St. Augustine: Thoughts on Good and Evil

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Author Claudia Gray stated, “Self-knowledge is better than self-control any day” (Goodreads). Evil and sin exists in our world today and the temptation they bring bounds many human’s spiritual being. Finding the root of all evil is a hard and torturous concept to understand, but knowing one’s own free will helps bring understanding and deliverance from the evils of the world. Throughout the book Confessions Saint Augustine “ponders the concepts of evil and sin and searches the root of their being” (Augustine 15). The existence of evil is one of the most worrisome challenges a Christian or any individual deals with throughout life. Saint Augustine’s beliefs concerning the root of all evil and sins transforms as he begins to grow and develop in the knowledge of his free will and spiritual being. Early on, he believes “God created all things and evil is a thing, therefore God created evil” (Augustine 73-74). From this he conceives the notion that God cannot be good if he knowingly created evil. As Augustine begins to grow in his spiritual walk, his views begin to evolve as he questions his Manichee’s beliefs and explores the concepts of good and evil. From his inquiring Augustine develops the question, what is evil and what if evil did not need creating? He asks, “Do we have any convincing evidence that a good God exists” (Augustine 136-137)?
In Augustine’s younger days he explored the concepts of Manicheism and studied the Manichee doctrine for nearly ten years. “Confused and bound by the ideas of his Manichee, Augustine’s interaction with astronomy and philosophy convict him that the Manichee beliefs are not the true truth” (Augustine 3, 135-136). Through the Manichee sect he was taught that God was not omnipotent and struggled...

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..., the closer he was really moving toward God. He began to realize that God is all good, so nothing he creates will be of evil. “God does not create evil but it is of the world” (Augustine 230-31). Once he took responsibility for his personal life and spiritual walk, Augustine began to uncover the truths to his life. He reveals one must take responsibility for their actions and confess to develop a stronger connection with God. He then comprehends; God allows bad things to happen in your life to show you that you need him. Evil is not a lesser good, but it is a reflection of ones moral well-being. In order for one’s well being to be saved one must confess their sins to Christ.

Work Cited
Augustine, and R. S. Pine-Coffin. Saint Augustine Confessions. New York: Penguin,

1983. Print.

"Quotes About Temptation." (165 Quotes). Goodreads, 2014. Web. 05 May 2014.

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