Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Augustine, Harmony of the Evangelists.1.19-21: God worshipped alone, or not at all



1.19: The proof that God is the true God.

Augustine continues to ask why the pagan Romans refuse to offer worship to the Biblical God in the manner in which he desires to be worshipped. He adds: “For unless he is worshipped alone, He is really not worshipped at all.” He suggests that even the pagans will admit that their deities have show less power than the one true God.

1.20: Of the fact that nothing is discovered to have been predicted by the prophets of the pagans in opposition to the God of the Hebrews.

Augustine here declares that the prophets of the pagan Gods, like those of Sibyl, never predicted that the God of the Hebrews would be worshipped by men of all nations. He makes reference to the devils confessing Christ during his performance of exorcisms, but notes, “their contention is that they were invented by our party.” In contrast to the pagan prophets, he calls attention to the Old Testament prophets who accurately predicted the coming of Christ.

1.21: An argument for the exclusive worship of this God, who, while He prohibits other deities from being worshipped, is not Himself interdicted by other divinities from being worshipped.

Augustine poses a logical challenge to his pagan opponents, based on two contradictory opinions:

First, their religion claim that all gods are to be worshipped. Why then do they not worship the God of the Hebrews?

Second, the God of the Hebrews demands exclusive allegiance. If they worship him aright, why then do they not put away the other gods?

He closes with this question: “Who is this God, who thus harasses all the gods of the Gentiles, who thus betrays all their sacred rites, who thus renders them extinct?”


Augustine continues to press the superiority of the God of the Bible to the pagan gods. He especially makes the point that whereas the pagan gods did not demand exclusive allegiance, the God of the Hebrews was intolerant and demanded the exclusive allegiance of his worshippers. He also contrasts the pagan prophets to the Biblical prophets. In this work on the Gospels, it is important for Augustine to note the religious clash between the intolerant God of the Bible and the supposedly tolerant gods of paganism.


No comments: