Criticisms to Augustine's theodicy



Many philosophers question whether the theodicy of Augustine is believable in the light of today's understanding of science. Firstly, Augustine interpreted the Genesis story literally and many people thing there is no convincing evidence that angels exist. For example, in this book "God of love," John Hick suggests that Augustine's theodicy is implausible for modern people.

1 of 5


The findings of geologists and other scientists and other scientists make it quite clear taht the earth developed very slowly over a period of four billion years. Biologists have demonstrated that life has developped through the mechanism of evolution by natural selection. Augustine's belief in a perfect world that is then spoilt by evil cannot be accepted to make any literal sense.

2 of 5

Adam's sin

Augustine states that all people share in the effects of the fall because they all were seminally present in Adam's sin. This is difficult to understand in any literal sense. Biology clearly indicates that every person is a unique individual who inherits half of their DNA from their mother and half of their DNA from their father. Augustine's ideas rely on an ancient understanding of biology, which said that the life-giving force for a baby came from the man and the flesh frmo the woman. Futhermore, if human beings were not seminally present in Adam it would appear unjust if God punishes later human beings for the first human beings' sin.

3 of 5

How could the perfect world go wrong?

If angels were created to live in the presence of God, why woudl they turn away from God? However, it si worth noting that much literature and history examines why people carry out actions that ruin the good situation they are in, and it is only afterwards, looking back, that people can see that they were better off before.

4 of 5

God's responsibility for natural evils

Even if Augustine's argument that moral evil is caused by misuses of free will is accepted, many Christians are uncomfortable with Augustine's thinking about natural disasters. In particular, Augustine argues, first, for a world in which God is responsible for everything and, second, that, suffering is a punishment for the sin of Adam. This does not fit very well with belief in a merciful and kind God. Augustine argued that God was merciful because he sent Jesus to save people, but people today could equally argue, why did God not create a world with less suffering?

5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all Evil resources »