Throughout history humanity has attempted to answer to questions that unfold into other questions: 1.) What is the purpose of humanity and the meaning for existence? 2.) How did humans get on earth and how did the earth come into existence. These questions, when answered by the theologian, point to a Supreme Being, or God, who has orchestrated through creation humanity and the universe in which humanity dwells. Following this mode of answering these questions has led to theologians defining God. The general consensus is that God is a benevolent God, who seeks to have relationship with humanity. That is to say that the Creator longs for relationship with the created. But how does creation need exist with other creation? If the Creator is benevolent, then how is the malfeasance of the created justifiable? Some have blamed the fall, the time mentioned in the Book of Genesis where the created disobeyed the main rule of the Creator. Some have blamed the Evil One as the instigator of evil. Others still blame the Creator as though the Creator is playing a sort of game with humanity and changing the rules as life goes on. Regardless of the source of evil, it is ever present in creation, especially in humanity. This evil presents in many ways, one of the cruelest being violence, and a greater disappointment still, sexual violence. While historically many acts of sexual violence have been excused away or blame was placed on the victim, it still remains that the Church, an earthly representation of the Creator, must respond in the way that the Creator would respond. In a way that is benevolent, that will do well, for all involved. In order for humanity to be institutionally good, it is mandatory for the Church to teach a true form of forgiveness that leads humanity closer to being good.
As the Bishop of Hippo, Augustine chronicled his confessions to God. In these writings Augustine admitted to a time when he was evil for sake of being evil. It was a time in his life where he allowed his desire to commune with his teenaged friends in their revelry outweigh a personal volition that would not have lead him to the actions he describes. The group of children stole pears from a tree that was not theirs. According to Augustine, they knew the pears had a different purpose:
“We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden…”
For Augsutine, evil was the denial of God’s benevolent nature for sake of a malevolent human nature. The Church has tended to adhere to this sort of thinking concerning the nature of humanity. This malevolent nature explains, to some degree why there are people who do evil things to other people. The dialectic view to this is that humanity is seen as created in the image of God (imago Dei) and thus all humanity has the potential to be naturally good.
The systemic nature of...