In the same way, as in these ideas, the idea of God in Augustine unites Neoplatonic elements – which are always mystical – and ethical personality, and the uniting power is Augustine’s idea of love. Now let me say a few words about it before 1 go to the other problem, the problem of God, because this idea of love is rightly put in the foreground now. Nygren’s criticism of Christian theology combining eros and agape is predominantly a criticism of Augustine. We have the synthesis in Augustine, and in Nygren – the Swedish theologian who wrote “Eros and Agape” , as you probably know. wants to have them not united but in contradiction. And of course on this basis Augustine must mostly be attacked. Nygren is right that in Augustine there are both elements, the agape element (the element of love, in the New Testament sense, personal, forgiving, – charity (caritas) , – -all this is in his idea. the personalistic Divine forgiving character. But there is also in it the agape element – God is the highest good for Augustine, and all creatures are longing for it, desiring to be united with it, to fulfill itself in intuiting eternally the Divine abundance. The agape element is especially emphasized when we speak of God moving down to man in caritas – 1 prefer the Latin word to the very much distorted word “charity” – in becoming humble in Christ in exercising grace and mercy; the participation in the lowest, the elevation of the lowest to the highest, Eros, on the other side, drives from below to above, from the lowest to the highest.
It is a longing, a striving, a being-moved by the highest, a being-grasped by it in its fullness and abundance. It is exactly as I said before – the Logos becomes flesh: that’s agape. But all flesh (all historical and natural reality) is desirous for God – this eros I. have shown in my Systematics lectures, that if you take eros out, then you cannot speak of love towards God any more, because this is love toward that which is the highest power of being, in which we are fulfilled.
God is also a union of summa essentia, ultimate being, beyond all categories, beyond all temporal and spatial things. Even the categories of substance cannot be used, and if it is used it is abusively used. Essence and existence, being and quality, functions and acts, cannot be distinguished in this side of God. It is the negative theology of Dionysius which is present here, (though) it is not dependent on him (Dionysius),” since Augustine was earlier, but dependent on Neoplatonism, on which both of them are dependent.
But on the other hand, there is the positive way: God is the unity of all forms. He is the principle of all beauty.. Unity is the form of all beauty and God is the unity of all forms. All ideas (all essences, or powers, or principles of things) are in the mind of God. Through these ideas, individual things come to pass and return to God through the ideas.