Two Cities

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

  • Proverbs 18:1-2

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

  • Philippians 2:3

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

  • 1 John 4:7-12

“Two other major works of Augustine must be mentioned. …
“ ‘Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly city by the love of self, leading to contempt of God and the heavenly city by the love of God, leading to contempt of self. The former glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.  In the one city, the rulers and the nations that it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other city, rulers and subjects serve one another in love — the subjects by obeying, the rulers by caring for all.  These two cities are two communities of men. One is predestined to reign eternally with God, the other to suffer eternal punishment with the devil.  Citizens are born into the earthly city by a nature spoiled by sin, but they are born into the heavenly city by grace freeing nature from sin.’ (
The City of God 14.28-15.2)”

  • Tony Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), born Aurelius Augustinus, was bishop of Hippo in northern Africa.  Last week, the significant work of St. Augustine was The Trinity.  This week we see the other of his great works in a portion of The City of God.

St. Augustine is not writing about a future city, but one among us.  The City of God will not be perfected until we are with Him in Paradise, but as Christians, we love one another here on earth.  It should be our desire and great privilege to love one another.  It does not always work out that way.  Even among God-fearing people there can be disagreements.

The City of God glorifies God.

But notice St. Augustine’s other city.  The rulers rule due to their love of ruling.  I have even met some of those in the church, but the love of ruling seems to guide the vast majority of our world leaders today.  They may even think that they are a gift from some god because they are smarter than the other people.  After all, the other people elected them into office.

The City of Self glorifies self.  The city of self is governed by ignoring God.  There can be something similar to love there, but only in self-interest.  They can be very kind and generous when they think they will gain an advantage in doing so.  And they are so self-absorbed that they would deny all comments made in this paragraph.

But to know God is to know love.  For God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place.

If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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