BEYOND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
by Wayne Ferguson
PART ONE: Augustine's Approach to the Problem of Evil
St. Augustine was fully aware of this problem and spent much --perhaps most-- of his philosophical energy attempting to come to terms with it. In De ordine, he writes:
Those who ponder these matters are seemingly forced to believe either that Divine Providence does not reach to these outer limits of things or that surely all evils are committed by the will of God. Both horns of this dilemma are impious, but particularly the latter (1.1.1).His approach to a solution to this problem is three-pronged: 1) he holds that evil is a privation and cannot be properly said to exist at all; 2) he argues that the apparent imperfection of any part of creation disappears in light of the perfection of the whole; and 3) he argues that the origin of moral evil, together with that suffering which is construed as punishment for sin, is to
be found in the free choice of the will of rational creatures.
As a Manichee, Augustine believed that both
God and the principle of evil were some sort of material substances, neither
deriving its existence from the other. Evil, although somehow smallerthan
God, was, nevertheless, infinite and presented a real problem for God to
overcome in the course of his cosmic existence. He describes his motives
for believing such things as
piety (however bizarre some of my beliefs were) forbade me to believe that the good God had created an evil nature (Confessiones 5.10.20).Even after Augustine had abandoned these "bizarre beliefs" of the Manichees and had, as a Christian, arrived at the notion of God as an immutable, spiritual substance, the existence of evil still troubled him for:
Although I affirmed and firmly held divine immunity from pollution and change and the complete immutability of our God, the true God ... yet I had no clear and explicit grasp of the cause of evil. Whatever it might be, I saw it had to be investigated, if I were to avoid being forced by this problem to believe the immutable God to be mutable. ... I made my investigation without anxiety, certain that what the Manichees said was untrue. With all my mind I fled from them, because ... I saw them to be full of malice, in that they thought it more acceptable to say your substance suffers evil than that their own substance actively does evil (7.3.5).He began to arrive at a solution to this difficulty after having been introduced to "some books of the Platonists" (7.9.13). His exposure to the neo-platonic notions that existence is good and that evil is a privation, led him to see that even the corruptible world is good:
It was obvious to me that things which are liable to corruption are good. If they were the supreme goods, or if they were not good at all, they could not be corrupted. For if they were supreme goods, they would be incorruptible. If there were no good in them, there would be nothing capable of being corrupted. ... all things that are corrupted suffer privation of some good. If they were to be deprived of all good, they would not exist at all. ... Accordingly, whatever things exist are good, and the evil into whose origins I was inquiring is not a substance, for if it were a substance, it would be good. ... Hence I saw and it was made clear to me that you made all things good, and there are absolutely no substances which you did not make (7.12.18)."For [God]," he goes on to say, "evil does not exist at all" (7.13.19). It would seem, then, that evil is an illusion of sorts. This brings us to what we referred to above as his second approach to the problem of evil which endeavors to explain this illusion.
In De Ordine, speaking with respect to those aspects of creation which, if not actually evil, are, nonetheless, disconcerting to human beings, Augustine remarks that
what delights in a portion of place or time may be understood to be far less beautiful than the whole of which it is a portion. And furthermore, it is clear to a learned man that what displeases in a portion displeases for no other reason than because the whole, with which that portion harmonizes wonderfully, is not seen, but that, in the intelligible world, every part is as beautiful and perfect as the whole (328-9).Anticipating this conclusion at the beginning of that same work, he criticizes those who "think the whole universe is disarranged if something is displeasing to them," comparing them to those who would criticize an artisan when they had no concept of the whole project, having seen only a small portion of it (240-1). Likewise, in Book Seven of his Confessiones, he argues that things appear evil when considered from a finite perspective, isolated from the totality of which they are a part. Superior things, indeed, "are self-evidently better than inferior," but "sounder judgment" holds that "all things taken together are better than superior things by themselves" (7.13.19). "All things" include corruptible things, the destruction of which "brings what existed to non-existence in such a way as to allow the consequent production of what is destined to come into being" (de civitate Dei 12.5).
