Augustine and Determinism
Augustine, in his Confessions, said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Amen, brother! I agree. We can trace the image of Christ, which this sentiment is most certainly a reflection of, in just about everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.
But we can also see, as we can in all of us, the marring of that image through bad behavior as well as bad teaching. While the above statement shows a God of love, much of Augustine’s views paint God as one who ruled the worlds with rigor rather than with love. Nothing brings this out more than his dualistic theology, which goes hand-in-hand with the doctrone of eternal torment.
Augustine, before his conversion, held to a dualistic pagan belief called Manichaeism. This held that all the good and evil came from two principles – “the wholly good” or “the wholly evil.” These two opposite and conflicting ideas, after his conversion, seem to be united in the one God. As a result, his followers made the just God of the Bible the author of both sin and righteousness! They claimed that sin, as well as righteousness, were necessary as the result of an eternal, predeterminate, and unchangeable decree of God. As a result, they claimed all the actions of men and angels, regardless of how good or evil, are and always will be appointed and irrevocably established.
Should we follow Augustine’s syncretistic blend of Manichaeism with the true and living God?