ST. AUGUSTINE AND CHRISTIAN PLATONISM
A. HILARY ARMSTRONG
The Saint Augustine Lecture*, sponsored annually by Villanova University, was founded in the Spring of 1959. It has been the aim of this Lecture series to encourage and promote fresh and fruitful inquiry into the personality and influence of a great Saint and Doctor of the Church whose mentality and approaches to problems of man and his place in history appear singularly congenial and attractive to men living in this new and promising ecumenical age of ours. In keeping with its general theme "Saint Augustine and Augustinian Tradition," the University invites eminent scholars from here and abroad to present diverse aspects of Augustine's vast range of thought which have a particular relevance and interest for men of our time.
Apart from the addition of copious notes, the present work reproduces in somewhat revised form the 1966 Saint Augustine Lecture, "Saint Augustine and Christian Platonism," delivered by Professor A. Hilary Armstrong, Gladstone Professor of Greek in the University of Liverpool. Professor Armstrong's mastery of the Platonic tradition and his profound and critical grasp of the influence of Greek thought upon Saint Augustine and the early Christian Writers qualify him eminently for this important subject.
His many incisive and at times original insights into the role of Saint Augustine in the life and intellectual history of the Western Church are sure to stimulate
renewed interest and even controversy in this important and largely unexplored area of Augustinianism.
The Editor takes this opportunity to thank Mother Mary Clark of Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart for invaluable assistance in the task of arranging the 1966 Saint Augustine Lecture.
reading of those most unusual, baffling, and endlessly fascinating philosophical documents, the Dialogues of Plato, we shall be mainly concerned here with that later Greek Platonism whose rise and development was roughly contemporary with that of Christianity, and which entered very early on an intimate, though at times uneasy and even hostile relationship with the new religion: the Platonism, that is, whose successive stages are rather misleadingly called by modern scholars Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism.3
The first topic which I propose to discuss is that of the natural divinity of the soul. The idea that the human soul is by its very nature in some sense divine and co-eternal with God still sometimes finds enthusiastic supporters among Christians both in East and West.4 It is one of the central and most important doctrines of the Platonism of Plotinus and Porphyry, though not of all pagan Platonism. For Plotinus and his chief disciple man's soul is not only, as all pagan Platonists held, naturally immortal, living a life which had no beginning and can have no end. It is in its true, essential nature divine, though in a subordinate degree, in a sense which excludes any fundamental change, any real fall, corruption, sin or loss of its true nature, and therefore any need or possibility of redemption. The part of us which reasons, which Plotinus, when he is speaking most precisely, identifies as our true self, can direct its attention upwards or downwards, can be distracted by the concerns and needs of the body and the body-bound lower self or turn upwards and open itself to the light,
which always plays upon it, of Intellect and its source, the Good, and so become fully and consciously that universal and eternal divine reality which in a sense it always is, and rise with it in the movement of self transcendence in which the divine Intellect eternally returns to its source. The whole object of the philosophic life is to ensure that we turn the right way, upwards, and wake to and make our own the glory which is always ours by right. But it seems that for Plotinus our true self cannot sin or suffer; it cannot come down to the level of body or be completely involved in its life. That in us which sins and suffers and is ignorant and emotionally disturbed and in general is the subject of what we should regard as ordinary human experience is the lower self, the 'other man', which is an image or expression of the higher self on a lower level.5 Now, though this doctrine, in much less nuanced and carefully-limited forms than that in which Plotinus stated it, occasionally finds Christian defenders, it seemed to the great Christian thinkers of the 4th and 5th centuries, as it seems to most Christians today, quite incompatible with any sort of Christianity. They were very conscious of their opposition to the pagan Platonists on this point, and very careful to exclude any suggestion of natural divinity from their often Platonic-sounding accounts of the nature of man and his way to spiritual perfection and the vision of God. Here St. Augustine appears as a fully representative Christian Platonist of his time, in complete accordance with the great thinkers of the Greek-speaking Christian East, and especially with the deepest thinker of them all, and the one most deeply in-
Robert S. O'Connell, of Fordham University, in a series of extremely interesting articles, of which the last and most explicit appeared in the International Philosophical Quarterly in September 1964, has even maintained that Augustine still believed when he wrote the Confessions that we are fallen parts of a Plotinian universal soul, and that some baffling features of this great work can only be explained in the light of the Plotinian doctrine. His evidence and arguments do not seem to me conclusive, but the possibility that he is right needs a good deal of further consideration. But Father O'Connell does not maintain, and no one who knows the evidence could seriously maintain, that Augustine, or any other great Christian Platonist, held that the soul was naturally divine and intrinsically unfallen. Both Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa insist again and again that the soul is a creature, not a part of God, and stress the intrinsic mutability and peccability which is essential in being a creature and is to be seen even in the highest, angelic creation. The contrast between the immutability of God and the mutability of the creature is one of the great recurring themes in Augustine's thought. Creaturely mutability is not for him a defect or imperfection in the creature, an unnecessary falling short of
an attainable ideal. It is intrinsic to creatureliness; it is the inescapable consequence of not being God and so being absolutely and continuously dependent on God for first existence and continuance in being. And I think that one reason why he insists on it so strongly, especially when he is considering the most exalted created spirits or human souls made perfect, is that he was so vividly conscious of the fundamental opposition here between Christianity and the pagan Platonism which he knew so well.6
The division on this point between Christians and pagans is indeed a fundamental one, and has far reaching consequences for morality and religious behavior. But, once we have clearly recognized this, we must be careful not to make it too sharp or too absolute: there are a number of necessary qualifications to be added to the simple statement of it. First, we must remember that `divine' meant different things to pagans and Christians. For a pagan Greek, to say that the soul was not merely theies, divine, but theos, a god, did not necessarily mean more than that it was an immortal being. Theos is a word of very vague and various meaning, and certainly no pagan Platonist thought that all beings called theoi were identical with or parts of the Absolute Good, the Supreme Reality, the Creator (in the Christian sense) of heaven and earth. There was probably here a good deal of misunderstanding between pagans and Christians. Plotinus, as we have seen, gives his divine souls the qualities of immutability and impeccability, and regards their existence as necessary. But they are, none the
less, eternally created, wholly dependent for their being and well-being on the One and its first expression the Divine Intellect. They share, as or production parts of Universal Soul, in the production and administration of what is below them, the material world, but they do so with power and forms supplied to them from above: they are essentially derived and dependent beings. St. Augustine himself recognizes clearly what the true teaching of Plotinus on this point is, and states it admirably in a chapter of the city of God (X, 2) which is a good example of his generally fair and irenic attitude to pagan Platonism.7 And, when we turn back from Plotinus to Plato, we find, first of all, that he expresses himself much more cautiously than his great third-century follower. Plato does. not call the soul a theos, but at most asserts a kinship and likeness between it and the gods. And even if he had thought that man's soul, or at least its highest part, the intellect, was a theos this would not necessarily have meant to him everything which it meant to Plotinus) whose thought at this point is deeply influenced by the noetic of Aristotle and later Aristotelians; he endows man's higher self with the impassibility of the Aristotelian `separable' or active' intelligence. But this is not the Platonism Plato, who was deeply influenced by the Orphic Pythagorean tradition according to which the soul was indeed a god or spirit (theos or daimon), but a highly fallible and peccable one, punished for its primal sin by a fall into the cycle of reincarnation. And, though the Phaedo, the Republic and the Phaedrus present the soul as naturally immortal, we should not forget
There are, then, good historical reasons for not making the contrast between pagan and Christian thought about the natural divinity of the soul too unqualified and sharp. And we must remember, too, that the Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries, and those Christians since who have remembered and followed their teaching, have always held that God wills to give men by grace in Christ a created
divinity by participation which they do not possess by nature. This is as true of the Christian West as of the Christian East; and St. Augustine expresses the doctrine with his own unsurpassable clarity and conciseness: "God wills to make you a god; not by nature, as his Son is, but by his gift and ad option." (Sermon 166.4.4).10 What separates Plotinus and Augustine here is not a denial on the one side and an affirmation on the other that all that we are and can be is given by God. For Plotinus, as for Augustine, we have and are nothing which we have not received. The differences lie in the ways of thinking about what God gives and how he gives it. Does he give a fixed and unchanging nature only, or a nature open and unfinished and a freely given life and love above nature in which that nature can find its real, but unpredictable fulfillment? And does he' give his gifts without Christ, or only in Christ? To this I shall return, in a different context, later in the lecture.
The investigation of our first topic has shown St. Augustine as a thoroughly representative Christian Platonist, in full accordance with other Christian Platonists of his time, and after, in making a stand against pagan Platonism which was necessitated by his Christian belief. The next topic which I propose to discuss is that of pagan and Christian Platonist attitudes to the body and the material universe. The subject-matter here is very much more complex, and I must inevitably discuss it at a high level of generaliza-
tion, so that it is important to stress that my conclusions here are very tentative. Both the Platonist and the Christian ways of thinking about the body and the world of sense-experience have had in them from their beginnings, in the Dialogues of Plato and the New Testament respectively, certain tensions and variations of outlook. But the tensions are never between completely inconsistent positions, and the variations are only within certain limits, and it seems to me that, at least if we confine our attention to `traditional' Christianity, as I have earlier described it, these limits to a real extent coincide: and it was this coincidence which was one of the things which attracted the early Christians most powerfully to Platonism and did most to make Christian Platonism possible. Neither Christians nor Platonists, if they are to be faithful to their deepest convictions, can be simply negative in their attitude to the body and the world, regarding them as wholly evil and alien. Their fundamental belief that the material world, with all that is in it, is good, and made by a good divine power simply because of his goodness, prevents them from becoming Gnostics or Manichees, however much some representatives of both traditions, and particularly the Christian, might have liked to be. For there appears in both traditions at certain points a very strong drive towards an extreme dualism in the sphere of human life, a rejection and hatred, not primarily of the material universe as a whole, but of the earthly, animal body of man. In the Christians this sometimes went very much further than in the pagans; and whatever precisely the origins may be of the ex-
of sex of which our own time has realized the necessity more vividly than ever before.12
It should be noted that the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body did not make as much difference between the Christian and pagan Platonist attitudes to our present bodies as is sometimes assumed and as many modern Christians would be inclined to think it should have done. From the beginning the Christian tradition had stressed, not only the reality of the resurrection, but the difference of the glorified resurrection body from the body as we know it in this life (see especially St. Paul, I Corinthians ch. 15). And the pagan Platonists believed in astral or celestial bodies which, like the glorified body for which Christians hope, were perfectly conformed and subordinated to the spirit, and many of them thought that the good and wise man's final destiny would be permanent embodiment in such a body. Here again St. Augustine was very well aware of the kinship between pagan Platonist and Christian thought, and bases on it a very powerful and effective attack on Porphyry for his total rejection of the Christian doctrines of the Incarnation and Resurrection, a rejection which he shows to be inconsistent with Neoplatonist teaching about the soul of the world and the astral gods (City of God X, 29 and XXII, 26). 13
Neither pagan Platonists nor Christians, then, if they are to be true to some of their most deeply held beliefs, can utterly reject or despise the body or the material universe. But they cannot, either, regard
the goods of the body and of this world as all the goods there are, or the most important goods. For neither of them can the world be self- sufficient or self explanatory, the only world or the best world, or our resent state, however much improved and developed on its own level, that in which we shall find our true and final happiness. Both are inevitably `otherworldly,' though neither should hate this world. H. Crouzel, in his Origène et la Philosophie, indicates very well the sort of harmony between Platonism and Christianity which is possible here. Crouzel is much concerned to show that Origen is not as Platonist in an unchristian or un-Biblical sense as he has been represented to be, but the last words of his book are as follows:
All the same, there is a vision of the world, a cosmological point of view of Hellenic origin, which really dominates the thought of the Alexandrian. . . . It is the Platonic representation of a universe on two levels, of which the higher, that of the divine, is the model of the lower, its symbol, where the world of the senses is to be found. This, because it is symbol, is not self-sufficient and has no existence which is not a means to an end and derived: its end, according to God's plan, is to lead the soul to the divine, and sin consists in stopping the movement of the intelligence at it, putting it in place of the divine. Into this point of view, borrowed from Platonism, the sacramental structure characteristic of the time of the Church fits harmoniously. 14
It hardly needs demonstration that St. Augustine, like the great Greek Christian theologians of the fourth century, is Platonically other-worldly in this sense.
