Moved by the quest to know the truth and to implement this truth to Divine Revelation, the early Fathers of the Church delved into philosophy, which offered new ways of proclaiming and understanding the word of God. These early Church Fathers, which include: Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, St. Augustine and others came in contact with Greek philosophy understood that dialogue is possible between reason and faith, that is, religion and philosophy. These they were able to do by the adoption of Platonism. Following the above preamble, this paper hopes to discuss the view of the early Church Fathers as regards Faith and Reason but with particular reference to the views of St. Augustine of Hippo.
FAITH AND REASON IN THE THOUGHT OF ST. AUGUSTINE
St. Augustine’s mode of thought indicates perfectly that all knowledge upon all subjects must take into account the revealed truth of Scripture along with the insights of philosophy, since all knowledge is aimed at helping humanity understand God. He declared that “Faith precedes Reason” because unless you believe, you would not understand. St. Augustine like other Early Fathers of the Church, fully welcomed reason which was open to the absolute, and infused it with the richness drawn from Revelation. As regards this, St. Thomas commenting on his (St Augustine’s) approach to Platonism said: “Whenever Augustine, who was imbued with the doctrine of the Platonists, found in their writings anything consistent with the faith, he adopted it; and whatever he found contrary to the faith, he amends”. On the other hand St. Augustine argued that reason and faith must be in concordance to know the truth and the stages of history. Moreover, he held that both help each other. Faith can help “illuminate” truths for philosophy and reasoning along the way to knowing God, and reason can help faith in understanding the perfections of God.
So far, we have tried to establish in the preceding lines...