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how did Augustine address the fact that the Greeks and their philosophy did not have the problem of evil?

  • philosophy -

    << Whereas the Greeks conceived it their chief task to give an account of man's relation to nature, the Christians considered that what alone matters is man's relation to a transcendent, infinite, absolutely perfect being. This changed the whole preoccupation of philosophy. For the Greeks, natural science and the social sciences were significant both in their own right and as instruments of the good life; for the Christians, they were irrelevant and even dangerous. For the Greeks, morality was essentially a social ethics and its aim was happiness. For the Christians, morality was a department of religious practice. Conduct was judged not by the end it achieves but by the degree of its conformity to God's commands, and since the perfection of the Deity gave the Christian an absolutely exalted ideal to aim at, the Christian alwasy felt a sense of failure. No matter how good he was, he was not as good as he ought to be. (70)

    The Greeks lived in a universe that was basically one, and they believed themselves to be, as it were, in step with it. That is, their world was a cosmos of which they were a part. The central problem for them was to understand this world, which, just because it was a cosmos, they held to be in essence understandable. By contrast, the Christians lived in a universe in which something was profoundly amiss. On the one hand there was a transcendent creator god; on the other, a corrupt and erratic world. The central problem for them, therefore, was not scientific but practical: how to get back into step, how to return to the creator from whom men have wandered. (70) >>

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