On Free Choice of the Will: St. Augustine’s View on Evil Essay

Words: 1740
Pages: 7

On Free Choice of the will: St. Augustine’s View on Evil
This paper examines St. Augustine’s view on evil. St. Augustine believed that God made a perfect world, but that God's creatures turned away from God of their own free will and that is how evil originated in the world. Augustine assumes that evil cannot be properly said to exist at all, he argues that the evil, together with that suffering which is created as punishment for sin, originates in the free nature of the will of all creatures. According to Augustine, God has allowed evil to exist in the world because it does not conflict with his righteousness. He did not create evil but is also not a victim of it. He simply allows it to exist.
It is impossible to deny the existence of
…show more content…
He claimed that when humans do evil they are falling short of perfection and that nothing can be pure evil as anything that fell short of it’s nature would not exist. For example, Stalin and Hitler are good to the extent that they existed but evil in that they acted against their nature and fell short of perfection. God cannot be evil because he is infinite and unchangeable, and therefore it is a logical contradiction to say that he is evil. This statement is validated by the fact that most religions believe in an omnipotent, benevolent who is entirely good.
Many attempts have been made to overcome the problem of evil and perhaps the most famous is the Free Will Defense theory which attempts to overcome the problem at the same time as defending God’s goodness and omnipotence. Saint Augustine put together an argument in defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil to try and overcome the problem of evil. Augustine, a Christian, based his arguments on the Bible, especially the accounts of the Creation and the fall in Genesis. It claims that God gave humans free will so they could choose to have a loving relationship with him and not be forced into doing so. Therefore, by giving humans the free will to love him, God also gave us the ability to inflict pain and suffering on others and ourselves.
He claimed that God is perfect and created a world free of flaws. He believed that God could not be