Augustine´s View on the Origins of Sin, Grace, and Free Will

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Augustine uses the genre of an autobiography to demonstrate his thoughts on how he ultimately accepted Christianity and his development as a Christian in his work, Confessions. The beauty of his book is that even though it is presented as an autobiography, the events depicted show the mysterious yet graceful acts of God and his journey through those very events. He presented many ideas, but focused primarily on his ideas of the origins of sin, grace, and free will. In some ways, Augustine describes a free will that cannot be understood without considering the nature of sin and grace. Free will is a result of God’s grace and must lead to saving people from sin. In his view, free will, grace, and sin are entirely intertwined. In fact, Augustine’s philosophy even influenced great Christian thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas. Augustine’s view were in some ways a base for Aquinas to expand and develop his own. Augustine’s views on these subjects have served as a strong foundation for Catholicism today. His opinions on lust, which Augustine felt was one of the worst possible sins, and sin in general, still resonate today in the church. Using his life as an example, Augustine illustrates how sin and free will are intertwined with the grace of God in a way that, moreover, shows the sovereignty of God.

Augustine devotes much of his Confessions to a discussion of the nature of sin. He tells his story of when, as a young boy, he knocked pears off of a pear tree. Late one night, he went out with his friends and started to shake pears off the tree, not to eat them but to feed them to pigs. Upon reflection, Augustine realized that “The evil in me was not foul, but I loved it. I loved my own perdition and my own faults, not the things for the ...

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...great Christian thinkers. Not only are his ideas valuable for anyone who is struggling with their faith but also the method of his delivery is extremely important. Since he uses his life as a representation of the fall from God and God’s redemption of humanity, it is easy for people reading his work to fully grasp his ideas. Similarly, the reader is able to live through Augustine’s struggles and triumphs in a way that is easily relatable. Additionally, Augustine raises points that are still vital in today’s society. His discussion about free will, grace, and sin are applicable today to people struggling with finding their own faith. Autobiographical stories allow the reader to see the author’s struggles and it makes the ideas easier to grasp. Through Augustine’s approach readers can relate to his trials and his exploration of free will, grace, and sin comes alive.

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