Analysis Of St. Augustine And Thomas Aquinas

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During the middle ages, many people wrestled with questions about morality and virtue. Different theologies emerged as philosophers and theologians attempted to peace together questions about human nature and mankind’s ability to reason. Two great notable people emerged in that era, St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Both these men developed theories that shared their ideas on mankind’s ability to be virtuous and establish moral law. The following exams Augustine and Aquinas’s insights on ethics, human nature, and the ability to do and know the “good,” in order to live a fulfilling life. Both Augustine and Aquinas believed in the ultimate reality of God and that Mankind’s fundamental design is to seek and receive revelation of God in order …show more content…
Both scholars’ presented differing concepts on how to achieve this. Augustine focused more on a Neo-Platonism perspective in which a person must look within their soul and align ones desires with that of God’s. He believed that classical virtues such as justice could be considered vices unless one laid down their selfish desires and received revelation of God and his love “Augustine, of course, asserted that the justice necessary for a res publica includes a rendering to God what is due to God, namely worship and love” (McDade, 2014: p 135). Once a person discovers the grace and love God offers, they will find contentment, as the ultimate good is to be reunited with God “God has made us to find our fulfillment in Him. We will never rest until we rest in him” (Clark and Poortenga, 2003: p 43). On the other hand, Aquinas argues that human nature is constantly seeking fulfillment and that this can occur on two levels. The first level is by using nature and human reasoning to fulfill certain goals “Willful human action is always in search of human fulfillment” (Clark and Poortenga, 2003 p 45). The second level speaks of ultimate fulfillment, in which, a person cannot obtain unless they have some sort of divine revelation from God. Aquinas contends that, while humans can desire and obtain some good, in order to be completely satisfied they must seek satisfaction through God “The happiness we can have on this earth is never true or complete, of course, and this is not only because of our finitude and sinfulness. Rather, only the happiness for which we are made and to which we are brought by grace is the true happiness, for it is the vision of the eternally wondrous God, who is infinite beauty” (Healy, 2014: p 237). In order to accomplish good according to Aquinas, a person must do what fulfills them. Some may achieve a sub level

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