Research Paper On Thomas Aquinas Theodicy

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Thomas Aquinas articulated his theodicy in his major work, Summa Theologica. Aquinas seems to follow a more Augustinian theodicy in that his theodicy takes as much blame from God as possible and places the problem of evil and suffering within human sin and free will. Aquinas argues the overall goodness of God and delves deeper into the function of human sin in evil and suffering. Along those same lines, Aquinas examines the acts that God does engage in and what that means for the way that evil, suffering, and punishment are carried out in the world. This paper will explore these issues and their implications for what that means for God’s character. “Theodicy seeks to defend the goodness and omnipotence of God in the midst of evil and suffering”.…show more content…
However good is only the “accidental” cause of evil insofar as in order for good to increase and achieve it’s most perfect form, other surrounding forms may be diminished, but this is only the accidental result. Aquinas gives an example saying, “Good does not cause that evil which is contrary to itself, but some other evil: thus the goodness of the fire causes evil to the water, and man, good as to his nature, causes an act morally evil”(339), which explains that though something may be good in it’s nature purely because of it’s being, in seeking to achieve it’s perfect form, it can accidentally cause evil to others. Thus good is the cause of evil, but only accidentally. Aquinas then moves to make the most important claim in regards to the cause of evil. Similar to the way that evil is the accidental cause of good, God causes corruption in the universe. God does not intend to cause corruption, but rather to bring about the good in the order of the universe and because of that, it is necessary that there are things that do not always work perfectly. Yet, these things are not necessarily directly attributed to God. Aquinas uses the example of the limp man saying that although God gave the man motion, which would more broadly be he cause of his limp, the direct cause of his limp is the defect of his leg. In the same way, though God is the

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