S Confessions And St. Augustine And The Greco-Roman Understanding Of Fate
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By analyzing and comparing St. Augustine’s understanding of providence with the Greco-Roman understanding of fate, one must look into the works of St. Augustine’s Confessions, Virgil’s The Aeneid, as well as Seneca’s “On Providence”. While observing such antiquities, a further notion of providence and fate can be seen through comparing the Christian belief in free will and the ideology of fate from the Greco-Romans through the role that God(s) have in everyday life.
At a younger and earlier stage of his life, St. Augustine felt abandoned in some way by God and found no strong connection to a higher being as he developed into a materialist who could only grasp tangible concepts. Little did he see in his life that God was with him through his trials and tribulations as a man on a journey who fell into a life of sin through lust and stealing. Augustine writes, “But in my misery seethed and followed the driving force of my impulses, abandoning you. I exceeded all the bounds set by your law, and did not escape your chastisement-indeed no moral can do so” (Confessions 2:4 p. 25). This driving force was God’s providence. Augustine was spending time in sin, God was punishing him with a sense of emptiness that could not be filled. By turning to such pleasures, he turned away from God and needed such illicit things to realize that he needs a sense of something more in his life. He states, “Before you I lay my heart and my memory. At that time you were dealing with me in your hidden