AUGUSTINE ON VIOLENCE
Violence is a fact of
human history and it must be considered by any political theory
that claims to be realistic. Since Eden every age has been
tinged with violence. Humans die in wars. Criminals do deadly
deeds that seem to cry out for capital punishment. Terrorists
use random destruction to promote a cause. Innocents perish at
the hands of unjust aggressors. Others are killed in conflict of
life situations created by nature itself.
Little can be done to
control the apparent barbarism of nature, but sometimes the
barbarism of humans can be controlled. The question for the
person trying to live morally is "How far may I go in trying to
correct nature's violent incursions on human life? How far may I
go in opposing the violent attacks of humans against humans?"
The purpose of the
pages that follow is to examine the answer given by St.
Augustine to such questions. Augustine's interest in such
questions was more than theoretical. He lived in violent
times. As he sadly observed to a friend: "We exist at peace
only because of the promises of barbarians."(1) He
was a leader of people and as such felt responsible for
protecting them from the brigands and barbarians of the day.
At the same time he fought to control the violent tendencies
of his own people which led them sometimes to take the law
into their own hands in time of crisis. He faced questions
about just punishment for heinous crimes, the appropriate
use of military force in the face of unjust attack, and the
moral response to terroristic threats. And he experienced
within his own being the passions which sometimes tempt
every human to resort to violence for personal gain or
pleasure. Day after day Augustine faced the questions: "How
am I to live a rational (noble) life in a world of violence?
Must I suffer it passively? May I respond to it by violent
means? Indeed, am I morally at fault if I do NOT
respond to it?"
Augustine's answer to these questions I shall examine the
1. the nature and
causes of violence;
2. violence as a
general ethical principles;
4. application of
principle to violence as defined.
In part 2, I will
examine how Augustine applied his principles to the practical
issues of self-defense, war, capital punishment, and killing the
The Nature Of
Recent works on
terrorism and violence have defined violence in various ways.(2)
In this discussion I shall define violent action as any action
of one human being against another which either contravenes the
rights of others or causes injury to their life, person,
property, or freedom.
By this definition I
mean to include two sorts of violent actions:
(1) those which
contravene the existing rights of another; (2) those
which inflict "injury" on another against her/his will.
In this second case
"injury" is taken to mean a lessening of any good which
contributes to the flourishing of a human life. This would
include such goods as life, physical and mental wholeness,
freedom, property, etc. Such injury occurs even when it is a
means to a very great good. Thus, if a person is kept alive
against their will by extraordinary means of preserving life,
injury is done to the good of freedom even though the good of
life is preserved.
By definition any act
against the existing rights of another is a violent act. In the
case of inalienable rights this will be true even though the
subject of the right seems to make no objection. If my right to
be treated as a human being is inalienable, then to treat me in
a non-human fashion is always an act of violence. Of course if
the right in question is alienable, the subject of the right has
some power to give it away. I do not do violence in ignoring a
promise I have made to you if you have released me from the
It follows from this
definition that violent acts against the existing rights of
others are always immoral since they are always violations of
the principle of justice. Acts which are violent because they
inflict "injury" may or may not be immoral. The concept of
"doing injury" does not contain the concept of "breaking moral
principle x" and therefore this form of violent activity cannot
be said to be immoral by definition.
Violence in the sense
of "doing injury" may in fact be immoral, but in each instance
the morality/immorality must be argued. A particular war may in
fact be immoral. It does not follow from the definition of
violence that it is necessarily so. The morality or immorality
of violence in such instances needs further argument.
The Causes Of
the morality of violent actions will be greatly influenced by
one's conclusions on the causes of violence. Three sorts of
explanation have been offered. The first asserts that violent
actions flow from human nature itself. Humans are by nature
aggressive animals and the best that can be done is to control
their aggression by external means. There is no internal cure. A
second theory will maintain that the human is completely
determined by environment. In the right environment any human
would be pacific. In the wrong environment any one of us becomes
beastly. In this view violence can be cured. The problem is to
find and create the environment that will eliminate it. A third
view will hold that violence is the result of human freedom. If
it were possible to convince humans that violence is never a
rational course to follow, then human violence would cease to be
a factor in human history.(3)
of violence comes closest to the third approach though he is not
as sanguine about the possibilities as some of its proponents.
It is true that the human being is free, but it is a wounded
freedom. By and large humans are responsible for their history.
They choose to be what they are and to do what they do. However
they also are flawed (Augustine calls them "cracked pots") and
it is this "crackedness" that leads to the sometimes perversity
of their choices. Humans are not corrupt by nature but they have
been wounded and this woundedness is the real cause of the
extraordinary amount of violence in human history.
