Augustine Essay

1434 WordsJul 24, 20146 Pages
Augustine at 43 was a bishop when he wrote Confessions, then became a priest after his conversion to Christianity 11 years prior. Through his confessions he aims to understand that he already believes through faith. Faith is an act of will but reason secures it as wisdom. His approach to the problem of evil is not only smart, but logical. Augustine, through natural theology, used independent evidence to create his theory that God existed and everything He created is good. He proposes that, evil, then, must be real, but not a specific “thing” in the conventional sense. Evil is not something created, but a lesser goodness made possible by free-will of rational beings. Evil is not a present something, but a deprivation of good as darkness is the deprivation of light. He addresses the origin of evil with a series of syllogisms. 1) God created all things. 2) Evil is a thing. 3) Therefore God created evil. These syllogisms are devastating to Christianity though he argues that God would not be good if he created evil knowingly. Augustine realized that the problem was tied to the solution: “What is evil?” The argument above is dependent on the premise that evil is a thing. But Augustine goes further by introducing the theory of evil not being a ‘thing’. This idea proposes that evil did not need creating and therefore the source of evil moves in another direction. Augustine moves into an alternate angle by asking “Do we have any convincing evidence that God exists?”(Koukl, 2012) To answer: If independent evidence leads us to conclude that God exists and is good then it is believed that God would be incapable of evil. Thus there is an alternate origin. This purposes the following syllogisms that lead to a different conclusion. 1) All things that God created are good. 2) Evil is not good. 3) Therefore evil is not a thing. The success of this argument lays in the

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