Paul Tillich, A History Of Christian Thought

Augustine. Pelagius.

We must continue our discussion of Augustine now, and after we have heard about the elements of his development and his psychology, epistemology, doctrine of God and doctrine of history, we now come to that doctrine which is perhaps most important for his position in the development of Church history as a whole: his doctrine of man.

The doctrine of man was really touched on to a certain extent when I spoke about the voluntaristic character of Augustine’s thinking, the idea that the center of man is not the intellect but the will, and the fact that in carrying this through he is the beginner of a development which goes through the whole Western world, through that group of theologians and philosophers in whom the will – center of man – -in a much larger sense than the psychological concept of will – is in the center against the intellect. We shall see when we come to the medieval philosophers and theologians and to the modern ones, that this influence always goes on and is always in creative tension with the tendencies coming from Aristotle. The tension between Augustine and Aristotle is the decisive power which moves the medieval history of thought, and almost everything can be seen in the relationship to this tension.

But this was only a description of man in his essential relationship. If man is seen in the essential relationship to God, to himself, to other men, then he is seen by Augustine as a will whose substance is love. This love, as we have also seen yesterday, is the creative ground of everything that is. It is an idea of love in which agape and eros are united – the Christian form of love and the platonic form of love. But this essential nature of man is not his existential nature, is not actual in time and space.