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Thomas Aquinas on the Relation Between Good and Evil in the Created World

Maja Herman Duvel orcid id ; Ivane Brlić-Mažuranić 18, HR–10000 Zagreb
Anto Gavrić orcid id ; Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Fakultet filozofije i religijskih znanosti, Jordanovac 110, HR–10000 Zagreb

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 387 Kb

str. 431-431

preuzimanja: 65


Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 387 Kb

str. 415-431

preuzimanja: 184



This paper aims to show that Thomas Aquinas consider the problem of evil, not only as a question of evil in itself, but in the much broader context of God’s work of creation and providential government, and thus proves that the existence of evil in the world is not a viable argument against God’s existence. For Thomas Aquinas, evil is not something, some being with its essence and nature, but it is the lack (or privation) of a good that should by nature be present in a being. Evil has good as its subject, object, and cause, and may ultimately have good as its effect. Such complete immersion and dependence of evil on good says that evil’s ontological status is real, but not absolute. Evil cannot exist from itself, by itself and for itself. It is in every way subordinated to the good. Such a status of evil becomes even more apparent in Aquinas’ view of the relation between evil and the absolute good that is God. God is the one who exists in the absolute sense, and evil exists only in relation to the good that is God’s creation. The decay of things is only a consequence of God creating a good world in which some beings may be deficient in good, which they sometimes are. This means that God does not want evil, but in a way allows it while providentially governing everything to the good that he is. God is so omnipotent that by allowing evil he can accomplish even greater and more numerous goods. In the work of God’s governing over the world, man occupies a special place because he is capable of a personal relationship with God. But man can also voluntarily deviate from the order and rules that lead him to union with his ultimate good which is God. Such an act is called the moral evil of guilt or sin. Thomas Aquinas finds the example and model of the victory of good over evil in the character of the righteous and innocent Job, who, thanks to the experience of a terrible evil, has realised that God infinitely transcends human cognition, being and power, and that any attribution of evil to God would be foolishness, that every denial of God’s existence because of the evil that befell him would be insane. Job realised that God’s righteousness and logos rule everything and that the ultimate victory of good is certain.

Ključne riječi

evil, good, God, Thomas Aquinas, creation, providence, theodicy

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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