Beyond the Problem of Evil Essay

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Beyond the Problem of Evil Introduction: The problem of evil is, in my opinion, the best point of departure for a fruitful dialogue between Christianity, traditionally conceived, and those strands of modern philosophy which have been perceived--indeed, have sometimes perceived themselves--as a threat to that tradition. As such, I will attempt first, to outline the problem of evil in the starkest terms possible, presenting Augustine's approach to its solution followed by a critical analysis; second, to present an alternative approach to the questions which give rise to the problem--an approach derived in large part from Spinoza and Nietzsche; and, third, to show how this more philosophically acceptable alternative can be expressed…show more content…
Both horns of this dilemma are impious, but particularly the latter (1.1.1). His approach to a solution to this problem is three-pronged: 1) he holds that evil is a privation and cannot be properly said to exist at all; 2) he argues that the apparent imperfection of any part of creation disappears in light of the perfection of the whole; and 3) he argues that the origin of moral evil, together with that suffering which is construed as punishment for sin, is to be found in the free choice of the will of rational creatures. As a Manachee, Augustine believed that both God and the principle of evil were some sort of material substances, neither deriving its existence from the other. Evil, although somehow *smaller* than God, was, nevertheless, infinite and presented a real problem for God to overcome in the course of his cosmic existence. He describes his motives for believing such things as follows: piety (however bizarre some of my beliefs were) forbade me to believe that the good God had created an evil nature (*Confessions* 5.10.20). Even after Augustine had abandoned these "bizarre beliefs" of the Manachees and had, as a Christian, arrived at the notion of God as an immutable, spiritual substance, the existence of evil still troubled him for: Although I affirmed and firmly held divine immunity from pollution and change and the complete immutability of our God, the true God . . . yet I
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