- At the beginning of this Book, Augustine invites God to 'come into me.' What
qualities of God make this request impossible (if it is taken literally)?
oHe transcends everything and is within everything. Cannot be contained
by what he created, as he is not a bounded, mobile, divisible being. At the
same time God is the necessary condition for everything, so he’s within
Augustine already. Same amount in everything.
- What is Augustine's opinion about reading fiction?
oA misleading waste of time, it is sinful because you are reading of other’s
sins while remaining ignorant of ones own.
- What is the message of the pear-tree experience?
oStole pears for no reason other than pure mischief (twisted one of God’s
attributes) – choose lesser good
oFriendship can be dangerous, a seduction of the mind. It must subject
to reason if it is to be truly good.
- How does Augustine explain the fact that human beings act badly or follow evil?
oEvery sin a human perversion of God and goodness. Pride seeks loftiness
(God is highest), perverse curiosity is knowledge (God knows all) and
idleness is quietude (God is unchanging). Sin is choosing the lesser good.
Every action is aimed at returning to God.
- Why doesn’t Augustine accept the Manichean view of God and evil? How does
Augustine explain the existence of evil?
oGod is not all-powerful and struggles against dark material world that is
by nature evil. Augustine says it is simply the extent to which something
in God’s creation has turned from him. He argues evil is just a label for
how far something has drifted or turned away from God and that evil does
not really exist. To the extent a human is unaware
oGod is limited and does not control everything, think God has a material
body. Augustine says God is being itself and the most pure and
supreme form of existence.
- What does Augustine say regarding personal freedom? Why doesn’t God limit
- When one of Augustine’s good friends died, Augustine reflected on the nature of
friendship. What does the true friendship look like?
oDid not have a true friendship at first because sad, because he felt he
possessed him and he was taken away.
oOnly if in a right relationship with God can you be in a right relationship
with other things. We usually stop with creation but in our friendships we
should continue to the extent of the creator to be in right with creations.