Samantha Pryor Dr. Donald Viney Medieval Philosophy February 28, 2017 God and Augustine Medieval philosophers developed very precise notions of God and the attributes that he has, many of which are even now well-known among believers. For example, God is all-powerful all-knowing and all-good Other commonly discussed attributes of God are that he is eternal, that he is present everywhere and that he has foreknowledge of future events. While these traditional attributes of God offer a clear picture of the kind of being that he is, many of them present special conceptual problems, particularly when we try to make them compatible them with potentially conflicting facts about the world. It’s clear that suffering is abundant …show more content…
The cause of evil itself, according to Augustine, is the human will, and thus all blame for it rests on our shoulders, not on Gods. We willfully turn our souls away from God when we perform evil deeds. Even the punishment that God imposes on us for our evil is something that we brought on ourselves. Consequently, a first solution that Augustine offers to the problem of evil is that human will is the cause of evil and reason for divine punishment. A second and related solution is that the evil we willfully create within our souls is only a deprivation of goodness. Think of God’s goodness like a bright white light; the evil that we humans create is like an act of dimming that light, or shielding ourselves from it to create an area of darkness. It is not like we’ve created a competing light source of our own, such as a bright red light that we shine around to combat God’s bright white light. Accordingly, the evil that we create through our wills is the absence of good, and not a substantive evil in itself. Yet a third solution to the problem of evil is Augustine’s suggestion that the apparent imperfection of any part of creation disappears in light of the perfection of the whole. To explain, Augustine considers a common objection that God seems to be the source of suffering when our young children die with no clear purpose. His response is this: In view of the encompassing network of
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In the Confessions by Saint Augustine, this great philosopher experiences many problems and emotions related to sin and evil. As a boy, he often felt darkness, blindness, and confusion while attempting to find rest in God. Augustine started out in childhood with a restless heart because he had to live in two different worlds. These worlds consisted of his mother’s Christian faith, and the world of everything else. These two worlds confused and disturbed Augustine as a child. Augustine’s father was pagan and his mother was Christian, and they both wanted him to be very successful in the world. As he became confused, he began asking questions that could not be answered such as, “Humans often feel restless, but what is it they need to feel at
This is a significant problem to the revealed religions because they believe in a wholly good and omnipotent God. Why then, would this God allow evil? In this paper, I will provide, explain, and evaluate St. Augustine of Hippo’s
“Where then is evil, and what is its source, and how has it crept into the creation? What is its root, what is its seed?”1 These are the first of the many inquiries that Augustine makes in his work entitled the Confessions. In fact, the question of 'what is evil' is the main concern of Augustine, eventually leading the theologian from Manicheanism, a heresy that Augustine spent nine years of his life practicing, back into the arms of the Church. The Manichees are not willing to say that God created evil, and so therefore evil must have existed from the very beginning, possessing its own being. At this time, Augustine has a very Platonist view of things and begins to question this view of the Manichees. As a Platonist, Augustine asserts that all being is fundamentally good because all being comes from a supreme Good, which is God. As it says in
A topic that Augustine wrestled with throughout his life was that of why evil exists, and why God would even allow it to happen. Throughout his life, Augustine suffered the loss his lover, mother, and even his son. Augustine struggled with the thought of how a God so pure and just would allow such suffering. This leads him to develop his beliefs on free will. We, as humans, are given the opportunity to freely make our decisions in our everyday life.
This paper examines St. Augustine’s view on evil. St. Augustine believed that God made a perfect world, but that God's creatures turned away from God of their own free will and that is how evil originated in the world. Augustine assumes that evil cannot be properly said to exist at all, he argues that the evil, together with that suffering which is created as punishment for sin, originates in the free nature of the will of all creatures. According to Augustine, God has allowed evil to exist in the world because it does not conflict with his righteousness. He did not create evil but is also not a victim of it. He simply allows it to exist.
Last semester, I took a philosophical inquiry class and within it I learned about the problem of evil. It was an idea that drew me in not because of the problem itself, but rather because of all the people who chose to believe in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God while ignoring the problem of evil. Because of this, when Kristen Wagner shared with my theology class that she wanted to examine the different ways that Augustine viewed the problem of evil throughout his life, I was intrigued by the idea. Augustine wrestled with the problem of evil for many years of his life, questioning why God made this creation but left in it some element which He did not convert into good.
In book seven of Confessions, by Augustine, he is challenged by the idea of evil. It occurs to him, how can God, who in himself is good, create evil. In order to explain this, he provides the argument that evil is just the absence of good. With the use of free-will and his hierarchy, he is able to give a compelling argument. He states that one cannot chose evil, only a lower good, and the act of turning to the lower good itself is evil.
This separation brought around Augustine’s pessimistic idea of the ‘divided will’. This is where the will to do good has been weakened by desire, the Original Sin, suggesting that humans are therefore incapable of doing any moral good. Despite this, Augustine’s teaching on human nature may be seen as optimistic because Christianity is a positive religion, similarly to Augustines view as he suggests that humans were originally good as they are Gods creation and made Imago Dei. The only way that humans are seen as ‘evil’ is through free will and the privation of good.
In his writing, Augustine views evil as something brought about by living in “the flesh” instead of the will of God. In genesis, God made man from his imagine, meaning for man to be good and uncorrupted in the likeness of God himself. Then a serpent came and deceived man and woman and that is how evil came into man. That men weren’t inherently evil. Augustine writes, “We are pressed down by the corruptible body, therefore, yet we know the cause of our being pressed down is not
To Augustine, an evil act is one that moves any member of creation towards exclusion from God’s universe. If a being with free will elects to move away from God for a temporal end, they are moving towards corruption or death and unleashing this force on the world around them. Once a body becomes in entirely corrupted it has no existence whatsoever, it is irrelevant to this reality and we can only imagine it based on the imprint left before it was no more. This is the ultimate death; complete exclusion from God’s universe and Augustine contrasts it with the ultimate Good, which is complete inclusion with God’s universe. Once something is outside of God’s universe, it is impossible for it have any effect. (7.13.1)
An Analysis of the concept of morality in Augustine reveals questions facing humankind: what is morality and where is it based. This is the common theme throughout Augustine’s writings, he seem to struggle with making the right choices. His natural desires tend to take over whenever he comes to tough decision. Throughout this paper we will be analyzing this theme, to see if we can come to some common ground on where Augustine stood and what he had to say on the issue.
Explain how St. Augustine ultimately solves the “problem of evil” in a way that is compatible with his Christian faith. Be sure to refer in your answer to the two aspects of his solution that we discussed in class- the one centring on the nature of evil itself, the other on why we sin. Do you agree that the problem has been solved adequately? Defend your answer.
I often ponder at the thought of God’s creation and how H did it. But more than that, it baffles me that he has no beginning. Where did he come from? How does he just exist? This compares with Augustine’s questions in that he wishes to know more about God, everything he can possibly know about God.
God is according to Augustine the single sovereign, who rules over everything, even the evil forces in the universe. This sovereignty is grounded in Augustine’s understanding that God created everything. This assumption ultimately solves the question why evil exists. It exists because God created it, just like he created everything else. Augustine suggests that everything God creates in inherently good. However, creatures can become “evil” because they are prone to corruption (Mann 44). Furthermore, rational beings have
Finally, Augustine states that peace and harmony are the foremost desires of the human heart; however, the `grip of destructive impulses and passions' in the human heart prevents the establishment of such order. Furthermore, God is punishing Man's original sin' by making human life in this world penal. Man is unable to achieve perfect peace, which can only be found in Augustine's City of God, a divine city to be ruled by God after Jesus' second coming.