Most people would find this explanation tenable when applied to conflicts which arise among non-human creatures; or, as anexplanation of our aesthetic displeasure in the face of some seemingly absurd, but relatively trivial, natural phenomenon; or even, perhaps, with respect to human suffering, conceived of as a temporary expedient to a greater good. This perspective encourages us to trust divine omnipotence and to acknowledge the limits of human wisdom--neither of which is ultimately repugnant. It falls short in most people's eyes, however, if it is intended to convince them of the goodness of God in the face of human suffering construed as retributive justice. The notion of eternal torment causes particular difficulties. This aspect of the tradition might be overlooked as a "mystery" to be lived with if orthodoxy permitted one to think that God, although infinitely good, is of merely finite power. But it seems incomprehensible that omnipotent God could punish human beings for something that he, by virtue of his omnipotence, seems (at first glance, at least) ultimately responsible for. Does Augustine assert that this seemingly untenable aspect of reality, which is implied by the conjunction of human perdition and divine omnipotence, is nothing? Or that it merely appears evil when considered in isolation from the totality of which it is a part? As we shall see, the answer is in one respect no, but in another, yes.
The answer is no, insofar as Augustine does not merely dismiss those who raise this problem by referring them to the two approaches to the problem already considered. Rather, addressing those who attempt to lay blame on God for the sin of human beings and the punishment consequent to that sin, he takes a third approach, arguing that the origin of moral evil and the punishment it entails is a consequence of the free choice of rational creatures.
Sin, Augustine argues, is voluntary, disrupting the order of the universe, while the punishment is said (redundantly) to be "penal," restoring that order (De libero arbitrio 3.9.26). The important point is that insofar as we must talk of evil as if it were something, God is not responsible for it, rather his creatures are. God is to be praised insofar as he is willing and able to harmonize the dishonor introduced by the evil will of individual creatures with the honor intrinsic to the whole (3.9.26). If we inquire as to the cause of the evil will, Augustine claims an ignorance of sorts, consistent with his notion of evil as a privation:
We cannot doubt that [evil] movement of the will, that turning away from the Lord God [our "aversion" to the unchangeable good], is sin; but surely we cannot say thatGod is the author of sin? God, then, will not be the cause of that movement; but what will be its cause? If you ask this, and I answer that I do not know, probably you will be saddened. And yet that would be a true answer. That which is nothing cannot be known. ... All good is from God. Hence there is no natural existence which is not from God. Now that movement of "aversion," which we admit is sin, is a defective movement; and all defect comes from nothing. Observe where it belongs and you will have no doubt that it does not belong to God. Because that defective movement is voluntary, it is placed within our power. If you fear it, all you have to do is simply not to will it. If you do not will it, it will not exist (2.20.54).Pressed further, he says that "an evil will is ... the cause of all evil wills," indicating that no cause is to be found outside
the will itself and suggesting that to look further is itself evidence of an evil will (Cf. De civitate Dei 12.7).
Despite this rather radical appeal to human
freedom and his pious admonition that one ought not to look further for
the cause of an evil will, Augustine realizes that he is not yet off the
hook. He goes on to show that the necessity intrinsic to foreknowledge,
se, is not inconsistent with the notion of free will (3.4.10).
But considering the fact that divine foreknowledge is coupled with omnipotence,
how, in the final analysis, "is the creator to escape having imputed to
him anything that happens necessarily in his creature" (3.5.12)? Augustine
spends the next 20, or so, paragraphs attempting to defend God against
those who would cry foul. He begins by insisting that piety requires that
we give thanks to God--period (3.5.12). Then, he reaffirms his position
that sin originates in the free will of human beings and that we have no
right to criticize God for not creating us without the ability to turn
away from him (3.5.14). He goes on to assert that even the worst souls
are, by virtue of their reason and their free will, superior to corporeal
things and that, as such, God should be praised for their existence, whatever
defects they exhibit (3.5.16). Then, after once again affirming that there
is no conflict between the necessity of sin and its voluntary origin, he
describes unhappiness as the just reward of ingratitude (3.6.18). Finally,
to those who say they would prefer not to have existed, he indicates that
they are fooling themselves --that their desire to exist, even in their
misery, confirms that existence is the greatest boon (3.7.20). Indeed,
he argues that the suicidal person's desire for death actually reflects
a desire for rest, not the desire for non-existence (3.8.23). All this
is highly interesting and very relevant to those who are determined to
come to terms with themselves and with God. Nevertheless, it would be an
understatement to say that it does not conclusively demonstrate that the
origin of every aspect of creation --including those wills which are called
evil and those creatures which are eternally damned-- should not ultimately
be attributed to the will of God. Augustine senses this, but can only assert
that while the human ability to sin --together with the possibility
of experiencing the misery that accompanies sin)-- is necessary to theperfection
of the universe, actual sin and actual misery are not (3.9.26). These assertions
are correlative with second and third approaches presented above --the
former with his position that the imperfection of any part of creation
disappears in light of the perfection of the whole; and the latter with
his insistence that the origin of moral evil, together with that suffering
which is construed as punishment for sin, is to be found in the free choice
of the will of rational creatures. But consistent with the first approach
--evil as a privation-- Augustine seems to be saying that
Having considered Augustine's approach to our
problem, we are now in position to articulate clearly what is at stake.
