Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 22.--It is an Absurdity to Say that the Dead Will Be Judged for Sins Which They Would Have Committed If They Had Lived.
For not to say how possible it may be for God to convert the wills of men averse and opposed to His faith, and to operate on their hearts so that they yield to no adversities, and are overcome by no temptation so as to depart from Him, -- since He also can do what the apostle says, namely, not allow them to be tempted above that which they are able; -- not, then, to say this, God foreknowing that they would fall, was certainly able to take them away from this life before that fall should occur. Are we to return to that point of still arguing how absurdly it is said that dead men are judged even for those sins which God foreknew that they would have committed if they had lived? which is so abhorrent to the feelings of Christians, or even of human beings, that one is even ashamed to rebut it. Why should it not be said that even the gospel itself has been preached, with so much labour and sufferings of the saints, in vain, or is even still preached in vain, if men could be judged, even without hearing the gospel, according to the contumacy or obedience which God foreknew that they would have had if they had heard it? Tyre and Sidon would not have been condemned, although more slightly than those cities in which, although they did not believe, wonderful works were done by Christ the Lord; because if they had been done in them, they would have repented in dust and ashes, as the utterances of the Truth declare, in which words of His the Lord Jesus shows to us the loftier mystery of predestination.