Humans are able to
choose but in fact there is often a disorder in their choice. It
manifests itself in three ways. In its first form disordered
choice causes humans to choose the things of this world over God
Himself. In fact humans are caught in the middle of this actual
world. They are less than God but are better than the rest of
material creation. In their spirit they have a natural tendency
to ascend to God. In their matter they have a tendency to be
attached to the everyday world of material goods. An unwounded
humanity would have been able resolve this opposition, but as it
is humans often find themselves at odds with themselves.
The second expression
of disordered choice has to do with method. We humans have
become so self-centered that now we tend to choose even truly
good things in selfish ways. Our selfish attitudes endanger even
our most noble actions. When we fall in love with another human
we must strain to truly make our love dedicated to the loved one
and not to ourselves. When we enjoy the good things of this life
it is difficult to avoid making them the "end all and be all" of
our existence. Sometimes we reach for the things we enjoy with
no thought of the needs of others. We are choosing true goods
but in a selfish way. Such selfish desire is disordered even
when the good desired is the highest possible good. Certainly to
wish to possess God while hoping that no one else possesses Him
is the choice of a sick and wounded will.
A third manifestation
of disordered choice has to do with method also. In the second
form of disordered choice discussed above true goods were chosen
but in a selfish way. In this third form true goods are sought
by improper means. Thus, it is certainly a good to preserve
one's life, but this will not justify any and all means. I may
not save myself by committing an injustice against another
human. I may not save my life by blaspheming God. In Augustine's
view the methods of waging war were as relevant to moral
decisions about war as were the reasons for declaring it. A
noble end will never justify perverse means.
believed that perverse human choice, in whatever form it takes,
is the chief cause of violence in this life. Wounded will and
darkened intellect are the culprits, not environment and not
human nature. And no one is exempt from this flaw. All humans
share a common disability and without the grace of God all would
succumb. Perhaps because of his own wild and confused youth,
Augustine was absolutely convinced that the tendency towards
abject stupidity and uncontrolled passion is seeded in every one
of us. Every one of us is born in ignorance and as soon as we
become conscious all sorts of crazy desires begin to surface.
Left to ourselves, we would try every evil ever recorded in
human history and probably invent a few of our own along the
Violence As A
assumptions about human woundedness, Augustine could reach
no other conclusion than that violence is a permanent part
of human experience this side of death. Violence will
disappear only when the human race has perfect peace. But
peace is the absence of conflict and in the present wounded
state of humanity it is impossible to eliminate conflict.
This is so because the essential conflict is within each
individual. We are torn between the goods of this world and
the promises of the next. At one and the same time we desire
to be more than we can be while being tempted to be less
than we are. We are dusty angels, looking to the heavens as
we fight for the goods of this earth. We want everything and
are jealous of those who have anything that is not ours. The
logic of our conflict is straightforward:
(1) we will not
be at peace until we are perfectly happy;
(2) but to be
perfectly happy we must have all our natural desires
(3) but we are
made in such a way that our desires are infinite;
(4) but in this
life we can only possess the finite;
(5) and thus in
this life we cannot achieve perfect peace nor perfect
In Augustine's words:
individual in this community is driven by his passions to
pursue his private purposes. Unfortunately, the objects of
these purposes are such that no one person can ever be
wholly satisfied...The result is that the city of man
remains in a chronic condition of civil war. Hence there is
always the oppression of those who fail by those who
The result is a world
in which violence is always possible, a world in which it cannot
be eliminated but only controlled. What Augustine once wrote of
a people is no less true of every individual:
vicissitudes being what they are no nation was ever so
secure as to be free from all fear of hostile attacks on its
The danger of violence
will always be part of the human experience. The practical
problem thus becomes the determination of methods of control
which are both realistic and consistent with moral principles.
Fundamental Moral Principles
Augustine's moral judgment on violence, we must say something
about his general principles of ethics. Perhaps the fundamental
question for any ethicist is "What makes any morally good action
to be morally good?" A suggestion of Augustine's answer can be
found in the "City Of God" (7) where he defines
ethics as the science which deals with that supreme good towards
which all human actions are directed. This definition implies
two facts at the foundation of his ethical system:
which are properly described as human actions have an
innate tendency towards a specific goal;
2. This goal is
the supreme good for human beings and once it is
achieved no further good is sought. By possessing this
good the individual human achieves perfect happiness.
