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Evaluation of Augustine's Theodicy.

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Introduction

Gabriela Belmar-Valencia 13CA 5th December 2003 Evaluation of Augustine's Theodicy Augustine's theodicy attempts to reconcile the problem of evil with a benevolent and omnipotent God. It is strongly reliant on the Creation stories and the stories of the Original Sin from the Bible. This theodicy states, in essence, that evil does not come from God, it stems from the freedom of mankind. Augustine argues that the world was created perfectly good, and because God is benevolent, God created human beings with free will. Humans therefore have the freedom to make moral choices. As a result, evil comes from the corruption of goodness, because humans made the decision to break away from God of their own free will. Evil is not a substance that can be created, it is a deprivation of good. It makes no sense to say that God created a deprivation, evil came about because humans fell away from goodness. ...read more.

Middle

However, an objection to this asks why the descendants of Adam and Eve are being punished for sins they themselves did not commit. The idea of all the extreme evils in the world being a punishment for the Original Sin, committed thousands of years ago, seems unfair and excessive. The reply to this objection is that everyone was seminally present in Adam and therefore everyone is guilty. People must live with the choices that Adam and Eve made. Salvation however, is possible, through Jesus Christ showing that God is merciful and just. However suffering is unevenly distributed in the world. If everyone is equally guilty, people must be deserving of the same amount of punishment. Also, even if some people are saved though Christ, there are many who are not. An objection to this is that the theodicy seems to imply that these people are expendable. ...read more.

Conclusion

God could have created free being that would always choose what was morally right. Even though it is possible to argue that this would not be genuine free will, God's omnipotence surely means that that this could be accomplished somehow. The Augustinian Theodicy has strengths in that it values free will and maintains that evil was not part of God's original creation. Evil therefore stems from the freedom of humans, not from God. However because of its clash with evolution, The Augustinian Theodicy could be considered outdated, even obsolete. Also, the problem with the premise that God created the world ex nihilo, out of nothing, is that the theodicy claims the world was faultless but evil came from the world. This is a logical contradiction. Ultimately evil must be attributed to God because either the world was not perfect to begin with or God allowed it to go wrong. In that respect, the Theodicy is problematic and does not reconcile the traditional attributes of theism, an omnipotent and benevolent God, with the problem of evil. ...read more.

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