Thus the soul is unfaithful to you, when it turns away from you and seeks outside you the things it cannot find in pure and unmixed form until it returns to you. All who forsake you and set themselves up against you, are acting in perverse imitation of you; but by their very imitation they confess that you are the creator of all that is, and hence that there is nowhere at all where they can go from you. — Augustine, The Confessions
I’ve been reading through Augustine’s Confessions for the first time. I was thrilled to read the above expression because years ago I arrived at the conclusion that most sin (I would not say “all”) is the attempt of mankind to return to God, to build a tower up to heaven. Drink and drugs simulate spiritual ecstasy. One night stands and adulterous affairs emulate the love of God expressed in friendship and covenant marriage. Gluttony takes the place of receiving the body and blood of Christ. Entertainment robs us of eternal perspective.
Who can unravel this twisted bundle of knots and tangles? It is repugnant; I do not wish to see it or think of it. It is you that I want, O God, Righteousness and Integrity, fair and lovely, a beacon of goodness. You satisfy our longing, and we long for you still. In you there is rest and life untroubled. Those who enter into you enter their master’s joy; all is perfect for them in you, the Perfect One. I abandoned you, my God, and went astray; in my youthfulness I wandered from your upholding arms and became to myself a land of famine. — from the end of Book Two.