In our chapters today, Augustine looks at the existence of evil and sin. He has already said that evil is a corruption or lack of good. Evil does not exist on its own, but is an absence of what God created good. Augustine talks about God’s creation – that He made everything good, that He knew it would be good, that He knew what things and beings would turn out to be evil, and that He knew that their evil would ultimately work out for good because He would use evil for His purposes. The Devil was not made evil, but corrupted a nature that God made good. He makes the observations that “if sin is natural, there is no such thing as sin”. Instead, all that God made, He made good. The Devil’s will, and human wills, bring evil and sin. Finally, Augustine makes an interesting argument about why God allows evil in His world: he claims that creation is more beautiful for containing the contrast between good and evil, in the same way that poetry is more beautiful for the contrasts it contains. I’m interested in the argument, but unconvinced for now: if that were so, wouldn’t God allow evil to go on into Eternity for the sake of the beauty of the contrast it provides? Or is that what Hell is?

Blessings,

Josh

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