Free Will of Man in Cities
I feel as if a major theme of Augustine’s writing of the City of earth and the City of God is the responsibility and free will of man. “So it is that each man, because he derives his origin from a condemned stock, is at first necessarily evil and fleshy, because he comes from Adam; but if, being reborn, he advances in Christ, he will afterwards be good and spiritual. (Augustine 635). In other words, although born with sin in the City of earth, if men have the volition to seek justice and truth, they can in turn, live eternal life in the City of God.
It is the responsibility and free will that I mentioned above which determines a life of salvation or of eternal suffering. Augustine states, “[N]ot every bad man will become good (635). The responsibility for a “bad man” to become “good” lies heavily on the desire of the bad man to transform his thoughts and actions to those which are not evil. The sooner the man transforms for the better toward the philosophy of the City of God, the sooner he will be protected. After complete transformation from the City of earth to the city of God, his “former name” of evil will be hidden by his name in salvation.
I agree with many in saying that the two mirroring cities in Augustine’s City of God can be interpreted as not only physical places, but as two distinct groups of men in pursuit of the same ideals. The group of men in the City of earth share similar beliefs invested in the physical world, while the men in the City of God seek and live by the morals of faith. I believe that it is possible for men to travel from city to city with the free will they were blessed with by God.