Free Essay

Evil, Christianity and Saint Augustine

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By sammyhoag
Words 2315
Pages 10
Evil, Christianity, and Saint Augustine

Sammy Hoag

Philosophy 202 Dr. Ryan Murphy
December 2015 What is evil? This ‘problem of evil’ and the existence of evil have plagued the minds of people throughout the centuries. It has been one on the most sought after inquiries and one of the most vexing challenges to Christianity, in explaining the existence of God. Many philosophers and thinkers, both secular and Christian, have endeavored to solve this problem. One of the most notable of whom is Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430). He is perhaps one of the most influential philosophers in the history of the Christian Church. Augustine spent much of his life trying to solve this ‘problem of evil’ and it proved to be quite an undertaking. This paper will explore the problem of evil and argue how Saint Augustine solidified the ways in which philosophy and religion, specifically Christianity, coincide through his work on the concepts of the problem of and the origin of evil. Understanding the problem of evil is essential to everyone because it affects the manner in which life is lived. Whether defending a belief in God or trying to share those beliefs with others everyone will encounter the problem of evil at some point. According to Ed Miller and Jon Jensen, authors of Questions that Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy, “The presence in the world of evil, both natural and moral, is surely the biggest stumbling block to belief in an all-powerful and all-loving God.” By obtaining the knowledge with how to respond one can be better prepared in defending the manner by which philosophy can coincide with their beliefs.
Structurally, this paper will discuss the problem of evil looking at the relation between the views of Augustine and those held by concurrent philosophers as well as more modern perspectives. It will be followed by an analysis of Augustine’s approach to solving this great issue. And finally, an appreciation of his contribution to the current understanding and ways in which philosophy and Christianity can agree with and compliment each other.
Really, the problem of evil is one that has been of great debate for millennia. The root issue involved in it is regarding, “how to reconcile the evil in the world with a God who is at once omnipotent and omnibenevolent.” This presents the case as one of theodicy, which is translated from the Greek words θεός (theós) meaning god and δίκη (dike) meaning justice. Therefore, literally the attempt to resolve the problem of evil is endeavoring to present “the justice of God.”
The problem of evil can probably be most easily and simply summarized by David Hume in his work Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, when he was referencing the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, “Epicurus’ old questions are yet unanswered. Is he [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?” Both Hume and Epicurus very simply laid out the major premises entailed in the problem of evil leading to a very definitive conclusion: God cannot exist because evil does exist and God cannot be who God is supposed to be with the existence of evil.
The solution that God cannot exist is but one of the many answers to the problem of evil. Another solution which somewhat allows religion to work with philosophy to resolve the problem though can be found in the beliefs held by the Manichaean religious sect of people whose influence was prominent from the 3rd to 7th centuries A.D. One of the most notable Manichaeans philosophers was the presbyter Fortunatus, and for two days Saint Augustine had a public debate with him regarding the beliefs he held. This debate was recorded and became known as the Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus. In this debate we can clearly see the dualistic nature of Manichaean thought in that they believed there to be two gods. The first, God, is the one who controls the good and the second, the Devil, is the one who controls the evil. This was their justification of the existence of evil. They believed that the existence of the devil allowed for the existence of evil. By the end of the debates “Fortunatus acknowledged that he could not defend his views on evil’s origin given Augustine’s insistence on divine omnipotence … [and] He conceded the debate.”
Others endeavored to provide solutions to the problem of evil. John Stuart Mill, a well-known English philosopher used this problem in order to defend his rejection of Christianity. He claimed that God must be limited or finite in order for evil to exist. If God is in fact omnibenevolent then he cannot be omnipotent and evil still have existence. Similarly to the previously outlined resolutions to the problem of evil this argument only shows that God cannot exist as who He is supposed to be in the Christian beliefs and thus there is really no need for the existence of a God. The mere statement of this fact is quite complicating because it is fairly grounded evidence that the Christian beliefs are not founded in truth, thereby showing that philosophy and Christianity cannot coincide in any way.
