Augustine of Hippo on the origins of evil

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Evodius: Please tell me whether God is not the author of evil.

Augustine: I shall tell you if you make it plain what kind of evil you are asking about. We usually speak of “evil” in two ways, namely when someone has (a) done evil; (b) suffered something evil.

Evodius: I want to know about both kinds.

Augustine: Well, if you know or believe that God is good (it is blasphemous to think otherwise), then He does not do evil. On the other hand, if we grant that God is just (denying it is irreligious), then He rewards the good; by the same token, He hands out punishments to evildoers, punishments that are doubtless evils to those who suffer them. Accordingly, if no one pays penalties unjustly – which we must believe since we believe that the world is governed by divine providence – then God is indeed the author of evils of type (b), though not in any way the author of evils of type (a). ...

For more, see Augustine of Hippo on the origins of evil.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
He is using evil in two different senses. Evil is pretty much meaningless until you attach it some word, like an adjective. I've always loved Augustine, the town and the man.
 
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