The real problem in the problem of evil --the core of it, as it
were-- is that granting God's omnipotence, there seems to be no way to
avoid the conclusion that God finds the perdition of an indefinite number
of human souls acceptable in light of the greater good which their perdition
makes possible. Thus, even if we grant that, it makes sense to talk
of a rational creature freely choosing its own perdition, and even if we
hypothesize that God has in some sense limited his power with a view to
creating more glorious creatures by virtue of their free will,
it is nevertheless the case, according to the tradition, 1) that, in the
light of his eternal existence, God knows the end from the beginning; and
2) that he had no need to create; and even if he chose to create, he might
have created differently. As such, we cannot avoid placing full responsibility
for existence --including every aspect of human experience, whether in
this life or the next-- squarely on God's shoulders. Let us admit that
when we bow before God, it is not because his "justice" has been demonstrated
to us. It would seem more reasonable to say that we bow before his power.
It is pointless to try and defend God against those who cry foul. A more
fruitful approach, as we shall see, is to understand why we ought, indeed,
to bow before his power. Rather than attempting to
the ways of God to man, let us show those who would reply against
God the foolishness of their objections, admonishing them, in the Spirit
of Augustine, to give thanks. But this can only be
done if we let the dialectic of the problem take us beyond the confines
of orthodoxy and, finally, beyond good and evil.
PART TWO: Spinoza & Nietzsche on Evil
For Spinoza, there is one substance,
God or Nature, which constitutes the whole of reality and which has infinite
attributes, only two of which we can know --extension and thought. He avoids
the mind/body problem by adopting a parallelism characterized by the notion
that thoughts relate causally only to thoughts and bodies relate causally
only to bodies. An infinite number of individual entities --modifications
of the divine substance-- proceed by necessity from the divine nature.
Our essence is the conatus with which we endeavor to persist in
our own being (Ethica 3, Pr. 7). Considered under the attribute
of extension, this conatus would be equivalent to (or at least analogous
to) the genetic code which governs the growth and development of our bodies.
Considered under the attribute of thought, this conatus is called
Since virtue, for Spinoza, is power, an individual, acting
according to its essence, endeavors to bring about those conditions in
which its power of activity is increased (See E3 Pref. and Def. 8). As
rational animals, the highest good for human beings is achieved through
the intellectual love of God. The intellectual aspect of this love
is important for two reasons. First, insofar as our
of God (or Nature) according to the attribute of extension increases, we
are better able to produce those physical and environmental conditions
in which we can flourish; and, insofar as our understanding of God according
to the attribute of thought increases, we are better able to control our
emotions. Second, insofar as we find ourselves subject to adverse conditions
that are beyond our control, we find consolation in our understanding of
the necessity of events (see
According to Spinoza, nothing is good or evil in
itself but only insofar as the mind is affected by it. Because our happiness
4) It is impossible for a man not to be part of Nature and not to undergo changes other than those which can be understood solely through his own nature and of which he is the adequate cause. 5) The force and increase of any passive emotion and its persistence in existing is defined not by the power whereby we ourselves endeavor to persist in existing, but by the power of external causes compared with our own power.We see, then, that for Spinoza, unlike Augustine, evil is something which we suffer, not something we actively choose. However, this seems quite consistent with Augustine's notion of evil as a privation --a diminution of my ability to express my essence which is due, however, not to the free choice of my will, but to the force of external powers which happen to conflict with my essence. I am "free" only insofar as I will my own essence, which, a priori, expresses the will of God. The degree of my self knowledge and the extent to which my essence finds expression in the world is dependent upon my environment. Insofar as I seem to will that which is contrary to my essence, I am in bondage and am not, strictly speaking, willing at all. Furthermore, because the power and will of God is manifest only in activity, Spinoza would agree with Augustine that insofar as anything is --insofar as it exists (endeavors to persist in its own being)-- it derives its being from God. In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Spinoza formulates these ideas as follows:
Whatever man ... acquires for himself to help preserve his being, or whatever Nature provides for him without any effort on his part, all this is provided for him solely by the divine power, acting either through human nature or externally to human nature. Therefore whatever human nature can effect solely by its own power to preserve its own being can rightly be called God's internal help, and whatever falls to man's advantage from the power of external causes can rightly be called God's external help. And from this, too, can readily be deduced what must be meant by God's choosing, for since no one acts except by the predetermined order of Nature --that is from God's direction and decree-- it follows that no one chooses a way of life for himself or accomplishes anything except by the special vocation of God, who has chosen one man before others for particular way of life (89-90). The happiness and peace of the man who cultivates his natural understanding depends not on the sway of fortune (God's external help) but on his own internal virtue (God's internal help) .This is hard medicine, but in my opinion it constitutes the only philosophically consistent position that still allows us to make
sense out of the tradition. It remains for us to show how it does so, but first we must relate Spinoza to Nietzsche.
