Augustine, The City of God

I. Pagan charges against Christianity

A. Transition to Christianity weakened the Empire

1. The gods ordained that sacrifices be made: why stop making them?

2. Christianity is a religion of meekness and submission; it is unmanly (vir)

B. The state is the embodiment of justice

1. It is the place where humans learn to live together well and become individually what he is meant to be

2. Rome is "the eternal city": specially favored by the gods

3. The Romans achieved greatness because they a) loved their country b) loved liberty and c) loved human praise

4. justice is the virtue which gives every man his due

5. Virtue is the end of human existence

II. Augustine's philosophy of the relationships between humans and God

A. Original sin

1. God created the human race to be happy in serving God

2. God gave humans free will; He didn't want slaves

3. Humans chose to act wrongly (original sin)

4. Now everyone lives with a damaged will

a. We can only choose evil

5. We don't know why this is so, but that's because we're not God

B. Human society

1. We are all necessarily social beings

2. But we now lack the ability to live together in peace

3. We are governed by self-love and subject to destructive impulses

4. Notable among them, lust for domination and the desire to acquire material goods

C. God's eternity

1. God isn't bound by time

2. God therefore knew that humans would err

3. God chose to rescue a few from the wreck of humankind

4. He also knows who they are

5. These few belong to the city of God, the rest to the earthly city

D. The City of God is not a synonym for the earthly church

1. Only a few earthly inhabitants belong to it

2. The inhabitants of the city of God are like foreigners on a pilgrimage, waiting to go home

3. Thus, the earthly state cannot be the vehicle for human ethics or the embodiment of justice

E. The City of men is not a synonym for the earthly state

1. Necessary to maintain any kind of peace

2. Power to govern comes from God

3. Even if bestowed upon unjust rulers

4. A Christian kingdom could even be sort of good

5. But no matter how good, Rome can't be the eternal city