Who is Augustinus? (Saint Augustine)December 13, 2020
Augustinius or Aurelius Augustinius is the philosopher and theologian known as Saint Augustinius.
Augustinus is a famous Christian thinker who lived between 354 and 430 years. In addition to being a theologian, Augustine was one of the famous and influential philosophers in Western thought. Although his works are theological, they are also important in terms of showing qualities including philosophical problems. It is seen that Augustine led many debates, which will later be discussed in modern philosophy.
Augustine was born in Thageste in 354, the son of a Pagan father and a Christian mother. He was influenced by various philosophical and religious movements in his youth. After reading Cicero’s now lost work, Hortensius, he began to seek the truth; His tendency towards philosophy and Christian thought has emerged.
Having undertaken religious duties in many places throughout his life, Augustine established a connection between the wisdom in the Neo-Platonic works and the life that Christianity said should parallel this wisdom. He founded a small monastery in Thagaste; He became the bishop of Hippo in 396 and continued this duty until his death on August 28, 430.
Augustinus wrote many works during his lifetime. It is possible to say that very few of these works are works of philosophy. However, his work titled Confessiones is one of the most important of the confession genre in literature. Another important work by Augustine is entitled De Civitate Dei (About the God State). This great work is an important work that has guided all the society and state philosophies after it. Augustinus is also Soliloquia; On the Immortality of the Soul (De Immortalitate Animae); About Music (De Musica); About the Quantity of the Spirit (De Quantitate Animae); He has titled About Freedom of Choice (De Libero Arbitrio).
As Augustine states in his work Soliloquia, the only things Augustine wanted to know throughout his life are God and spirit. Of course, both are structures that can be understood on the basis of truth. It is unthinkable to leave the mind on its own in Augustine’s act of seeking the truth. That is why knowing, which is the duty of the mind, must come after believing. His statement on this subject became very famous for that period:
“Unless you believe, you will not understand.”
According to Augustine, God is the truth itself. The fact that the truth is only discoverable in our minds shows that God is also within us. However, since God is a being that transcends us, he also shows us ways of thinking rightly and directs us and our minds.
The God of Augustine bears great similarities with Plato’s Idea. The fact that the beings in this world are subject to change necessitates a reason for their existence, and that is God. For him, God is wholly transcendent and immortal. According to Augustinus, who claims that due to this nature, God has a static wisdom and thus organizes a whole life, the most true essence of God is his eternal existence. Everything except God is created by him.
That is why everything has a beginning in time. God created everything at once; but not everything is made with the same perfection. Some of them were perfect in their existence, while others were created only as seeds or embryos. Augustinus calls these principles of origin. According to him, God placed the origin principle of each species in matter so that they could mature in time and under favorable conditions. According to Augustine, in order to know something, it is necessary to enlighten him mentally. According to him, there is a kind of light that we need for the mental vision of intelligible objects, and that intelligible light is truth itself.
Augustine does not accept the understanding of soul migration, which has an important place in Plato’s understanding of knowledge. Three elements are immediately striking in his teaching of knowledge:
God is the spiritual light and enlightens all people (their minds),
There is an understandable world of truth illuminated by God,
In divine enlightenment there are (humane) minds who know this world of truth.
With this explanation, man is placed in a completely separate place. The important relationship between rationality and truth brings people to the forefront as a moral being. The most important action of the mind is to be aware of itself. This realization takes place without matter, which is possible through the memoria. According to Augustinus, memoria is both a warehouse where the objects of the act of knowing and thinking are collected, and a place where the mind is confronted with itself and God.
According to Augustinus, human life is an act of seeking the truth. As such, the greatest goal of man throughout his life is to reach God. The structure that attracts the human mind, which is the most important tool of this search, is the existence feature of God. This structure, God Himself, is at the center and carries a love that holds everything together.