In stark contrast to all of the solutions already mentioned and probably the most compelling with regards to answering the problem of evil is that of Saint Augustine. Augustine chose to approach the problem similarly to the manner in which Hume did in the future but drastically different from those of his own time. Simply put Augustine’s argument is two-fold: “First: 1) All things that God created are good; 2) evil is not good; 3) therefore, evil was not created by God. Second: 1) God created every thing; 2) God did not create evil; 3) therefore, evil is not a thing.” As a result of looking into this Augustine came up with his own questions about evil and made note of them in his autobiography, Confessions of St. Augustine: “Where, then, is evil, and whence does it come and how has it crept in? What is its root and what its seed? Has it no being at all?”
It is important to note that Augustine came to the same initial conclusion as Epicurus before him and Hume to follow him. The answer to the problem of evil should rest upon the origin or nature of evil rather than on the reality of evil. So then what is evil. For a moment let us explore the concepts of light and dark was well as hot and cold. Light is known to exist because it can be seen and heat exists because it can be felt. Therefore does dark exist? Does cold exist? Dark can be defined simply as the absence of light. Likewise, cold can be defined as the absence of heat. Good and evil are quite similar. Good can be seen and thus evil is just the privation of goodness. The acknowledgement of this is one of the key principles of Augustine’s argument but it makes perfect logical sense. “Evil has no positive nature; but the loss of good has received the name ‘evil.’” Many philosophers have argued that by making the claim that evil only exists as the absence of good, Augustine was denying the reality of evil this is certainly not the case. As previously discusses Augustine’s focus rested solely on the nature of evil not the reality of evil, because denying the reality of evil would be absolutely absurd and his entire argument would collapse.
Having answered what evil is: then where does it come from is still something to be answered. Augustine makes the argument that evil is still a part of realty but is only the lack of good. The simplest way to then explain where evil comes from is looking to humanity. Saint Augustine is a strong advocate for the free-will defense which is the idea that, “Human beings are endowed with free will by God as a condition for genuine morality, trust, love, and the like, though it also makes possible the introduction of moral evil into the world.” In short, because God provides us with the ability to make choices he has to allow us to choose something that is not good thereby allowing evil to enter the scene. Using Augustine’s own words in his work The City of God he states: “For when the will abandons what is above itself, and turns to what is lower, it becomes evil—not because that is evil to which it turns, but because the turning itself is wicked.” Correspondingly in his work On Free Choice of the Will Augustine explains: “Therefore, since the movement of turning away from good, which we admit to be sin, is a defective movement . . . you may be sure that it does not belong to God. Yet since this defect is voluntary, it lies within our power.” Basically, the point that Saint Augustine is trying to reference in multiple works is that evil is a result of humanities decisions towards or in the manner of something lacking in goodness.
Going back to the problem of evil we can notice that Augustine clearly made an case for the existence of God while allowing for the reality of evil. Many philosophers even to this day have struggled with understanding this complex concept while it seems reasonably evident that the best answer, at least to any Christian, has already been discovered by Saint Augustine. He identified that the problem of evil can truly only be resolved by understanding the problem in the first place and then understanding the origin of evil itself.
Saint Augustine was “responsible for forging some of Christianity’s most controversial and unique theology; and setting it both within, and over-and-against the thought of the classical world.” The problem of evil is the single biggest problem to Christian beliefs. Many great philosophers, like Epicurus and David Hume, have been of the opinion that in order to accept the reality of evil you must deny the existence of a God. There were also others like Fortunatus, the Manichaean presbyter, who adopted ideas that evil is equal to good and it is controlled by a second god, the devil, which is still in contrast with the true Christian doctrines. Contrarily to all these opinions, Saint Augustine showed that it is possible to be a Christian and still provide an answer to the problem of evil without having to deny beliefs or having to disagree with some of the greatest intellectual minds in history. Philosophy and Christianity can coincide and while the existence of evil seems like a potentially insurmountable issue the problem of evil proves only to be a small hurdle to overcome in the quest of Christian philosophical inquiry.

