In the universe, there is both good and bad. Since it causes people to suffer, the bad tends to be prominent. According to Augustine, it does not take much learning to notice that something is moving in the wrong direction. My point is that there is much more good in the world than we ever realize. It’s just a question of perspective. There have been many thinkers who have speculated on the subject of good and bad. Several controversies have erupted, with various thinkers agreeing and disagreeing on various aspects of the idea of evil and good. The paper focuses on Augustine argument on the origin as well as the various issues related to good and evil in the society.
According to Augustine, there are several ways through which this aspect can be approached. The first approach is the origin of evil. God is the creator of everything in the earth and the heaven. Evil, therefore, is a thing as created by God. According to the philosopher, Augustine raises a serious question about the goodness of God. How could God be good if he created evil (Banner 59)?
The aspect makes the Augustine realize that the argument`s solution heavily depends on the question: what then is evil? The case statement stated above heavily leans on the idea that the evil spoken about here is a thing. From a different perspective, evil could not be a thing, and therefore that means it was not created. To come closer to the solution of this problem, Augustine asks, “Is there evidence that can convince that a good God exists?” it, therefore, leads to the fact that if a good God exists, he would not then create evil in the first place. The aspect then led him to say that there is, therefore, another source of evil. The approach used by Augustine is very fair for it leads to the different conclusion from a pair of syllogism. One of the syllogisms is that all that was created by God was perfectly good. The conclusion is that evil is therefore not good is true. And this makes it possible to say that evil as not created by God. The other conclusions from the other syllogism are that God created everything, he did not create evil and therefore evil is not a thing at all.
A perfection which is flawed
The truthfulness of the two premises is the key to success here. Being healthy means, everything he created is good. With this in place, the conclusion that is not a thing follows automatically (Sheed 123). The strategy that Augustine employs, therefore, means that the case which is raised against Christianity as stated in the original syllogism is not sound. The aspect is so because one of the pillar premises is not true. The million dollars question remain, what then is evil.
Digging through goodness
The notion of being was central to the idea Augustine had about goodness (and consequently dangerous). According to Augustine, anything which had being was perfect. God is perfectly good since he is the ground of being. And therefore, everything that God brought into is also good. The goodness, however, was a property which had its degrees changing from one being to the next. Augustine was prepared to answer the fundamental problem here now that he had a good ground and foundation. The key problem, where is evil, how did it come it being, what is its root, has it been, what is its seed? Augustine has this answer; “the loss of good is named evil and then it has no positive nature.”
It was Augustine observation that the evil things resulted into injuries and those injuries were just but deprivation of goodness. Since all things were made with some degree of goodness in them, evil would occur if the goodness in them would be deprived. Augustine then stated that all that was corrupted and evil was deprived of their goodness.
Good has got a substantial being which the evil does not have. The lack of some degree of goodness in anything is what now referred to as evil. Augustine continued to state that evil is like nothingness that would result in the right was removed, the right hole. In the way, there is a shadow when the light is obscured, so there is evil once the good is transferred. It is a hole in goodness (Zumkeller 307). According to Augustine calling something, evil was like saying that there is no goodness at all in that thing. He observed that evil was not an option since it was not a thing to be chosen from. Someone could only turn himself or herself away from good. He argued that when the will for a moment abandons what is above it, it automatically goes to that which is lower and that is evil. It turns and becomes evil not because it has turned evil but since it has turned into wicked.
The act of turning or choosing that which is lesser good is evil. Augustine view was that source of evil was of the free will that one had. The aspect point of view from Augustine has not satisfied everyone. Other philosophers feel that is God who gave the creation the freedom to do what is right and bad. If the evil never touched the world, it would have been a perfect place. However, that is not the best place possible. Augustine thought that a place where evil facilitates the development of virtues which are made to shine by the evil in place. The world would be filled with people whose souls have been refined by the victory over the evil.
Augustine states that good does not have to come from the situation. Some conditions are devastating such as the death of a boy through road accident, rape or even police brutality. The best world is one where moral freedom is there. This moral freedom makes such devastating situation to arise. From this argument made by the Augustine makes feel that heaven there will be no moral growth. Moral choices are not possible since those who are there are good in everything at all times. The morality that is freely chosen is only possible where evil is present. Scriptures, when observed, has excellently supported this. These scriptures are in the book of Hebrew and Timothy. In Hebrew, we have heroes of faith that endure by faith and were rescued by faith. In Timothy, it is written that godliness is very profitable in everything in this life and the other one to come (Banner 289).
For sure Augustine knew that evil was as real as his palm. Evidence for nature was more than enough to make him believe that God existed and that all his creation was magnificent. Evil is therefore not a thing but is very real. Spoilt goodness is what is termed as evil. The spoilt goodness is only made possible by the free will and choices in the deliberate creation. Evil a, therefore, according to Augustine, can be termed as nothing but something missing. Now that evil is possible; there is a possibility of greater good. The aspect is manifest in people who had had their character forged through struggle and growth. God has a good reason for allowing evil. This has not conflicted with nature of being good. He did not know author evil and neither he a helpless victim. However, due to his goodness, he has decided for a time co-exists with evil.
Some people think that evil is essential in the world. Augustine said that nature is not as good as the God who created it. The goodness can therefore, be augmented and diminished as well. When good diminishes, it turns into evil. However, even when it turns into the evil, its goodness remains to some extent. The goodness in anything cannot be destroyed even if the thing is very insignificant (Sheed 299). For the goodness to be destroyed, the thing must also be eradicated. It is therefore right, according to Augustine to praise something that is corrupted (Banner). It more so the thing is incorruptible, it is worthy of more praise. The corruption of a thing is the evil.
Banner, William A. The Path of St. Augustine. Lanham, Md. [u.a.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996. Print.
Zumkeller, Adolar, Matthew J. O’Connell, John E. Rotelle, and Augustine. Augustine’s Rule: A Commentary. Villanova, PA: Augustinian Press, 1987. Print.
Sheed, Frank J. Confessions of Saint Augustine. London: Continuum International Pub. Group, 1944. Internet resource.