Philosophy of Religion - Augustinian Theodicy

Strengths and weaknesses of the Augustinian Theodicy, one possible response to the Problem of Evil. 


Philosophy of Religion - Augustinian Theodicy


  • Fits in with traditional Christian teachings: the existence of Hell, the crucial role of Jesus, the concept of the Fall
  • God appears blameless
  • Provides an answer to the problem of natural evil
  • Provides opportunity for salvation through Jesus


  • We must have pre-existing faith, concept of the Fall is difficult to believe in without faith (doesn't fit in with modern scientific thought)
  • Scientists have evidence that natural evil came before moral evil, therefore how can moral evil have provoked natural evil to come into being?
  • How can something perfect go wrong?
  • The existence of Hell seems to go against God's omnibenevolence


The Augustinian Theodicy seems to answer the Problem of Evil legitimately, it exonerates God, allowing Him to exist in spite of evil, and offers an answer to the presence of natural evil in the world. However, it seems this theodicy would only be valid for pre-existing believers, rather than non-theists, as we must already have a solid belief in the concept of the Fall, without faith this concept seems ridiculous as it seems scientifically impossible that it occurred. There also exists a conflict between the Augustine's response to natural evil and the scientific proof that natural evil actually existed before moral evil, i.e. before our existence in the world. How can moral evil have provoked natural evil if natural evil came into existence before it? This seems an unanswerable question, and therefore we must either reject Augustine's response to natural evil or reject this scientific evidence. Augustine relies on the belief that God created a perfect universe, and we are the ones that unbalanced this perfect harmony, but if it was truly a perfect universe, how could it have gone wrong? Surely, if it was perfect in the beginning there would have been no possibility for evil. However, this could be answered through the free will defence, i.e. it is more 'perfect' to have free will than not. 




Very good table, explains it very well. Helped me a lot, Thank you!