Bibliography

Saint Augustine. “Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, edited by Philip Schaff, Vol. IV. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1887). 109-124. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf104.iv.vii.ii.html

Saint Augustine. Confessions of St. Augustine. (Auckland, NZL: The Floating Press, 2009), 83. ProQuest ebrary.

Saint Augustine. “The City of God.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, edited by Philip Schaff, Vol. II. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1886). 210-211. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XI.9.html

Saint Augustine and Thomas Williams, On Free Choice of the Will. (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 1993), 84.

Fredriksen, Paula. Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism. (New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2010), 148. ProQuest ebrary.

Hume, David. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. (South Bend, IN, USA: Infomotions, Inc., 2001). 62-63. ProQuest ebrary.

Koukl, Greg. “Augustine on Evil.” Stand to Reason. http://www.str.org/articles/augustine-on-evil#.Vmewk4TFLOy

Miller, Ed and Jon Jensen, Questions that Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 333.

Murphy, Ryan. “Lesson 11: Theodicy: The Problem of Evil” Lecture presented in the Philosophical Inquiry Course of Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, CO, November 2015.

--------------------------------------------
[ 2 ]. Ed Miller and Jon Jensen, Questions that Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 333.
[ 3 ]. Miller and Jensen, Questions that Matter 308.
[ 4 ]. New World Encyclopedia. s.v. “Theodicy”.
[ 5 ]. Hume, David. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. (South Bend, IN, USA: Infomotions, Inc., 2001). 62-63. ProQuest ebrary.
[ 6 ]. “Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, edited by Philip Schaff, by Saint Augustine, Vol. IV. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1887). 109-124. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf104.iv.vii.ii.html
[ 7 ]. Fredriksen, Paula. Augustine and the Jews : A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism. (New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2010), 148. ProQuest ebrary.
[ 8 ]. Miller and Jensen, Questions that Matter 312.
[ 9 ]. Koukl, Greg. “Augustine on Evil.” Stand to Reason. http://www.str.org/articles/augustine-on-evil#.Vmewk4TFLOy
[ 10 ]. Saint Augustine. Confessions of St. Augustine. (Auckland, NZL: The Floating Press, 2009), 83. ProQuest ebrary.
[ 11 ]. Miller and Jensen, Questions that Matter 319.
[ 12 ]. Merriam-Webster. s.v. “Dark”.
[ 13 ]. Merriam-Webster. s.v. “Cold”.
[ 14 ]. “The City of God.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, edited by Philip Schaff, by Saint Augustine, Vol. II. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1886). 210-211. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XI.9.html
[ 15 ]. Miller and Jensen, Questions that Matter 319.
[ 16 ]. Miller and Jensen, Questions that Matter D-10.
[ 17 ]. Augustine. The City of God. 230.
[ 18 ]. Augustine and Thomas Williams, On Free Choice of the Will. (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 1993), 84.
[ 19 ]. Murphy, Ryan. “Lesson 11: Theodicy: The Problem of Evil” Lecture presented in the Philosophical Inquiry Course of Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, CO, November 2015.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Confessions: From Manichaeism To Christianity

...Confessions is a detailed autobiography of Saint Augustine’s life. Converting from Manichaeism to Christianity, Augustine went through many different mindsets when viewing religion and his beliefs. Manichaeism was a type of gnostic belief founded in the third century by Mani of Persia. Mani was influenced highly by other gnostic beliefs in the area. Early on in Augustine’s life he was fascinated by Manichaeism, and practiced Manichaeism beliefs for roughly ten years. Upon realization of the falsity behind Manichaeism, Augustine decided to convert to Christianity. Augustine began his life attracted to Manichaeism, and through many experiences noticed its flaws and converted to Christianity. Book III of The Confessions describes different Manichaeism beliefs and how they conflict with respective Christianity beliefs. By explaining the differences within each belief system, Augustine also describes the way his beliefs changed while in the process of converting from Manichaeism to Christianity. The first belief described in Book III that the Manichees have is the idea that God is not omniscient and omnipotent, yet he lives in a battle against evil. This idea is one of the biggest concerns Augustine has once he has converted to Christianity. How can one ignore the presence of evil if God is all knowing? This belief of evil vs. good goes...

