Chapter 11. Augustine: philosopher, theologian, and church father. Questions to be addressed in this chapter. Why did Augustine become a Manichee and a Skeptic? In what ways did Greek thinkers inspire Augustine’s thought about the Christian faith?
Augustine: philosopher, theologian, and church father
1. Augustine sought sophisticated, philosophical answers to fundamental questions about God and human nature, and this led him first to Manicheanism and then to academic Skepticism.
By incorporating ideas of Greek thinkers, primarily the Neoplatonists, Augustine overcame his skepticism and acquired philosophical tools which he used to understand and defend orthodox Christian faith.
3. In responding to the Donatists, Augustine developed a distinction between the visible and invisible Church and a view of the sacraments in which they are causally efficacious because of the moral purity of Christ rather than the one administering them.
Through his responses to Pelagianism—the view that the sin of Adam and Eve did not corrupt human nature and that the human will is capable of following God—Augustine developed the ideas of original sin, the unification of divine sovereignty and human free will, and the predestination of the elect.