Essay on Evil, Christianity and Saint Augustine
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 …show more content…
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