Essay about St. Augustine's View of Evil

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Whether or not evil is the absence of good is a question that has puzzled Christians since the time of St. Augustine of Hippo. In The Confessions of St. Augustine, he initiates this premise and argues in its favor. Discourse about evil is based on the Christian theological teachings of the omniscience, omnipotence, and perfect benevolence of God as well as the understanding that evil is present in this world. Since these four concepts are contradictory, one of them must be rejected. Thus, St. Augustine argues that evil does not exist. I find St. Augustine’s explanation to be satisfying.

In order to make sense of St. Augustine’s definition of evil as the absence of good, it is helpful to know how he came up with it. It is true that
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When God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, it is not because they are evil. Instead, it is because they chose the inferior option thinking that it would be better for them. By disobeying God, they rejected the good.

The aspects of our modern world that appear to be evil can be explained as having an absence of good too. When you apply Plato’s theory of forms to humanity, for instance, you can say that people begin to exist less fully as they corrupt themselves by choosing inferior things. Those who are called evildoers are less good and less like God than those who are in a state of grace. These individuals have turned away from God and are often attempting to fill the void of God in their lives with things of this world. Such “evildoers” do not make poor choices intentionally. Rather, they choose inferior things because they are mislead. They think that the choices they make are in their best interest and will make them happy. One way to understand this is by thinking of young women who give of themselves to men who are not committed to them because they want to be loved. My mom works at a life clinic with teenagers and single women who have became pregnant and often carry a lot of baggage because of the mistake they made. Next, many things that are seemingly evil are actually a conflict of interest. In other words, things