希波的奥古斯丁（354 ~ 430），罗马帝国的一个伟大的基督教思想家，也被认为是欧洲中世纪神哲学的重要代表之一。他对西方基督徒做出了巨大的贡献。他建立了自己的美学理论体系，从不同的角度，神学和哲学。根据奥古斯丁，所有的美来自神和创造美的艺术是人类心灵的需要。（杰姆斯奥唐奈，1985）的宗教神秘主义，他的美学思想对后世产生了深远的影响。此外，在他看来，世界上的万事万物都是由上帝的语言而不是任何材料和工具创建的。同时，定义的“原罪”和“正义的战争”是诬陷他。他阐述了他的神学思想如洗礼，创造不同的角度，占星术和奥古斯丁留下了许多珍贵的作品背后等。最重要的是忏悔，上帝和三位一体的城市。在本文中，在神的城市的主要神学思想作了简要的介绍。
Augustine of Hippo (354~430), a great Christian thinker of the Roman Empire, is also considered as one of the important representative of theological philosophy in European Middle Ages. He has contributed a lot to the western Christians. He built up his own theoretical systems of aesthetics, theology and philosophy from different perspectives. According to Augustine, all beauty comes from the God and the art of creating the beauty is a need of human souls. (James Joseph O’Donnell, 1985) His aesthetic thoughts of religion mysticism have exerted great influence on the later generations. Moreover, in his opinion, all things in the world are created by God with language rather than any materials and tools. Meanwhile, the definitions of “original sin” and “just war” are framed by him. And he elaborated his theological thoughts from various perspectives such as Baptism, Creation, Astrology and etc. Augustine left many precious works behind. The most important ones are Confessions, The City of God and Trinity. In this paper, the primary theological thoughts in The City of God will be briefly introduced.
On August 24, 410 AD, Alaricus, the head of Visigoths, conquered the Rome City with his army. They swaggered off after three days of pillaging and looting which shook the Roman Empire and caused a heated discussion about it. Pagans, the resisters of Christians, ascribed the fall of Rome to the aftermath of Christianization. In their eyes, it is because Christianity cancelled the traditional worship towards God that the disaster fell in Rome. On this moment, the Christians must have their own answers to retort Pagans’ fault theory. The Pagan attack was a problem which was commonly faced by Christian thinkers at that time. But they had different answers about it. For instance, Jerome and Tertullianus fell in great panic and thought that the end of the world would come along with the fall of Rome. Sozomen and Socrates, the Bishop of Constantinople insisted that it was the pagan Rome which fell. The new Rome, namely Constantinople which was the capital of the Roman Empire, was still as strong as iron. The City of God was not only the retort of Pagans, but a refusal of these internal Christian views which was more important at that time when Christianity had already some advantages in politics and cultures. To complete this task, in this book the history of the world was reinterpreted from the Christian point of view and the significance of Rome was better described in this period of history.
Augustine stated that since Adam and Eva, the human ancestors, were exiled for their crime, the real world was divided into two cities: the city of god in which people lived by spiritually and the earthly city where people lived their fleshed lives. The city of God is the society for the God’s “voters”, namely, the scheduled Christians. In this life, it is represented by the church. The earthly city, the domain of Satan, is the origin of the flesh fornication. In this life it represents the pagan attitude towards life. “Travelers” is an important concept in Augustine’s “two cities” theories which refers to the people who leave their homes in the heaven and live on the earth. (Augustine, 1950) Augustine insisted that the Christians were just living in the earthly city temporarily and waiting for the arrival of the extreme penalty. When they became the God voters, they would go back to the homes in the heaven and redeemed to get eternal happiness. Here the “travelers” Augustine cited didn’t mean the Christians’ absolute abandon of the earthly world. He pointed out that Christians would not stay in the earthly city forever. But they would be unavoidably influenced by the real life.
Augustine’s “city” refers to a group of people actually. According to Augustine, the individual happiness is more important and fundamental than the whole country. (John Neville Figgis, 1921) “Two cities” in essence means two groups of people which coexist in this world. And there are human beings and angels in each group. The mutual contrariness of “two cities” is presented in the world. Augustine has completely different descriptions towards them. Pagans made the earthly city suffer from disasters and catastrophes to meet their limitless desires and all kinds of evils flooded in this city. However, the most orderly and harmonious peace was filled in the city of God. In the earthly city, the desires became the core of the ruler and the ruled and evils happened everywhere. While in the city of God, people love each other. The rulers love their subjects with decrees and the ruled love their lords with obedience.
According to Marthinus Versfeld (1958), The people in these two cities are sharply different in their belief. What’s the biggest difference is that the people in the city of God believe in God infinitely while people in the earthly city are abandoned by God. The heavenly believe in Christianity and God and the earthly in heresies. That is to say, the city of God is composed of the people who have real faith and the earthly city of pagans who have no belief at all.
Moreover, they are greatly diverged in their love: “the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God while the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.” (Gerard, 1999) The two loves present their belief in Christianity and God. Self-love is selfish which flooded in the earthly city while the love of God is quite glorious with good wishes which can unite the people in the city of God and make them keep infinite belief in God to obtain the eternal happiness.
Though the two cities are considerably different in their love and belief, they coexist in the earthly world and intertwine with each other. It has been said that the two cities can not be fully divided before the extreme penalty. For individuals concerned, people are mixed each other in these two cities and can not be separated. The present pagans may be converted to Christians in the future and become the citizens in the city of God. Meanwhile, the citizens still living in the city of God will not necessarily obtain the God’s blessings before they are selected to be the God’s voters. Actually there is a harmony between the two cities in regard to peace. The earthly city, which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace while the heavenly city, which lives by faith, makes use of this peace to keep it in good order.
It’s undoubted that you can see Augustine’s absolute belief in God and his love of God. However, Augustine thought that people can’t be isolated from the earthly world no matter which city they belong to before the advent of the extreme penalty. A Christian believer can’t avoid the participation in the affairs of the earthly city. Although they are totally different in belief and love, the two cities intertwine with each other. It’s hard to tell whether people belong to the city of God or the earthly city before they receive the extreme punishment because people are inevitably influenced by the affairs of the earthly city.
Augustine, Saint Bishop of Hippo. (1950), The city of God, Modern Library, New York
Gerard J P O’Daly, (1999), Augustine’s City of God: a reader’s guide, Oxford University Press, New York
James Joseph O’Donnell, (1985), Augustine, Twayne Publishers, Boston
John Neville Figgis, (1921), The political aspects of S. Augustine’s “City of God”, Mass.: Peter Smith, Gloucester
Marthinus Versfeld, (1958), A guide to The city of God, Sheed & Ward, New York