This, again, means that he is in untruth. Natural sciences have meaning only insofar as they show the Divine causes in nature, show the traces of the Trinity in f lowers and animals, but they have no meaning in themselves. This means that in the greater part of the Middle Ages, natural sciences are at least reduced in significance and not really furthered at all. The technical relationship to nature is of no interest to Augustine, and therefore the analysis of controlling knowledge for technical relation. This makes the attitude of the Middle Ages toward natural sciences understandable. It is not a matter that these people were so much more stupid than we are – there are some indications that they were not – -but the reason is that it had no interest for them; they were not in love with what natural sciences produce. If they loved the exploration of nature, then it was nature insofar as it is an embodiment of the Trinity. This of course gave them the possibility of artistic production which is much higher than most we produce under the power of controlling, and not uniting, knowledge. I would ask you to go to the Cloisters (Museum) and look at the carpets on the walls there, and what you find there in terms of the observation of nature. It is not an observation in terms of natural science – probably none of these f lowers, and certainly none of these animals, is naturalistically exact. But they all are painted in order to show the traces of the Trinity, I. e., the movement of life to separation and reunion, in the natural objects. They try to show the Divine ground in nature, and that gives them their extreme beauty. In all these things the intention, that which is really meant, must be understood – otherwise you cannot really understand their creations. You think they were bad craftsmen – even there, there are signs they were not – but they didn’t want what we want, they didn’t want to show objects in 3-dimensional space. They wanted to show the traces of the Divine in nature, as Augustine wished.

The Neoplatonists and Plato himself were nearest to Christianity, Augustine says. And he shows the Trinitarian elements in them, especially the Logos doctrine, in Plato and the Neoplatonists. But then he says – and this is a very important statement, which somehow reveals the whole relationship of theology and philosophy – that there is one thing which philosophy as such never could have said, that the Logos has become flesh. Philosophy gives the possibility for theologians to speak of the Logos, to interpret philosophy in terms of the Logos, but when theology says the Logos becomes flesh, then something is said which is the basis of a religious message and of a theological statement. Here he sees clearly that one thing distinguishes Christianity from classical philosophy, namely the statement of the unique, incomparable historical event. Becoming flesh means becoming historical; the universal principle of the cosmos, the Logos, appears in historical form. And that is, according to Augustine, a matter not of philosophy but of revelation.