Augustines "confessions"

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Augustine's "Confessions"

A philosophical question faces Christians, and in fact all theists, that challenges the belief in God. To theists, God is an omnipotent, perfect God.
He is good. Theists accept this, and embrace it, for how else can they worship
God and give their lives to Him unless He is good? However, n this world evil is constantly seen all around us. Because God is the author of all things in this world, and he is good, theists must then ask themselves what evil is and where it came from. Augustine sets up an argument I his Confessions that attempts to define evil, and in doing so he explains its existence.
To follow this argument, it is important to realize that Augustine accepts some basic precepts regarding God and His creation. To begin with, God is the author of everything. Augustine says, “nothing that exists could exist without you [God]” (1.2). God is the creator and source of all things. Again “
. . . when He made the world He did not go away and leave it. By Him it was created and in Him exists” (4.12). Nothing in this world exists apart from God.
Also, God is in control of everything in this world. “Everything takes its place according to your law” (1.7). Augustine clearly sets forth that God is the creator and source of everything. Not only is He the source, but he is the reason for its continued existence. The next step Augustine takes regards the nature of God's creation.
For Augustine, God is good, because everything He made is good. “You are our God, supreme Good, the Creator and Ruler of the universe” (1.20), and again, “Therefore, the God who made me must be good and all the good in me is
His”(1.20). Everything about God is good. There is no aspect of Him that is lacking, false, or not good. These characteristics are in turn transferred to
His creation. “You, my God, are the source of all good”(1.6). However,
Augustine makes an important distinction regarding the creation of good and evil when he says, “O Lord my God, creator and arbiter of all natural things, but arbiter only, not creator, of sin”(1.10). The question of what evil is, and where it came from, still remains.
Augustine establishes that everything God made is good, and since God made everything, everything must be good. He than asks where evil could have come from. After all, evil did not come from God, it must have come from a source other than God. ...

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...t Him and grow closer to Him. The modern Christian Leslie
Newbigin writes fully Augustinian way when he states “I believe that all created beings have a sacramental character in that they exist by the creative goodness and for the redeeming purpose of God, that nothing is rightly understood otherwise, and that, nevertheless, God in creating a world . . . has provided for us a space within which we are given freedom to search, to experiment, and to find out for ourselves how things really are”(Foolishness to the Greeks, 89).
Yes, this does mean that some will stray from the path of good and pursue evil, but the Augustinian Christian believes that if there were no choice to be made, their praises to God would not be so meaningful. For Augustine, it is free will that makes human lives worth living, and makes a relationship with a good God unique. Evil results from persons turning from this relationship, and the consequential removal of good from their lives.

Works Cited

Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Pine-Coffin. London: Penguin Books, 1961.

Newbigin, Leslie. Foolishness to the Greeks. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B.
Eerrdmans Publishing Company, 1986.

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