Despite significant dissimilarities between Nietzsche and Spinoza --in both philosophy and temperament-- Nietzsche often takes positions that are strikingly similar to his predecessor's.
In Human, All Too Human --written during
his so called "positivistic period"-- we find Nietzsche taking the following
We don't accuse nature of immorality when it sends us a thunderstorm, and makes us wet: why do we call the injurious man immoral? Because in the first case, we assume necessity, and in the second a voluntarily governing free will. But this distinction is in error (102). The man who has fully understood the theory of complete irresponsibility can no longer include the so-called justice that punishes and rewards within the concept of justice ... (105). If one were omniscient, one would be able to calculate each individual action in advance, each step in the progress of knowledge, each error, each act of malice. To be sure, the acting man is caught in his illusion of volition ... [This illusion], his assumption that free will exists, is also part of the calculable mechanism (106). When a misfortune strikes, we can overcome it either by removing its cause or else by changing the effect it has on our feelings ... (108).There are elements in each of these texts --e.g., the denial of free will, the rejection of the idea retributive justice, and the recognition of possibility of overcoming our emotional reactions rather than our external environment-- which resonate with the
sympathetic reader of Spinoza. And while, in later years, Nietzsche loses some of his positivistic fervor, we shall see that significant similarities are retained. They can be reduced to the proposition that an unconditional affirmation of existence is
prerequisite to the fullest expression of our essence.
Recall that Spinoza argues that the degree of blessedness which we attain is dependent on the quality of that which we love, pointing out that
Strife will never arise on account of that which is not loved; there will be no sorrow if it is lost, no envy if it is possessed by another, no fear, no hatred --in a word, no emotional agitation, all of which, however, occur in the case of the love of perishable things ... But love towards a thing eternal and infinite feeds the mind with joy alone, unmixed with any sadness. This is greatly to be desired, and to be sought with all our might (TEI 235).From Spinoza's perspective, then, if we are to achieve blessedness, we must learn to love every aspect of that which is --which is, in the words of Kierkegaard, the power that grounds us. This includes loving corruptible things, as such, together with the process of becoming in general. Nietzsche expresses a very similar insight, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? O my friends, then you said Yes too to all woe. All things are entangled, ensnared, enamored; if ever you wanted one thing twice, if ever you said, "You please me, happiness! Abide, moment!" then you wanted all back. All anew, all eternally, all entangled, ensnared, enamored --oh, then you loved the world. Eternal ones, love it eternally and evermore; and to woe too, you say: go, but return! For all joy wants --eternity (Portable Nietzsche 435).Leaving aside Nietzsche's notion of eternal recurrence, his position is quite close to that of Spinoza. Reminiscent of Spinoza's intellectual love of God, Nietzsche posits love of fate as his "formula for greatness":
My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it --all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary-- but love it (Ecce Homo 258).This is not to say that Nietzsche's greatness and Spinoza's blessedness are identical, but only that they are closely related. Greatness, which we may provisionally define as extraordinary success in a finite context, depends on conditions external to our essence (God's external help/fortune), whereas blessedness depends on our "internal virtue" (God's internal help). Having granted this distinction, I would argue that true greatness can only be attributed to those individuals who, in addition to external success, are characterized by the especially appropriate manner in which they relate to the power which grounds them and, consequently, to their own essence. By virtue of their right relation to themselves and to God, such people have, experienced true blessedness. To the extent that we say no to any aspect of reality --that which is necessary-- to that extent we cut ourselves off from the only source of abundant life and have, in fact, negated that which constitutes the conditions for the realization of our highest hopes and most noble possibilities. Because our essence and our authentic possibilities are inextricably intertwined with all that is and all that has been, Nietzsche's Zarathustra, in the spirit of Spinoza, teaches that redemption is achieved when our will becomes harmonized with the eternal necessity that governs the play of appearances:
To redeem those who lived in the past and to re-create all 'it was' into a 'thus I willed it'--that alone should I call redemption (Portable Nietzsche 251).Redemption, in this sense, requires that we take our stand beyond good and evil and seems to require that we embrace a kind of determinism. We can, it seems, do what we will, but we can't will what we will. Our real project is to discover our
