Structuring Good and Evil

Saint Augustine dwells upon the nature and origin of evil throughout his Confessions. Morality is an inextricable part of religion and religious doctrine, but the question seems to hold some greater weight for him beyond the teachings of the church. The question of evil "depressed and suffocated" him, perplexed him and lead him into a series of thought experiments and spatial restructurings of the world around him (114). St. Augustine restructured the world in order to find evil - the mass or the machination - within it. For all the acclaim he later received for his abstract thought, he was instinctually a concrete, spatial thinker. Therefore, the problem of location of evil, or, similarly, of its origin, most plagued him. "Why then have I the power to will evil and reject good? . . . Why put this power in me and implanted in me this seed of bitterness, when all of me was created by my very kind God?" (114) These are questions common to many philosophers and theologians across the years. However, Augustine, who proposes a series of answers throughout the first half of this work, ultimately arrives at an answer which satisfies him.

Saint Augustine first constructs a spatial explanation for evil while exploring...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1318 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9867 literature essays, 2494 sample college application essays, 464 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in