Addressing the Problem of Evil in On Free Choice of the Will by Augustine

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In “On Free Choice of the Will”, Augustine indicates the importance of his beliefs and opinions of human nature and of God. He thinks as greatly of God as possible and centralizes his thoughts of goodness with the concept of being/form (God); he also gives a description of how God’s rightness can be interpreted clearly through the evil doings of the world. One of the biggest and most difficult problems facing people is the problem of doing evil. If God is being, unchanging, eternal and all-powerful, then how is it that people do evil? Augustine tries to solve the problem by examining the “source of evil” and “what evil is”. He explores the ways in which to live a happy life and an evil-free life by having a perfectly ordered soul—a life willed by the virtues—through free will. In the pursuit to find out how it is that evil exists, Augustine explores how people sin with inordinate desire as the driving force and free will. He lists the things we need to possess in order to sin and to live a happy life—goods of the will and temporal goods—that is, one cannot sin without temporal goods, inordinate desire, and free will. In the same way, one cannot live a happy life without goods of the will and free will.
The opening question in “On Free Choice of the Will” is “Isn’t God the cause of evil?” (Augustine, 1). Evodius examines into this question as opposed to “what is the cause of all evil?” because God is the creator of people—in which sinning comes from. From the premise, which states that: 1) God created everything; 2) God allows for the existence of evil, people do evil and sin, we can conclude that “God is the cause of all evil” because he created everything and everything that has form comes from God:

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...fer temporal goods (such as our body, health, beauty and so on) over goods of the will (such as knowledge and virtue)—inordinate desire’. The way we undergo these acts is by our own free will. Because we do not allow our minds to control the irrational parts of our souls and to perceive the eternal truths/ form/ being/ God, we sin; we allow our minds to be enslaved to inordinate desire. In other words, Augustine argues that we often turn away from the eternal truths, or the ethical truths, towards non-being which is evil because of temporal things. He says that evil lies in one’s intention, and not in their actions because one does evil as a result of their love for temporal goods; we misidentify the goods of the will (virtues) with temporal goods (wealth, honors, pleasures, physical pleasures and everything that a person cannot acquire of have simply by willing).
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