On Free Choice of the will: St. Augustine’s View on Evil
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. It is impossible to deny the existence of evil in the world as human beings experience pain and suffering every day. It is generally accepted that there are two different types of evil: natural and moral. Moral evil is caused by human beings and occurs when humans inflict suffering on other people, animals or the environment. Natural evil is not caused by humans and occurs naturally in the world, such as earthquakes, droughts and cancer. It is apparent that not all evils can be easily separated into these categories as humans can contribute to natural evils such like cancer, although cancer is a naturally occurring disease, humans often do things which bring it about. The problem is not the evil itself but the fact that it exists in the first place. The problem of evil is a problem caused by the nature of God. If we believe that God created everything then he has total responsibility for the existence of evil as he must have created it. This provokes the question: why did God create evil or why does he allow evil to exist? The classical God is an all-good and all-powerful God. This suggests that he would want to remove evil for the good of the human race and is able to do so. Therefore, if God is all good and all-powerful then there should be no evil in the world....
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