St. Augustine: True Being

Piero della Francesca, St. Augustine, c. 1465

For I was ignorant of that other reality, true being. And so it was that I was subtly persuaded to agree with these foolish deceivers when they put their questions to me: “Where does evil come from?” and, “Is God limited by a bodily shape, and does he have hair and nails?” and, “Are those patriarchs to be esteemed righteous who had many wives at one time, and who killed men and who sacrificed living creatures?” “In my ignorance I was much disturbed over these things and, though I was retreating from the truth, I appeared to myself to be going toward it, because I did not yet know  that evil was nothing but a privation of good (that, indeed, it has no being): and how should I have seen this when the sight of my eyes went no farther than physical objects, and the sight of my mind reached no farther than to phantasms? And I did not know that God is a spirit who has no parts extended in length and breadth, whose being has no mass–for every mass is less in a part than in a whole–and if it be an infinite mass it must be less in such parts as are limited by a certain space than in its infinity. It cannot therefore be wholly everywhere as spirit is, as God is. And I was entirely ignorant as to what is that principle within us by which we are like God, and which is rightly said in scripture to be made in God’s image.

–St. Augustine, Confessions, 3.7.12, 4th century AD

In my ignorance I was much disturbed over these things and, though I was retreating from the truth, I appeared to myself to be going toward it, because I did not yet know  that evil was nothing but a privation of good (that, indeed, it has no being): and how should I have seen this when the sight of my eyes went no farther than physical objects, and the sight of my mind reached no farther than to phantasms?

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?

He who refuses to learn deserves extinction.
–Rabbi Hillel

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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