Augustine had already
come to accept a third fact about the human species, namely:
3. Every human
being wishes to be happy.
Since this desire is
universal, it must be rooted in human nature itself. To be a
human being is to desire happiness. This is the way human beings
are. Since Augustine believed that every individual's existence
rested ultimately on the creative act of a beneficent Creator, a
fourth fact was clear to him:
4. The desire
for happiness in each human being is caused by the
Augustine was convinced
that humanity has a common subjective goal: happiness. This is
the subjective state towards which every human being is drawn.
But is it possible to bring about this happy state? Is there
something which when possessed will bring perfect happiness? If
such a reality exists, it is the objective goal of human beings
and (along with the perfect happiness it causes) constitutes the
proper object of the science of ethics. Ethics then becomes a
reasonable endeavor, searching out what this supreme good for
humans might be, examining the possibility of its achievement,
and giving principles outlining a method of pursuing it. This
rational structure collapses if any of the three tasks is
impossible, and the last two rest on successful completion of
the first: establishing the existence and nature of the supreme
good for human beings.
What then can be said
about this supreme good? Augustine begins to identify some of
its characteristics by examining what is necessary to make a
human being perfectly happy. Looking into himself he perceives
some clear rules:
1. I cannot be
happy if I lack what I love.
2. I cannot be
happy if I love something that is harmful.
3. I cannot be
happy if I possess the best but do not love it.
4. I cannot be
happy if I love and possess the best, but
lose it in the future or,
the possibility of losing it, or
am afraid of losing it.(8)
From this analysis
Augustine derives a fifth fact useful for the development of his
human happiness will be achieved if and only if the
individual loves and possesses that which is best for
them and possesses this good without fear of loss.
The phrase "best for
human beings" needs explanation. It is clear from Augustine's
analysis of happiness that a good is not made "best" for me
simply because I desire it. I can desire things which are really
not good for me at all. Moreover I can be in possession of good
truly fitted to me but not realize it and therefore not desire
it. Desire is thus separable from true good and therefore cannot
constitute it. Augustine's conviction was that good was rooted
in being, not desire. Things are not good because I desire them.
I desire things because (rightfully or wrongfully) I perceive
them to be good for me. Whether or not they really are
good for me will depend on what they are and what I am. What is
"best" for me will depend on the nature of things. There is a
hierarchy in being and I possess a very definite place in that
hierarchy. By reason of my spiritual soul I am below God, equal
to the angels, and better than the rest of the universe.(9)
As a human being I am literally in the middle of things. Some
reality is above me and some is below me and since reality
insofar as it is real is good, there are higher goods and lower
goods. Since happiness is fulfilled desire and since desire is
created by apprehension of good, Augustine concludes that
happiness can come only from possession of the highest possible
good. He asks:
find something that is both more perfect than the human
being and which can be achieved by loving it, who would
doubt that the human being should, in order to be happy,
strive to possess this thing which is more excellent
than the human who seeks it.(10)
had no doubts about the existence of a being more
excellent than the human beings who sought it. After
years of searching he came to see that there was a
supreme being who was ... the chief good, the good of
all goods, the good whence all goods come, the good
without which nothing is good, and the good which is
good for other things."(11)
The existence of such
supreme good established the first condition for perfect human
happiness. At least a being existed which, if possessed,
could satisfy the infinite thirst of human beings. Augustine now
had a sixth fact for the foundation of his ethical principles:
(6) God is the
supreme good which when possessed will bring perfect
The moral good for
humans, the goal of human life, is nothing less than the
possession of God. Augustine's faith convinced him that such
possession was indeed possible. The only question remaining was
the question of method. It seems logical to suppose that God is
to be possessed by action rather than non-action, but action of
what sort? One may reasonably say that any action is good which
leads to possession of the supreme good, but what is the
characteristic of any specific act that warrants the claim that
in fact it does bring one closer to the goal? The original
question recurs: "What concretely makes an action morally good
rather than morally evil?"
Augustine's answer can
be stated in the form of a seventh assertion about reality, an
assertion which explicitly ties the moral to the ontological:
(7) The morally
good act will be that one which is in accord with the
order of the universe.
this principle as follows:
Everything that God created is good...Thus the rational
soul performs good actions when it observes the order of
creation...when it chooses the greater over the lesser,
the higher over the lower, the spirit over the body, the
eternal over the temporal.(12)
The instrument of the
moral act is human choice. It is by choosing well that an
individual is moved closer to the supreme good and perfect
happiness. The crucial virtue for the moral life will thus be
movement of the soul towards the enjoyment of God for
his own sake and one's self and one's neighbor for the
sake of God.(13)
We are drawn towards
that which we love. To be drawn towards our true goal our love
here and now must be an ordered love...a love which respects the
order of the universe and fights to maintain it.