Words: 772 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Confessions Of Saint Augustine

...Aside from the physical problems Saint Augustine can influence common people from, he also can relate with the question and the doubting God. In Confessions Book Seven, III Augustine says: But I asked further: “Who made me? Was it not my God, who is not only Good but Goodness itself? What root reason is there for my willing evil and failing to will good, which would make it just for me to be punished? Who was it that set and ingrafted in me this root of bitterness, since I was wholly made by my most loving God? Asking questions such as these, questions that are high level of understanding but still common enough for most people to ask, make Saint Augustine incredibly easy to connect to. People that have something or someone to connect to are...

Words: 275 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Augustine of Hippo Essay

...Romans 5:12 Paul makes it known that sin entered through Adam and then spread to all of humanity. It is based on Paul’s writing that Saint Augustine expanded his theory on the notion of original sin and its relationship with the human free will. This essay will discuss these two views concerning original sin and free will, by first providing a brief description of Augustine of Hippo and his origins. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO : Augustine of Hippo or Saint Augustine ( 354- 430) bishop of Hippo, was one of the most important figures in the development of Christianity.. However this influential person was not born a Christian. As a young man, Augustine pursued a secular career as a teacher of rhetoric and philosophy while living a dissolute lifestyle. For nine years he was a follower of Manichaeism. In Milan he studied Neoplatonism and his conversion to Christianity took place in 386. As a theologian, he was called to write against the many heresies of the period Manichaeanism, Donatism, and Pelagianism, and in so doing he defined the shape of orthodox doctrine. ORIGINAL SIN AND FREE WILL “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do. this I keep on doing” Roman 7:19 In this quote , Pau shows that mankind can tell the difference between wright and wrong. However, despite our intellect something influences us to chose evil. This influence is referred as “original sin”. It’s the original sin in humanity that affects free will, choices, feelings,......

Words: 596 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Theology

...widespread method of Biblical interpretation used by scholars today?<!--[if !supportLists]--> a. Mystical b. Allegorical c. Historical critical d. Literal | |   | | | Question 2: (1 Points) | What was the message of early Christianity?<!--[if !supportLists]--> a. Salvation comes through fast b. Salvation comes through circumcision c. Salvation is by faith d. Salvation is by self punishment | |   | | | Question 3: (1 Points) | The New Testament consists of: <!--[if !supportLists]--> a. 4 Gospels, 21 letters, 1 Apocalypse b. 3 Gospels, 1 Acts, 22 Letters, 1 Apocalypse c. 4 Gospels, 1 Acts, 21 Letters, 1 Apocalypse d. 3 Gospels, 2 Acts, 21 Letters | |   | | | Question 4: (1 Points) | Which one of these are seen in the Bible as signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God?<!--[if !supportLists]--> a. Gospels b. Parables c. Miracles d. Teachings | |   | | | Question 5: (1 Points) | Matthew, Mark and Luke are based on what writing?<!--[if !supportLists]--> a. Pseudepigrapha b. Quelle c. Apocrypha d. John | |   | | | | CHRISTIANITY IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE LESSON 2 Question 1: (1 Points) | Christianity was born in what Empire?<!--[if !supportLists]--> a. Babylonian b. Assyrian c. Hellenistic d. Roman | |   | | | Question 2: (1 Points) | Which of the following was opposed by the church?<!--[if !supportLists]-->......

Words: 3541 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Religion

...towards the capital punishment has been changing throughout the history. The early Christians opposed to the death penalty as well as they opposed to the state. This attitude started changing when Christianity became an official religion. The Catholic Church as a power structure began utilizing all the repressive mechanisms inherent in a political formation. The clerical scholars started setting a theological basis to justify the murder. The inquisition became an instrument of the political suppression. Today, the Catholic Church changes the attitude to death penalty anew, retracing to early Christian positions. This paper analyzes the evolution of the Catholic thought on the issue of the death penalty. The early Christian Church opposed the death penalty, regarding it as the violation of the sixth commandment “thou shall not kill”. The teaching of Christ renounced the lex talionis tradition of the Old Testament which commanded to pay an equal price for a damage done (the principle known as “an eye for an eye”). The Old Testament distinctly orders to put to death a man who kills another man (Exod 21:12). On the contrary, at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39). Apart from Christ's teaching, some books of the New Testament include controversial......

