Monday, May 5, 2014

"City of God" X.11-12

Chapter 11:
The neo-Platonists (especially Porphyry) seem to understand that something is amiss in their view of the spiritual world, but despite asking all the right questions just can't quite seem to come to the correct conclusion. Instead, they remain lost in speculation and inane musings and never come to the truth of the Christian faith. (Though of course some do by grace--Augustine himself among them.)

Chapter 12:
In contrast to these false speculations, the Christian God stands as the Lord of creation and existence, creating and shaping all things by His power and according to His will. We know this is true because of the miracles He works, though of course from His perspective these are not "miracles" so much as they are "pre-planned displays of Divine power and wisdom." This includes the miracle of creation itself:
But, as the Creator Himself is hidden and incomprehensible to man, so also is the manner of creation.  Although, therefore, the standing miracle of this visible world is little thought of, because always before us, yet, when we arouse ourselves to contemplate it, it is a greater miracle than the rarest and most unheard-of marvels.  For man himself is a greater miracle than any miracle done through his instrumentality.  Therefore God, who made the visible heaven and earth, does not disdain to work visible miracles in heaven or earth, that He may thereby awaken the soul which is immersed in  things visible to worship Himself, the Invisible.  But the place and time of these miracles are dependent on His unchangeable will, in which things future are ordered as if already they were accomplished.  For He moves things temporal without Himself moving in time, He does not in one way know things that are to be, and, in another, things that have been; neither does He listen to those who pray otherwise than as He sees those that will pray.  For, even when His angels hear us, it is He Himself who hears us in them, as in His true temple not made with hands, as in those men who are His saints; and His answers, though accomplished in time, have been arranged by His eternal appointment.
 The absolute sovereignty of God and His will for human (and all) existence is the Christian response to the call from the world to worship false gods.

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