So far our examination of this topic of the attitude to the body and the material universe has shown Christian and pagan Platonists rather closer to each other than is sometimes supposed, with St. Augustine occupying, again, a central position in the Christian Platonist tradition. But to leave the discussion here would, it now seems to me, suggest an altogether unjustifiable complacency about the satisfactoriness of the Christian Platonist position which I have sketched so briefly and inadequately, and would not offer very much possibility of finding in ancient Christian tradition anything, which would even be,in to help us to deal with the enormously difficult, if also enormously hopeful, situation in which we traditional Christians now find ourselves as we try to bring our ancient faith into living and redemptive contact with our drastically changed and vastly enlarged contemporary understanding of man and the universe. It does seem to me that St. Augustine and, to a great extent, the other Christian thinkers of his age, missed the chance of carrying out a much deeper and more dynamic transformation of Platonism than they in fact effected (they could not, and in my opinion should not, have broken away from Platonism altogether): and that, in one respect, their thought about the material universe shows a certain regression in comparison with that of pagan Platonism, or at least fails to make the necessary Christian advance. For a pagan Platonist,
even one as other-worldly as Plotinus, the cosmos was always religiously relevant. The continuing sense of the divine presence and power always manifested in the universe, and especially in its upper art, the region of the heavenly bodies; a veneration for those bodies as living cosmic divinities; and a strong awareness of kinship with the Soul of the World and membership in the living organic unity of all things, these are all essential parts, though for Plotinus not the most important parts, of Platonic philosophical religion. The universe for a pagan Platonist is not only good, but holy. One might almost, using Christianizing terms perhaps for once not altogether inappropriately, say that the cosmos is the one great sacrament for Plotinus and that he has a doctrine of the mystical body of the universe.15 Now the Christians reacted strongly against this cosmic religion of the pagan philosophers. It provided, in fact, one of the main grounds of controversy between pagans and Christians. And I do not wish at all to suggest that the Christian reaction was wholly unjustifiable. Cosmic religion in its strongest form, the Stoic,was certainly from a Christian point of view idolatry -the Creator was identified with his creation. And, though I do not regard Platonist cosmic religion, in which star-gods and world-soul are created divinities as necessarily pantheist or idolatrous, it was hardly acceptable to Christians as it stood. There is also a good deal to be said for Sambursky's view that if Christians in general, following the lead of John Philoponus in the 6th century, had rejected, not only the veneration of the heavenly bodies, but the astronomi-
cal belief which went with it, the belief, that is, in the intrinsic difference and superiority of the Upper Cosmos above the moon which found its extreme expression in Aristotle's doctrine of the aether or quintessence, the progress of science might have been accelerated and the new astronomy of the Renaissance might not have met with such bitter opposition in some Christian quarters. From both the Christian and the scientific point of view, the cosmic religion of late antiquity had to be rejected, and it might have been better if it had left a less deep mark on Christian thinking about the visible heavens than it did.16
But none the less, I think that in the rejection of the cosmic religion something important was in danger of being completely lost, and an opportunity was, in the 4th and 5th centuries, missed. What was in danger of being lost was the sense of the holiness, the religious relevance of the cosmos as a whole, and with it, inevitably, the sense of the holiness of ordinary human life and bodily activities. It is easy to find an expression of this more compatible with orthodox Christianity than the cosmic religion of late antiquity. The Christian can easily see in the whole universe the presence and power of the creative and life-giving Trinity: indeed he must see it if he is to have a properly vivid sense of the meaning of his own belief in creation. He can see the play of the Eternal Wisdom not only in the movements of the heavens but in the growth-patterns of trees and plants and the games of his puppy or kitten. He can be aware of the creative presence in all life, not of the World-Soul,
but of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Life-Giver. This sense of holiness, of an intimate and immediate presence of God in the world, has not been absent from the Christian tradition, though it has all too often been much less prominent and widespread than it ought to have been. St. Hildegarde expresses it finely in her Sequence to the Holy Spirit, `life of the life of every creature'; and it has played a particularly important part in the English and American Protestant tradition, and, sometimes at least, in the spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox.17 But in the period with which we are immediately concerned it is very much in the background, when it is there at all. St. Basil the Great, in his early treatise De Spiritu, makes a good deal of use of a passage of Plotinus dealing with the World-Soul in describing the working of the Holy Spirit. But in adapting Plotinus' to his Christian purposes he is not led to say anything about the cosmic activity of the Spirit. A description of how the World Soul gives light and life to the cosmos and all things in it becomes a description of how the Holy Spirit sanctifies individual Christians. St. Augustine can speak magnificently of the beauty and order of the world as a witness to its Creator. But once this thought has served its purpose of leading the mind to the transcendent God, he turns away from the universe to concern himself with God's working in the soul or in the Church.18 And Western Christianity has on the whole remained very much too Augustinian in this way. I am inclined to think that the lack of any broad human and humane interest and concern with the world around us, which is so often
apparent in Christians and has alienated so many good and intelligent people from the Church and contributed so much to the present general rejection of Christianity, is due not so much to other-worldliness as to churchiness. It is not, that is, the result of that conviction that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world and that here we have no continuing city which is one of St. Augustine's great themes and which I believe he was right in thinking as essential to Christianity as to Platonism. Plato himself shows how other-worldliness can be combined with an intense concern for the reform of the human city. But what, I think, is mainly responsible for Christian narrowness and lack of humanity is the concentration of attention away from God's work in the world and in the life of ordinary people everywhere and the almost exclusive focusing on his work for souls in the Church: so that our personal prayer and the rites and sacraments of the Church have not, as they should, enhanced our sense of God's presence and work in the whole of his material creation, but distracted our attention from it; and the Church, instead of being, as she now declares herself in the great Council, the servant of mankind and the sacrament of the world's salvation, has been thought of as an exclusive institution whose often rather worldly interests are more important than the general welfare of mankind and the world which has been entrusted to man's care. The ,natural', we have thought, does not matter very much; only the 'supernatural' does, and there is no ,supernatural' worth considering outside the Church.
This churchiness, I must regretfully admit, seems to me generally apparent in the great thinkers of the `golden age of the Fathers'. It is, perhaps, the main reason why a dynamic Christian transformation of Platonic thought about the cosmos somewhat analogous to the Christian transformation of Platonic thought about the soul which we have already discussed, a doctrine of the redemption of the whole universe in and through Christ, took so long to develop even in the Christian East, and has played very little part in Western Christian thinking until our own time. The foundations for such a doctrine had been well and truly laid in the earliest tradition of the Church. St. Irenaeus saw it clearly in the New Testament. He says of Christ: `For the maker of the world is indeed the Word of God; and this is our Lord, who in the last tunes was made man, existing in this world: Who invisibly contains all things that were made, and is established in the whole creation, as being God's Word, governing and disposing all things; and therefore into his own he came invisibly, and was made flesh and hung upon the tree, that he might sum up all into himself' (Adversus Haereses V.18.2 tr. J. Keble): and of the redemption of all creation: 'For God is rich in all things and all things are his. The creation therefore itself must be renewed to its old condition and without hindrance serve the righteous; and this the Apostle hath made evident in the Epistle to the Romans thus speaking: "For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature is made subject to vanity, not willingly, but because of him who hath subjected it
in hope: because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God."' (Adv. Haer. V.32.1 quoting Romans 8.19-21-again in Keble's translation; cp. 36.1). This splendid teaching of Irenaeus attracted all too little attention in the great age of the Fathers, perhaps because of its millenarian context. (We, though we cannot be millenarians, might be well advised to pay some attention to the strange, and often beautiful, imaginings of Book V. They will at least bring home to us that our Christian hope is for a new earth which is still material, however glorified and transformed, in which none of the goodness and joy of this present life will be lost, and also that the vision of God which is our true end is a spiritual vision transcending even the glory of the risen body and the renewed creation.)19
The idea of cosmic redemption was, perhaps, always more congenial to the Christian East than the Christian West. St. Gregory of Nyssa mentions the restoration of all things (De Hominis Opificio, chs. 22 and 23) but does not develop the theme, and it does not seem in general to play any important part in the thought of the Cappadocians.20 The development of the doctrine in the East is above all due to one of the greatest theologians of Christian antiquity, St. Maximus the Confessor (580- 622 A.D.). By constructively criticizing Origen and developing and, where necessary, correcting the thought of the Cappadocians and Pseudo-Dionysius, and with a great deal of help at important points from the 6th-century development of
Aristotelian studies in the Greek Christian world, he arrived at a way of thinking which still seems to me to have something of value in it for our contemporary world. Maximus, here developing Cappadocian thought but also owing a good deal to Aristotle, sees movement as the law of creation; but he does so without losing sight of the eternal and unchanging behind and beyond the movement of the world. He remains a Christian Platonist. All created things for him have to move towards their goal, which is not existent in creation, but pre-exists as a logos in the Logos, an idea or intention in the eternal Word of God. Christ the Word in creating gives all things a dynamic being 'homed' on him and brings them (all other things in man) back and on to him by redemption and deification.. In the thought of Maximus the difference between spiritual and material is far less important than the fact that both are created from nothing and both designed to be brought back to God (though the material is to return through and under the leadership of the spiritual). There is no idea of escaping from the body, but only of reforming and transforming the carnal lusts and passions. There is nothing in man, body, passions, natural powers, or even that division of the sexes which Maximus, following Greek tradition, cannot see as part of man's true nature, which is destined to be destroyed. Transcendence means transformation. The lower is dominated by and brought to cooperate with the higher. Ultimately the whole of man, body and passions included, is brought by the grace of God working on man through his intellect to a union with God without
confusion of created and uncreated. And in man, and through his contemplation, the whole universe is brought back to God. Man in himself unifies the material and intelligible, earth and heaven, and brings it all back and presents it to God in his glorification of him. And this is done only in and through the Incarnation of Christ. All things were created in Him, and man's sin is done away and he is redeemed and deified by Christ's death, and he is brought back with all things to God by the union without confusion of divine and human in the Incarnation. The driving force Of the whole process is love, first God's for man and then, and in complete dependence on God's love, man's love for God.