Words: 1007 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Augustine’s Theology Against Pelagianism

...Augustine’s Theology against Pelagianism by Mark S. Castlebury HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY I CHHI 520 Professor John M. Landers 09 May 2014 ABSTRACT This paper will examine Augustine’s response to the doctrinal challenges presented in the heresy of Pelagianism concerning grace and original sin. Augustine’s writings against Pelagius serve as our primary source for understanding his response. It is expected to find that Augustine responded in a biblically orthodox manner showing the true nature of man while defending the doctrines of grace and original sin. CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii Pelagianism 1 THE BACKGROUND OF PELAGIUS 2 THE WRITINGS OF PELAGIUS 3 THE TEACHINGS OF PELAGIUS 6 AUGUSTINE 7 AUGUSTINE’S BACKGROUND 7 ORIGINAL SIN 8 TRANSMISSION OF SIN 9 THE GRACE OF GOD 10 CONCLUSION 10 BIBLIOGRAPHY 11 Pelagianism The Heresy of Pelagianism began in the fifth-century and was named after the British monk Pelagius. He is well known even today for his views on original sin and freedom of the will. A definition provided by William Shed in his work Dogmatic Theology states that, “Pelagius affirmed the freedom of the will, which for him meant that a person always has the ability to choose good as well as evil. That is, for Pelagius the power of contrary choice is essential to free moral agency. According to Pelagius, a person is always ‘able to sin and able not to sin’ (posse peccare et posse non peccare). Naturally, such a view of freedom carries implications for......

Words: 3849 - Pages: 16

Free Essay

Christianity

...or evil originate from? Were we exposed to evil when the original sin occurred? St. Augustine was one of the most respected thinkers in Christianity. In Book VII the Confessions, Augustine reflects on the existence of evil and the problem it faces. For evil to exist, the Creator, God, must have granted it, its existence. This contradicts the Christian view that God is purely good. For a long time, Augustine thought evil must not exists or that God is not entirely good. Original sin. Always asked questions God had to create evil Evil, Augustine entire religious life was based on evil, and how God could create it if he is good. Evil is a major theme in the Confessions, and the City of God. When Augustine was young, he could not wrap his mind around believing in an all good God that also created evil. However, God gave people free will. We can make our own choices. Our choices may be perceived as evil but it is just the lack of goodness in our decisions. The problem with evil and God is the challenge of how an all-powerful and all-loving God can allow his creation to suffer, without helping then and putting an end to their suffering. This challenge is an often quoted reason for being unable to believe in God for it is argued, either God does not exist or, if he does then he is not a God worthy of out worship. Souls are the reason we do bad things not the body. The Soul is emotional God gave us the option to do bad things One question preoccupied Augustine......

Words: 712 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

St. Augustine

...Platonism St. Augustine is one of the towering figures of medieval philosophy. Augustine had a huge influence on the modern period with people including Descartes and Malebranche. One of the main focal points in his life comes in 387 AD, when his conversion to Christianity takes place. In Augustine’s conversion to Christianity, he evolved a different approach to thinking. When Augustine writes about the Manicheans, he tends to focus on their materialism, substantive dualism, and their identification of the human soul as a particle of the Light. These three key qualifications from Platonism provide Augustine with a philosophical framework for both the medieval and modern periods. In the Confessions, Augustine gives his most extensive discussion of the books of the Platonists. In the Confessions, he makes clear that his previous thinking was dominated by common- sense materialism. It was the books of the Platonists that first made it possible for him to conceive the possibility of a non-physical substance. It did provide him however with a non- Manichean solution to the problem of the origin of evil. In addition, the books of the Platonists provided him with a framework where he plotted the human condition. According to Augustine the framework for Platonists can account for the difficulties with which life brings about to us, in the same aspect it offers a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well- being. In this account, Augustine is talking......

