13 For who can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills? 14 For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail; 15 for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind. 16 We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labor; but who has traced out what is in the heavens? 17 Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?
But the philosophers against whom we are defending the city of God, that is, His Church seem to themselves to have good cause to deride us, because we say that the separation of the soul from the body is to be held as part of man's punishment. For they suppose that the blessedness of the soul then only is complete, when it is quite denuded of the body, and returns to God a pure and simple, and, as it were, naked soul. On this point, if I should find nothing in their own literature to refute this opinion, I should be forced laboriously to demonstrate that it is not the body, but the corruptibility of the body, which is a burden to the soul. Hence that sentence of Scripture we quoted in a foregoing book, For the corruptible body presses down the soul. The word corruptible is added to show that the soul is burdened, not by any body whatsoever, but by the body such as it has become in consequence of sin.