In the school of thought known as Neoplatonism, Augustine found a way of reconciling his long pursuit of philosophy with his new and serious faith in the Catholic Church. The union of this philosophy and this theology will guide his work for the rest of his life. Picking up a Neoplatonic text, he read what seemed to be almost another version of Genesis. The book (he doesn't name it) struck Augustine as thrillingly similar to Genesis, and authoritatively contrary to Manichee dualism.

Having briefly touched on his excitement about what he found in this text, Augustine almost immediately turns to what he didn't find there: namely, he didn't find any reference to Christ as God in human form. The Neoplatonists back up the idea of God as the cause of the existence of all things (as well as the assertion that the soul is not the same thing as God), but they mention nothing about the idea that "the Word was made flesh [i.e., Christ] and dwelt among us." (This sudden attention to the absence of Christ from these texts may be an attempt to pre-empt criticism from purist Catholics. Throughout the Confessions, Augustine is careful not to show unmitigated enthusiasm for philosophy in and of itself). 

Augustine also makes two other criticisms of Neoplatonism here: it fails to give any praise to God, and it is tainted by polytheist tendencies. These problems notwithstanding, the young Augustine was inspired enough by his new reading that he had a powerful vision of God. Turning inward as the Neoplatonists advised, Augustine "entered and with my soul's eye, such as it was, saw above that same eye of my soul the immutable light higher than my mind."

For the Neoplatonists, furthermore, all creation (the material world) has "turned away" from God's perfection, becoming scattered into a chaotic state of mutability, temporality, and multiplicity. God remains unchangeable, eternal, and unified, and creation always seeks (whether it realizes it or not) to return to God. Here, Augustine has argued that even sin itself fundamentally aims at a return to God.