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Augustine's Theodicy Essay

  • Submitted by: gwanyanya
  • on August 28, 2013
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 676 words

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Below is an essay on "Augustine's Theodicy" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

RS A2 3 Module 1: The Problem of Evil

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.)
The theodicy. Augustine argues that there is no logical problem. God created everything and everything he created was good. Evil is not real: it is merely the absence (privation) of goodness (privatio boni). It is analogous to darkness, which is merely the absence of light. Of course, darkness feels real – as does evil. But that does not mean it is a something and hence something created by God. Evil came into the world when both some angels and Adam and Eve freely turned from God. With their knowledge of good and evil, men could sin. Adam and Eve’s son Cain is the first murderer, for example. Natural evil also becomes possible because the Fall – the expulsion of Adam and Eve – shatters the perfection of Eden and God’s sin-free world. Ever since, all of us, as descendants of Adam and hence ‘seminally present’ in him (in his ‘seed’) are born the mark of his Original Sin. We all, therefore, deserve punishment. Augustine makes free will a source of evil. He adds two more thoughts. First, something may look evil to us but be good as God sees it, because God sees the big picture. A scorpion’s sting is bad for us but good for the scorpion. This is the aesthetic argument. Second, we are imperfect beings. God is the only perfect being. Being perfect, he never changes – he has no need to, having reached perfection. Changes can be good but also bad. So, any world of beings God creates will be a world of beings for whom there is always the chance of bad changes: suffering in one form or another. Could God have made fewer beings or no being at all? No. God had to create a world of many different sorts of being to demonstrate his creative omnipotence (the principle of plenitude.) It is not all bad, though. God sacrificed his son Christ to reconcile humanity and mankind: to enable mankind to be saved. We can be saved by turning to Christ. At the same time, God knew at Creation who would be saved and who...

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