This paper discusses Manichaeism, which denied the reality of Christ’s body and rejected the notion of free will.

This paper explains that Manichaeism is an extreme form of dualistic Gnosticism, a system that offers salvation by knowledge of spiritual truths. The author points out that St. Augustine was a Manichaean believer for many years before he became a convert to Christianity; some historians even state that he was a missionary for the Manichaeans. The paper relates that Manichaeism argues that the foundation of the universe is the opposition of two principles, good and evil, each equal in relative power. Thus, the essence of Manichaeism is the principle of absolute dualism: the primal conflict between God, represented by light and spirit, and Satan, represented by darkness and the material world.
Mani traveled to India where he studied Buddhism and other spiritual traditions. Manichaean philosophy truly represented a fusion of East and West. It is also well known that Augustine’s negative and pessimistic view of human nature and sexuality has strongly affected Christian theology and the Western world view in general. The myth of the Original Sin became much more a central concern that created a lot of guilt and shame. He had the idea that man was inherently and totally good until the fall. After the fall, man was both good and evil. A dualistic thought, but a very Christian statement. Augustine, himself, devoted a considerable part of his early writings to refuting the teachings of the Manicheans.