Augustine & Aquinas: the Root of Evil

Topics: Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Philosophy of religion Pages: 4 (1444 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Thomas Aquinas and Augustine: The Problem and cause of Evil


In this paper, I will compare Augustine’s views on the problem of evil, and Thomas Aquinas’ view on The Cause of Evil. I will compare the views of both of these philosophers by picking out the similarities and the differences. I will conclude with my own opinion, and what one I think is the most viable as a probable case.

For Augustine, the problem of evil can be phrased in a few several ways. One approach addresses the origin of evils prompting the syllogism: 1) God created all things; 2) evil is a thing: 3) therefore, God created evil. If one and two are indeed correct, then that would make the conclusion to this question inevitable, in the fact that God did create evil. In terms of general Christianity and the ethics of the church, this fact is in my own opinion, the most damaging fact toe the Christian church in North America.

However, Augustine, considering the premises of this fact, began to wonder what was actual evil? If God created all things, then if God created evil, does that mean that evil is a thing. This is one of the vexing questions that Augustine inquired into. If evil was not a thing, then does that mean it wasn’t created? This question led Augustine to seek out the antecedent.

Augustine asked the question, “Do we have any convincing evidence that a good God exists? If independent evidence leads us to conclude that God exists and is good, then He would be incapable of creating evil.” Something else, then, must be the source of evil. Therefore, a new syllogism is conjured: Firstly, all things that God created are good; secondly, evil is not good; thirdly, evil was not created by God. The second syllogism: God created every thing; God did not create evil; and evil is not a thing. If evil is not a thing, then the case against Christianity is untrue. So the basis of the Problem of Evil, leads to the question of what evil truly is.

Augustine, in response to the...
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