St. Augustine's Engagement with Doubt in a Journey of Faith

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St. Augustine's Engagement with Doubt in a Journey of Faith

Post by Thomas Hopkins on Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:02 pm

St. Augustine’s Confessions undoubtedly evince his profound and determined faith in the Christian God. Yet, despite this, the Confessions also embody a battle with doubt and uncertainty. The Confessions are as much an expression of faith as a journey towards it, or a recognition of past mistakes in the hope of future progress. The first five books in fact chart a ‘wayward’ time in St. Augustine’s life, during which he is seduced by Manichean belief systems and ‘temptations of the flesh’. Even Book VIII records his struggle to devote himself entirely to God. In Book VII, he finds it hard to reconcile his idea of an incorruptible God with the existence of evil in the world, while also expressing confusion about material conceptions of God and God’s omnipresence. In Book XII, he acknowledges the mysterious nature of scripture in its openness to multiple interpretations. All such contemplation takes place alongside expressions of deep faith in the glory and omni-benevolence of God. The Confessions thus encapsulate the doubts and difficulties associated with a slow progression towards pure, unadulterated faith.

Thomas Hopkins

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