This is a magnificently dynamic, comprehensive and progressive view of the nature and destiny of man and the world, in which the static, self- sufficient universe of pagan Platonism which, like man's divine self, needs no redemption, is transformed into the moving, open, incomplete redeemed universe of Christianity without loss of the Platonic awareness of the eternal. We should not, of course, try to force it (or the thought of St. Irenaeus) into an unreal conformity with our inchoate contemporary theologies of cosmic redemption. St. Maximus remains very much a Byzantine ascetic. His program for the reform and transformation of human nature is austere: and it is in contemplation and mystic union, not by any sort of human action on the material world, that Christ in us brings back all creation to the Father: just as in St. Irenaeus it is by a mysterious and miraculous action
thought of the man who has restored to Western Catholicism a living (though by no means universally accepted) belief in the holiness of the world and in cosmic redemption.22 And, certainly, a study of Eastern Christian theology will prevent us from accepting uncritically the more aggressively activist and this worldly theologies of Christ's redeeming action, if, that is, we retain any respect at all for the ideas and values of traditional Christianity.
My last topic is one which will show the reason why the thought of St. Augustine and of Augustinians often arouses uneasiness, and sometimes downright hostility, in other kinds of Christian Platonists and in general of those pagans or Christians who have been influenced to some degree by Greek humanism. It is that of God's universal will to save all mankind. In his anti- Pelagian writings Augustine, it must be admitted, takes a very dark view of the present state and future destiny of the great majority of mankind, so dark a view that his pessimism about man becomes a pessimism about God. The doctrine of the massa perditionis, the intense emphasis on inherited and personal guilt and sin, and the insistence that God, for utterly mysterious reasons, selects from the mass of men only a limited number for salvation from the deplorable present state with its appalling future consequences into which he has allowed his creatures to get themselves, as they appear in Augustine's own thought, even without the hardening and exaggeration
of later heterodox forms of Augustinianism, are simply not compatible with the conclusions about God and man to which the great majority of other serious theists have come, especially those influenced by Platonism. 23 For the pagan Platonist God is the Good, who diffuses his good throughout the universe and to all mankind, giving it to all to the limit of their capacity to receive it. In the thought of Plotinus (though not of all pagan Platonists) the gift is given without love or care, but equally without arbitrariness or favouritism, as the sun shines. The belief that the divine powers which rule the universe are perfectly good is the fundamental tenet of the religion of Plato and his successors. And being good for Plato and the Platonists means doing good, and doing it with perfect wisdom and fairness. To theists of this sort, and to many Christian Platonists who have been led on by the revelation in Jesus Christ from their Platonic belief that God is good to believe that he is Love, and who understand this as meaning more, not less, goodness than Plato or any philosopher was able to conceive, the doctrine of Augustine is intolerable, and no appeal to mystery can justify it.24 This rejection of any form of Augustinian selective predestination has, I think, been particularly characteristic of the English non-Calvinist and anti- Calvinist Christian tradition, which has, at times, been very deeply influenced by Platonism. The basic reason for the rejection, that this doctrine presents God as an arbitrary tyrant, and not really as supreme Goodness, Wisdom and Love, is magnificently expressed in the anti-Calvinist polemic of the great Cambridge Platonist, Cud-
worth:25 and I must say here honestly and openly that, as a Cambridge man and a Platonist, and in spite of my genuine veneration for St. Augustine, I am compelled to share this view. It seems to me that any doctrine which restricts saving grace either to the elect or to those within the visible communion of the Church, and does not extend it effectively to all humankind, so that all are saved who do not freely persist to the end in refusing God's love, is an extreme example of that Christian narrowness of which I spoke earlier, which not only fails to pay sufficient attention to the goodness and holiness of the world and mankind outside the Christian limits, but supposes God to be equally narrow and selective in his love and care for his creation, and so presents him as a being worse, not better, than the God of the philosophers. Whenever and wherever the Gospel has been preached in this way, as very bad news, not good news, for the vast majority of mankind, it is not surprising that many pagans have scornfully rejected it and many Christians, finding it incompatible with their convictions about God's goodness and love for his creation, have reacted strongly against this presentation of Christianity, sometimes into untenable theological positions.
After this vigorously British piece of anti-Augustinianism, it may reasonably be asked whether I am advocating a return to the position of one of our few great British theologians, Pelagius. In fact, though I can sympathize to some extent with the Pelagian and ,semi-Pelagian' reactions against Augustine, I am cer-
tainly not a Pelagian, and whole-heartedly accept the present teaching of the Catholic Church, as magnificently expounded by the Second Vatican Council, and developed and applied by many contemporary theologians. The long wrestling of the mind of the Church through the ages with the problem of how to reconcile God's universal will to save all men in and through Christ, on which she has always insisted, with the absolute priority of grace and the fact that salvation can only be in some way through Christ in his Church, seems to me to have come, under the Holy Spirit, to a successful issue of which we are only beginning to see and explore the implications. But we can already see how we can remain fully Augustinian on the most important point, that of the absolute priority of grace, while satisfying the legitimate demands of pagans `and Pelagians.
Let us consider shortly what the main points of disagreement are between Plotinus, Pelagius and Augustine. All agree that man has nothing which lie has not been given, that he is wholly dependent for his being and his well- being upon God. For Plotinus, as we have seen, what God gives is a perfect higher self, impassible and impeccable, of which the lower self is a reflection or expression on a lower level of being. There is, therefore, no real question of salvation and no need for a redeemer. For Pelagius God gives man a nature equipped with everything that he needs for salvation in his creation, which is a real grace, a free and unmerited gift, and the primary and essential, though not the only grace. This nature
is not impassible or impeccable; man can, and most men do, sin and will have to take the eternal consequences. The Pelagian view of the future destiny of mankind is nearly as grim as St. Augustine's. The Pelagians were, primarily, austere moralists, concerned to emphasize human responsibility and the need for human effort in the Christian life. And, like most ancient moralists, they took a grimly over-simplified, black-and-white view of human freedom and responsibility. There was no room in their thinking, any more than in Augustine's, for that proper attention to all the psycho-physical and social causes that may limit our free will and diminish our responsibility which our vastly increased modern knowledge of man forces upon us today. But, however disastrously most men may freely misuse what they have been given, the fault remains wholly theirs, not God's. He has given us all we need for our salvation, and given it to all men. Pelagius insists on the fact of real virtue, and even `natural holiness' outside the Church (Epistola ad Demetriadem, chs. 3 and 4). But of course God can hardly be said to have given it to us through Christ Incarnate. In the Pelagian way of thinking, Christ is our teacher, leader, helper, example and judge, but hardly in any real sense our redeemer.26
It was because they were primarily moralists that the Pelagians insisted so strongly, as they thought against Augustine, on human free will. Here their position (and still more that of the so-called `semi-Pelagians') was very close to the Greek-Christian tradition, and especially to St. John Chrysostom, who
was content, as the Christian East has generally been content (following in this a very ancient tradition of Greek thought) to assert both the necessity for God's race and the necessity for man to cooperate with it freely without worrying too much about reconciling God's initiative and man's freedom. There is a synergia, a working together of God and his free creatures in the Christian life, and we cannot and should not investigate further.27 Anti-Augustinians both in East and West have often been inclined to make the question of free will their central point of disagreement with St. Augustine, but I am prepared to believe that this may be largely due to misunderstanding and to accept the conclusion of Mother Mary Clark in her excellent book Augustine, Philosopher of Freedom (Paris, 1958) that Augustine really tried to maintain in his anti-Pelagian period his admirable earlier teaching on human free will and was to a great extent successful in reconciling it with his belief in predestination. But some recent English studies of Pelagianism have suggested that among the reasons for Pelagian opposition to Augustine may have been, not only the Pelagian and Eastern Christian conviction of the reality of free will, but also that which I have already suggested as the main point of difference between Augustine and other Christian Platonists, that the Augustinian account of God's dealings with mankind makes God so intolerably unfair. The most attractive feature of some at least of the Pelagians as Christian moralists is their passionate concern for social justice, in which, unfortunately, they stand almost alone among the Christians of their period.
Pelagian voices are raised in revolutionary protest against that easy acceptance by Christians of the appalling social inequalities, injustices and cruelties of the late Roman Empire which is one of the worst scandals in the history of Christendom, and one from the effects of which we are still suffering. Now J. N. L. Myres has shown that in the legal language of the time gratia means judicial corruption and favouritism, and the phrase which Augustine uses of the Pelagians, inimici gratiae, would have meant to the ordinary man something like `opponents of corruption in public life.' His examination of the Pelagian position in the light of the facts of contemporary life and language suggests very strongly that one thing which drove the Pelagians into such passionate opposition to Augustine was their conviction that God could not be in the least like a corrupt judge of the Roman Empire, their belief that the Augustinian doctrine presented the Lord in an all too human and contemporary light as a ruler of the most abominable injustice and cruelty.28 St. Augustine upheld magnificently against pagans and Pelagians the fundamental Christian doctrines that the initiative is always and universally with God, that we can do nothing whatever towards our salvation of ourselves without or before his grace, and that saving, grace is always and only given in and through the great redeeming act of Christ the Incarnate Word. But in upholding these doctrines he seems to have lost sight of, or at any rate failed to maintain, that simple belief in God's universal and equitable goodness which is the foundation of the faith of pagan Platonists and Pelagians, and very many more ortho-
dox Christians. The present teaching of the Church as expounded in the Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council remains fully Augustinian on the vital points. But it also maintains, with a breadth and generosity most satisfying to those who cannot accept Augustine's teaching as it stands because of their belief that God is good, that the grace of Christ without which we cannot be saved is really offered to all men, and can be recognized at work beyond the bounds of the Church and even of Christianity; and that the whole universe is to share in the redemption of mankind-"29 We see in this teaching a supernatural given, as universal as the pagan Platonists conceived the self-diffusion of the Good. We see man, not as a changeless and self-sufficient eternal self, but as a creature unfinished, needing and receiving redemption. We see the universe, not as the static subordinate divinity of the old cosmic religion but as a great process Guided by the Holy Spirit to share in the redemption which Christ has won for man. Plenty of problems and difficulties remain, but I believe that now after the Council we have a better chance than ever before of showing, our religion as truly universal, free from narrowness or churchiness, the religion in which Platonism and all other great aspirations of the spirit of man to its eternal source and goal can find a glorious resurrection into a truth better than they could conceive, which offers hope to every man and to the whole world.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the various publishers who kindly granted permission to quote from the following:
The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, English translation copyright @ 1960 by Wm. Collins Sons & Co., London and Harper & Brothers, New York. Reprinted with the permission of Harper & Row, Publishers Inc., New York.
Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, English translation issued by NCWC News Service.
The Constitution on the Church of Vatican Council 11, authorized English translation, ed. Edward H. Peters, C.S.P. Glen Rock, N.J.; Paulist Press, 1965.
Poems, Centuries and Three Thanksgivings, ed. Anne Ridler. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.St. John Chrysostom: Baptismal Instructions translation by Paul W. Harking; eds. Johannes Quasten, Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., Vol. 31 in series, Ancient Christian Writers. London and Westminster, Md.: Newman Press.
Plato's Timaeus, trans. by Francis M.Cornford, copyright @ 1959 by The Liberal Arts Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the Liberal Arts Press Division of The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.
"Faith and Belief," by H. H. Price, from Faith and Philosophers, ed. John Hicks. St. Martin's Press, Inc., Macmillan &; Co., Ltd., 1964.
St. Augustine's Confessions, trans. by W. Watts, revised by W. H. D. Rouse in The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1946.
