According to Augustine, the place where God’s mind touches people’s mind is full of light. Saint Augustine argues that God is something greater than people’s intellect, and his true nature is difficult to understand because he is peace and harmony. This keeps people hearts and mind in him.
The author further argues that peace is not inferior to humans’ mind, that is why it should be visible to peoples bodily eyes, although the mind itself is invisible (Augustine 34). Augustine reflects upon himself and enters in the innermost place of his being with the vision of his spirit. He sees a light, which is great and far above his spiritual ken, thus it transcends into his mind. Charity surpassing knowledge is God, and we all can fill his fullness (Augustine 18).
This is inferior to the light of people’s minds, which were bestowed by his illumination. According to Augustine, this light is superior and inaccessible to the bodily eyes since the body is visible, and the interior man is invisible. The mind and intelligence are the best parts of us that are invisible to bodily eyes, thus the higher part of us cannot be visible to the lower part (Augustine 14).
Augustine refers to God as a light. According to him, this light is the one which made him, so it is higher than his mind in the sense that the sky is above the earth, and it is exalted. According to Plato, the light is the son of the healthful. The light produced by sun makes all the physical objects visible and generates life on earth. In his philosophical writings, Plato argues that the sun generates light which makes the earth alive and differentiates day and night.
Basically, what Plato tries to bring out is that light is very important in life. The philosopher generally puts great emphasis on the importance of light on earth. This agrees with Augustine statement that the light is the one which made him. Many living beings require light for them to go on well with their life. Plants do need it for germination, and human beings for seeing (Augustine 23).
The light is referred to as the truth, and Augustine explains his experience of meeting with that light in the following way. When he enters the place where it is, he sees it with the eye of his soul, but the thing he watches surpasses all his expectations because it is beyond the perception of the eye of his soul and his mind. That light is unchangeable.
Moreover, it is not the ordinary light that we were used to. The light is greater and shines more brightly, thus Augustine states that it is the light that has made him. The light must turn inward and look upward, making a person shift his/her attention from the bottom to the top (Augustine 34). Augustine turns away from the external world of bodily things to the spiritual world. He enters the inner world of his own soul and gazes above his soul at the light of truth. He refers to this as to “unchanging creator.”
His mind vision releases him from the problem of conceiving God’s nature. He tries to imagine something that takes no space though it really exists. Augustine tries to ponder on whether the truth is nothing because it is not spread out through finite or infinite shape. This concept plays a crucial role in Augustine’s opening meditation on the nature of God. The explanation is that God does not stretch out through space, no matter whether he is infinite or finite, but he is present everywhere like truth (Vaught 47).
Augustine just like the ancient Christians says that God or light is unchangeable. He states that the light is unchangeable because it helps him to get into the inward soul of himself. Many Christians also believe that God is invariable, that is why this means in some sense that God cannot change for the worse but only for the best (Augustine 48).
Augustine has no ontology to explain how something can be unchangeable, and therefore, the conception of God’s constancy is inadequate. God, soul and body are put in a hierarchy from the highest to the lowest, so God is the highest and rules over the body and soul (Vaught 47).
Augustine’s statement of charity means a lot to the Christians. In such statement of Augustine as “Love knows it”, “Eternal Truth”, “True Love and Beloved Eternity”, the word “eternity” is the name for the father, God. He goes on to mentioning that truth and charity are the names for the Son and Holy Spirit respectively.
It can intrigue people’s mind, so they try to understand the whole conception of God, yet his true nature is also beyond us and our comprehension. This turns minds away from outward things to things we can only see within. This means if God is different from me and external to me, so according to Paffenroth, to seek God within is like looking for one’s own self (14).
Augustine, Saint. Augustine of Hippo, selected writings Issue 43 of Classics of Western spirituality. Manhattan: Paulist Press, 1984. Print.
Augustine, Saint. The Confessions of St. Augustine: Modern English Version. New York: Revell, 2008. Print.
Paffenroth, Kennedy. A reader’s companion to Augustine’s Confessions. Geneva: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. Print.
Vaught, Carl. Access to God in Augustine’s Confessions, Books 10-13. New York: SUNY Press, 2006. Print.
This critical essay on The Confessions of St. Augustine