Reality of God, Reality of Soul (Confessions V through VII, 10)
When I wished to think of my God, I did not know what to think except a bodily mass. . . . I was driven to think of you as something bodily through all space and location, either infused into the world or even diffused outside the world through infinity. . . . for whatever I deprived of such physical space seemed to me nothing at all, absolutely nothing, not even emptiness. . . . The mass of air. . . . above the earth does not resist the sun's light or keep it from passing through. The light penetrates the air without disrupting or breaking it; indeed the light completely fills it. Just so I reckoned the body of the sky, air, and sea and even of the earth, was passible and penetrable [by you] through all its parts, great and small, and received your presence. Then by a secret inspiration you inwardly and outwardly governed everything, which you had created -- or so I thought because I could not think otherwise. But it was all wrong: . . . the body of an elephant would receive more of your presence than the body of a sparrow! (V, 10, 19; VII, 1, 2)
The problem of evil turned out to be the problem of God. In Manichaean thinking, both evil and God were fantastic corporeal stuff of one kind or another. If evil was part of the corporeal world-stuff, then the good God turned out to be the other part of that stuff. Then no single God or ruling principle governed all things; God was only a part. No single set of rules or expectations applied everywhere equally and truly. No consistent nature
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Publication information: Book title: Language and Love:Introducing Augustine's Religious Thought through the Confessions Story. Contributors: William Mallard - Author. Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press. Place of publication: University Park, PA. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 63.
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