Scene 1 of Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus opens with a lengthy soliloquy by Doctor Faustus, in which he praises himself as what is now termed a "Renaissance man," which is a person who is extremely knowledgeable or highly proficient in a wide range of subjects including law, literature, religion, medicine, and the arts.
To demonstrate the range of Faustus's knowledge, Marlowe has Faustus quote Aristotle about logic, Galen about medicine, Justinian about law, and St. Jerome about religion. Faustus believes that he's exceeded all of them in his own accomplishments, and there's nothing left for him to learn except the "metaphysics of magicians," and to become a god in his own right:
FAUSTUS. Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.
O, what a world of profit and delight,
Of power, of honour, of omnipotence,
Is promised to the studious artisan!
… A sound magician is a mighty god:
Here, Faustus, tire thy brains to gain a deity. (Sc. 1, 52–55, 62–63)
This is Faustus's pride talking. Faustus is highly educated—he's just received his doctoral degree at the beginning of the play—and he's accomplished a great deal in his life, but his excessive pride in his own abilities and accomplishments leads him to make decisions based on Renaissance ideals of intellectual inquiry and self-improvement that ultimately lead to his medieval downfall.
Faustus's final soliloquy in scene 13, exemplifies the essential conflict between Renaissance intellectual curiosity and uncertainty and Medieval dogma and certainty.
The conflict, the crisis, and the major points of contention in the play are all within Faustus himself. Faustus's Renaissance mind questions and then rejects the medieval concepts of the omnipotence of God, repentance for and forgiveness of sin, Heaven and Hell, and eternal damnation, but Faustus's fundamentally and inherently medieval soul cries out for repentance, redemption, and eternal happiness.
The medieval Faustus wants more time to repent and save his soul.
FAUSTUS. [L]et this hour be but
A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
That Faustus may repent and save his soul!
… The Devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.
O, I'll leap up to my God! (Sc. 13, 71–73, 76–77)
The medieval Faustus wants to reach out to God for forgiveness, but "Who pulls me down?" (Sc. 13, 77). The answer is Faustus himself. The Renaissance Faustus can't deny, reject, or negate the person who the Medieval Faustus has become.
Marlowe has trapped the Renaissance Faustus in a M\medieval morality play in which the lesson must be taught that God and goodness must inevitably prevail, the sinful—particularly the prideful, like Faustus, who aspire to become greater than they are—must be punished, and the order of the medieval spiritual hierarchy, with God at the top and every person assigned their role below, must be maintained.
Renaissance Faustus challenged, defied, and denied this spiritual hierarchy and refused to repent his actions, and for these sins he must necessarily suffer the medieval consequence of eternal damnation.