Archive Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Simon Kennedy

The source of human wisdom

In De Civitate Dei 11.25, Augustine makes an observation which, while obvious in some ways, is a profound corrective to man’s basic tendency to look for wisdom everywhere but the true source. He notes first that if we were self-deriving, then so would our wisdom. But we are not, for we are created.

Now if our nature derived from ourselves we should clearly have produced our own wisdom; we should not be at pains to acquire it by training, which means learning it from some other source … But as it is, our nature has God as its author; and so without a doubt we must have him as our teacher, if we are to attain true wisdom.

God is the author of our nature and must, therefore, be our teacher.

By Simon Kennedy

Simon is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland. He resides in Geelong, Victoria with his wife and four children.