Augustine

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Augustine’s “Confessions” Essay, Research Paper Augustine’s “Confessions” A philosophical question faces Christians, and in fact all theists, that challenges the belief in God. To theists, God is an omnipotent, perfect God. He is good. Theists accept this, and embrace it, for how else can they worship God and give their lives to Him unless He is good? However, n this world evil is constantly seen all around us. Because God is the author of all things in this world, and he is good, theists must then ask themselves what evil is and where it came from. Augustine sets up an argument I his Confessions that attempts to define evil, and in doing so he explains its existence. To follow this argument, it is important to realize that Augustine accepts some basic precepts

regarding God and His creation. To begin with, God is the author of everything. Augustine says, ?nothing that exists could exist without you [God]? (1.2). God is the creator and source of all things. Again ? . . . when He made the world He did not go away and leave it. By Him it was created and in Him exists? (4.12). Nothing in this world exists apart from God. Also, God is in control of everything in this world. ?Everything takes its place according to your law? (1.7). Augustine clearly sets forth that God is the creator and source of everything. Not only is He the source, but he is the reason for its continued existence. The next step Augustine takes regards the nature of God’s creation. For Augustine, God is good, because everything He made is good. ?You are our God, supreme

Good, the Creator and Ruler of the universe? (1.20), and again, ?Therefore, the God who made me must be good and all the good in me is His?(1.20). Everything about God is good. There is no aspect of Him that is lacking, false, or not good. These characteristics are in turn transferred to His creation. ?You, my God, are the source of all good?(1.6). However, Augustine makes an important distinction regarding the creation of good and evil when he says, ?O Lord my God, creator and arbiter of all natural things, but arbiter only, not creator, of sin?(1.10). The question of what evil is, and where it came from, still remains. Augustine establishes that everything God made is good, and since God made everything, everything must be good. He than asks where evil could have come from.

After all, evil did not come from God, it must have come from a source other than God. If this true, then is it not so that God could have been prevented evil from entering into the world as He is God? Because we clearly see evil in the world. Did God allow it to enter? This would seem to mean either that God is not entirely good, or that he is not omniscient and all powerful. These questions Augustine does his best to answer. First, Augustine establishes a definition of evil. Originally, he believed that evil had substance. ?I believed that evil, too was some similar kind of substance . . . And because such little piety as I had compelled me to believe that God, who is good, could not have created evil nature, I imagined that there were two antagonistic masses, both of which

were infinite, yet the evil in a lesser and the good in a greater degree?(5.10). However, his view changes later, where he says that, ?Evil is nothing but the removal of good until finally no good remains?(3.7). Under this definition, evil does exist as a substance. Instead, it is the result of a removal; of good until there is nothing left, at which time the object/person would cease to exist in a physical realm. ?And evil, the origin of which I was trying to find, is not because if it were a substance, it would be good?(7.12). Augustine approaches this issue from an entirely different angle. First he says: Do we have any good evidence that God even exists? If He does, is He good? So he develops his argument from natural theology. He looks for independent evidence available to