Saturday, April 18, 2009

Augustine on the Trinity and A Person Being Able to Love Himself or Herself

The following is from an email I wrote to a colleague some time ago.

I quote Augustine of Hippo:

"But what if I love none except myself? Will there not

then be two things--that which I love, and love? For

he who loves and that which is loved are the same when

any one loves himself; just as to love and to be

loved, in the same way, is the very same thing when

any one loves himself. Since the same thing is said,

when it is said, he loves himself, and he is loved by

himself. For in that case to love and to be loved are

not two different things: just as he who loves and he

who is loved are not two different persons. But yet,

even so, love and what is loved are still two things.

For there is no love when any one loves himself,

except when love itself is loved. But it is one thing

to love one's self, another to love one's own love.

For love is not loved, unless as already loving

something; since where nothing is loved there is no

love. Therefore there are two things when any one

loves himself--love, and that which is loved. For then

he that loves and that which is loved are one. Whence

it seems that it does not follow that three things are

to be understood wherever love is" (De Trinitate


Augustine then proceeds with an argument about mind

and love to establish his case for the triunity of

God. But notice that he insists it is possible for one to

have a love of self in the absence of an alterior




1 comment:

Pertinacious Papist said...

"Himself or Herself"??? Schmoself!!! "For God so loved God's world, that He or She or It gave His or Hers or Its only GodChild, that whosoever should believeth in GodChildSelf should not perish but have Inagaddadavida Godspell baby."