define evil, and in doing so he explains its existence.
To follow this argument, it is important to realize that Augustine accepts some basic precepts regarding G-d and His creation. To
begin with, G-d is the author of everything. Augustine says, ?nothing that exists could exist without you [G-d]? (1.2). G-d is the creator
place according to your law? (1.7). Augustine clearly sets forth that G-d is the creator and source of everything. Not only is He the
my G-d, are the source of all good?(1.6). However, Augustine makes an important distinction regarding the creation of good and evil
what evil is, and where it came from, still remains.
Augustine establishes that everything G-d made is good, and since G-d made everything, everything must be good. He than asks where
evil could have come from. After all, evil did not come from G-d, it must have come from a source other than G-d. If this true, then is it
G-d allow it to enter? This would seem to mean either that G-d is not entirely good, or that he is not omniscient and all powerful. These
First, Augustine establishes a definition of evil. Originally, he believed that evil had substance. ?I believed that evil, too was some
similar kind of substance . . . And because such little piety as I had compelled me to believe that G-d, who is good, could not have
find, is not because if it were a substance, it would be good?(7.12).
He does, is He good? So he develops his argument from natural theology. He looks for independent evidence available to us that G-d is
real and He is good.
That is why Augustine properly starts with proofs for the existence of G-d and once establishing that there is good reason to believe
He exists and HE is good, then that produces a different kind of series of statements. All that G-d created is good, evil is not good.
Therefore, evil is not something that G-d created.
This was Augustine?s solution and his main contribution because, when he asked the questions: What is evil? Does it have any being
or not? Where did it come from? HE observed that evil is something that always injures, and an injury is deprivation of good. If there
goodness by G-d originally, then when things are evil, they are deprived of the goodness that G-d gave them.
In other words, everything that G-d made is good, and when you take away some goodness from something that G-d made, we call
that condition evil. Another way of putting it is that evil is a privation of good. In this analysis, good is the substantial thing, the thing
with substance. Evil does not have any substance. It is merely good that is missing. If it does not have any substance, then it does not
require a creator. In other words, evil is like a moral hole, a nothingness that obtains when something is removed. That?s what a hole is,
when something is removed, a hole will remain. But the hole isn?t something. It?s nothing. Just as a shadow is no more than a hole in
light, evil is a kind of hole in goodness. To say that something is evil then is just a shorthand way of saying it lacks goodness.
Finally, Augustine state forth a reason for the existence of what we call evil, or the removal of good: namely, free will exercised
wrongfully. G-d created humans with free will, which is inherently good. However, we can misuse free will and choose to do other than
good. ?in you [G-d] our good abides forever, and when we turn away from it we turn to evil?(4.16), Augustine writes. When this
happens the good is bent or injured in its goodness, which results in evil. Augustine describes how the soul can err when he says, ?my
own [soul] was changeable and erred of its own free will?(4.15). Also, ?When I chose to so something or not to do it, I was quite
who became a devil because of his own wicked will?(7.3) The misuse of free will results in the reduction of good, which is evil. ?We
do evil because we choose to do so of our own free will?(7.3). Free will can be corrupted and misused, which is the definition of evil.
To summarize, G-d is good. Everything G-d has created is good. Evil does not come from G-d Rather evil is a reduction of good. This
explains the existence of evil in G-d?s creation without threatening either omnipotence, or His goodness. The opportunity we have to
make the choice between being the good He made, or ruining our goodness, is a gift that should not be taken lightly. Augustine believes
that with His creation, G-d has given humankind free rein to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him. The modern Christian Leslie
ourselves how things really are?(Foolishness to the Greeks, 89). Yes, this does mean that some will stray from the path of good and
pursue evil, but the Augustinian Christian believes that if there were no choice to be made, their praises to G-d would not be so
results from persons turning from this relationship, and the consequential removal of good from their lives.