The Theme of Love in Books VIII – XV of Augustine’s De Trinitate Essay Sample

The construction of Augustine’s De Trinitate conforms to the regulation that “authority takes precedency over ground. ” Having expounded upon the biblical disclosure of God. in the latter half of his expansive expounding on the Trinity the Church Father attempts to pull from things here knowable an analogy befitting of God. Yet in his chase for an analogy depictive of the true God both the stipulation from which he begins and the decision with which he closes is that one can non state anything truer nor more expressive of God than that he is Love personified. Love is an simple subject in Augustine’s De Trinitate. because the Trinity speaks to us of the miracle of love. We can non state anything higher or better of the ‘inwardness of God’ than that God is Father. Son and Holy Spirit. and hence that He is love in Himself. without and before us. and without being forced to love us. Augustine’s divinity is irreducibly an reading of Godhead love. and in books 8 to 15 of De Trinitate he seeks to underscore two constructs upon which his divinity is grounded: that God is love and that love. in bend. is God.

God is Love
Augustine is ne’er interested in cold theological treatment. He is non chiefly a theologian but a brooding chronicling his religious journey in theological linguistic communication. His desire remains ever the on-going chase of the love of God. therefore the theological question from which all his work returns is how one comes to love that which 1 does non cognize. “But who can love what he does non cognize? [ What ] I am inquiring is whether something can be loved which is unknown. because if it can non so no 1 loves God before he knows him. ” For Augustine. it is through the veiled image of the Godhead in things here experienced that one discovers things transcendent. a temperament inspired by St. Paul: “Ever since the creative activity of the universe his ageless power and godly nature. unseeable though they are. have been understood and seen through the things he has made. ” ( Rom. 1:20 ) The Church Father’s divinity is basically founded upon a philosophy of unreserved grace. He recognises that the cognition of God for which humanity inexorably cleaves is itself a gift undeserved. Humanity can cognize God merely because in freely giving of himself God affords humanity the capacity to cognize him.

Though Augustine observes that all creative activity points to the custodies of a Creator as a work of art expresses the character of the creative person. nowhere in the created order is God more obviously revealed than in love. Augustine’s God is non the Aristotelean unaffected mover dispassionately regulating that which he has made but the Trinitarian One from whose love creative activity is the flood. The disclosure of God therefore begins in one’s ain brush with love. As analogy love is for Augustine the irreducible starting-point in trying to depict in limpid nomenclature the indispensable nature of the Godhead. because it is the land and end of God’s self-revelation. So we can besides understand Trinitarian linguistic communication as naming attending to God’s function as the land and go-between of this loving self-disclosure. its content. and the facilitator of its response. The love of God is active in each minute of disclosure. and speech production of God as Trinity can function to underline revelation’s triune form. God is love because God is Trinity. Love is God’s indispensable and irreducible nature.

This is possibly Augustine’s most “distinctive and of import part to Trinitarian divinity: the apprehension of the Holy Trinity as love. ” Augustine recognises in love the purest analogy of God’s being. because it denotes “someone loving and something loved with love. There you are with three. the lover. what is being loved. and love. ” The analogy therefore adheres to Augustine’s Nicaean Trinitarianism. The Son is considered begotten of the Father as the Godhead Beloved and the “Holy Spirit. non Himself begotten. is the sugariness of Begetter and Begotten. with the profuseness of a huge premium fluxing out over all animals harmonizing to their capacity to have. ” For Augustine the filioque contention is of no inquiry at all. the Spirit peremptorily proceeds from both the Father and the Son because it is “the fruit of their love and the completion of the inner-trinitarian life. ” Augustine therefore begins and ends with the integrity of the Godhead individuals. In the Oneness of the Three 1 recognises the integrity of multiplicity. a temperament non absolutely disassociated with Augustine’s Plotinian heritage.

His philosophy of godly simpleness leaves small room for the societal theoretical account of Trinitarianism employed by such as Leonardo Boff and Jurgen Moltmann. Their reinterpretation of the perichoresis. the common indwelling of God. determined a societal construct of the Trinity as the “divine koinonia instead than the godly substance. ” Therefore one looks to the community of world to detect the vestigia Trinitatis: the trace of the kernel of God. But for Augustine a theoretical account of the Trinity as Love presupposes non mere integrity in Communion but integrity of substance. “Not merely does the philosophy of godly simpleness provide a grammar for asseverating the coevals of the individuals from the Father. but it besides provides a grammar for guaranting the irreducibility of the individuals in Trinitarian linguistic communication. ” The societal reading of the Godhead is hence unequal to portray the Oneness of the Three.

