Essay Sample: Classics, Clocks, and Calendars in Ancient and Medieval Times
Saint Augustine is a renowned Roman Catholic doctrine teacher who lived in medieval times. In this chapter, Augustine reflects on the amazing work done by God and how His love for mankind is exhibited through the gift of life and provision of all the things people require for their livelihoods. Saint Augustine refers to God as the highest being. It is argued that God is always aware of everything, even before people seek it from Him. His love is great and requires people to seek not only whatever is good for their well-being only but for others too. God teaches people to be there for each other. People can hardly do anything for themselves without the mercy of God. According to Augustine, all earthly things are useless if one does not seek God’s kingdom and righteousness. How both heaven and earth were created is amazing. No one has a clear idea of how the process was accomplished. The article points out that people like Moses wrote about it but could not express how God created the universe in a precise way that could be easily understood. Augustine questions the machines used to create the universe, but it is also clear that God only spoke, and everything came into being.
The word of God is eternal, and people are called upon to understand how the universe was beautifully created, showing that God is also beautiful and well-organized. He is perfect. Augustine believes people should not continue questioning God’s actions before he created the universe. Having made the time himself, it is clear that there is no time when God has not made something. God is permanent, while time is not since nothing would have passed away if time had been permanent, and we would not have passed the time. He has given us the power to recognize time intervals. There is only the present time since both the past and future times are not in existence. It would be good if God granted humans the power to understand universal truths regarding the earth. The assertion by some individuals that time may be measured by the movement of some physical objects, such as the sun and moon, does not hold on since it is difficult for moving bodies to constitute time. God is the creator of all things and is the only one who can make His people understand the universe better.
Moreover, according to Augustine, it is apparent that people living in ancient and medieval times were God-fearing and simultaneously critical of how the universe had been made. Just like in the current society, ancient people knew that there was a supernatural being behind the creation of the earth since everything appeared to be well-organized. The questions, which were difficult to answer, were often deemed a part of God’s plan, which people were not supposed to agonize about. This is clear on the aspect of time, which was controversial at the time, and St. Augustine argues it was a thing in the realm of God to know and not men. His asking for God’s mercy to help other people means that he was aware that individual success would be useless if someone did not see the need to help others.
The arguments in the article show that both ancient and medieval people tried to establish how God created the universe. This also reflects the concerns of mankind, where people still wonder where God assembled the materials used to create the universe. Although people read the scriptural work of Moses, they could still not understand how life began. Augustine points clearly in the article that he prays to God to give him the power to understand more about the beginning. It implies that people were quite reasonable in ancient and medieval times since they could comprehend the writings made by prior individuals. However, Augustine did not want to accept that the most important thing was to adhere to the teachings provided and stop questioning how creation was made.
In addition, Augustine’s arguments show that people read the Bible and understood that interpreting it wrongly would have misled them. Having been written in parables, it shows that different people understood the Bible differently. It is said that God created the universe by simply commanding things to happen. Some of Augustine’s claims are devastating. For instance, asking about the machine used by God in his works is baseless. The Bible is clear that God only said whatever he wanted, and it happened. Therefore, even if the Bible suggested that Jesus used exact tools, it would still be of no help since all that was necessary was for people to interact freely and focus on the best ways to uplift their lives rather than seek to know things that would be of no help. The Bible clarifies that no one should question the rationale behind the world’s creation, but Augustine is adamant about not just appreciating whatever is presented in the holy teachings, yet seeks further explanations that meet his explanations. It shows that some of the people living during his time did not believe the teachings provided in the Bible.
Some ancient people did not take the work of God seriously, as exhibited by the jokes made in the article. Augustine corrects one of the individuals’ assertions that God was busy preparing the hell before he went on to create the heaven and earth. He shows that some groups respected the teachings regarding the certain of the universe while others did not mind. One similarity between the people living in Medieval and current times is that both are astonished by the images evident in the universe and how it was established. However, the claim that there is no specific time when God had not created anything seems logical. This is because God created everything, which shows that he is also the one who made time. According to the ancient people’s understanding, the world should have started at a certain time. As a result, it is God who existed before the creation of the universe began. As argued by the Bible, people should understand God’s word. It is argued that His word existed even when the universe was nonexistent. Augustine further argues that there is nothing like past and future times since whatever people are aware of is the current time. This claim is illogical and shows some contradiction. There are always past and future times since the justifications we have in mind that the world was created show that the real event happened at a time when it was only God alone who was in existence. Present time only refers to the current time an individual is doing something or thinking about it. However, anything that had happened previously can only be said to have occurred in the past time.
The article states clearly that God has given people the ability to distinguish between various time intervals. Therefore, claiming that there is only the present time is contradicting since time intervals cannot occur concurrently. Augustine talks about making an investigation to ascertain whether past and future times exist. It may imply that people living in the medieval period, between the 5th and 15th centuries, spent much of their time trying to know why certain things in the universe exhibited their current state. Although people should prepare themselves adequately for their future, they should not let their souls get preoccupied with such anticipations to the extent that they cannot do anything constructive in their current lives. Much of Augustine’s arguments show how ancient people sought to understand the universe further. It should be understood that God would not have wanted His creations to understand how He had made everything happen since people would try to imitate Him and make the universe unbearable. What earlier people should have been contented with was the gift of life and the ability to comprehend His teachings as presented by the people He had inspired. God only wishes the best for His people, who should learn how to live in harmony and help each other overcome challenges. How people sought to know the rationale behind God’s creation of the universe and the events that took place before the creation seem to have been irritating based on Augustine’s claim that God needs to fill the minds of those people with the ability to realize that nothing would have happened before the universe came into being.
Augustine’s assertions represent the thoughts that the pious living in his time had in their minds. The church at the time was clearly against any scientific ventures, even the attempt to explain time using calendars and clocks. Augustine discourages human innovations that would seem to contradict God’s perfect creation. On the contrary, he is more inclined to point out the weaknesses of human beings and the need for God’s redemption and mercy.
Chadwick, Henry. Saint Augustine Confessions. Oxford University Press, 1991.