Explain Augustine’s Theodicy

Topics: God, Problem of evil, Free will Pages: 2 (585 words) Published: October 30, 2011
t Augustine 354-430 CE, developed a theodicy in order to tackle the ‘Problem of Evil’, the seeming contradiction between God being omnipotent, omnibenevolent and there still being evil in the world. As a Christian, he believed that God had made everything that exists, and that at the moment of creation, everything was perfect, because ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good’ Genesis 1: 31. He therefore concluded that ‘evil is not a substance’; it is merely ‘Privatio Boni’ or privation of good, because he thought that ‘things which are liable to corruption are good’, otherwise they cannot be corrupted.

In addition to this Augustine used this idea to explain that because only God himself can be truly and completely perfect, therefore meaning that his creations will have different varieties of perfection. In other words, every creation is good in its own right, a tree, for example, cannot walk, but this is not an evil, but a consequence of good diversity. Furthermore, according to Augustine, God’s creations were set up in a sort of hierarchy of beings consisting of Angels, humans, animals and plants. This principle of plenitude means that all possible forms of existence should exists, and there will have to be imperfect and unequal beings.

In addition, Augustine believed that all evil, moral and natural arose from the wrong choices of free and rational beings, as stated in Genesis 3 – The Fall. God gave humans, and angels, the ability to choose freely (to have free will), and as a consequence the possibility that they may disobey God was an option which Adam and Eve chose. To Augustine, sin occurs as the willful rejection of God to some lesser good. Therefore when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they have sinned and deserved to be punished. Because the serpent (an angel according to Augustine) mislead Eve, ‘Cursed is the ground because of’ him. They abused their free will and tried to become ‘lord of their own being’ by disobeying God....
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