Augustine alternatively turns once more in the upward chase of God to the kernel of his ain being. for he perceives God as that which is more intimate than one’s ain ego. One must cognize God in order to love God and for Augustine. the stubborn contemplative. the way to cognizing God is in cognizing oneself. In humanity’s willful modesty God yet remains the really kernel of being. for it is “man’s great bad luck non to be with him without whom he can non be. ” It is in humanity itself. wherein the image of the Triune God is inscribed. that one discovers the obscured disclosure of the Triune God: love personified. Human being “is marked with a Trinitarian similitude because it is created by the Trinity. ” The Church Father is here settling histories with the Plotinian doctrine to which he was one time disposed. “Man can draw a bead on to God because he is non ‘wholly other’” . but the really image of the Triune God who inhabits “innermost citadel” of the psyche. The most befitting analogy of God as Love within Love’s ego is hence the unmarred Three of the soul’s memory. cognition and love of itself. and more chiefly the soul’s memory. cognition and love of God.

Therein entirely is demonstrated both the sharpness of the One and the integrity of the Three. for How they are all in all of them we have already shown above ; it is when the head loves all itself and knows all itself and knows all its love and loves all its cognition. when these three are complete with mention to themselves. In a fantastic manner therefore these three are inseparable from each other. and yet each one of them is substance. and all together they are one substance or being. while they are besides posited mention to one another. For Augustine were humanity non fashioned in the image of the Trinity as “memory. mind and will. we would miss the capacity to be raised into a participatory relationship with the Trinity our psyches mimetically image. ” Augustine’s charge remains at all times the same: to detect in things temporal that which is ageless. to comprehend in things transient the veiled image of the unknown and to recognize. in the charity here intimated in Christian community. the substance of the God who is Love. Love is God

It has already been noted that Augustine’s purpose in De Trinitate is to elaborate an analogy befitting of God and. by so making. to come to intensify his love for him who transcends comprehension. Yet the Church Father is caught in the impossible predicament that one can non love that which 1 does non cognize. “yet unless we love him even now. we shall ne’er see him. ” God’s nature as Love signifies that love. here experienced in the charity of Christian brotherhood. is itself the substance of God. Grounded upon Johannine tradition. Augustine purports that to love one’s neighbour is to partake of the love that is God. Love is depicted by Augustine chiefly in two signifiers: caritas and cupiditas. All the love world is of itself capable is covetousness. The Confessions is Augustine’s history of his misdirected chase after love. The organic structure is inclined to love things transient. yet they “rend the psyche with pestiferous desires ; for the psyche loves to be in them and take its rest among the objects of its love. But in these things there is no point of remainder: they lack permanency. ”

Augustine came to recognize that merely in the love of God is the soul’s yearning satiated. for as he prays in the gap to his Confessions: “you have made us for yourself. and our bosom is ungratified until it rests in you. ” The love of which God is the beginning is caritas. Merely in staring beyond the lecherousnesss of the flesh to the ageless beauty can the psyche attain to the unconditioned love for which all creative activity was intended. “The animal is non to be loved. but if that love is related to the Godhead it will no longer be covetousness but charity. ” As Augustine depicts in his concluding great work The City of God. cupiditas and caritas can at one time exist in a psyche. and “this co-existence is good for a adult male. to the terminal that this love which conduces to our populating good may turn. and the other. which leads us to evil may diminish. until our whole life be absolutely healed and transmuted into good. ” The love of God and neighbour is therefore for Augustine inseparable. for both intimate the really substance of God in caritas. In De Trinitate one finds the yarn of idea that weaves throughout all Augustine’s work: that in Jesus’ bid to love one another one encounters the disclosure of Godhead love itself.

“’Adhering in love’ to the Truth or Pattern of Righteousness. the love of neighbor is itself the love of love. the desire that the love of God be multiplied. ” In love one encounters God absolutely manifest. nowhere else every bit touchable as in the flesh and castanetss of one’s ain neighbor. Because “God is love the adult male who loves love surely loves God ; and the adult male who loves his brother must love love. ” Yet love of God and love of neighbors are for Augustine non crudely interchangeable but instead ordered. The love of neighbor is no purer a thing than the love of ego. but Augustine sets all things beneath the domination of one’s love for God.

The heartache that overtook Augustine at the loss of his darling friend was the consequence of his non understanding the appropriate ordination of love. for it is the very misdirection of love to which Augustine attributes all the ailments of the iniquitous life. The caritas of a pure bosom “must be centred upon God and His righteousness. ” Love of neighbor is merely the hint of one’s love for God which is itself a gift absolutely unmerited. The gift of God is God himself. “in absolute self-utterance and as absolute contribution of love. ” That humanity’s love for God is itself God’s gift was Augustine’s concluding defense to the Pelagian contention with which he had enduringly contended. The life in love for which every psyche is purposed is come-at-able merely as a gift proffered from the custodies of Love itself. The perfect image of God is found in the soul’s capacity to “remember and understand and love him by whom it was made. ”

One can non denominate love as simply a subject of Augustine’s idea. for its value as the really substance of God is the stipulation from which he thinks. The integrity of the distinct. articulated in love. is the kernel of God and of the image of God in humanity. It is for integrity with God that the psyche is destined and it is the integrity of the Trinity in love that world is “bidden to copy. ” Trinitarian philosophy. of which Augustine is a chief designer. is the word picture of a God in love with God’s ego. wherein in the Oneness of the Three one perceives the ageless Lover. the ageless Beloved and the Love that everlastingly binds the two. The nature of the Godhead is therefore nowhere more disclosed than in the unconditioned love Born of religion in God. intimated amongst humanity. For Augustine God is the kernel of love and love. the substance of God. Therefore in his expounding on the Three he invites the perverse psyche to partake of the unreserved grace offered it and to “embrace love which is God. and embrace God with love. ”