Plotinus, trans. by A. Hilary Armstrong in The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966.
Platonism and Cartesianism in the Philosophy of Ralph Cudworth by Lydia Gysi. Bern: Herbert Lang, Publisher, 1962.
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1. The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Mediaeval Philosophy (Cambridge, England, 1967), of which I am editor, will I hope, give a fairly adequate idea of the variety and complexity of the pagan and Christian thought of the period. Parts 11 (by Henry Chadwick), Philo and the Beginnings of Christian Thought, V (by R. A. Markus), Marius Victorinus and Augustine, VI (by P. Sheldon-Williams), The Greek Christian Platonist Tradition from the Cappadocians to Maximus and Eriugena, and VII (by H. Liebeschütz), Western Christian Thought from Boethius to Anselm, deal with various phases and aspects of Christian Platonism. Parts 1, III and IV (by P. Merlan, myself and A. C. Lloyd) are concerned with pagan Platonism, and Part VIII (by R. Walzer) with early Islamic philosophy.
2. Eastern Christian and English Christian Platonism are touched on later in this lecture. One form of Christian Platonism which it has not been possible to deal with here, but which was extremely influential in the medieval Latin West and made a notable contribution to the formation of the European mind, is De Consolatione Philosophiae of Boethius. (The most generally accessible edition is that with English translation by H. F. Stewart and E. K. Rand in the Loeb Classical Library, last reprinted 1953). The central and most influential idea of this is the great vision of the world as a whole which makes sense, a coherent unity held together and ruled in all its motions by an order which is also love, whose existence is due to and continually depends on the creative goodness of God, the Supreme Good. This vision, arrived at by reading Plato's Timaeus with Christian and late Platonist eyes without regard to the considerable divergences between Plato's thought in this dialogue and
the Christian doctrine of creation, is particularly finely expressed the ninth poem of Book Ill (the famous 0 qui perpetua on which so many commentaries were written in the early Middle Ages) and that great celebration of the love which orders the stars and the seasons, the sixth poem of Book IV. It is the foundation of the austerely encouraging moralising of the Consolation about human destiny. The problem of the exact religious position of Boethius at the time when he wrote the Consolation will probably never be completely solved. (One of the latest and best treatments of it, by H. Licbeschütz, will be found in the Cambridge History referred to in n.l. Ch. 35 D, pp. 550-55). There seem, however, to be two things worth saying about it which are relevant to our present theme of Christian Platonism. One is that Boethius, though of course in no way a naive or unscholarly person, represents, as has been indicated above, what may be called the `naive' or `concordist' kind of Christian Platonist, who finds no difficulty in assuming that Plato and the Bible arc on all important points saying exactly the same thing. This sort of naive concordism has had a long history. It was prevalent among the Christian Platonists of the Renaissance. Marsilio Ficino's commentary on the Symposium (ed. and tr. R. Marcel, Paris, 1956) provides some odd examples of how far it could go, notably Oratio IV, ch. II (pp. 168-9 Marcel) and Oratio V, ch. XII (p. 197 Marcel), which are Christianizing interpretations of the Aristophanes myth in the Symposium and the story of the castration of Ouranos by Kronos respectively. A belated and charming, if hardly convincing, example is the little book Plato and the Christians, by Canon Adam Fox (London, 1957). It has perhaps a certain value, however unacceptable to scholars it may be as it stands, as a corrective to the polemical exaggerations of the differences between Christianity and Platonism common in some Christian and scholarly quarters.
The other relevant point about the religious position of Boethius is that many Christians, before and after his time, who have come to know the teachings of the ancient moralists, have found their stern and clear vision of human destiny and true human values a source of strength and comfort in times of great suffering, and have turned to them, as Boethius did in prison, without any sense that they were doing anything contrary to their Christian profession. St. Augustine himself, who was certainly not a naive concordist, in his last days, during the Vandal invasion, used to comfort
himself with a quotation from one of the finest examples of Stoic- Platonic moralising on human destiny, the treatise On Wellbeing of Plotinus. [greek text] According to his biographer Possidius, `amidst these calamities he used to console himself with the maxim of a certain wise man who said `no great man will think it a great matter when sticks and stones fall and mortals die' (et se inter haec mala cuiusdam sapientis sentenia consolabatur dicentis: non erit magnus magnum putans quod cadunt ligna et lapides et moriuntur mortales). Possidius, Life of St. Augustine ch. 28, tr. F. R. Hoare in The Western Fathers (London, 1954) - a free translation of Plotinus I 4 7. 23-4. . . . [greek text]
3. The terms of Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism are usually applied to the revived Platonism of the Roman Imperial period before Plotinus and to Platonism from Plotinus onwards respectively. But there is no breach of continuity between the two. Professor Merlan, in Part I of the Cambridge History referred to in n.1, shows clearly the close relationship of the thought of Plotinus to that of his predecessors. It is also important to remember that the influence of Platonism on Christian thought began well before the time of Plotinus (204-5-270 A.D.). Philo of Alexandria, the precursor and to a great extent the source of Christian Platonic thinking, was dead by 50 A.D. Justin and Clement of Alexandria belong to the second century (Clement was probably dead before 215 A.D.), and Origen was a considerably older contemporary of Plotinus (born c.184-5, died about 254 A.D.). The pattern of Christian Platonism was well established before there can be any question of Plotinian influence. This does not mean, of course, that Plotinus had no influence on Christian thought. There has been a tendency in some recent scholarship to play down his influence on later Christian Platonists, and even on later pagan Neoplatonists, unduly. But it is probable that philosophical teaching in the great Platonic schools of Athens and Alexandria was hardly influenced at all, directly or indirectly, by Plotinus till, at earliest, well on in the fourth century A.D. The philosophical education received by the Cappadocian Fathers, St. Basil of Caesarea, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory Nazianzen, was pre-Plotinian in character: which is not to say that they did not at Some time read him and were not affected by what they read.
4. The idea that the human soul is in some sense by nature divine is to be found in Vladimir Solovyev (cf. his Lectures on Godmanhood- English translation, London, 1948- especially lecture 8) and Nicolas Berdyaev (cf. especially chapter 8, Manhood, of his The Divine and the Human- English translation, London, 1949); and it is sometimes asserted with remarkable recklessness by Western followers of the latter. It seems, as I have remarked below, incompatible with orthodox Christianity as this has been universally understood both in East and West: but I do not think that for this reason the whole thought of either of these two great Russian thinkers about God and man can simply be dismissed from serious consideration by Christians. There are in both of them some very profound insights, partially obscured by great ambiguity and lack of clarity in thought and expression. And Berdyaev's idea of divine humanity is very remote from the static incorruptible divinity of the Plotinian soul.
5. On this see further Part Ill, chapter 14 of the Cambridge History referred to in n.l. A rather different view of Plotinus's doctrine of the soul, presenting it as a good deal more compatible with the Christian position, will be found in Eudaimonia,by Wilhelm Himmerich (Forschungen zur neueren Philosophie und ihrer Geschichte, neue Folge XIII, Würzburg, 1959). Here are a few important passages from the Enneads dealing with man's higher self, in my own translations (from Plotinus, New York, 1962 and Plotinus, Loeb Classical Library, London and Cambridge, Mass. 1946-).
I 1 [531 10, 5-15. So `we' is used in two senses, either including the beast or referring to that which even in our present life transcends it. The beast is the body which has been given life. But the true man is different, clear of these experiences: he has the virtues which belong to the sphere of Intellect and have their seat actually in the separate soul, separate and separable even while it is still here below. (For when it withdraws altogether, the lower soul which is illumined by it goes away too in its train.) But the virtues which result not from thought but from habit and training belong to that which is common to body and soul: for the vices belong to this, since envy and jealousy and emotional sympathy are located there. But which man do loves belong to? Some to the lower, some to the man within.
II 9 2, 5-10. One part of our soul is always directed to the intelligible realities, one to the things of this world, and one is in the middle between these: for since the soul is one nature in many powers, sometimes the whole of it is carried along with the best of itself and of real being, sometimes the worse part is dragged down and drags the middle with it; for it is not lawful for it to drag down the whole.
III 4 3, 21-27. For the soul is many things, and all things both the things above and the things below down to the limits of all life, and we are each one of us an intelligible universe, making contact with this lower world by the powers of soul below, but with the intelligible world by its powers above and the powers of the universe; and we remain with all the rest of our intelligible part above, but by its ultimate fringe we are tied to the world below, giving a kind of outflow from it to what is below, or rather an activity, by which that intelligible part is not itself lessened.
III 6[261 5, 13-22. But what could the `purification' of the soul be if it had not been stained at all, or what its `separation' from the body? The purification would be leaving it alone, and not with others, or not looking at something else or, again, having opinions which do not belong to it- whatever is the character of the opinions, or the affections, as has been said-and not seeing the images nor constructing affections out of them. But if there is turning in the other direction, to the things above, away from those below, it is surely (is it not?) purification, and separation too, when it is the act of a soul which is no longer in body as if it belonged to it, and is being like a light which is not in turbid obscurity. And yet even the light which is in obscurity remains unaffected.
V 14 14, 16-31. But we-who are we? Are we that higher self or that which drew near to it and came to be in time? Before this birth came to be we existed There as men different from those we are now, sonic of us even as gods, pure souls, intellect united with the whole of reality, parts of the intelligible world, not separated or cut off, belonging to the whole; and indeed we are not cut off even now. But now there has come to that higher man another man, wishing to exist and finding us; for we were not outside the universe. He wound himself round us and fastened himself to that man that each one of us was then (as if there was one voice and one word, and someone else came up from else-
where, and his car heard and received the sound and became an actual hearing, keeping that which made it actual present to it) and we became a couple, not just the one member of it we were before; and sometimes we became even the other member which we had fastened to us, when the first man is not active and in a different sense not present.
6. On the Christian opposition to the Plotinian doctrine of the divinity of the soul see E.L. Fortin, Christianisme et Culture Philosophique au 5ème Sècle (Paris, 1959) chapter ii; R.A. Markus and P. Sheldon-Williams in the Cambridge History, (sec n.l.) Part V ch.22 and Part VI, ch.28. The articles by Fr. Robert J. O'Connell referred to in the text are: `Enneads VI 4 and 5 in the works of St. Augustine.' Revue des Études Augustiniennes IX 1-2 (1963) pp. 1- 39.
'The Enneads and St. Augustine's Image of Happiness'. Vigiliae Christianae 17 (1963) pp. 129-164.
`The Plotinian Fall of the Soul in St. Augustine'. Traditio XIX (1963) pp. 1-35.