The most important
virtue for the human being is indeed charity (loving well)
but the first law of morality seems more akin to
justice...giving to each their due. The mandate of the eternal
law is that the order of the universe be preserved and not
disturbed.(14) There is no contradiction here. Love
worthy of the name must be an ordered love. Love which perfects
the lover and respects the object of love is a love which
recognizes the love-object's place in the universe and treats it
accordingly. By true love we subject the lower to the higher and
preserve equality among equals. The perfection of love leads to
the perfection of order. Thus the command of the eternal law
that "all things should be more perfectly ordered"(15)
does not conflict with Augustine's moral guideline "Love! And do
whatever you wish!"(16) One who does not work to perfect
order in the universe cannot claim to truly love. "Love demands
the preservation and perfection of order." This is the
underlying assumption of a characteristically Augustinian
ethical judgment on every course of action, including those
which involve violence.
three possible sources of disorder (and therefore immorality) in
a particular human act. These are
(1) the act
authorization for the action.
person doing the action,(17)
An action may be
immoral because it is in conflict with the order of the universe
by its very nature. Thus blasphemy contradicts the factual
subordination of the creature to the Creator. It is impossible
for the Creator to be subordinate to the creature, but blasphemy
(the cursing of God) by its very nature asserts such
subordination. It must therefore always and everywhere be
forbidden. Even God could not make it to be moral. So too
adultery is always immoral because its practice denies the
existence of the contract that its definition assumes. No
authorization divine or human, no noble intention, no set of
circumstances can make blasphemy or adultery or other "naturally
disordered acts" to be morally good. Perhaps they can be
understood and even forgiven, but they can never be justified.
By their very nature they disrupt the order of the universe and
thereby are acts of disordered love.
A second source of
disorder in a human act is the lack of proper authority. Thus
taking the goods of another becomes stealing only when it is
against the reasonable will of the owner. A morally indifferent
medical procedure can become immoral if done without the consent
of a competent patient. Unlike those acts which are disordered
by nature, these can be remedied. If proper authorization is
present, the taking of the goods of another ceases to be evil.
If appropriate patient consent is present, a medical procedure
can become an expression of professional virtue.
The third cause of
disorder in the human act is in the intention of the agent. A
bad intention can vitiate even the most noble action. There is
no merit in "doing" good if we are choosing badly...if we are
loving in a disordered way. Augustine makes this point clearly
in his debate with Faustus:
(i.e. immoral action) is found in every case where a man
loves for their own sake things which should be desired only
as means to an end, and seeks for the sake of something else
things which ought to be loved for themselves. By so acting
he disturbs as far as he can the natural order which the
eternal law requires us to observe.(18)
Therefore it is
not enough to look at the external action to judge the morality
of an action. Diverse intentions can make an action otherwise
good to be evil. A father may beat a child for its own good. A
pederast may give the same child candy to win its trust. To
judge from externals the father is vicious and the pederast is
virtuous. But in fact the moral reality is quite different. One
and the same action can be preserved as morally good or made
morally evil by the intention of the agent. In Augustine's
words: "Though the action be the same, yet if we take into
account the diverse intentions we discover that in one case the
agent is to be praised while in another case the agent is to be
Augustine is not saying
that intention alone determines the morality of an
action. Good intentions cannot make a "naturally disordered" act
to be ordered. Nor can they substitute for a lack of authority
to perform the act. Good intention does have the gratifying
ability to make even insignificant morally indifferent acts of
import for eternity, but bad intention has the terrifying power
of vitiating actions which would otherwise be eminently
virtuous. Such is the power of disordered love. True love will
not permit the performance of ignoble acts and there is no
heroism that can make up for its absence. This is the force of
Love, and do
what you will!...for if the root of your action is true
love, then it is impossible that anything but good can come
The Morality Of
general moral principles are applied to violent actions as
defined here, it is evident that those actions which involve an
unjust attack are always disordered and therefore immoral. They
are disordered precisely because the actions are contrary to the
reality of the situation. Reality proclaims that rights exist;
the unjust action pretends that they do not. In choosing
injustice the agent is guilty of disordered love, effectively
desiring a reordering of fact whereby the victim of the
injustice becomes subordinate to the perpetrator.