Bibliography

* St. Augustine. Confessions translated from the Latin by Chadwick. H. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1991. * St. Augustine. De Trinitate translated from the Latin by Hill. E. New York: New City Press. 1991. * St. Augustine. The City of God translated from the Latin by Dods. M. Digireads. com Printing. 2009. Find at: hypertext transfer protocol: //books. Google. com/books? id=Xl5qY9BFhrQC & A ; printsec=frontcover & A ; dq=augustine+city+of+god & A ; hl=en & A ; ei=QNjNTY6FHMqr8AOByJD6DQ & A ; sa=X & A ; oi=book_result & A ; ct=book-thumbnail & A ; resnum=1 & A ; ved=0CDQQ6wEwAA # v=onepage & A ; q & A ; f=false * Ayres. L. Nicaea and its Bequest: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004. * Barth. K. Church Dogmatics I. 2: The Doctrine of the Word of God. Authorised English Translation. London: T & A ; T Clark Ltd. . 1956. * Burnaby. J. Amoi Dei: A survey of St. Augustine’s learning on the Love of God as the motivation of Christian Life. London: Hodder & A ; Stoughton Ltd. . 1938. * Charter. G. The Analogy of Love: Godhead and Human Love at the Center of Christian Theology. Devon: Imprint Academic. 2007. * Demacopoulos. G. E. & A ; Papanikolaou. A. “Augustine and the Orthodox: ‘The West’ in the East” in Orthodox Readings of Augustine edited by Demacopoulos. G. E. & A ; Papanikolaou. A. New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. 2008. * Kelly. A. The Three of Love: A Theology of the Christian God. Delaware: Michael Glazier Inc. . 1989. * O’Donnell. J. J. The Mystery of the Triune God. London: Sheed & A ; Ward Ltd. . 1988. * Rahner. K. The Trinity translated from the German by Donceel. J. London: Burns & A ; Oates. 1970. * Turner. D. The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995.

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[ 1 ] . Burnaby. J. Amoi Dei: A survey of St. Augustine’s learning on the Love of God as the motivation of Christian Life ( London: Hodder & A ; Stoughton Ltd. . 1938 ) p. 143 [ 2 ] . Barth. K. Church Dogmatics I. 2: The Doctrine of the Word
of God. Authorised English Translation ( London: T & A ; T Clark Ltd. . 1956 ) p. 377 [ 3 ] . De Trin. VIII. 3. 6

[ 4 ] . Charter. G. The Analogy of Love: Godhead and Human Love at the Center of Christian Theology ( Devon: Imprint Academic. 2007 ) p. 57 [ 5 ] . Demacopoulos. G. E. & A ; Papanikolaou. A. “Augustine and the Orthodox: ‘The West’ in the East” in Orthodox Readings of Augustine erectile dysfunction. Demacopoulos. G. E. & A ; Papanikolaou. A. ( New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. 2008 ) p. 22 [ 6 ] . De Trin. VIII. 5. 14

[ 7 ] . De Trin. VI. 2. 11
[ 8 ] . O’Donnell. J. J. The Mystery of the Triune God ( London: Sheed & A ; Ward Ltd. . 1988 ) p. 94 [ 9 ] . O’Donnell. J. J. The Mystery of the Triune God ( London: Sheed & A ; Ward Ltd. . 1988 ) p. 108 [ 10 ] . Ayres. L. Nicaea and its Bequest: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology ( Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004 ) p. 381 [ 11 ] . De Trin. XIV. 4. 16

[ 12 ] . Kelly. A. The Three of Love: A Theology of the Christian God ( Delaware: Michael Glazier Inc. . 1989 ) p. 119 [ 13 ] . Burnaby. J. Amoi Dei: A survey of St. Augustine’s learning on the Love of God as the motivation of Christian Life ( London: Hodder & A ; Stoughton Ltd. . 1938 ) p. 147 [ 14 ] . Augustine. Confessions. VII. ten. 16

[ 15 ] . De Trin. IX. 1. 8
[ 16 ] . Turner. D. The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995 ) p. 98 [ 17 ] . De Trin. VIII. 3. 6
[ 18 ] . See 1 John 4:16
[ 19 ] . Confessions. IV. ten. 15
[ 20 ] . Confessions. I. I. 1
[ 21 ] . De Trin. IX. 2. 13
[ 22 ] . City of God. XI. 28
[ 23 ] . Burnaby. J. Amoi Dei: A survey of St. Augustine’s learning on the Love of God as the motivation of Christian Life ( London: Hodder & A ; Stoughton Ltd. . 1938 ) p. 160 [ 24 ] . De Trin. VIII. 5. 12






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