Saint Thomas and the Problem of Evil

Saint Thomas and the Problem of Evil

Saint Thomas and the Problem of Evil

Saint Thomas and the Problem of Evil

Excerpt

I pass on now to the second point I mentioned at the beginning of my lecture: the cause of evil in the case where the evil in question is the evil of free will, -- evil, not only ontological or metaphysical, but moral.

We have here a particular case of evil of action . St. Thomas distinguishes, as you know, between the evil that wounds the action or operation of beings, -- evil of action, -- and evil which wounds the being itself of the agent, -- evil of being . And he teaches in a very general way that evil of action or operation always arises from a certain presupposed defect in the being or the operative powers of the agent.

Consider the case of the world of material nature, the case of natural agents, animate or inanimate bodies, each of which tends in virtue of the constitution of its nature toward a certain action or specific operation. When the action or the operation in question is bad or defective, the cause of that evil -- evil of action . . .

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