Forging Ahead

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 by Gabriel Thy

Those dreading urbanization should remember that though the Kingdom of God first appeared in a temporal Garden, at the end of the book it is established in an eternal City.
James M. Boice

Augustine wrote the treatise to explain Christianity’s relationship with competing religions and philosophies, and to the Roman government with which it was increasingly intertwined. It was written soon after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. This event left Romans in a deep state of shock, and many saw it as punishment for abandoning traditional Roman religion for Catholic Christianity. It was in this atmosphere that Augustine set out to console Christians, writing that, even if the earthly rule of the Empire was imperiled, it was the City of God that would ultimately triumph. Augustine’s eyes were fixed on Heaven, a theme of many Christian works of Late Antiquity.

Despite Christianity’s designation as the official religion of the Empire, Augustine declared its message to be spiritual rather than political. Christianity, he argued, should be concerned with the mystical, heavenly city, the New Jerusalem—rather than with earthly politics (an idea that repeats itself in many of the lesser cults among Christianity).

GT

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