`The Riddle of Augustine's `Confessions': a Plotinian Key' International Philosophical Quarterly IV 3. (1964) pp. 327-72. On St. Gregory of Nyssa's doctrine of creaturely mutability see Hans von Balthasar, Presence et Pensée (Paris, 1942) and J. Danielou, Platonisme et Théologie Mystique (2nd edn. Paris, 1953). It is clearly stated in the following passage, which deals with the creation of man in the image of God:
What difference do we see between the Divine and that which is made like the Divine? They differ in that one is uncreated, the other came into existence though creation. This difference of essential character produced a sequence of other characteristic differences. For it is agreed everywhere and in every way that the uncreated nature is also unchangeable, but it is impossible for the created to remain without change. For the actual passage from non-being to being is a sort of movement and change, when non-being passes into being according to the will of God. . . . the uncreated is always the same, but that which came into existence through creation had the beginning of its being from change and has a kinship with this kind of muta-
bilily, (On The Creation of Man (De Hominis Opificio) ch.16. PG 44, 184; my own translation).
the dynamic character of his thought about created, mutable human nature is well illustrated by the following:
That which is in the process of change is always in a way of being born. In the realm of changeable [i.e. created] nature one could never observe any things which are always the same as themselves. But in this case [that of the human spirit] being born is not the result of another's impulse, as it is with corporeal beings which engender casually, but birth of this kind is the result of deliberate choice. We are in a way our own parents, bringing ourselves forth as we want to be, and by our own deliberate choice fashioning ourselves on whatever model we choose, male or female, on the pattern of virtue or vice. (Life of Moses II, 3, p. 32 in the edition of J. Daniélou [Sources Chrétiennes 1² Paris, 1955]-PG 44, 328 B: (my own translation.) The development of this doctrine by St. Maximus the Confessor is touched on later in this lecture (pp. 7-8).
One of the finest expressions of the doctrine of creaturely mutability to be found in patristic literature is the following, from St. Augustine's Confessions. St. Augustine is speaking here of the angelic creation, described in terms clearly reminiscent of the Neoplatonic intelligible world, which makes the contrast with Plotinus all the clearer:
With a strong voice thou toldest me likewise in my inner ear; how that neither is that creature co-eternal unto thyself, whose desire thou only art, which with a most persevering chastity, greedily drinking thee in, does in no place and at no time put off its natural mutability, which also, thyself being ever present with it, (unto whom with its whole affection it keeps itself) it having neither anything in future to expect, nor conveying anything which it remembereth into the time past, is neither altered by any change, nor distracted into any times. 0 blessed creature (if any such there be) even cleaving so fast unto thy blessedness: blessed in thee, the eternal Inhabitant and Enlightener thereof. Nor do I find what I am more glad to call the Heaven of Heavens which is the Lord's, than thine own house, Lord, which still contemplateth that delight
which in thee it finds, without any forsaking thee to go into other; a most pure mind, most harmoniously continuing by that settled estate of peace of those holy spirits, those citizens of thy city in heavenly places; which are far above those heavenly places which we see. (Confessions XII, ch.11. tr. W. Watts revised W.H.D. Rouse, in Loeb Classical Library, St. Augustine's Confessions II, London and Cambridge, Mass., 1946).
7. The beginning of the chapter is as follows:
But there is no conflict on this point between us and these philosophers of the better sort. For they saw and put into their writings, in many ways and at great length, that they [the `gods' or higher souls] derive their blessedness from the same source as we do ourselves, from the casting of an intelligible light, which is God to them and is something other than they are, by which they are illuminated, that they may shine and by participation in it exist as perfect and blessed beings. Plotinus asserts often and strongly, explaining Plato's meaning, that even that soul which they [the Platonists] believe to be the soul of the universe, does not derive its blessedness from any other source than ours, and that its light is something which is not itself, but that by which it is created and by the intelligible illumination of which it shines intelligibly. (City of God X.2; my own translation).
Augustine is probably thinking here of passages like the following from the late treatise V 3 , in which this side of Plotinus's thought is very much in evidence; the first deals with the illumination of the soul by the Second Hypostasis, Intellect, the second with its illumination by the One or Good:
This light [of Intellect], shining in the soul, illumines it: that is, makes it intelligent; that is, makes it like itself, the light above..... Yes, truly, this illumination gives the soul a clearer life, but not the life of generation; on the contrary, it turns the soul to itself, and prevents it from dissipating itself, and makes it be satisfied with the glory in Intellect. (V 3 1491 8, 22-4 and 27-31; my own translation).
One must believe one has seen, when the soul suddenly takes light; for this light is from Him, and He is it. We must think that He is present when, like another god whom someone called to his house, He comes and brings light to us; for if He had not come, He would not have brought the light. So the soul which does not see him is without light: but when it is enlightened it has what it sought, and this is the soul's true end, to touch that Light and see It by Itself, not by another light, by Itself, Which gives it sight as well. It must see that Light by which it is enlightened; for we do not see the sun by another light than his own. How then can this happen? Take away everything! (V 3  17, 28 -38; my own translation from Plotinus, New York, 1962).
There is ample evidence in the Enneads that Plotinus is not a pantheist, that he thought of the One or Good (which corresponds in his thought to what we mean by God) as the Wholly Other, totally different from the things which he produces. Perhaps the most striking passage is in chapters 9 and 10 of the treatise On Contemplation (111 8 ), where we find Plotinus not simply stating that the One is the Wholly Other, but demonstrating this at some length. It is also an inadequate and misleading account of his thought to represent the production of all things from the One as an automatic and necessary process of `emanation': on this see my contribution to the Cambridge History (see n.l.), Part III, chapter 15. And when Plotinus, in the great treatise On Free-Will and the Will of the One (VI 8 ) brings himself to consider seriously whether the One is free, self-positing and with something analogous to (though far transcending) what we mean by will and personality, he answers firmly that he is, and speaks about him in fully theistic language.
It is relevant to quote here Plotinus's answer to Gnostic, and orthodox Christian, accusations that Hellenic philosophers are philosophers and idolaters; the sort of accusations, in fact, which recur frequently in St. Augustine and the other Fathers. It is in the great treatise Against the Gnostics, which is the concluding section of a major work, split up by Porphyry for his own editorial purposes, of which III 8, referred to above, is the first part. The essential sentence is as follows:
It is not contracting the divine into one but showing it in that multiplicity in which God himself has shown it, which is proper to those who know the power of God, inasmuch as, abiding who he is, he makes many gods, all depending upon himself and existing through him and from him. (II 9 [331 9, 35-39; my own translation from Plotinus II, Loeb Classical Library, 1966).
8. As always in dealing with Plato, I feel some doubt whether the general statements in the text, or any general statements, are not too dogmatic and absolute. There are tensions and possible contradictions in his thought as expressed in the Dialogues on this, is on all other points. But it does seem to me that a conviction of the fallibility and peccability of the human soul is basic to Plato's moral teaching (hence some of Plotinus's difficulties) and runs through all the great myths about the soul's nature and destiny in the Gorgias, Phaedo, Phaedrus and Republic, which are imaginative presentations of the `Orphic-Pythagorean' doctrine of man as a being fallen from the divine world as a result of some primal sin or flaw and needing purification and remedial punishment before he can return to his proper place. An earlier writer in the same tradition, Empedocles, combines, in his poem Purifications([greek text]) the strongest possible assertion of his own divinity with a sense of personal sin unparalleled in pagan Greek philosophical literature:
I go about among you all an immortal god, mortal no more, honoured is my due, crowned with garlands and verdant wreaths (fr. 112). Of these I too am now one, a fugitive from the gods and a wanderer, who put my trust in raving strife (fr.115). Alas that the pitiless day of death did not first destroy me before I contrived the wretched deed of eating flesh with my lips (fr.139; all translations by J.E. Raven). I also think that the influence of Aristotelian noetic resulted in a certain stiffening and hardening of the thought of Plotinus about the unchangingness and impassibility of the divine soul. (On this influence sec P. Merlan in the Cambridge History (see n.l.), Part 1, chapters 3A and 6B). The passage of the Timaeus referred to in the text is as follows:
Gods, of gods whereof I am the maker and works the father, those which are my own handiwork are indissoluble save with my consent. Now, although whatsoever bond has been fastened may be unloosed, yet only an evil will could consent to dissolve what has been well fitted together and is in a good state; therefore, although you, having come into being, are not immortal nor indissoluble altogether, nevertheless you shall not be dissolved nor taste of death, -finding my will a bond yet stronger and more sovereign than those with which you were bound together when you came to be. (Timaeus 41 A- B; translation by F.M. Cornford).
9. The doctrine of the total descent of the soul is clearly stated, in conscious opposition to the teaching of Plotinus, in the last proposition (211) of the Elements of Theology of Proclus (pp. 1845 of E.R. Dodds, Proclus, The Elements of Theology, 2nd edition, Oxford 1965). It is as follows:
Every particular soul, when it descends into temporal process, descends entire: there is not a part of it which remains above and a part which descends (translation by E.R. Dodds).
Cp. Proclus In Parmenidem 134 A (V. p. 948, 14-20, ed. Cousin 1864). On the doctrine of `descending' or `providential' Eros in the later Neoplatonists see my article `Platonic Eros and Christian Agape' in Downside Review No. 255 (Spring, 1961), pp. 115-121, and John M. Rist Eros and Psyche (Toronto, 1964), Epilogue pp. 213- 220.
10. Deus enim deum te vult facere: no natura sicut est ille quem genuit; sed dono suo et adoptione.
Compare e.g. St. Irenaeus' Against Heresies 111.19.1: For to this end the Word of God was made man, and he who is the Son of God, Son of Man, that man blended with God's Word, and receiving the adoption might become the Son of God. Translation by J. Keble).
St. Athanasius, Orations against the Arians II.70:
Just as we should not have been freed from the sin and the curse if it had not been natural human flesh which the Logos put on (for we should have had nothing in common
with what was alien to us): so man would not have been deified [greek text] if He who became flesh had not been by nature from the Father, and His own true Logos (my own translation).
Roman Liturgy, Preface of the Ascension:
Who after his resurrection appeared openly to all his disciples, and was lifted up to heaven before their eyes, so that he might grant us fellowship in his Godhead (ut nos divinitatis suae tribueret esse participes - translation from Roman Missal, ed. J. O'Connell and H.P.R. Finberg, London, 1962).
11. There should be no need to quote passages from the Bible and the Fathers to confirm that orthodox Christians have always believed that the material world is good. On the Platonic side the basic text is, of course, theTimaeus. For the attitude of Plotinus to the material world see my contribution to the Cambridge History (n.l.) Part 111, chapter 14, pp. 230-2. The following passage from the treatise Against the Gnostics illustrates the positive side of it:
But if someone who sees beauty excellently represented in a face is carried to that higher world, will anyone be so sluggish in mind and so immovable that, when he sees all the beauties of the world of sense, all its good proportion and the mighty excellence of its order, and the splendour of form which is manifested in the stars, for all their remoteness, he will not thereupon think, seized with reverence, `What wonders, and from what a source?' (11 9[331 16, 48-55; my own translation from Plotinus II, Loeb Classical Library, 1966).
On extreme dualism and hatred of the body among Christians and pagans in the later Roman Empire see E.R. Dodds, Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety (Cambridge 1965), chapter I. For some possible clues to the origin of this sort of extremism, especially in matters of sex, among orthodox Christians as well as Gnostics, see J. Danielou, History of Early Christian Doctrine Vol.1, The Theology of Jewish Christianity (London, 1964) pp. 369-75 (Encratism) and the criticism of Danielou's views by R. Murray in the Heythrop Journal Vol. IV No. 4 (October, 1965) pp. 412-33 (Recent Studies in Early Symbolic Theology; see especially pp. 424-5 on the early Syriac Church). The Evil Female Az, the principle of desire,
especially sexual desire, who appears in Iran not only in Manichaean but in classical Zurvanite Zoroastrian theology, may also possibly be relevant here. She is fully discussed by R.C. Zaehner in The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastianism (London 1961) Part II, chapter 10, pp. 224-33. But the whole subject of the remoter origins of these attitudes to sex in some forms of Judaism in New Testament times and in early Christianity needs considerable further research.
