City of God

Augustine's Cities: Living According to God vs. Living According to Man College

In The City of God, Augustine goes to great lengths to explain the distinction between living according to God and living according to man using an analogy of two cities. With this distinction, he shows that living according to God is superior because it offers the promise of salvation and true happiness after death, something that cannot be attained according to Augustine if one decides to turn away from God and live according to man. He makes this argument by defining the three parts of the human being and explaining their role in a person’s decision to serve God or the self. He also uses his interpretation of original sin as evidence for the repercussions of turning away from God.

Augustine begins by defining the composition of a human being. According to Augustine, every man is made up of two parts, the flesh and the spirit. The flesh consists of both the soul and the physical body, while the spirit is the rational part of the human being that has the free will to serve either the flesh or God. Augustine does not believe that the soul is inherently better than the body, stating that “it is not only because of the flesh that the soul is moved by desires and fears, by joy and sorrow, but that it can also be agitated by these...

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