The Consolation of Philosophy

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In book III of The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius establishes the fact that God is the world's helmsman, the divine reason, the supreme good, the origin of all things. He demonstrates that God is omnipotent and omniscient. Nothing more superior can even be conceived of. Through the concept of unity, through which things basically become good, Boethius shows that God and happiness are one, the divine goodness. He concludes, "God is the essence of happiness." (70) Book IV is the turning point in the theodicy, in the first chapter Boethius is truly puzzled by the presence of evil in the world. "But the greatest cause of my sadness is really this - the fact that in spite of a good helmsman to guide the world, evil can still exist and even pass unpunished… That this can happen in the realm of an omniscient and omnipotent God who wills only good, is beyond perplexity and complaint." (85) At this point the argument of good vs. evil begins. Philosophy starts the explanation by saying that since good and evil are opposites, they cannot coexist. She claims that evil is simply a lack of goodness. Since God is omnipotent and can only do good, evil is nothing. In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius uses good vs. evil argument in an objective, metaphysical view, on an abstract level. Good being the all-powerful God and evil being nothing. Parallel to that view, there is good vs. bad, which is presented from a human viewpoint. While the good has similar meaning in both arguments, Boethius makes a clear distinction between evil and bad. What might be perceived to be a bad thing from a human point of view is actually turning a bad experience into something good, therefore it is not evil. Since he does not believe in the existence of evil, that really only leaves the bad, which he uses interchangeably with wicked. He acknowledges the fact that there are good and bad people in the world, and agrees with Plato, that the wise (the good) will ultimately achieve their...
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