The thesis of this work is that Augustine's doctrine of eternal punishment is not the result of his employment of the Platonic concept of the immortal and divine soul but the product of his theological conviction, based on sound exegetical conclusions, that the Bible clearly teaches the eternity of hell. The doctrine of hell in Augustine's theology is not merely part of his eschatology, but rather reflects his theology of God, salvation, and the Church as well. Augustine was a biblical exegete of the Church. Declaring the Bible to be the final authority in the matter of truth, he made certain that he could not follow the arguments of his predecessors who did not support the Bible. The authority of the Bible prohibited the theologians of the Church from extending the mercy of God to the salvation of the Devil and his demons because in Scripture, God revealed eternal punishment for the Devil with his angels and sinners. Any agreement of Augustine with Platonism was not due primarily to his admiration for Platonic philosophers but to the fact that the pagan philosophy can teach some of the same points that the Bible teaches.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd