AS OCR Philosophy- The Theodicy of Augustine



St Augustine of Hippo was a 4th century bishop who tackled the the inconsistent triad by saying that God did not create evil. In other words, the existence of evil in the world has nothing to do with God. 

Many of his ideas are intertwined with Roman Catholicism. 

The Fall (Genesis 3)

Augustine believed that before the 'Fall of Man', everything lived in harmony. However, Adam and Eve's temptation to eat the 'Forbidden Apple' caused disharmony and upset the balance of the Garden of Eden.

Augustine attributes the origins of evil and suffering from this particular event. It is the fact that Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and eat the Forbidden Apple that has caused the offspring of evil and suffering, 

What about God's omniscience and omnipotence? 

Augustine argues that God knew that this event would occur, but he did not want this to happen. As a defense of freedom, Augustine argues that God realised that he had to give freedom to his creation, and the idea of intervening would certainly have removed this freedom.

Philosophers such as Richard Swinburne also supports this, by using the analogy of a child: If a child does something wrong, and their parents intervene all the time, then they are removing the child's ability to learn from their mistakes. 

Hence, God chose not to do anything because he wanted his creation to consist of moral freedom. 

'Privatio Boni' (privation of goodness)

By being created this way, Augustine refers to evil as a substance. Something not in its entirety (like what God created) but more of a lack, or absence of something. Take for example, blindness. Blindness is a lack/absence of 'sight'. Hence, Augustine concludes that evil is a lack/absence of good, originating from


No comments have yet been made