Augustinian Theodicy

The Augustinian Theodicy From Augustine in his booke ‘Confessions’ in 397AD. His argument was that God is good and created a world perfectly good and free from defection, evil & suffering. Based on Genesis 1-3 ‘Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not. If he cannot, he is not all-powerful, if he will not he is not all-good. ‘ Augustine ‘The believer must have, in a cool moment, a solution to the problem of evil. If he does not, his faith is not rational… ‘ Richard Swinburne The perfect world – “God saw all that he had made and saw that it was good. Genesis – Evil is a privation of good as darkness is a privation of light. – Humanity has free will to choose good over evil. The Fall – Natural & moral evil exist because things fell short of what God intended. – “The penalty of sin corrects the dishonour of sin” Augustine. – God shouldn’t intervene because evil is the price of freedom. Humans can’t overcome the inevitably of them sinning. – The fall marks the entrance of evil into the world. (The fall being Adam’s mistake). – Humanity has an inherent guilt as descendants of Adam & Eve (original sin).
We have to ‘put up with’ what we have indirectly done to the Universe. The punishment for the original sin is ‘seminally present’. Intervention – There is hope through Jesus for all. This is a God given opportunity for those with good intentions to find a selfish reason for doing good. – Augustine’s theodicy is soul-deciding. Meaning we have a choice of path metaphorically in life. In this way Augustine tries to prove the righteousness of God. By showing that God was right not to intervene when we chose to do wrong against God.
And that giving us the choice of giving our life to christ is a act of generosity. However this contradicts the idea of him being all-loving as this theodicy tells us that God would let there be a way to bring evil & suffering into the world. But if he did not mean this, it either contradicts the fact that he is all-knowing or all-powerful. Basically… God made a perfect world (is this true? ), humans committed the original sin (God does not have control), evil took the world, God didn’t intervene (as a just punishment), but he gave us a way to desire to be perfect.

Natural evil – came through the loss in nature after ‘the fall’ Moral evil – came through the new knowledge of good and evil which was discovered through disobedience. Punishments: Separation from God. Expulsion from the garden of Eden. They must now live in a fallen world. Pain in childbirth. Struggle with the earth to yield a harvest. Tension between man and woman. Physical death. Old testament – God sends the law & prophets to try and restore the relationship between humans and God. But these methods fail, leading to Jesus. New Testament – God sends Jesus. In Augustine’s eyes this was the best God had to offer.

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