Original Research - Special Collection: Medieval Philosophy and Theology

On Augustine’s theology of hope: From the perspective of creation

Chen Yuehua
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 4 | a7878 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7878 | © 2022 Chen Yuehua | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 2022 | Published: 19 September 2022

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Chen Yuehua, School of Philosophy, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China


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Abstract

Augustine was a representative of the theology of hope in the patristic age. He saw hope as the grasp of eschatological eternal happy life for human in this world. Together, the three virtues of faith, hope and love constitute the three interdependent faculties of the soul to know God. Hope, which comes from the grace of God given through Christ, is the knowledge of eternity, not of a future in time, and it helps one to resist the temptation of goods which comes from the flesh and earthly things. Hope in eternity gives one a cognitive power beyond time and space, which leads to a unified vision of past, present and future, thus also causing important changes in how one lives in this created world. However, because of this unearthly hope, people can form a gradually expanding community of fraternity in this world, which helps them transcend differences of belief and seek a more virtuous life.

Contribution: This article reconstructs Augustine’s interpretation of the nature of hope by synthesising his various texts, analysing the theological structure of the concepts related to hope, sorting out the ‘theology of hope’ he advocates and finally, in light of the wisdom of his philosophy, responding to what and how we can hope in suffering.


Keywords

Augustine; theology of hope; creationism; philosophy of time; eschatology; happiness

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