12. The teaching of Augustine on sin and the body is summed up in this sentence.
The corruption of the body, which weighs down the soul, is not the cause but the penalty of the first sin. It was not the corruptible flesh which made the soul sinful, but the sinful soul which made the flesh corruptible. (City of God XIV, 3, 4-7; my own translation).
St. Gregory of Nyssa's doctrine of the `double creation' is fully expounded in his De Hoininis Opificio chapters 16 and 17 (PG 44, 177-191). It had a deep and lasting influence on Greek Christian thought. St. Augustine's lengthy refutation of it occupies chapters 21 through 24 of Book XIV of the City of God: cp. St. Thomas Summa Theologiae I. 98.2. St. Thomas here follows St. Augustine closely, with the significant addition that the pleasure in sexual intercourse felt by unfallen man would have been greater, not less than that felt by fallen man, though remaining under perfect rational control (1c. ad tertium).
13. On resemblances between pagan Platonist thought about astral bodies and the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body see further my chapter 5 of Christian Faith and Greek Philosophy, by A.H. Armstrong and R.A. Markus (London 1960 paperback edition 1964; New York, 1965) pp. 47-9.
A characteristic passage from St. Augustine's polemic against Porphyry on this point is as follows:
But whatever they [our resurrection bodies] may be like, since they are declared to be completely incorruptible and immortal and in no way to hinder the contemplation of the soul which is fixed on God, and you too say that there are in the heavens immortal bodies of beings immortally blessed; why is it that we must escape from all body in
order to be blessed, so that you may seem to have a sort of reasonable pretext for escaping Christian belief, unless that is true which I repeat: Christ is humble, you are proud? (City of God X, 29; my own translation).
Compare Plotinus II 9 8, 30-37:
Why, then, are not the stars, both those in the lower spheres and those in the highest, gods moving in order, circling in well-arranged beauty? Why should they not possess virtue? What hindrance prevents them from acquiring it? The causes are not present there which make people bad here below and there is no badness of body, disturbed and disturbing. And why should they not have understanding, in their everlasting peace, and grasp in their intellect God and the intelligible gods? (my own translation from Plotinus II. Loeb Classical Library, 1966).
The human astral body was of little importance to Plotinus, though he believed in it. On this and on the whole history of the idea of astral bodies in Platonism see E.R. Dodds, Appendix II (The Astral Body in Neoplatonism) to Proclus: The Elements of Theology (2nd edition Oxford, 1963).,
14. H. Crouzel, Origègne et la Philosophie (Paris, 1962) p. 215. Some important differences, as well as resemblances, between pagan and Christian Platonist other-worldliness are well brought out by P. Sheldon-Williams in Part VI of the Cambridge History (see n.l.) chapters 28 (Greek Christian Platonism) and 29 (The Cappadocians). On Platonic other-worldliness in St. Augustine see R.A. Markus in Part V of the same work, chapter 22 (Augustine, Man: body and soul). See also my chapter 5 of Christian Faith and Greek Philosophy, referred to in n.13. St. Augustine's own criticism of certain aspects of pagan Platonic other-worldliness is based on his insistence that the origin of sin lies in the will, not in the body (see above, p. 4 and n.12). It is concisely stated in City of God XIV 5.
15. Plotinus speaks of the universe as `holy' in a remarkable passage of the late treatise I 8 , which is his fullest exposition of his doctrine that matter is the principle of evil. In speaking of the presence of soul to matter (which is the cause of its `fall') he says:
'All the place is holy' [greek text] and there is nothing which is without a share of soul. (I 8
 14, 36-7, my own translation from I Plotinus I, Loeb Classical Library, 1966).
The quotation is from Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 54 (cp.16), and if Plotinus fully remembered the context of what he was quoting, the loving celebration of the holiness of Colonus with its many deities present in their local shrines, it is a very strong affirmation of his constant belief that the material world is not only the dwelling-place but the expression or manifestation of soul (admittedly on the lowest possible level of being), and therefore holy, since soul is a god. For cosmic religion in Plotinus see further the quoted in notes 11 and 13. His polemic against the passages Gnostic despising of the material world in II 9 [331 and his theory of beauty (for which see I 6 [11 and V 8 [31) are based on his sacramental' view of material things (which are good and holy, though matter is evil, because all their limited reality is form and the activity of soul).
16. On pagan cosmic religion and the Christian opposition to it see my chapter 4 of Christian Faith and Greek Philosophy (n.13), a chapter which now seems to me to need a great deal of correcting and supplementing on the lines of the following paragraphs of this lecture. On the radical criticism by John Philoponus of the astronomical theories which were an integral part of pagan cosmic theology see the very full treatment of this important and neglected Christian thinker in chapter VI (The Unity of Heaven and Earth) of S. Sambursky, The Physical World of Late Antiquity (London, 1962).
17. The Sequence of St. Hildegarde is printed in J. S. Phillimore, The Hundred Best Latin Hymns (London and Glasgow, 1926) pp. 58-9. The text is as follows:
0 Ignis Spiritus Paracliti,
Vita vitae omnis creaturae,
Sanctus es vivificando formas,
Sanctus es ungendo periculose fractos,
Sanctus es tergendo foetida vulnera!
0 spiraculum sanctitatis!
0 ignis caritatis!
0 dulcis gustus in pectoribus,
Et infusio cordium in bono odore virtutum!
0 fons purissimus,
Quod Deus alienos colligit
Et perditos requirit!
0 lorica vitae
Et spes compaginis membrorum omnium,
0 cingulum honestatis,
Custodi cos qui carcerati sunt ab Inimico,
Et solve ligatos quos divina vis salvare vult.
0 iter fortissimum
Quod penetravit omnia
Et in terrenis
Et in omnibus abyssis,
Tu omnes componis et colligis.
De te nubes fluunt,
Lapides humorem habent,
Aquae rivulos educunt,
Et terra viriditatem sudat.
Tu etiam semper edutis doctos
Per inspirationem sapientiae laetificatos.
Unde laus tibi sit,
Qui es sonus laudis
Et gaudiuti-i vitle,
Spes et lionor fortissiti-Ius,
Dans pracmia lucis.
0 fire of the Spirit, the Paraclete, life of the life of every creature, you are holy in giving life to the forms; you are holy in healing us when we are dangerously broken; you are holy in staunching our stinking wounds!
0 breath of holiness! 0 fire of love! Delightful taste in our inward parts; perfume poured into our hearts with the good smell of virtue!
0 clearest spring, in whose waters we contemplate God's gathering of those estranged from him and seeking of the lost!
0 breastplate of life, and hope of the joining together of all limbs,
0 girdle of honour, keep safe the blessed, look after those who are imprisoned by the Enemy, and free those in chains
whom the divine power wills to save. Strong journeying which has gone through all things, in the highest heaven and on earth and in all the depths, you join together and gather all things into one.
You make the clouds stream past, the air fly, the rocks store water, the waters flow out, the earth break into green. You too always train us to learning, gladdening us by your inbrcathing of wisdom.So praise be to you, who are the sound of our praise, and the joy of life, strongest hope and splendour, giving the prize of light. (My own translation).
The best expressions of this sense of the holiness of the world in Christian literature are to be found in the spiritual writings of the 17th century Anglican clergyman Thomas Traherne (1637-1674). There are two good recent editions of these, the two-volume Centuries, Poems and Thanksgivings, ed. H.M. Margoliouth (Oxford, 1958) and the one-volume Poems, Centuries and Three Thanksgivings, ed. Anne Ridler (Oxford, 1966). The only work of Traherne's published in his lifetime was a polemical one entitled Roman Forgeries- a reminder that Traherne was vigorously Protcstant, like the Cambridge Platonists, to whose thought his is in many ways closely related. It is difficult to give an idea of the total effect of the work of this young Herefordshire country parson (who in some ways anticipates Teilhard de Chardin) by a few isolated quotations, but the following may give some idea of the quality of his thought and language:
Your enjoyment of the world is never right, till you so esteem it, that evry thing in it, is more your Treasure, then a King's Exchequer full of Gold and Silver. And that Exchequer yours also in its Place and Service. Can you take too much Joy in your father's Works? He is Himself in evry Thing. Some Things are little on the outside, and Rough and Common; but I remember the Time, when the Dust of the Streets were as precious as Gold to my Infant Eys, and now they are more precious to the Ey of Reason.
You never Enjoy the World aright, till you see how a Sand Exhibiteth the Wisdom and Power of God: And Prize in evry Thing the Service which they do you, by
Manifesting His Glory and Goodness to your Soul, far more then the Visible Beauty on their Surface, or the Material Services, they can do your Body. Wine by its Moysture quencheth my Thirst, whether I consider it or no: but to see it flowing from his Lov who gav it unto Man, Quencheth the Thirst even of the Holy Angels. To consider it, is to Drink it Spiritually. To Rejoice in its Diffusion is to be of a Publick Mind. And to take Pleasure in all the Benefits it doth to all is Heavenly: for so they do in Hea;,en. To do so, is to be Divinc and Good: and to imitat our Infinit and Eternal Father.
You never Enjoy the World aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your Veins, till you are Clothed with the Heavens and Crowned with the Stars: and perceiv your self to be the Sole Heir of the whole World: and more then so, becaus Men arc in it who are evry one Sole Heirs, as %vell ts you. Till you can Sing and Rejoyce and Delight in God, as Misers do in Gold, and Kings in Scepters, you never Enjoy the World.(CenturyI 25, 27, 29)
But above all,. 0 Lord, the Glory of Speech, whereby thy Servant is enabled with Praise to celebrate thee.
All the Beauties in Heaven and Earth,
The melody of Sounds,
The sweet Odours
Of thy Dwelling-place.
The delectabic pleasures that gratify my Sense,
That gratify the feeling of Mankind.
The Light of History,
Admitted by the Ear.
The Light of Heaven,
Brought in by the Eye.
The Volubility and Liberty
Of my Hands and Members,
Fitted by thee for all Operations,
Which the Fancy can imagine,
Or Soul desire:
From the framing of a Needle's Eye,
To the building of a Tower:
From the squaring of Trees,
To the polishing of Kings Crowns.
For all the Mysteries, Engines, Instruments, wherewith the World is filled, which we are able to frame and use to thy Glory.
For all the Trades, variety of Operations, Cities, Templcs, Streets, Bridges, Mariners Compass, admirable Picture, Sculpture, Writing, Printing, Songs and Musick; whercwith the World is beautified and adorned.
(Thanksgivings for the Body, 100-127)
On the very unexpected part which the sense of the holiness of the world, already present in the Puritan Calvinist thought of the 17th century, may possibly have played in the evolution of ideas in New England, see Perry Miller's essay From Edwards to Emerson (New England Quarterly XIII, December, 1940, pp. 589-617; reprinted in Errand into the Wilderness (Cambridge, Mass., 1956: paperback edition New York, 1964) pp. 184-203). On its importance in Eastern Orthodox spirituality see chapter V (L'être crée) of Vladimir Lossky's Théologie Mystique de I'Eglise d' Orient (Paris, 1944: English translation, London, 1956).
