Augustine 's View On Evil Essay

Augustine 's View On Evil Essay

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Augustine attempted to answer a very large question in his writings, he attempts to define evil.
Augustine himself was no stranger to evil, and like many of the Saints, he was not one in his early life. Augustine expressed great remorse of some seemingly trivial deeds he had committed when he was a young adolescent. One of the most famous examples he provides is his story of the pear tree. He and his friends had trespassed into a neighbors garden and had stolen all the fruit from his tree. This might seem like only a small sin, however Augustine demonstrates great regret in having participated in this act. Augustine is not as much concerned with the actual act of stealing from the tree, but the they didn 't even eat the fruit. They had no utilitarian use for stealing, but they stole for stealing’s sake, “because it was forbidden.” (Augustine 2.4.9) Augustine implies that motive is a large driving force in what determines the morality of an act. If the motive was irrelevant then eating the pears would have brought upon the same level of guilt as throwing them to the hogs. Augustine was also known for abandoning his studies at an early age so he could take up the act of pursuing women. He admits that this was a mistake, “For these inferior values have their delights, but not at all equal to my God, who hath made them all.” (Augustine 2.5.10) He does not go on and say that chasing women and sex is morally wrong, but they pale in comparison to real happiness, God, and to think otherwise is what traps sinners.
He elaborates on this fact, claiming those who seek worldly pleasure reside in the theoretical City of Man, while those who seek true virtue and love reside in the City of God. The City of Man is a place where humans attempt to...


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...suffering lacks falls short when faced with a simple and age old question, how can God be all good, all powerful and still allow suffering to exist. St. Augustine’s definition of evil, that it is merely the lack of God, is much more logically sound.
Augustine recognized that “evil is deficiency of good to the point where there is no good at all" (Confessions 3.7.12) Augustine would respond to this question by admitting that in fact while God is omnipotent, he still lacks the ability to remove suffering! Not because he is not powerful enough but it 's logically impossible. It is not possible for God to create a 4 sided triangle for if he could, it would no longer be a triangle, and for this same reason he cannot remove suffering in a world where free will exists. Humans will always have the choice to turn away from God, so there will always be a possibility of evil.

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