In 418, the bishop of Eclanum, Julian, engaged Augustine of Hippo in an extensive debate about three key issues of the Catholic faith, all of which are essentially grounded in sound philosophy and can be proven by reason. These are: the state of nature after sin, the authority of Law, and the free will of mankind, the last of which remains vigorously debated today in response to the early concept of determinism. These three issues preoccupied Augustine's thoughts and writings up until his death.
Historically speaking, we should note that the intellectual influence of Julian of Eclanum upon Augustine spanned from the 16th Council of Carthage on May 1st, 418 to the general Council of Ephesus in 431. Within this paper, the discussions about Law and Grace which Augustine and Julian engaged in shall be explored from both a philosophical and a theological standpoint, with specific focus on the following:
- How man comes to know, understand, and realize the law
- How reason and grace make it possible for man to realize, or ‘fulfill', the law
- The dubious concept of human perfection, as well as the possibility of a sinless life
After presentation of these seemingly diverse, but highly interrelated concepts, we will confront the apparent contradiction between the grace of Creation and of the law and the grace of Redemption or regeneration. In this lecture, it shall be shown that Law is the conclusion of the act of creation, and Grace is the recapitulation of this Law in the process of restoration.