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Saint Augustine who lived in the late 4th and early 5th centuries created a very interesting perspective on the notion of evil Augustine first views of evil followed the doctrine of the Manichaen Dualists Their idea was that there were two omnipotent forces good and evil constantly fighting Both forces according to the Manichaen Dualists were of equal power Augustine later rejected this idea and developed his own theory on the nature of evil Saint Augustines view concerning evil is simply put the privation of good Augustine believes that evil is not a separate force but a lack of good This view is contradictory to the Manichaen view Augustine does not view evil even as a substance but as a void This void sort of like the Nothing in the Never Ending Story takes over the being that it infects A being that used to contain good becomes empty as evil corrupts it Augustine believes that all beings were created good and all beings have the potential to become corrupted Even if a being is partially corrupted the being still only consists of good since evil in and of itself does not truly exist it is only the lack of good Beings do possess free will and their goodness may fluctuate But because they are not like their Creator supremely and unchangeably good their good may be diminished and increased Cahn 177 Saint Augustine states that There can be no evil where there is no good Cahn 177 Augustine sees evil as a dependent not an independent Evil must have good to exist Not only is evil a void it is an ontological parasite needing a host to survive The host is the being or the good since both exist within one another Augustine also points out that nothing is totally evil because it would cease to exist If a being were to be completely consumed by evil there would be no good
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