Augustine: Baptism and Forgiveness

These are some notes from Augustine’s treatise Baptism and the Forgiveness of Sins.  Once you get passed the grim assertions that unbaptized babies aren’t saved (which guaranteed that the Catholic church would come up with theories of Limbo), there are some important points on concupiscence.

Book II

  1. Infants are born with concupiscence (II.4).
  2. God works…
    1. God works our salvation in us, but not in the manner of external working on stones (II.6).
    2. Regeneration:  Augustine says the term doesn’t have a univocal sense.  When we speak of “baptismal regeneration” we don’t mean the same thing as “regeneration of the Spirit” (II.9).
  3. Perfection:  A Relative term (II.18).
    1. I can be perfect in one sense (as a scholar) but imperfect in another (giving wisdom).
  4. Does God command the impossible?  Sort of.
    1. This is how God measures righteousness to himself.
    2. Why does man not live without sin?
      1. Because of both ignorance and unwilling.
  5. Concupiscence
    1. First movement of the will is a desire for power, disobedience through pride (II.33).
    2. Man did not have concupiscence before the fall (II.36).
      1. This is the law of sin in my members (pudenda).
      2. primal righteousness: my members did not fight against the law of sin
      3. Old carnal nature = law of sin (II.45).
      4. Concupiscence remains even if the guilt is gone.  
    3. If there is the “likeness of sinful flesh” then there must be the reality of sinful flesh (II.58).

About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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