St Augustine: Improve Your Essay Technique

Furthermore, in arguing that it is human nature to be sinful, Augustine alludes to a predetermined future which has often be criticised for undermining God’s gift of free will, and this makes his deeply pessimistic argument incompatible with Christian theology. In assigning natural evil as a fitting punishment, God’s justice is called into question, because David Hume argued that a God of classical Theism should not allow infinite punishment for the finite sin of our ancestors, Adam and Eve. This is a very clever point, as the perpetuation of human suffering seems to contradict God’s omnibenevolence. It could therefore be suggested that Augustine’s view of human nature is deeply pessimistic as the allowance of infinite suffering suggests that humanity can never be healed of their damaged will. Augustine’s pessimistic ideas that we are beyond rescue and are always inclined to do wrong can, however, be found in Romans 7:15-24, as St. Paul writes ‘For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out’ and this enhances the credibility to Augustine’s argument. However, it is nevertheless deeply pessimistic to argue this, and Aquinas’s Natural Law theory can be used as an example of an alternative interpretation of scripture. Aquinas’ synderesis rule to ‘do good and avoid evil’ affirms the idea that we are naturally inclined towards goodness, as Aristotle would agree, because this is our telos. Aquinas argued that we are made with the inbuilt sense of recta ratio, and this seems more compatible with central doctrines of Christianity, including that we are all made in God’s perfect image (imago dei). Thus, Aristotle and Aquinas would argue that Augustine’s view of human nature is deeply pessimistic as it neglects the important role of goodness in human nature.

One thought on “St Augustine: Improve Your Essay Technique

  1. user

    Could have used a another point of view to argue against their line of argument to make their introduction stronger.

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