& # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; Confessions & # 8221 ; Essay, Research Paper
Augustine & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; Confessions & # 8221 ;
A philosophical inquiry 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 embracing it, for how else can they idolize
God and give their lives to Him unless He is good? However, n this universe immorality
is invariably seen all around us. Because God is the writer of all things in
this universe, and he is good, theists must so inquire themselves what evil is and
where it came from. Augustine sets up an statement I his Confessions that
efforts to specify immorality, and in making so he explains its being.
To follow this statement, it is of import to recognize that Augustine
accepts some basic principles sing God and His creative activity. To get down with, God
is the writer of everything. Augustine says, ? nil that exists could be
without you [ God ] ? ( 1.2 ) . God is the Godhead and beginning of all things. Again?
. . . when He made the universe He did non travel off and go forth it. By Him it was
created and in Him exists? ( 4.12 ) . Nothing in this universe exists apart from God.
Besides, God is in control of everything in this universe. ? Everything takes its
topographic point harmonizing to your jurisprudence? ( 1.7 ) . Augustine clearly sets forth that God is
the Godhead and beginning of everything. Not merely is He the beginning, but he is the
ground for its continued being. The following measure Augustine takes respects the
nature of God & # 8217 ; s creative activity.
For Augustine, God is good, because everything He made is good. ? You
are our God, supreme Good, the Creator and Ruler of the existence? ( 1.20 ) , and
once more, ? 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 facet of Him that is
lacking, false, or non good. These features are in bend transferred to
His creative activity. ? You, my God, are the beginning of all good? ( 1.6 ) . However,
Augustine makes an of import differentiation sing the creative activity of good and evil
when he says, ? O Lord my God, Godhead and supreme authority of all natural things, but
supreme authority merely, non Godhead, of wickedness? ( 1.10 ) . The inquiry of what immorality 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 immorality could hold
come from. After all, evil did non come from God, it must hold come from a
beginning other than God. If this true, so is it non so that God could hold been
prevented immorality from come ining into the universe as He is God? Because we clearly
see evil in the universe. Did God let it to come in? This would look to intend
either that God is non wholly good, or that he is non all-knowing and all
powerful. These inquiries Augustine does his best to reply.
First, Augustine establishes a definition of immorality. Originally, he
believed that immorality had substance. ? I believed that immorality, excessively was some similar
sort of substance. . . And because such small piousness as I had compelled me to
believe that God, who is good, could non hold created evil nature, I imagined
that there were two counter multitudes, both of which were spaces, yet the
immorality in a lesser and the good in a greater grade? ( 5.10 ) . However, his position
alterations subsequently, where he says that, ? Evil is nil but the remotion of good
until eventually no good remains? ( 3.7 ) . Under this definition, immorality does be as
a substance. Alternatively, it is the consequence of a remotion ; of good until there is
nil left, at which clip the object/person would discontinue to be in a physical
kingdom. ? And immorality, the beginning of which I was seeking to happen, is non because if
it were a substance, it would be good? ( 7.12 ) .
Augustine attacks this issue from an wholly different angle. First
he says: Bash we have any good grounds that God even exists? If He does, is He
good? So he develops his statement from natural divinity. He looks for
independent grounds available to us that God is existent and He is good.
That is why Augustine decently starts with cogent evidence for the being of
God and one time set uping that there is good ground to believe He exists and HE
is good, so that produces a different sort of series of statements. All that
God created is good, evil is non good. Therefore, evil is non something that
This was Augustine & # 8217 ; s solution and his chief part because, when he
asked the inquiries: What is evil? Does it hold any being or non? Where did
it come from? HE observed that immorality is something that ever injures, and an
hurt is want of good. If there were no want of good in the
thing being injured, so there would non be any hurt. And, since all things
were made with goodness by God originally, so when things are evil, they are
deprived of the goodness that God gave them.
In other words, everything that God made is good, and when you take off
some goodness from something that God made, we call that status immorality.
Another manner of seting it is that immorality is a want of good. In this analysis,
good is the significant thing, the thing with substance. Evil does non hold any
substance. It is simply good that is losing. If it does non hold any
substance, so it does non necessitate a Godhead. In other words, evil is like a
moral hole, a void that obtains when something is removed. That & # 8217 ; s what a
hole is, when something is removed, a hole will stay. But the hole International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; T
something. It & # 8217 ; s nil. Just as a shadow is no more than a hole in visible radiation,
immorality is a sort of hole in goodness. To state that something is evil so is merely
a shorthand manner of stating it lacks goodness. Augustine goes on to explicate how
such a thing can be, and gets into a treatment about free will.
Finally, Augustine province Forth a ground for the being of what we
call immorality, or the remotion of good: viz. , free will exercised wrongfully. God
created worlds with free will, which is inherently good. However, we can misapply
free will and take to make other than good. ? in you [ God ] our good abides
everlastingly, and when we turn off from it we turn to evil? ( 4.16 ) , Augustine writes.
When this happens the good is dead set or injured in its goodness, which consequences in
immorality. Augustine describes how the psyche can mistake when he says, ? my ain [ psyche ] was
mutable and erred of its ain free will? ( 4.15 ) . Besides, ? When I chose to so
something or non to make it, I was rather certain that it was my ain ego, and non
some other individual who made this act of will, so that I was on the point of
understanding that herein lay the cause of my wickedness? ( 7.3 ) . Augustine besides
describes Satan, who is for Christians, the greatest immorality known, as? a good
angel who became a Satan because of his ain wicked will? ( 7.3 ) The abuse of
free will consequences in the decrease of good, which is evil. ? We do evil because
we choose to make so of our ain free will? ( 7.3 ) . Free will can be corrupted and
misused, which is the definition of immorality.
To sum up, God is good. Everything God has created is good. Evil
does non come from God Rather immorality is a decrease of good. This explains the
being of immorality in God & # 8217 ; s creative activity without endangering either omnipotence, or
His goodness. The chance we have to do the pick between being the good
He made, or destroying our goodness, is a gift that should non be taken lightly.
Augustine believes that with His creative activity, God has given worlds free rein to
learn more about Him and turn closer to Him. The modern Christian Leslie
Newbigin writes to the full Augustinian manner when he states? I believe that all created
existences have a sacramental character in that they exist by the originative goodness
and for the delivering intent of God, that nil is justly understood
otherwise, and that, however, God in making a universe. . . has provided
for us a infinite within which we are given freedom to seek, to experiment, and
to happen out for ourselves how things truly are? ( Foolishness to the Greeks, 89 ) .
Yes, this does intend that some will roll from the way of good and prosecute immorality,
but the Augustinian Christian believes that if there were no pick to be made,
their congratulationss to God would non be so meaningful. For Augustine, it is free will
that makes human lives deserving life, and makes a relationship with a good God
unique. Evil consequences from individuals turning from this relationship, and the
eventful remotion of good from their lives.
Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Pine-Coffin. London: Penguin Books, 1961.
Newbigin, Leslie. Foolishness to the Greeks. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B.
Eerrdmans Printing Company, 1986.