Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 228: Vision of God
Vision of God
Augustine treats the vision of God with our bodily eyes once more in Letter 148, written in 413 at the latest.1 He calls it a memoire addressed to Fortunatianus, bishop of Sicca. Letter 148 is to be distinguished from Letter 92. Letter 92 demonstrates God is not corporeal, not divisible into parts. There Augustine had said we shall never see God with our bodily eyes. In a non-extant letter, Augustine rather vigorously refuted a friend, a bishop near Sicca in Proconsular. He had not weighed his words sufficiently in proportion to his episcopal dignity. Augustine did not think measured speech required since he named no one in particular. Nevertheless the bishop was offended.
Augustine wanted peace with him and requested his forgiveness. Through a venerable man deserving of the highest honor (apparently Aurelius of Carthage), Augustine wrote to request the bishop come to a particular place. The bishop refused. He had the notion Augustine wanted to play him for a fool and insult him over his error. Such behavior was of course far from Augustine’s mind.
Augustine did not believe he should seek out this bishop at his home. He feared if the bishop did not accept his apology, a scandal might ensue. Such a scandal would be an irritant to him and troublesome to the faithful. The Church’s enemies might even ridicule them. At a possible meeting with Fortunatianus, Augustine would have expressed sorrow at offending...