As religious Studies Revision: The Problem of Evil. Ao1 Material: I e. ‘what goes in part a ?’ An explanation of the problem of evil itself

St. Augustine: The Free-Will Defence

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St. Augustine: The Free-Will Defence.

  • The responsibility for evil rests on created beings who have misused their free will. Moral evil is their fault and natural evil is the punishment for that moral evil.

  • Evil is non-being or a privation of the good: evil does not exist separately, it is an absence of goodness.

  • Some parts of the world are ugly, but the world is more varied, balanced and therefore beautiful and good because of them.

  • God only creates good.

  • The past is the explanation of the origin of evil, i.e. the sin of disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

  • The Fall is central to this theodicy. Man was created perfect in a perfect world, but sinned deliberately. All of Adam’s descendants have inherited this ‘original sin’ through concupiscence and can only be without sin through the grace or loving help of God.

  • The universe is not as God intends it to be. It should be a paradise without suffering and human beings can only be saved from suffering through God’s grace through the redemptive death of Christ on the cross. (Christ died to ‘pay’ for the sins of man)

  • God’s relation to the universe is impersonal, human beings were only created to make up the list of types of being (principle of plenitude).

  • This theodicy argues that our behaviour in this life will determine whether we go to heaven or hell.

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