A note or two from the end of book 8: Through out the book, Augustine has dealt with the Platonists and their thinking about demons. He has rejected their attempts to place the demons between gods and humans because of their power and physical location. He finishes with a Christian concept of the demons that I like:

“By no means … must we solicit the benevolence or beneficence of the gods – or, rather, of the good angels – through the supposed mediation of demons. Rather, we should do this by resembling them in good will; for, by this means, we are bale to be with them, to live with them, and to worship them with the God Whom they worship, even though we cannot see them with our bodily eyes. For it is not in respect of bodily location that we are distant from them, but, rather, in merit of life and in the weakness of our infirmity, because we are miserably unlike them in will. It is not, that is, because we dwell on earth in a fleshly state that we are not united with them, but because, in the impurity of our heart, we are mindful of earthly things. But at the present time, while we are being healed so that we may be as they are, we are brought near to them by faith if, with their assistance, we believe that He Who makes them blessed will bless us also.”

We are not separated from the heavenly dwellers by our physical location but by our sin. We are near to them by whatever deals with our sin and makes us righteous. So, righteousness draws us into the heavens, whether we can see that we are there or not. Unrighteousness draws us away from the heavens, whether we think we are there or not. Our means of righteousness, according to Augustine, are our faith in the One who blesses and our growing virtue.

May you be blessed by the One Who blesses.

Josh

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