The moral status of
violence which simply inflicts "injury" on another is more
problematical. The word "injury" covers a multitude of hurts.
Any lessening of a good contributing to human flourishing falls
under the concept. A diminishing of life or health or freedom is
always injurious to the one who suffers the diminishing. It
seems unreasonable to assert that such "injuring" is either
always moral or always immoral. Intuitively it is more sensible
to agree that some cases of injuring are moral and that other
cases are not... that is, some violent acts are justified and
others are not. Having granted this, one can begin the search
for the norm which will distinguish the moral uses of violence
from the immoral.
For Augustine the
norm is his general norm of morality: An act is morally good if
it is an act of ordered love, i.e. a choice which fosters the
order of reality. A violent act will be morally forbidden if it
is disorderly in any one of the three ways specified by
Augustine. Though no violent act (in the sense of doing injury)
will be disordered in and of itself, it is possible that a
particular instance of injuring will be disordered either
because the agent has no authority to inflict the injury or
because the intention is bad. Spanking a child causes pain but
it is not for that reason that it becomes immoral. It becomes
immoral if the one who disciplines has no authority to do so or
does it with an improper attitude or in an immoderate way.
Though Augustine lamented mightily about the beatings he
received during his early school years, he did not question the
authority of his teachers to discipline their students. He
complained only about their hypocrisy in punishing the young for
the very same games that they the teachers played in their adult
world. The disorder in their acts came not from a lack of right
but from a lack of right attitude. The imposition of unwanted
discipline was not disorderly. It was the intention. Indeed,
Augustine came to realize that a bit of discipline is good for
most poor human souls, though most of us are unwilling to accept
it when it comes to us. Those charged with the care of others
must be ready to punish as well as reward. It could even be a
virtuous act for a father to give a beating to his son if it is
truly necessary for the son's own good.(21)
This last example
suggests that in some cases a violent act may be morally
required. This would occur when, all things considered, the
violence fosters order rather than disorder. This somewhat
strange possibility could be realized if certain assumptions are
1. Violence (in
the sense of doing injury) is not in and of itself
disorderly. Violence to be moral needs justification but
such justification is possible.
2. The order of
the universe is served by the lessening of violence and
therefore responsible agents cannot be indifferent to
its existence. Ordered love must act when it can lessen
the injury coming from violent acts whether these flow
from blind forces of nature or perverse choices of
3. In some
cases the use of violence can lessen the quantity of
violence in the universe. For example, mandatory
vaccination against small pox ("injurious" in the sense
of being an invasion of bodily integrity and a lessening
of individual freedom) may prevent a much greater
quantity of "injury" coming from a deadly plague.
4. In some
cases the use of violence can lessen disorder in the
universe by preventing violence which is both injurious
and unjust. Thus a king charged with protection of the
common good may actually lessen the disorder in the
universe by killing an aggressor who threatens to kill
an innocent civilian. Though in any case a human life
will be lost, it seems intuitively to be less disordered
to have an unjust aggressor die than an innocent victim.
To sum up, a typical
Augustinian analysis will admit that violence is morally
permitted if it is an act of ordered love, that is, a choice
which does not disturb the order of the universe. Moreover, one
may be morally obliged to perform a violent act if it is
clear that such an act is necessary or useful for the
preservation or promotion of the order of the universe. These
two assertions rest on the assumptions that
(1) every human
being is morally bound to seek the ultimate end, and
(2) this is
done by acts of ordered love, choices that respect and
promote the order of the universe, and
ordered love is absent when agents either act against
the order of the universe or do not attempt to foster it
in situations where they have the ability and the
responsibility to do so.
In a word, violence in
a world of violence may be the only way of lessening the
disorder coming from violence. It is not a perfect solution to
be sure, but in an imperfect world it may just be the only way
to work for that order and peace which God intended and wants
for the human race. As we shall see in Part 2, it is this
sentiment that drove Augustine in his discussion of the
particular problems of just war, just punishment, individual
self-defense, and killing the innocent.
1. Letter 47, 2.
Cf. P.R.L. Brown, "Political Society," in R.A. Markus,
Augustine (Doubleday & Co.: 1972), p. 324.
2. Cf. Kai Nielsen,
"Violence and Terrorism: Its Uses and Abuse," in Burton M.
Leiser (ed), Values In Conflict: Life, Liberty and the Rule
of Law, (Macmillan: 1986), p.436.
3. Examples of each
view can be found throughout ancient and modern philosophy.