Words: 1321 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

The Impact of St. Augustine's Life

...Of The Requirements For The Course CHHI 520 CHHI-520 HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH I By Dutch Nelson Liberty ID #: L24440559 Lynchburg, Virginia October 7, 2012 Table of Contents Cover Page 1 Table of Contents 2 Introduction 3 The Life of Augustine 3 Madaurus 366-370 3 Thagaste 370-371 4 Carthage 371-383 4 Italy 383-387 4 Thagaste 387-390 5 Hippo 390-430 5 Augustine as a Writer 5 Augustine as a Scholar 6 Augustine as a Pagan 7 Augustine and Marriage 8 Augustine’s Journey to Christiainity 9 Augustine as a Christian 10 Augustine as Saint 11 Conclusion 12 Bibliography 14 Introduction Spiritual leaders exemplify themselves by the way they live and the way they impact the lives of others. This normally determines how their congregation and those who hear their word and see their deeds view them. Augustine’s life has not been totally perfect. He like other humans has erred in some way. However, he has had a positive impact on a number of theologians and philosophers (Smith 2008, 1). This paper looks at his life over his 76 years on earth and seeks to provide evidence that Augustine’s life can be used as an example in the preparation of spiritual leaders. The Life of Augustine Augustine’s life dates from 354 to 430. His father (Patricius) was a pagan of Roman decent and a member of the council while his mother (Monica) on the other hand was a Christian. This indicates that he had to deal with contrasting situations very early in his......

Words: 3734 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

Goods of Marriage

...GOODS OF by John J. Coughlin, O.F.M. I. General Description Saint Augustine provided the classical description of the goods of marriage as fidelity (fidelium), children (proles), and sacrament (sacramentum). According to Augustine, fidelity is the understanding and intention of the married couple to exercise exclusive sexual faithfulness to one another. As the fruit of fidelity, parents accept children in love, nurturing them in affection, and educating them in religion. The sacrament constitutes a symbol of the permanence and stability in marriage. (De Genesi ad litteram, 9, 7, 12). The classical Augustinian description of the three goods of marriage is reflected, but not repeated verbatim, in the 83 CIC. Section One of C. 1055 defines the ends of marriage as the good of the spouses and procreation and education of children. The language of the canon situates the two ends of marriage in the context of marriage as covenant and sacrament. C. 1056 lists unity and indissolubility as the essential properties of marriage. The elements of the Augustinian description of the goods of marriage—fidelity, children, and sacrament—inform the present law of the church describing marriage as sacramental covenant in terms of ends and properties—the love of the spouses, children, unity, and indissolubility. II. Saint Augustine’s Traditional Three Goods In describing the goodness of marriage, Saint Augustine did not...

Words: 3111 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Socratic Dialog Analysis

...Socratic Dialog Question: "What is reality?" - Enter Socrates and Saint Augustine- Socrates: I had the best rest the previous evening. Holy person Augustine: That is extraordinary old buddy, yet do you ever question this material reality that we see? - Enter Leibniz - Leibniz: Greetings gentlemen, am I listening to an exchange about levels of reality mixing up here? Socrates: Indeed Leibniz, go along with us and let us know what you think about the likelihood of another reality. Leibniz: For beyond any doubt sir, bless your heart. Socrates: So, Augustine, you were stating? Holy person Augustine: Ah, yes, well, permit me to start this discussion by clarifying my confidence in a pecking order of reality. In this way, I have...

Words: 1254 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Mary Magdalene Research Paper

...Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene by which she was healed and became one of Christ’s followers (Luke 8:2). Free from evil bondage, Mary Magdalene became a disciple of Christ, preaching and teaching God’s message. She was notorious for being at the execution of Jesus. While Christ’s followers ran in fear, Mary Magdalene remained loyal to Christ and stayed with Him while he died on the cross along with His mother, Mary (John 19:25). Mary Magdalene later discovers the empty tomb of where Jesus’ body was placed. As a witness His resurrection, Mary was sent by Jesus to proclaim the good news to people (John 20:11-18). Through Mary Magdalene we are able to see what Christ does for women. When Christ first encountered Mary, she was afflicted, but Jesus treated her from her torment and made her His loyal and faithful follower. In turn, through Mary, we are able to see...

