Thursday, September 24, 2009

The City of God V, 10: The freedom of God

In book five Augustine suddenly gets all theological (finally!). The main theme of the book is astrology ets. However, in V, 9 he discusses the possibility of prophecy with Cicero (who maintained that foreknowledge is impossible since it would make freedom of will impossible.

In V, 10 gets to answer the standard smartass question most theology teachers will face one day: How is it that God who is omnipotent cannot die or err.

For we do not make the life of God and the foreknowledge fo God subject to necessity if we say that it is 'necessary' for God to live forewer and to foreknow all things. By the same token, His power is not diminished when we say that He 'cannot' die or err. For this is impossible to him in such a way that, if it was possible, He would have less power. He is indeed rightly called omnipotent even though he cannot die or err. For He is called omnipotent because he does what he wills and does not undergo what He does not will: if this were not so, He certainly would not be omnipotent.
Of course, this makes it dificult for Augustine to approach the problem of theodicy, but that question is not treated here. This is to me very much not the Eastern concept of pantokrator that might be defined as to have the ability to do what one wills, but perpaps not always not undergo what one does not will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Im from Australia.

Before one even begins to talk or write about either the City of God or the Freedom of God, isnt it necessary to be really clear as to what both The Divine and hence religion are really all about.

And Freedom too.

Religion, because it is only through our inherited religious traditions and their supposedly Sacred Texts that most people, including theologians get their (mis)understandings of God, and thus by extension freedom too.

Everything that is thus said about God and Freedom is conditioned and limited by these mostly unconscious inheritances.

We have quite literally become trapped in our mind-forged manacles.


Altogether the author argues that ALL of our forms of knowledge and "theology" are ways about power and control, and hence of reducing The Divine Conscious Light to the merely mortal meat-body scale.

Or more radically of making The Divine (and everything "else")into a scapegoat.

Hence the essay re Reality and the Middle which can be found via this reference:


Plus a reference on Freedom or The Divine as Liberator from our mind forged manacles, our towers of babel.