St. Augustine: Thoughts on Good and Evil Essay

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Author Claudia Gray stated, “Self-knowledge is better than self-control any day” (Goodreads). Evil and sin exists in our world today and the temptation they bring bounds many human’s spiritual being. Finding the root of all evil is a hard and torturous concept to understand, but knowing one’s own free will helps bring understanding and deliverance from the evils of the world. Throughout the book Confessions Saint Augustine “ponders the concepts of evil and sin and searches the root of their being” (Augustine 15). The existence of evil is one of the most worrisome challenges a Christian or any individual deals with throughout life. Saint Augustine’s beliefs concerning the root of all evil and sins transforms as he begins to grow and develop …show more content…
The more Augustine drew closer to the Manichee doctrine the more he began to reflect on his life early on. By believing that God is not all-powerful he is delayed from knowing the true essence of God. The origin of evil is a major theme that helps formulate Augustine’s Confessions. Still growing in his beliefs, “Augustine could not understand how evil could exist in the world if God was omnipotent” (Augustine 137). In the mist of his confusion, “the Manichee taught Augustine that evil is a separate substance against which God is constantly battling” (Augustine134-135). As he continued to reflect on previous experiences from his youth, he began to question to Manichee on his teaching. He then comes to realize that evil has no existence of its own, but it is entirely a product of the contrast between greater and lesser goods. Augustine develops in his conclusion that “God no longer created evil because evil is not a thing” (Augustine 137). From the reflection of Augustine’s past experiences he realized that since God is good, he couldn’t create lesser goods. His personal spiritual journey drew him to look at himself and evaluate the evils in which he had committed. He realized that evil is not of God but from man. “Human free will can turn people towards the evils of life and it can also guide them into a righteous path” (Augustine 137, 139). Man decides if they do good or bad. In Book two chapter one, Augustine confesses to God and reflects on his inward

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