From its first statement by Augustine, through its confirmation by Anselm and its spiritualization by Bonaventure, to its final and fundamental formulation by Duns Scotus, the Augustinian idea of order is clearly discernible in the characteristic proofs of God’s existence offered by these philosopher-theologians. Not without reason, since for all of them the being of God is the guarantor – origin, measure, and end – of the order of the cosmos. It is, moreover, the distinctive manner in which each of them defines the problem of theistic proof that reveals most perspicuously the way he conceives the idea of order that informs it. Their several proofs are their individual ways of appropriating their common heritage.
In this posthumous work, Louis Mackey sketches the adventures of the idea of order in the Augustinian tradition. Beginning with the proposition that not all who prove the existence of God are proving the same thing, nor do they understand the proof in the same way, Mackey shows how, even within the bounds of the Augustinian tradition, modes of proof and conceptions of what is to be proven can vary when questioned from within, as by Anselm’s fool, or challenged from without by the philosophy of Aristotle.