18. On St. Basil's use in the De Spiritu of the first five chapters of Plotinus V 1 , and particularly the famous meditation on the activity of the World-Soul in chapter 2, see H. Delinliard Das Problem der Abhängigkeit des Basilius von Plotin (Patristische Texte und Studien 3; Berlin, 1964). The parallel passages from Basil and Plotinus which Dehnhard prints on pp. 6-13 show clearly the way in which Basil adapts Plotinus to Christian purposes by substituting sanctification for creative activity in the cosmos.
The strong and vivid sense of the goodness of creation at which St. Augustine arrived when he rejected Manichaeism is well illustrated by the following passage from the Confessions:
I perceived therefore, and it was made plain to ine, that all things are good which thou hast made, nor is there any substance at all which thou hast not made. And because all which thou hast made are not equal, therefore are all things; for each is good, and at the same time all together very good, because thou our God hast made all things very good.
And to thee is there nothing at all evil: yea, not only to thee, but also not to thy creatures in general; because there is not anything which is without, which can break in, or discompose, that order which thou hast settled . . . . God forbid now, that I should ever say, These things ought not to be; for should I see nothing but these [the things of earth], verily I should want thee better, yet even only for these ought I to praise thee; for that thou art to be praised these things of the earth do show: dragons and all deeps, fire, hail, snow, ice and stormy wind, which fulfil thy word; mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowls; kings of the earth and all people; princes and all judges of the land; young men and maidens; old men and children let them praise thy name. Seeing also these in heaven praise thee, praise thee, 0 our God, in the heights, thine angels and all thy hosts, sun and moon, all the stars and light, the heaven of heavens, and the waters that be above the heavens, sceing that these praise thy name, I did not now desire better, because I had now thought upon them all: and that those superior things were better than these inferior things, but yet all things together were better than those superior by themselves, I resolved upon in my bettered judgement.
They are not well in their wits, to whom anything which thou hast created is displeasing, nor more than I myself was, whereas many things which thou hadst made, did not like me. (Confessions VII, ch.12 (end)-14 (beginning)- quoting Psalm 148-tr. W. Watts, revised W.H.D. Rouse, in Loeb Classical Library, St. Augustine's Confessions 1, 1946).
19. For the splendid materiality of the new earth according to St. Irenaeus, see especially his account of what the `Elders' had heard the Apostle John say:
Wherefore the aforesaid blessing relates unquestionably to the times of the Kingdom, when the Just shall reign, rising again from the dead; when also the creature, being renewed and delivered, shall bring forth plenty of all kind of nourishment, of the dew of Heaven, and of the fatness of the earth: as the Prcsbyters who had sccn John the
Lord's disciple remembered that they had heard of him, teach concerning those times, and to how the Lord used to say `Days shall come, wherein vineyards shall grow, having each 10,000 main shoots: and in one main shoot 10,000 branches, and in one main shoot [or branch] again 10,000 sprigs, and upon every sprig 10,000 clusters, and in every cluster 10,000 grapes, and every grape when pressed shall yield twenty-five measures of wine. And when any one of those saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another cluster shall exclaim, I am a better cluster, take me, by me bless the Lord.' (Against Heresies V 33.3).
The idea that even after the Resurrection and the renewal of creation we shall need further growth and training for the final vision of God appears in two passages:
In which Resurrection the just shall reign upon carth, growing by their sight of the Lord, and by Him shall be accustomed to comprehend the glory of God the Father.... (V. 35. 1).
For as He is truly God, who raiseth up man; so also man truly riseth from the dead, and not in a figure: as we have shown at such length. And as he truly riseth, so will he likewise truly rehearse incorruption, and will be increased and flourish in the times of the Kingdom, that he may be made capable of the glory of the Father. After that, all being made new, he shall truly dwell in the city of God. (V. 35. 2; all passages in Keble's translation).
20. The passage in chapter 22 is as follows:
When the generation of men has reached its completion, with its end time also comes to a stop, and so the restoration [Greek text] of the universe happens, and, with the change of the whole, humanity is changed, from the corruptible and earthy to the impassible and everlasting. (Dc Hominis Opificio 22.5, PG 44, 205C; my own translation; ch. 23, PG 44, 212C).
This shows clearly that the idea of cosmic redemption was present to the minds of the Cappadocians, even if it is not very proininent in their thought; so that the thought of St. Maximus is, as he himself believed, a genuine development of the earlier Greek patristic tradition.
21. The latest and so far the best, work on the thought of St. Maximus is Microcosm and Mediator: the Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor by Lars Thunberg (Acta Seminarii Neotestantentici Upsaliensis XXV: Lund 1965). This is an admirably complete and clear presentation, amply documented, with a full bibliography and an interesting survey of earlier literature in the Introduction. Two good short accounts of Maximus are to be found in Polycarp Sherwood's introduction to his translation of the Ascetic Life and the Four Centuries on Charity (Ancient Christian Writers 21: Westminster, Maryland, and London 1955) and the chapter in the Cambridge History (see n.1) by P. Sheldon- Williams (Part VI, chapter 32). St. Maximus is a verbose and voluminous writer, in his theological works, who does not lend himself easily to quotation: and modern critical editions of at least his major theological writings, the Ouaestiones ad Thalassium) and the Ambigua, are very badly needed: they are at present only available in the two volumes of Migne's Patrologia Graeca devoted to his works (90 and 91). It is, however, worth quoting a few short passages which may do something to illustrate the breadth of his thought, to which I have drawn attention. The first, from the Ad Thalassium on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole created universe and in all mankind, should be compared with the Sequence of St. Hildegarde (see n.17):
The Holy Spirit is not absent from anything that exists: heis especially present in all who have in any way a share in reason. For he it is who preserves in being each and every thing which comes to be [greek text], because it is God and the Spirit of God who is moving through all things in his providential power and stirring to life in each its natural formative principle (or reason, greek text), and through it moving that which has perceptive power to a perception of transgressions of the laws of nature: that is, the man who has a will well adapted to receive the right reasonings which come from nature. For we certainly find many among extremely uncivilised people and nomads who can lay claim to human excellence [greek text] and reject the beastly customs which have been dominant among them from of old. In this way the Holy Spirit is present in all in a simple and ordinary way[greek text]
He is therefore in all things simply, in that he con-
serves and takes thought for all things, and stirs to life in them the seeds of natural growth. He is in a special way in those subject to the Law, as indicating to them their transgressions of the commandments, and illuminating the prophetic announcement of Christ. He is in all Christians, besides the ways which have been mentioned, as the cause of their adoption as sons.
(Quaestiones Ad Thalassium XIV, PG 90, 297 B, D: my own translation).
My second and third quotations illustrate the importance in St. Maximus' thought of the contemplation of the created universe as the way by which man returns to God bringing all creation witlh him. The counsel which Maximus gives here was admirably foilowed by Traherne (see n.17) and in a manner appropriate to our own times by Teilhard dc Chardin:
Both statements [that the white garments of the Transfiguration signify Scripture spiritually understood or the created world seen in the contemplation of the purified mind] will suit the Logos . . . who is present as Logos in the words of Holy Scripture and as Creator, Maker and Craftsman in the creation. Whence I assert that he who wishes to go the straight way to God without blame inevitably needs both the knowledge of Scripture in the Spirit and the natural contemplation of things according to the Spirit: so that the two laws, of nature and of Scripture, are equal in honour and teach the same as each other, and neither is greater or less than the other, and they are able to show, it is probablr, the man who desires wisdom perfectly how to become a lover of perfect wisdom. (AmbiguaVI, PG 91, 1128 C-D; my own translation).
When the mind is stripped of passions and illumined by contemplation of creatures, then it can be in God and pray as it ought. (Centuries on Charity 1, 100; tr. Polycarp Sherwood-see above).
23. The doctrine of the massa peccatrix or massa perditionis, with its conscquences, is expounded in many places in St. Augustine's anti-Pelagian works. Passages which have struck me particularly are De Correptione et Gratia 16: Contra duas epistulas Pelagianorum II, vii, 13-16. The essentials of it are clearly stated
in the De Natura et Gratia written at an early stage in the Pelagian controversy (c. A.D.413-15), e.g. the following:
Therefore this grace of Christ, without which neither infants nor grown-up people can be saved, is not given in return for merits, but given freely, which is why it is called grace. `Justified', the Apostle says, `freely by his blood'. Hence those who are not freed by it, whether because they were not yet able to hear or were unwilling to obey, or even because, since by reason of their age they were unable to hear, they did not receive the washing of new birth, which they could have received and by which they would have been saved, are altogetlier justly damned, because they are not without sin, either because they drew it from their origin or because they added to it by their bad behaviour; for `all have sinned'-whether in Adam or themselves-'and need the glory of God.' The whole mass, therefore, is liable to punishment, and if all were given the torment of damnation which is owing to them, they would, without doubt, not be given it unjustly. (De Natura et Gratia IV4-V 5; my own translation).
This passage brings out clearly (and cp.Vlll 9.-IX 10.) the important part which St. Augustine's conviction that no salvation is possible without hearing the Gospel and sacramental baptism played, at least at this early stage in the controversy, in forming his doctrine of selective predestination.
To make clear my own position, and that of many for whom I speak, and to show the relevance of the passages quoted in note 25 from Cudworth attacking the Calvinist conception of arbitrary omnipotence (whicli I do not attribute to St. Augustine, but take as drawing the logical conclusion froni his doctrine of predestination), it is necessary to state plainly:
(I.)That the conception of `justice' with ",which St. Augustine is operating here seems to me an almost supernaturally evil one: his `justice' is to me a fine name for an arbitrary and vindictive cruelty which is the worst of vices, not a virtue, and which only a perverse theological logic could ever have attributed to the God who is ultimate Good and Love.
(2.)That the mercy shown to some seems to me to make the cruelty to the others worse by introducing an extreme arbitrari-
legation of the undoubted mystery of God's dealness which no men can excuse.
(3.)That the great majority of mankind would have the best of all possible reasons for wishing that the God of the anti-Pelagian treatises did not exist and for doing everytbing possible to produce convincing demonstration of his non-existence.
24. The Platonic doctrine of divine goodness is summed up in tlic famous text of the Timacus about the motive of the Demiurge in making the world:
He was good, and one who is good is always absolutely without any sort of selfish jealousy: so since he was quite free from this lie wanted everything to be as nearly as possible like himself.
The principle that god is always the cause of good, never of evil is clearly expounded, as the reason for rejecting poetic mythology, in Republic II 379. The way in which the Christian doctrine that God is Love should go on beyond, without contradicting, the philosophical conviction that God is the Good, is , very well illustrated by the following passage from an impressive paper by Professor H.H. Price (Professor Price is not, of course, a Platonist):
I am only concerned with the type of theism whose central concept is the concept of love, the love of God for finite persons and the love of finite persons for God, since this is the only type of theistic religion with which I have any personal acquaintance. The more we consider its implications, the more astonishing it appears. For theism of this type is committed to maintaining that God loves sinners as well as saints, fools as much as wise men. More important still, we have to say that he loves those who do not love him as much as those who do. He loves atheists, agnostics and materialists as much as he loves theists -as much, in the sense that his love for each of us is without limit. His love is not only universal, but also unconditional. He loves all the persons be has created whatever they may do, whatever emotional attitudes they may have, whatever their beliefs may be; or rather he loves each of them individually, each for his own sake, as an end in himself. He
is indeed Deus Optimum Maximum, best as well as greatcst. For what could conceivably be better than universal and unconditional love?
