In it, Augustine and his interlocutor investigate God’s existence and his role in creating evil. They attempt not only to understand what evil is, and the possibility of doing evil, but also to ascertain why God would let humans cause evil. Central to the premise of this entire dialogue is the concept of God, as relates to Christianity; what is God, and what traits separate Him from humans? According to Christianity, God is the creator of all things, and God is good; he is omnipotent, transcendent, all-knowing, and atemporal- not subject to change over time- a concept important to the understanding of the differences between this world and the higher, spiritual realm He presides over. God’s being is eidos, the essence which forms the basis of humans.
Evil is just a perversion of this good. Since all things are made from God, they start out solely good. Evil comes into play when this innate good gets corrupted. Augustine said, “For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good?” (Bourke 65). He defines evil as, “…what is evil, which is nothing else than corruption, either of the measure, or the form, or the order, that belong to nature.
Considering that he is the sole creator, we would intent that all things he brought would be based on soulful and good intentions. But considering that there are evil things in the world, then wouldn’t he also be the sole creator to blame for evils existence? When discussing God’s capability of allowing evil to exists, one must be aware that there are two types of evil; moral evil and natural evil. Since we are discussing evil, we must take into account the several types of evil that exist in our world. Both moral and natural evil exist in the world.
In monotheistic faith God is defined with a triad of attributes as being all good, all powerful and all knowing. This triad is what is empirically derived from God being the prime mover. The fact of evil, or theodicy, possess that there exists evil in this world and that this triad cannot exist through that evil conflicts with all three existing at once. The presence of evil means that God lacks one of these attributes because if he had them all, he would not allow evil to exist. If God and evil are to coexist then God must be: all knowing, all powerful, but good enough to want to stop it, lacking the knowledge to know how to stop it, or lacking the power to be able to stop it.
7, p.152). His two wills tore at him until he fully abandoned his earthly lust for the spiritual Godly desires; supporting his conclusion that free will in favor of the lesser goods causes evil. Therefore, free will is the ultimate source of evil. Through narration of his own life, Augustine successfully proved that evil is not an inherent human quality rather it is caused by free will and therefore the fault of humans.
This process can continue ad infinitum It also follows that God, not as benevolent as could be hoped, prefers the maximization of good (2) as opposed to the minimization of evil (1). This is disquieting for the individual who might be the victim of suffering a “greater good.” It appears that the problem of evil is a substantial one. While arguments exist that can challenge assumptions of the problem, it sometimes requires some definition contorting and does not answer all the challenges evil presents. The greater good defense presents some key insights into how we must perceive God’s actions but does not completely defend against the presented problems of evil. Therefore, a more plausible defense is needed to eliminate the problems evil creates with the Judeo-Christian concept of God.
He stated if God was sovereign, then He must be responsible for the evil in the world, or to a greater degree the author of it. It sounded to me as though he was trying to understand the problem of evil. Providing my presupposition, I told him that Scripture speaks truthfully of God and affirms that He is holy while also teaching that He is sovereign over all creation . If this is true, then we must conclude that God ordains all things is such a way that does not go against the character of His being nor can He be held blameworthy for evil. I told him that God could not accomplish two ends simultaneously – give humans free will and remove evil from the world – without contradicting His intentions to do one or the other.
In addition to this, some of the fallacious solutions presented to this argument includes, God cannot exist without evil or evil is necessary as counterpart to good; evil is necessary as a means to goodness; the universe is better with some evil in it than it could be if there is no evil; evil is due to human free. However, each of these solutions poses limit to what a God can do; thus, making him not fully omnipotent. Moving on, all the arguments presented by Mackie are justified, but restricted to worldly life only. Being a theist, I believe in the life hereafter, the life after an individual dies. This belief acts as counter attack to the problem of evil because I believe the life on earth is an exam for human beings with results partially being distributed in the present life and in the life hereafter.
Hick is the author of “Evil and the God of Love”, and within it he emphasizes the idea that human beings are created incomplete. Hick discusses the idea that individuals are capable of responding freely to God and says, “Good and evil are thus necessary presences within the world, in order that informed and meaningful human development may take place.” CITATION FROM MCGRATH BOOK HERE. Hick also states that humans are ethically immature, which causes mistakes and poor choices. This immaturity is one explanation for sin and evil according to Hick. As discussed in class, “The need for challenges in order to move toward maturity is the second explanation for sin and evil.” (Feske) God created human beings with the capacity to grow and mature toward the good, and it is on each human being to make choices to eventually lead them to that good.
Evil only comes into play when a member of God's world renounces his/her role in the proper scheme of things. Evil has no positive nature; but instead the loss of good is what constitutes evil. It is because of his definition of evil that Augustine buys into the free will defense. Augustine attributes all evil, both moral and natural, to the free actions of human beings created by God with the capacity to do either good or evil. While God is the embodiment of goodness and cannot make the decision to be anything but good, other members in the Great Chain of Being do have the ability to willfully alter their predisposition... ... middle of paper ... ...l, and knowing, suffering should not exist in the world.