St. Augustine was a firm believer in God, and he, therefore, wanted always to do what is right. He argued that God is good and thus he did not create evil.
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According to him, evil results from man’s deviation to Gods teachings. It is, therefore, a problem as it is a man who chooses to bring evil upon himself. St. Augustine claims that the solution of evil is to do the right thing and to abstain from wrongdoing. He claims that evil results from a man trying to equal himself to God.
For instance, when a person chooses to steal, he knows that stealing is wrong. Despite this knowledge, he steals because, at that particular moment, the person feels in control of everything. St Augustine argued that God is the most powerful being. Sometimes man tries to rival this power. It is this defiance that St. Augustine warned men against (M. Arthur 120).
The Manichean interpretation of the problem is that evil results when two powerful deities work in opposition hence negative consequences. According to this interpretation, the deities are equally compelling. St Augustine has a problem with this belief because it contradicts the omnipotence of God.
It does this by suggesting that God and the devil have equal powers. According to him, God is the only deity and the most powerful being in existence.
The powers of the devil are inferior to those of God. The belief also suggests that evil is as a result of conflict between God and the devil. According to St. Augustine, this is not so. Evil is as a result of man’s deviation from God’s ways. He also suggests that other evils like natural disasters are as a result of angels deviating from God’s ways (M. Arthur 125).
Christianity says that for man to live an upright life and have full knowledge of God, evil is necessary. The pain and suffering resulting from evil cause man to realize that he needs God in his life. When a man experiences pain, he will strive to help other people in a similar situation so that they do not suffer as much as he did.
To appreciate the power of good, man needs to undergo the suffering caused by evil. It builds his character and makes him strong such that he can face the hardships of life courageously (M. Arthur 128).
The Christian solution to evil has been very successful. It generally encourages man to live a life that is pleasant to God and humankind as well. Christianity helps man to appreciate both the positive and negative things in life. This way, he can learn from negative things and become a better, stronger person.
As opposed to other beliefs, man can understand that it is not necessarily his fault that negative things happen. For instance, natural misfortunes like earthquakes caused by forces of nature that conflict with each other. Man is not to blame for these occurrences in any way.
Christianity also teaches a man to acknowledge the presence of God in life when things are going well and to seek Him when faced with hardships. It also teaches a man to live and relate well with the whole society. Most importantly, it teaches a man to have respect for life and to value it. This way, society remains peaceful (M. Arthur 132).
Miller, Arthur. The Social Psychology of Good and Evil. New York: Guilford, 2004