Free Will and Justice in the City of God and the City of Man

Introduction

Augustine was a philosopher, and theologian. He was born of a noble Roman family living in Alexandria. His parents were Christian; thus, he was groomed and educated to be part of the Roman elite (Lecturer, 2021b, 2). Due to spiritual and personal crises, he was unable to control his desires and lusts. Most of his writing was after the Barbarian invasion and sacking of Imperial Rome. He wrote of the city of God. Among his famous philosophy is free will, which is a gift from God (Lecturer, 2021a, 14). He reveals that God's free will created all things in the world and that God exists. Therefore through free will, God allowed “evil” to Adam. Therefore, because of Free Will, God gives people the will to act based on their evil nature, and man act based on his thinking which indicating justice, though the perspective of judgment and punishment at the end of time limits the concepts of free will.

Augustine in his concept of free will believe that human cannot lose their moral capacity for doing good, though individual are free to act based on their will. Therefore, freedom is endowed with the ability and power for a man to decide his own will. Besides the free will concept, Augustine suggests that God permitted “evil” though creates the path for man’s redemption- political thought and return to his true nature (Lecturer, 2021b, 4). Therefore the purpose of God will be fulfilled and completed at the end of times when He would judge people. His justice will be glorified in the final judgment, thus giving man happiness and salvation. Therefore, from the concept, a man who does good will be referred to as righteous, while an unrighteous man will be described as a wicked man. After God created free will, he gave it to Adam and Eve, and everyone else lives under free will. Everyone has natural freedom, which is more of a kind of ability of reason. Therefore, free will gives man the ability to choose how to live without immediate consequences until judgment day. During the Day of Judgment, God will be just, and man will rejoice in the "vision" of justice that Christ brought. Therefore the principle of free will aligns with Christian political thought, which suggests that God is a judge over his creation and will judge people based on whether they are worthy of his reward (Heaven) or not (Hell) (Lecturer, 2021a, 12). However, based on this thought, it is believed that people will be judged at the Last Judgments day, which will be at the end of time. Therefore, individuals worthy of God's reward will have a regenerated body and soul whose wounds are healed. In this way, man will return to his true nature as God intended to bask in full and unmediated glory of God.

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Based on free will, man has the choice of human right and evil. However, man is perceived to be evil, thus creating the city of man (Lecturer, 2021a, 12). This city is sinful in nature and pulls Him away from creator. Unlike the city of God, which has grace and pulls the man to heaven, the city of man is evil. Therefore the city of man is characterized by pride and self-aggrandizement. Likewise, the city glories in itself, unlike the heavenly, which also glorify the creator. Also, the city of man glories itself and its strength is shown in its powerful leaders. Furthermore, the city of Man loves itself and worldly things. Therefore, justice in the city of man is to have the freedom to do evil and rule themselves. From the description of the city of man, justice construct itself as human are given the freedom and capacity of reasoning and discern the best action from all other actions (Lecturer, 2021a, 13). The city of man gives an individual moral responsibility for their action and thoughts. The “free choice off will” in the human city not be refuted, thus creating justice. Likewise, it is a gift from God, the perfect being. Therefore, free will construct justice as the ability to do what one wishes regardless of moral perspective.

On the other hand, the city of God is eternal, stale, and the source of ultimate consolation. Moreover, the city of God is the heavenly one and honors God in all things, trusting only Him for all wisdom and glorifies him. However, unlike the city of man, where justice is constructed via having the ability and freedom to act in the way one chooses, in the city of God, justice is constructed via giving his creation free will and the ability to act as they wish. At the same time, man is given salvation where he is reunited with God and given the opportunity to live in the eternal contemplation of God. Besides, the grace of God makes man no longer a slave, thus creating an impression of justice regardless of man being a creation of God. Furthermore, the City of God manifests God's desire to free humanity from suffering and death (Lecturer, 2021a, 13). Therefore the city depicts God as being merciful and full of inertia regardless of man’s decision in his city. However, man has the freedom to either accept God’s promise or reject it. However, on judgment day, whoever rejects the promise of God out of will have to be punished- hell.

However, the idea of free will and justice in both the city of God and the city of a man is seen as inexistence and void. Christians and Augustine believe in judgment on the last day. In the eternal judgment, God will judge all nations after the resurrection of the dead and the Second Coming of Christ. On the other hand, the nature of man is imperfect and corrupt. Therefore, it is evident that man can only act in an evil and unjust manner. Moreover, man must look at God for happiness and satisfaction, which suggests that men are not free but motivated to act good to get God's satisfaction. Similarly, the happiness of man is found in the City of God, which means that God's Justice cannot be found in the city of Man due to its imperfect and incomplete nature. Similarly, men are promised an End of Times and Last Judgment, which proves that there is no free will, as suggested by Augustine (Lecturer, 2021a, 12). In my opinion, if man will be judged at the end of time, it is proved that they are expected to do well always and abide by the will of God; thus do not have any freedom to do evil. Besides, Christ will come and enact the final judgment where the wicked will be punished by eternal hell-fire at the end of time. On the other hand, the good people will be saved and rewarded with heaven on Earth. Therefore, there is no free will; it is either being good and accepted in God's kingdom or being evil and being punished. Only God is just to give his creation grace and grace period to change from their evil time. Lastly, the punishment will be condemning evil, and evil will experience eternal suffering for disobedience and sin. Therefore

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Moreover, based on the free will ideology, man has a choice of evil and good (Lecturer, 2021a, 14). However, regardless of being created by God, man is not perfect, and evil lies in human nature, committing evil deeds to fulfill his imperfect nature and wants. Therefore the act of God permitting “evil” while He is holy reveals the concept of “free will” as a gift. Therefore, it is just that God gave man the ability to act in whichever way they like.

Conclusion

Augustine was a philosopher and a bishop. In his writing, he came up with the concept of free will, which suggests that man has the freedom to act in a way that pleases him. Besides, he suggests justice in the city of man by being allowed to perform evil deeds regardless of his creator being holy. This ability matches human nature, which is evil and imperfect, thus revealing justice in the kingdom. On the other hand, there is justice in the city of God as people are given the grace to change their deeds before judgment day. However, the concept of free will is questionable since God promises a judgment day where evil people will be punished. Therefore, there is no free will to act as people though they are controlled by the pain of the punishment to act based on their thoughts and nature. However, regardless of the punishment, there is grace to change and be accepted by God in his kingdom; the free will concept seems real.

References

Lecturer. (2021a). Augustine #3 – Bks. 15 - 22. Lecture, University.

Lecturer. (2021b). Aug. Intro and Bks. Lecture, University.

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