...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Monday, March 2, 2015

12. St. Augustine

"I was unaware of the existence of another reality, that which truly is, and it was as if some sharp intelligence were persuading me to consent to the stupid deceivers when they asked me: 'Where does evil come from? and is God confined within a corporeal form? has he hair and nails? and can those be considered righteous who had several wives at the same time and killed people and offered animals in sacrifice?' In my ignorance I was disturbed by these questions, and while traveling away from the truth I thought I was going towards it. I did not know that evil has no existence except as a privation of good, down to that level which is altogether without being. How could I see this when for me 'to see' meant a physical act of looking with the eyes and of forming an image in the mind? I had not realized God is a Spirit, not a figure whose limbs have length and breadth and who has a mass. For mass is less in a part than in its whole, and if it is unlimited, is less in a part defined within a given space than in its unlimited extension. It is not everywhere entire as a Spirit and as God. Moreover, I was wholly ignorant of what it is in ourselves which gives us being, and how scripture is correct in saying that we are 'In God's Image.'"

[trans. Henry Chadwick]

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