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St. Agustine On The Exitance Of Evil In A World Created By A Perfect And Loving God.

2460 words - 10 pages

Augustine is unsuccessful in solving the problem of defining evil by using the idea of free will and unchangeable intermediate and inferior goods to argue that everything God Created is good and human beings alone are the cause of sin and evil. To understand Augustine's argument for the existence of evil in a world created by a perfect God of only good things I will briefly examine Augustine's reasoning for belief in God for which no clear evidence can be given. I will then go on to critique Augustine's argument for the existence of evil in a world created by a perfect God.In Augustine's book 'The Teacher", Augustine illustrates a dialog he had with his young son in which he tries to convey the existence of the Christian God. Augustine's arguments for the perfection of God and the world he created are based on the idea that he must believe in God to understand him. This is based on a quote from the Book of Isaiah in which the prophet states, "Unless ye believe ye shall not know." (Isa. 7:9:LXX) (Aug. The Teacher pg. 31) This gives Augustine a logical basis for an illogical belief. It can be considered illogical to believe in a God for which no physical proof can be given, so by making the belief in such an entity come first, the arguments for existence can follow. Augustine argues a distinct difference between belief and knowledge. "What I know I also believe, but I do not know everything that I believe." Augustine refers to a story about a great war, which he did not witness but he believes it happened. "I know how useful it is to believe many things of which knowledge is not possible." (Aug. The Teacher pg. 31) Augustine extends the relationship between things, which are believed and known to include the meaning of words and phrases. According to Augustine we only believe we understand the words of other people as we believe we have the same definition of the words they are using, meaning the only true knowledge we posses is acquired through our own association of words to 'real events' or 'real things'.Hence for Augustine, for an individual 'listener' to understand the words of another person requires the 'listener' to listen to the "Truth which presides over our minds within us, though of course we may be bidden to listen by someone using words." (Aug. The Teacher pg. 31) Augustine now places Christ or the wisdom of God as the ruling agent of human intellect.Book II of Augustine's Dialogue 'On Free Will' commences with Augustine having to prove to his friend Evodius that God does exist, and is the creator of heaven and earth. Augustine uses the ideas of truth and wisdom as examples of entities that exist but have no physical features, which are greater than the human intellect. "You admitted for your part that if I could show you something superior to our minds you would confess that it was God, provided nothing existed that was higher still. I accepted your admission and said it would be sufficient if I demonstrated that. If there is...

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