Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Augustine’s Perception of the Problem of Evil

Saint Augustine provided thoughts that have been fundamental in Christian philosophy, especially the perception of the problem of evil. Augustine’s argument presented the aspect of evil as a result of human free will and a perversion of good and not a Godly-created substance. An intense exploration of the Middle Ages intertwines the problem of evil with philosophical and theological debates. The works of Augustine on the issue of evil have had a significant effect on Christian thoughts, shaping how individuals approach and perceive the problem of evil. This paper explores Augustine’s approach to the problem of evil in which he based his arguments on divine justice, man’s fall, and free will.

Augustine believed that individuals can only attain God’s actual knowledge if they believe in divine revelation, spiritual insight and faith instead of the rational and empirical means they are inclined towards. From his argument, philosophical reason and study were the ultimate way of proving the existence of God. Augustine highlighted that the approach of alternative probabilities was indispensable for divine justice and human responsibility but only for the founding of human beings in paradise (Mendelson, 2019). In Augustine’s pivotal thoughts through his context, he is true to his approach of faith seeking and understanding, which highlights the philosophical needs of benevolence and God’s justice while also stressing the aspect that the election of God is not occasioned by any of the merits of human beings but it is instead solely gratuitous (Mendelson, 2019). The gratuitous election is not only consoling, omnipotence and justice, and comparatively highly linked divine benevolence’s axioms; it is also corollary. Hence, the evil in the world cannot exist and prevail in a vacuum independently because it is based on humanity’s failure to use good properly.

Additionally, Augustine’s perspective on the Fall of Man presents a teleological and anthropological sense of the problem of evil. He presents the fall of man as the denial of reason (God because God is the reason) and that individuals often try to fulfil personal happiness by entirely willing their happiness without reason. He allegorically takes on the tale of the fall in the garden from Genesis, which is a metaphor but a symptom of human aspirations. Christian theology relies on the approach that there was a causal correlation between Eve and Adam’s character in the garden, followed by drama related to human history through the stories of creation and fall (Gavrilyuk, 2020). Augustine asserted that all the succeeding generations are subjected to the consequences of sin and moral evil because of how Adam and Eve disobeyed God. In addition, Augustine believed that the people are accountable for evil in the world and not God because human beings act freely. Augustine asserted that nothing coerces the mind to fall into desire except its own free choice and will (Peterson, n.d.). Thus, he argues that nothing, be it less noble or nobler, can result in the mind to will evil, making the will itself the source of evil. When individuals fall, humanity’s willpower and freedom have portrayed the inability to keep people from evil practices and eradicate evil in society only by God’s grace.

In conclusion, Augustine’s argument asserts that the presence of evil is not culpable to God. God gave the will so that it could be used for the good of the people, but instead resulted in the fall of man. Man’s free will coexists harmoniously with the foreknowledge of God, and God only judges sinners because their sins often result from their free will. Hence, God’s foreknowledge relies on an individual’s will, and it does not determine or necessitate power over the will of the individual.


Gavrilyuk, P. L. (2020). The problem of Evil: Ancient Answers and Modern Discontents. International Journal of Orthodox Theology.

Mendelson, M. (2019, September 25). Saint Augustine. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Peterson, B. (n.d.). Augustine: Advocate of Free Will, Defender of Predestination.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics