclusion - that it is pointless to study the past - but for the opposite reason.

2 comments:

Dee Ice Hole said...

It has been said that the ONLY THING WE LEARN FROM HISTORY---IS THAT WE DON'T LEARN FROM HISTORY!!!!!~

Looney said...

Well said! I suppose one could argue that we learn from the mistakes of the past ... so that we can repeat them!