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St. Augustine on Free Will


Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was one of the most influential theologians in the history of Christianity. His writings on free will have been debated and discussed for centuries, and they continue to be relevant today.


Augustine's view of free will is complex. He believed that humans have a genuine capacity to choose between good and evil, but he also believed that this capacity is limited by sin. In his early writings, Augustine argued that the will is a powerful and autonomous faculty, but he later came to believe that the will is weakened by sin and needs the help of divine grace in order to choose good.


Augustine's view of free will has been criticized by some for being too pessimistic. They argue that he gives too much weight to the power of sin and not enough to the human capacity for good. However, Augustine's view is also appreciated by others for its realism. They argue that he is simply acknowledging the fact that we live in a fallen world where sin is a real and powerful force.


One of the most important aspects of Augustine's view of free will is his understanding of the relationship between free will and divine grace. Augustine believed that God's grace is necessary for us to choose good, but he also believed that we must freely cooperate with grace in order to be saved. This means that we are not simply puppets of God, but that we have a real role to play in our own salvation.


Augustine's view of free will has had a profound impact on Christian thought. It has been used to defend the doctrine of predestination, to explain the problem of evil, and to understand the nature of sin and salvation.


Influence of Augustine's Theology of Free Will


Augustine's theology of free will has had a profound influence on Christian thought. His writings on this topic have been used to defend the doctrine of predestination, to explain the problem of evil, and to understand the nature of sin and salvation.


One of the most important aspects of Augustine's theology of free will is his understanding of the relationship between free will and divine grace. Augustine believed that God's grace is necessary for us to choose good, but he also believed that we must freely cooperate with grace in order to be saved.


Augustine's view of free will has been used to defend the doctrine of predestination. Predestination is the belief that God has already determined who will be saved and who will be damned. Augustine argued that predestination is compatible with free will because God's grace does not coerce our wills. Instead, God's grace enables us to freely choose good.


Augustine's view of free will has also been used to explain the problem of evil. The problem of evil is the difficulty of reconciling the existence of evil with the existence of a good and all-powerful God. Augustine argued that evil is not a product of God's will, but rather a result of the misuse of free will by humans.

Finally, Augustine's view of free will has been used to understand the nature of sin and salvation.


Augustine argued that sin is a misuse of free will. When we sin, we are choosing to turn away from God and towards evil. Salvation, on the other hand, is the process of being restored to a right relationship with God. This restoration is made possible by God's grace, but it also requires our own cooperation.


Augustine's theology of free will is a complex and nuanced one. It has been used to defend a variety of theological positions, and it continues to be debated today. However, there is no doubt that Augustine's writings on this topic have had a profound influence on Christian thought.

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