Foundation for Reformed Theology


Augustine writes in The City of God that there are two cities. The city of man, exemplified by the kingdoms of the world, is temporal and so passing away. The City of God is eternal, surviving beyond this world into the next.

Within this context, there is an overlay of other dualities. For instance, there is a temporal life here and now, and there is an eternal life beyond here.

There is a death of the soul here and now (all are dead in sin), and there is a death of the body at the end of this temporal life.

There is also a distinction between the death of the body in time and the "second death" of eternal punishment for some.

There is a first rebirth by faith for some during this temporal life, and for these there is also a second and bodily rebirth to eternal life beyond decay and death.

Finally, then, Augustine writes of two resurrections. The first resurrection is of the soul. It has to do with justification, and it occurs within this temporal life. The second has to do with the resurrection of the body, and it occurs on the day of judgment.

"For in this first [1] resurrection only those take part who will be blessed for eternity, whereas in the second [2], about which Jesus is soon to speak, he will teach us that the blessed and the wretched alike take part. The one [1] is the resurrection of mercy, the other [2] the resurrection of judgement" (pp. 904-905)

"There are thus two rebirths, of which I have already spoken above: one [1] according to faith, which comes here and now through baptism, and the other [2] in the body, a rebirth which will come in its freedom from decay and death, as a result of the great and last judgement. Similarly, there are two resurrections: the first [1], the resurrection of the soul, which is here and now, and prevents us from coming to the second death; and the second [2], which is not now, but is to come at the end of the world. This is not the resurrection of the soul but of the body, and by means of the last judgement it will consign many to the second death, and bring others to the life that knows no death" (p. 906).

Augustine. Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans, translated by Henry Bettenson. London: Penguin Books, first published 1467, this translation 1972 with introduction by David Knowles, reissued with new introduction 1984, reissued with new introduction, notes, and chronology by G. R. Evans 2003.

Dr. James C. Goodloe IV
Grace and Peace,

Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Executive Director
4103 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 678-8352