The physics of augustine: The matter of time, change and an unchanging god

Academic Article


  • Scientific questions posed by St. Augustine, early father of the Christian church, are presented as a part of a proposed undergraduate course for religion and philosophy students. Augustine regularly seasons his religious, philosophical and moral investigations with analysis focused on the physical nature of the universe and how it can be quantified: “And yet, O Lord, we do perceive intervals of time, and we compare them with each other, and we say that some are longer and others are shorter” (Confessions, Book 11). The physical analysis is sometimes extended, pressing the attention and grasp of the unsuspecting student of religion or philosophy. Though Augustine emphasizes that true knowledge comes from faith and revelation, his physical inquiries imply that he values such analysis as a way toward truth. In contrast, Master of Divinity programs, which train the majority of Western Christian ministers, require little science experience and usually no physics. Serious investigation of Augustine’s physical explorations reveal an alternative way of understanding scripture, especially Jesus’ sayings: could the master engineer who created the universe sometimes be speaking in straightforward scientific terms?
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Religions  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nordlund T
  • Start Page

  • 221
  • End Page

  • 244
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 1