|Augustine's Thought On Reality
For the Christian Augustine the
three types of reality are God, souls, and bodies (as creatures). All of them are good, to
the extent that they exhibit "measure, form and order," and that there is no
separate world of Forms.
"There is a nature, which is
subject to the changes of both time and space, as the body; and there is a nature which is
not subject to space but only to time, as the soul; and there is a nature which is subject
to neither space nor time, and that is God," who is spiritual and eternal.
Augustine states that the world of
God's creations have a hierarchy of being, with animate creatures "ranked above"
inanimate ones; "among the things that have life, the sentient are higher than those
which have no sensation"; in the category of "the sentient, the intelligent are
above those that have not intelligence"; finally "among the intelligent, the
immortal" rank "above the moral." In example, God is higher than man, man
is higher than animals, animals are higher than plants, plants are higher than rocks, and
rocks are the lowest of all.
Augustine holds that the soul is a
spiritual substance created by god. Second, it is immortal and Godlike in spiritual
nature. Third, the soul is united to the body, so it can move and control it. Next, the
effect of the soul's union with "this mortal and frail body" is that they must
someday separate with the death of the body. And lastly, the effect of this separation on
the soul depends on whether the soul is to be punished for sins or rewarded for virtue.