In this autobiography of Augustine's confessions, we are brought face-to-face with sin and the conversion of St. Augustine. I will try and give an explanation on Augustine's understanding of sin and also explain Augustine's understanding of conversion.
Sin was not unusual to Augustine, even as a young boy. In the second book, Augustine reveals that he and some of his friends stole some pears from a neighbor's tree. They took the pears and threw them to the pigs.”We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs” (25) Augustine just got a thrill out of doing what was wrong. He said, "My Pleasure in it was not what I stole but, rather, the act of stealing” (29)
Later in his life, Augustine resorts to some more "sinful" pleasures. He begins to find sexual activity appealing. He said, "the hot imagination of puberty, and they so obscured and overcast my heart that I was unable to distinguish pure affection from unholy desire.” He did not understand the difference between emotional love and physical love. Augustine then took a concubine as his partner. Augustine did not believe these acts to be sinful but merely the lesser good from a larger good. Some goods were simply better than others. There is no evil. This is before his conversion.
The conversion of Augustine took place in two separate themes; the Intellectual conversion and the Moral conversion. Augustine's thoughts on conversion were thoughts of a total reverse of lifestyle. He would have to give up all his sinful pleasures and fully accept God.
Augustine's intellectual conversion has to do with how he thinks about God and being able to use his mind properly. After his time with the Manicheans, Augustine began to read books of the Platonists and found God again through those readings. He struggled with different aspects of God and Christ for a while but eventually came to the conclusion that Christ is God. Now that he had that straightened out, he could begin to work...