|sections 9b-10: We may "plunder the
Egyptians" because all truth is God's truth. Augustine finds in God the source
of "eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity," but he also recognizes
his own separation from God.
sections 11-16: God created good
things, but they are liable to corruption. He also recognizes that some things are
good in and of themselves though they seem hostile -- fire, ice, hurricanes. He
moves from a Manichean position that good and evil are two active forces.
Eventually, he comes to hold that evil is without true being, that it is the absence
of good rather than a positive, active force per se.
sections 17-18: In his desire for truth, he catches a glimpse of
God's unchanging nature. He reflects on the source of knowledge by going from its
most immediate experiences to its origins: bodies -- the soul -- senses -- reasoning --
the light of being -- God. He realizes that he could not maintain that vision
because he was too proud to receive the humble Christ.
section 19: A third problem: Augustine and Alypius have beliefs that
keep them from true Christianity. Augustine, like Photinus, holds that Christ was
not preexistent and equal with God. Alypius thinks that Christians hold a belief
like that of Apollinarus, who believes that God only inhabited a human body, so Christ was
not a true human being.
section 20: Augustine realizes that he encountered Neo-Platonism to
prepare him for Christian truth in two senses: as intellectual preparation and to
distinguish arrogant presumption from confession.
section 21: He is attracted to the New Testament, especially Paul,
and there he discovers all that the Neo-Platonists lacked -- devotion, confession, and