Hobbes and Nietzsche hold that the human animal is fundamentally
anti-social and must be corralled and controlled by strong laws
and strong leaders. Schopenhauer writes: "Man is at bottom a
savage, horrible beast. We know it, if only in the business of
taming and restraining him which we call civilization."The
Pessimist's Handbook, Hazel E. Barnes ed., Univ. of Nebraska
Press, 1964, pp. 338-39). The influence of environment has been
stressed by Behaviorism and such individual philosophers as Marx
and Rousseau. Perhaps the purest example of the view that
freedom is the cause of violence can be found in those who will
maintain that in fact "virtue is knowledge" and that through
education all of human perversity can be eliminated. An example
of how these approaches are reflected in current debate about
social issues can be found in an interesting article by Andrew
Hacker, "On Original Sin And Conservatives," in The New York
Times Magazine, February 25, 1973, pp 13 ff. A comparison of
the views of Augustine and Hobbes is given by Herbert A. Deane,
The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine (Columbia
Univ. Press: 1963), p. 50 & pp. 234-5.
4. City of God,
bk. 22, c. 22. For an extended and well-documented presentation
of Augustine's views on the human condition cf. Deane, op.
cit., pp. 39-77. Cf. also G.R. Evans, Augustine On Evil
(Cambridge University Press: 1982), pp. 29 ff.
5. City of God,
bk.18, c.2. G. Walsh & D. Honan trs. (Fathers of the Church,
Inc.: New York, 1954), vol 24, p. 84. Cf. Deane, op. cit.,
pp. 46-7. Brown comments: "The central problem of Augustine's
(political) thought is one which we all have to face: to what
extent is it possible to treat man as having a measure of
rational control over his political environment?" op. cit.,
6. City of God.
bk. 17, c. 13, p. 60. James O'Donnell is on the mark when he
writes: "In earthly terms, the vision of human society the
City of God provides is unremittingly bleak, even if
indisputable. Most human societies, enamored with the daydreams
of politics, pretend the human condition is better than it is.
Men forget history because they do not want to remember that
others have gone down paths of prosperity and complacency before
them." Augustine (Boston: Twayne Pub., 1985), p. 59.
7. City of God,
Bk. 8, c. 8. For a full discussion of Augustine's ethical theory
cf. Bernard Roland-Gosselin, La Morale de Saint Augustin
(Paris: Marcel Riviere: 1925). On page 44 he makes a strong case
that Augustine's ethics is founded on divine being more than on
divine will. Other authors (mistakenly, I believe) have argued
that Augustine's position is an example of divine voluntarism.
Cf. Vernon Bourke, "Voluntarism In Augustine's Ethico-legal
Thought," Augustinian Studies, vol. 1 (1970), pp. 3 ff.
And Cf. Joseph Koterski, "St. Augustine On The Moral Law,"
Augustinian Studies, vol. 11 (1980) pp 65 ff.
8. Cf. On the Morals
of the Catholic Church and the Morals of the Manichaeans,
bk. l, c. 3, # 4; The Trinity, bk. 13, c. 8.
9. Cf. The Quantity
of the Soul, c. 34, #78.
10. On the Morals of
the Catholic Church ..., bk. l, c. 3, # 5.
11. Commentary on
Psalm 134, # 6.
12. Letter 140,
c. 2, # 4; cf. Free Will, bk. I, c.8, # 18; bk. I, c. 15,
# 32. It is clear that Augustine's call for a preservation of
order is not a call for the preservation of the various
contingent "orders" that humans create in their social and
political structures...orders where, for example, the strong
dominate the weak. The eternal law calls for the preservation of
the order of the universe, an order which is created by God at
the very root of being. Order for Augustine is the disposition
of equals and unequals in accordance with their appropriate
place in the scheme of things (City of God, bk 19, c.13).
Order is not present when that which is superior is made
subservient to the inferior (Free Will, I, 8, 18). On
these points cf. Roland-Gosselin, op. cit, pp. 26-7. Cf.
also Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of Saint
Augustine (Random House Pub.: New York, 1960), pp. 130-31.
Doctrine, bk. 3, c. 10, # 16.
14. Against Faustus
the Manichean, bk. 22, c. 27.
15. Free Will,
bk. 1, c. 6.
16. Commentary on
the Letter of John, tr. 7, c. 4, # 7.
17. Against Faustus
the Manichean, bk. 22, # 73.
18. Ibid., # 78.
19. Commentary on
the Letter of John, tr. 7, c. 4, # 7.
bk. 1, c. 9, # 14-15; Commentary on the Letter of John,
tr. 7, c.4, #7.