(H.H. Price, "Faith and Belief," in Faith and the Philosophers, cd. jolin Hick (London and New York, 1964), p. 5.)
25. The following are some characteristic passages from Cudworth, which I have taken from Platonism and Cartesianism in the Philosophy of Ralph Cudworth (Bern, 1962) by Lydia Gysi:
Another mistake, to our likeness is.... when we make him nothing but a blind, dark, impetuous self-will, running through the world; such as we ourselves are furiously acted with, that have not the ballast of absolute goodness to poize and settle us. (Sermon before the House of Commons 27).
And indeed an omnipotent arbitrary Deity may seem to be in some sense, a worse and more undesirable thing, than the Manichaean evil God; for as much as the latter could be but finitely evil, whereas the former might be so infinitely. (True Intellectual System of the Universe 203).
For knowledge and power alone, will not make a God. For God is generally conceived by all to be a most venerable and most desirable being. Whereas an omniscient and omnipotent arbitrary Deity, that hath nothing either of benignity or morality in its nature to measure and regulate its will, as it could not be truly august and venerable according to that maxim `Sine bonitate nulla majcstas'; so neither could it be desirable, it being that which could only be feared and dreaded, but not have any firm faith or confidence placed in it. (Ibid. 202).
Faith, hope and love, do all suppose an essential goodness in the Deity. God is sucli a being, who if he were not, werc of all things whatsoever most to be wished for. It being indeed no way desirable . . . for a man to live in a world, void of a God and Providence. He that believes a God, believes all that good and perfection in the universe, which his heart can possibly wish or desire. It is the interest of none, that there should be no God. (Ibid. 661).
For Cudworth's passionate opposition to Calvinist predestination cf. chapter V of the book from which thesc quotations are taken.
An interesting testimony to the strength of this sort of theism in the English-speaking world of the 17th century is the way in which some English and American theologians of the Calvinist tradition toned down their Calvinism without formally abandoning it and event as far as they could towards meeting the sort of objections brought against Calvinism by Cudworth and other contemporary opponents by developing the Scriptural idea of God's covenant with men. On this `federal' or `covenant' theology see Perry Miller, The Marrow of Puritan Divinity (Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, February, 1935; reprinted with an important introduction in Errand into the Wilderness (Cambridge, Mass., 1956: paperback edition New York, 1964) pp. 48-98.26. On the thought of Pelagius see G. de Plinval, Pélage, ses écrits sa vie et sa reforme (Lausanne, 1943) and the excellent short account by John Ferguson, Pelagius, A Historical and Theological Study (Cambridge, 1956).
The following passage from the Epistola ad Demetriadem is, in the context of its period, a remarkably strong assertion of the presence of real virtue among non-Christians. It is noteworthy that Pelagius includes contemporary pagan philosophers in his praise:
The good of this nature is so generally established for all that it also sometimes shows and declares itself in heathen men, who have no worship of God. For there are so many philosophers whom we have hcard and read, and seen ourselves, to be pure, patient, modest, noble, abstemious, kind; men who reject the honours and pleasures of the world, and are lovers of righteousness as much as of knowledge. (Migne, PL 30, 19B: for naturalis sanctitas sec 20B. The letter to Demetrias was preserved, and is printed by Migne, among the letters of St. Jerome!)
This passage should be compared with that from St. Maximus Ad Thalassium quoted in n.21. It is perhaps significant that Pelagius attributes to `nature' what St. Maximus attributes to the action of the Holy Spirit.
27. The following passages from the first of the recently discovered baptismal instructions of St. John Chrysostom, which follow each other fairly closely, show the characteristic Eastern Christian juxtaposition, without any sense of incongruity, of a fully Pauline theology of grace and baptismal regeneration through the Passion of Christ with a firm assertion of man's free will and responsibility for
his own destiny. It should be remembered that Eastern Christian theology, except when under strong Western influence, has no room for the idea of original guilt and generally takes a less pessimistic view of the consequences of the Fall than St. Augustine. There is a good and clear summary of Orthodox teaching on this point in The Orthodox Church, by Timothy Ware (London 1963) pp.226-30.
(I.)You see, beloved, that my discourse concerns the soul. For a physical ugliness of the body could never change into beauty; the Master has prescribed that nature be subject neither to motion nor change. But in the case of the soul, such change is easy and very simple. Why is this and how is it possible? With the soul, it is entirely a matter of free choice rather than of a nature subject to necessity. Therefore if a deformed and extremely ugly soul has suddenly willed to do so, it can change itself, it can ascend to the summit of beauty and again become comely and graceful; if it again grows careless, it can again be swept down into the utmost ugliness. (First Baptismal Instruction 10).
(2.)Moved by His kindness, our Bridegroom hurries to save our souls. Even if someone is ugly, or ill-favored to the cye, or poor as can be, or lowborn, or a slave, or an outcast, or maimed or burdened with the weight of his sins, the Bridegroom does not split hairs, nor is He inquisitive, nor does He demand an accounting. The gifts He gives are a master's munificence and grace [Greek text]. He asks one thing only from us; to forget the past and to show good will for the future. (Ibid. 15).
(3.)But the kindly Master, imitating his own goodness [Greek text], has accepted this great and marvelous sacrifice because of His solicitude for her that by His own blood He might sanctify her; that having cleansed her by the bath of baptism, He might present her to Himself a Church in all ber glory. To this end He poured forth His blood and endured the cross, that through this He might freely give sanctification to us too, and might cleanse us through the bath of regeneration, and might present to Himself those who before were in dishonor and unable to speak with confidence, but now are
glorious, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. [Ibid. 17; all translations by Paul W. Harkins, from St. John Chrysostom: Baptismal lnstructions (Ancient Christian Writers 31: London and Westminster, Maryland, 1963) pp. 26-30].
For the theology of the `semi-Pelagians', i.e. the monks of the Marseilles region, belonging very much to the Eastern monastic tradition, who opposed the teaching of St. Augustine on grace and predestination and tried ` not very successfully, to work out a theologically satisfactory counter-position, see John Cassian, Collationes III and (especially) XIII. Very good short accounts of the theological issues involved, especially the question of God's will to save all men, which was a central point in this controversy, will be found in the introductions and notes by P. de Letter, S.J. to his translations of Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations and Defense of St. Augustine (Ancient Christian Writers 14 and 32, London and Westminster, Maryland, 1952 and 1963). I have not discussed or illustrated the positions of Cassian and his opponent Prosper here, as I think that their attempted solutions are not very helpful, and confuse rather than clarify the main issues.
28. The articles on which the view of Pelagianism adopted here is based are: J.N.L. Myres, `Pelagius and the End of Roman Rule in Britain'. Journal of Roman Studies L, 1-2 (1960) pp. 21-36; and J.Morris, `Pelagian Literature'. Journal of Theological Studies N.S. XVI, I (April, 1965) pp. 26-60.
Myres's summing up of his very thorough investigation of the use of gratia in the Theodosian Code (compiled in 438 from imperial rescripts issued from the time of Constantine I to the date of compilation) is as follows:
There is only one possible conclusion to be drawn from all this. Gratia in common parlance stood for judicial corruption in the courts, for official hanky-panky of all kinds in public life; for the irrational, unpredictable, or capricious as contrasted with the rational, the dependable and the intelligible in all human relationships. The inimici gratiae, whatever might be the theological implications of the phrase, were, from the point of view of human conduct, the enemies of corruption and so, by implication, the champions of justice and a fair deal for all men equally. (Art. cit., p. 26).
Real concern with the plight of the poor and extensive attempts to alleviate it by private and Church charity are of course to be found in the Christian Roman Empire: the sermons of St. John Chrysostom provide notable examples. And there is a certain amount of denunciation of the injustices and cruelties of the rich and Powerful, especially in Books IV and V of the De Gubernatione Dei, Salvian's tirade against the wickedness of his age which, like so many Christian (and earlier pagan) pronouncements on this sort of subject, is too violent, undiscriminating, and rhetorically exaggerated to be really impressive and convincing. But only in the Pelagian Treatise De Divitis (C.P. Caspari Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten (Christiana, 1890) pp. 14 ff; PL, Supplement 1, 1380 ff.) is there any suggestion that Christians should set about reforming the unjust and cruel society which they now controlled. The Church did not think that it was any part of its business to question, still less to change, the social and political order. But the unknown Briton who wrote the De Divitiis offers at least a rudimentary programme for a Christian revolution:
Abolish the rich and you will have no more poor. If no one has more than he needs, then everyone will have as much as he needs. For it is the few rich who are the cause of the many poor. (12.2; tr. J. Morris).
(On the probable authorship and degree of influence of this treatise see the very full discussion by Dr. John Morris in the article cited above. He shows that it is probably not (as de Plinval thought) by Pelagius, and is not representative of the main stream of Pelagianism, though its ideas are derived from Pelagian premises and fit admirably into the general pattern of Pelagian thought).
On the social record of the Church in the Christian Empire see the authoritative, massively documented, and to a Christian reader extremely depressing account by Professor A.H.M. Jones in chapter XXIII of his Later Roman Empire (Oxford, 1964) and chapter XXIV of his shortened and simplified version of his great work, The Decline of the Ancient World (London, 1966).
29. The following passages well illustrate the breadth of Christian vision and concern characteristic of the Council:
Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the People of God. . . . [The Constitution goes on to speak with respect and affection of
Jews and Moslems, as it has already spoken, immediately before the beginning of this quotation, of non-Catholic Christians. Then it continues] Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is he who gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17, 25-8), and as Saviour wills that all men be saved (cf. I Timothy 2, 4). Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does divine providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with his grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found among them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have lifc. (The Constitution on the Church of Vatican 11, II.16, authorized English translation , ed. Edward H. Peters, C.S.P. Glen Rock, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1965, p. 91).
Christ's redemptive work, while essentially concerned with the salvation of men, includes also the renewal of the whole temporal ordcr. Hence the mission of the Church is not only to bring the message and grace of Christ to men but also to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospcl. In fulfilling this mission of the Church, the Christian laity exercise their apostolate both in the Church and the world, in both the spiritual and the temporal orders. These orders, though distinct, are so connected in the singular plan of God that He Himself intends to raise up the whole world again in Christ and to make it a new creation, initially on earth and completely on the last day. In both orders the layman, being simultancously a believer and a citizen, should be continuously led by the same Christian conscience.
God's plan for the world is that men should work togather to renew and constantly perfect the temporal order.
All those things which make up the temporal order,
namely, the good things of life and the prosperity of the family, culture, economic matters, the arts and professions, the laws of the political community, international relations, and other matters of this kind, as well as their development and progress, not only aid in the attainment of Lilan's ultimate goal but also possess their own intrinsic value. This value has been established in them by God, whether they are considered in themselves or as part of the whole temporal order. `God saw that all that He had made was This natural goodness of very good (Genesis 1, 31). This natural goodness of theirs takes on a special dignity as a result of their relation to the human person for whose service they were created. It has pleased God to unite all things.. both natural and supernatural, in Christ Jesus `so that in all things he may have the first place' (Colossiaiis 1, 18). This destination, however, not only does not deprive the temporal order of its independence, its proper goals, laws, supports and significance for human welfare but rather perfects the temporal order in its own intrinsic strength and worth and puts it on a level with man's whole vocation upon earth. (Decree on the Apostolate of Laity II 5 and 7 - authorised English translation issued bv N.C.W.C. News Service).