The Two Forms of Love in the City of God by St. Augustine Essay

The Two Forms of Love in the City of God by St. Augustine Essay

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The City of God
“Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.” (14.28) Love, in a present-day definition is normally a good thing. According to the brilliant St. Augustine, that would depend on the nature of the love in understanding. In his book, The City of God, Augustine skillfully drew upon two loves: on one hand, a love which is holy: agape, unselfish love, and on the other hand a love which is unholy: distorted love of self; selfishness. Augustine identifies with unselfish love, which is holy love, the love of God, and following God’s rules according to the bible. As contrasted to its opposite, love of self is to the point of contempt of God and neighbor in which these two loves conflict. In this essay, I will give a brief background of the author; I will be discussing the topic of love in The City of God, but more specifically, Augustine’s perception of self-love.
Saint Augustine of Hippo was born on November 13, 354, in the town of Thagaste, which is now located in Algeria. His father was a pagan who converted on his death bed, and his mother was Saint Monica, whom was a devout Christian. In 370, he went to the University at Carthage to study rhetoric and wanted to become a lawyer. He gave up on law, and later on abandoned his Christian faith. He had a mistress with who he lived with for fifteen years and he had a son out of wedlock as well. He later, returned to his Christian faith, and on the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave all of his income to the poor, and founded a monastery at Tagas...


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... hand, a love which is holy: agape, unselfish love, and on the other hand a love which is unholy: distorted love of self; selfishness. Augustine clearly acknowledged unselfish love, which is holy love, the love of God. Augustine’s philosophy of love of self is defined as self-seeking and egotistical. The two self-loves are entirely divergent. One is self-giving, selfless, self-sacrificing, and the other is self-centered. One builds up; the other idea of love is self-destructive. One turns to God, and the other turns away from God. In my opinion, I think it is almost impossible in today’s world to live in the way that Augustine accepts. Nevertheless, I can agree somewhat due to the fact that he referring towards an eternal life with God in a Christian sense of thinking. In our secular culture of today's culture, many more people are beginning to turn away from God.

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