Essay on Definition of Good and Evil

809 Words Oct 14th, 1999 4 Pages
Throughout human existence, questions have arisen concerning the nature of good and evil. Many scientist, philosophers, and theologians have been intrigued by these questions. Through Augustine's Confessions and E. O. Wilson's In Search of Nature, one is accessible to two distinct perspectives concerning the nature of good and evil.

Augustine sets up an argument in his Confession that attempts to define evil. God is the author of everything. Augustine says, "nothing that exists could exist without You [God]" (Book I, Chapter II). Nothing in this world exists apart from God.

For Augustine, God is good because everything He made is good. Everything about God is good. No aspect of Him is lacking, false, or not good. However, the
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Another way of putting it is that evil is the lack of good. In this solution, good has substance whereas evil does not; it is merely good that is missing. If it does not have any substance, then it does not require a creator. To say that something is evil is a shorthand way of saying it lacks goodness. Augustine goes on to explain how such a thing can be, and gets into a discussion about free will.

E. O. Wilson's In Search of Nature, specifically "The Serpent", displays evil in terms of the Serpent. "The snake's image enters the conscious and unconscious mind with ease during reverie and dreams. It appears without warning and departs abruptly, leaving behind not a specific memory of any real snake but the vague sense of a more powerful creature" (Wilson 5). One may observe that evil can slip into man at any given moment without man's knowledge of it. Before man senses that the evil is there, the evil departs abruptly; therefore, the man is left without recollection of it, but a sense of something more powerful.

Wilson builds upon the idea that evil is the accretion of fear and beliefs when he describes the wonder the Serpent invokes stating, "even the deadliest and most repugnant creatures are endowed with magic in the human mind" (Wilson 6). He proceeds to describe the wide variety of snakes throughout the world and emphasizing their important role as an image of evil when he says, "around the world serpents and snakelike creatures are the dominant elements

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