Words: 1660 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

St Augustine's Problem of Evil + Free Will

...The existence of evil is one of the world’s most vexing challenges. Most Christians agree on the existence of an omnipotent God, however like Augustine, we struggle to understand how evil comes into being. Evil corrupts our free will and enables us to sin, but if God is all-powerful and all good, how can he allow this to happen? “Whence comes evil? Was there a certain evil matter out of which he made these things? Did he form and fashion it, but yet leave within it something that he would not convert into good? Why would he do it? Was he powerless to turn and change all this matter so that no evil would remain in it, even though he is all powerful?” As these questions found their way into Augustine’s mind, they also manage to exist and remain unanswered for most people today. However Augustine addresses these questions by justifying evil in this world with God’s creation of free will. By granting us free will God makes us responsible for our wrongdoings, as a result of this we can knowingly choose either right or wrong. In the infamous biblical passage on the creation of original sin, God accommodates men by giving Adam and Eve all the necessities of life: partnership, water, food and land. However, despite God’s warning Eve chose to eat the fruit from the tree of life. The serpent persuades Eve who later convinces Adam to eat from the tree. From this persuasion and act from men, original sin is born. Men are now born with a predisposition to sin; in other words, they can......

Words: 3329 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

St. Augestine

...Saint Augustine once said, “For we have our existence from God, and it is from him that we deserve punishment for doing wrong and reward for doing good.” This quote draws up two philosophical propositions, which was taken from Book two of Augustine, “On Free Choice of the Will”. St. Augustine was a Christian theologian and philosopher and was the bishop of Hippo Regius, which was in Numidia; providence in Africa ruled by the Romans. He is seen as arguably the most important Western Christianity Church Father due to his influential texts in the Patristic Era. One could agree with St. Augustine’s philosophical proposition and one could disagree with his philosophical proposition. One could agree with St. Augustine’s philosophy “For we have out existence from God, and it is from him that we deserve punishment for doing wrong and reward for doing good” by analyzing biblical texts and having strong Christian beliefs. This claim can be interpreted that in the end of one’s life God will judge them at the gates of Heaven. Those who have lived a life full of good deeds will be rewarded; while those who have lived a life full of sin and wrongdoing will be reprimanded. When St. Augustine refers to those who will be punished for living a bad life one could interpret it that he asserts that person will receive his punishment in hell. Hell is a place of torment and punishment in an afterlife for people who have committed serious sins for which God will not allow them through the golden......

Words: 732 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Numerology Through Symbols of Faith

...definition, scholars believe that numerology is the placing of meaning on numbers in the Scriptures. Numerology is by no means restricted to Christianity, even though we choose to make it our focus for the purpose of this paper. Numerology attempts to explain the reason why God used numbers as he did, and what he was potentially trying to tell us. Thorough analysis and interpretation efforts have taken place along the years, in other to find meaning behind this scientific, most often philosophical, symbol use. “The Pythagoreans made number games philosophically respectable, and the great authority of Plato raised mathematics into theological realms. But at the lowest level, numbers remained magical.” The fall of the Roman Empire, caused a challenging transition for many, especially in terms of religion. From Paganism to Christianity, many had to look for a meaning, and be convinced, or understand, regardless of doubts that a new religion was to emerge. The early years of Christianity revolved around strong thinkers who were able to establish arguments in order to defend a newborn faith. Those strong thinkers, not always referred to as Saints, are known to us as the Fathers of the Church. The three that we will briefly look into in order to stabilize the basis of the argument are: Irenaeus of Lyons, Ambrose of Milan, and Augustine of Hippo. Irenaeus, born in 130AD, was an early Greek Church Father, and...

Words: 2225 - Pages: 9