Philosophy Paper on St. Augustine

7 July 2016

Philosophy offers so many possible topics of interest that I would love to write about. For this particular instance I chose to investigate just a sliver of writing from St. Augustine. Augustine wrote numerous books, letters, and sermons about God and religion that are still well known today. One small portion of a particular writing that stood out to me was when he discussed evil in the face of God. First, I will summarize his literature, and then state my argument against his point of view on God’s interference in humans’ lives. To begin with, St.

Augustine raised the issue, if God can see the future of every action a person will carry out, then how can that action be free? He explained it as a movie a person has seen over and over again. Once someone has seen the movie enough times they know what each character in a movie will say and do before they say or do it. St. Augustine said that is how knowledgeable God is with peoples’ lives. He says if God’s knowledge is so great, then a person’s freedom is merely an illusion, since the story of ones’ life is already contained in the mind of God.

Philosophy Paper on St. Augustine Essay Example

Augustine furthered his argument by saying God not only discerns what people will do, he actually predetermines their actions. St. Augustine went on to ask, how can God carry out his own plans by using his knowledge of our motives without violating mans’ freedom? Augustine thought that God not only controls humans’ exterior events but also the decisions in a person’s heart. He thought that God works in the hearts of people and inclines them to do good deeds. Next, Augustine questioned, if God is all-powerful and all good, how can so much suffering and evil infect the world?

His answer was that since God created the world everything that exists in it must be good, so evil is an imperfection or alteration of what was created good. Augustine said that while some things may seem evil to us, they are actually contributory ways of attaining the good. He continued by saying that evil is not an independent reality from humans but actually a lack of something necessary in peoples lives. Lastly, St. Augustine said the only thing that comes within reach of genuine evil is moral evil. Moral evil is the product of the human will, which is also a privation or scarcity of something.

In the end it is the result of a defective will turning away from God. My argument against the first question, if God can see the future of every action a person will carry out, then how can that action be free, is that although God is all knowing and can see humans thoughts and actions before they know them themselves, he does not control them. People have the freedom to make their own decisions, even though God can foresee them, whether they are bad or good choices, he still lets humans’ control their own fate. I also disagree that God controls our interior motives as well as exterior.

People ask God into their hearts because they believe in Him; he does not enter without being asked. People with God in their hearts often make good decisions because they want to please Him, not because God is making them. Secondly, Augustine asked, if God is all-powerful and all good, how can so much suffering and evil infect the world? My argument is not anything God created is imperfect or flawed but that Satin also exists and he is the reason for the corruption and evil in the world. I do not think that evil is contributory to finding good. I think evil is the opposite of good and has no correlation to it.

I also think that moral evil is the result of the devil and people giving into his deception. In conclusion, St. Augustine thought that God controls human decisions because he knows peoples actions before they execute them and inevitably that destroys their free will, whereas, I believe God gives people the freedom to make their own decisions, whether He agrees with those choices or not. Lastly, Augustine said the evil in the world is part of Gods creation, that it is merely an imperfection in his masterpiece. By contrast, I say that Gods creation was perfect and Satin was the reason for its distortion.

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