essential will, from whence alone our lives derive their meaning and purpose. Both Spinoza and Nietzsche seem to be saying that this discovery is facilitated by our affirmation of those aspects of reality that are beyond our control, which requires that we attempt, on the level of reflective consciousness, not to be controlled by such passive emotions as guilt, fear, and regret. This is possible only insofar as we come to know, love, and (consciously) will ourselves as we are essentially, all of which presupposes --or, constitutes!-- a right relationship to the power that grounds us. This right relationship to the power that grounds us is realized to the degree that our reflective consciousness is characterized by Spinoza's intellectual love for God and Nietzsche's love of fate, which are, practically speaking, closely related, if not identical concepts. We must not imagine, however, that the breach between our empirical or conscious self and our essential self is to be completely overcome --at least not in the course of this embodiment. Relative to consciousness, our essential self will always retain a transcendent aspect --in fact, we may refer to it as our transcendent self. However, despite the unavoidable dissonance that exists between the two, we can hope to experience a narrowing of the chasm that exists between them as we endeavor to stay attuned to our essential will, which is, in fact, the will of God. To discover and exercise our essential will is to experience authentic existence.
If Spinoza is right, and the attribute of extension
expresses my essence as fully, in its own way, as the attribute of thought,
it may one day be the case that our knowledge of the human body will be
complete enough to arrive at an experience of authentic existence through
the manipulation of our physical organism. At this point however, such
a possibility remains remote and the only realistic possibility of our
achieving the abundant life which both Nietzsche and Spinoza envision is
to change the way we think. In the past, this was achieved through the
practice of religion. We studied the Bible and entrusted ourselves to Christian
ministers and mystics who functioned as guides, helping us along on our
pilgrimage. For many moderns, however, the
PART THREE: Reappropriating the Tradition
But the name of Christ does not refer merely
to Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, the truth or falsity of the legends surrounding
Our essential self stands in an absolute relation
to the absolute --that is, our relationship to the power that grounds us
(God) is mediated absolutely and exclusively by our essential self (Christ
in us). As such, a right relationship to our essential
Thus, the passion of Christ is, or at least
can be, a symbol of the essence of life --death and resurrection-- rather
[Each human being] represents a unique and valuable experiment on the part of nature ... the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way and never again. That is why every [person's] story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every [person] as long as [he or she] lives and fulfills the will of nature is wondrous and worthy of every consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each [person] the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross. Each [person's] life represents a road toward [himself or herself], an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path. No [person] has ever been entirely and completely [himself or herself]. Yet each one strives to become that --one in an awkward, the other in a more intelligent way, each as best [he or she] can (From the prologue to Demian, by Hermann Hesse).
unconsciously-- not to the justice of God, but to his power. Unable to think this thought, however, we insisted (as orthodox believers) on affirming the contradiction intrinsic to judgement that one can conjoin omnipotence and human perdition without attributing evil to God. But of all the "evils" that we can imagine, this conjunction is, perhaps, the only one which it is absolutely impossible to dispel by an appeal to our finite perspective. We attempted to make this contradiction explicit so as to permit the dialectic of the problem to carry us beyond it.
In Part Two, we found that we were able to
avoid the contradiction by jettisoning the notions of free will and moral
responsibility (to any heteronomous law), and by modifying our conception
of God's goodness and power, in favor of a more
It remains for the reader to decide whether
or not this dialogue between the tradition and those opposed to the tradition
3. Apropos of "justice" and "power," the following text from De libero arbitrio is quite interesting: "If you are not in your own power, then someone must have you in his power who is either more powerful or less powerful than yourself. If he is less powerful the fault is your own and the misery just. But if someone, more powerful than you are, hold you in his power you will not rightly think so rightful an order to be unjust" (3.6.19).
4. The Apostle Paul dealt with such objections, not by defending the justice of God --and especially not by appealing to "free will"-- but by pointing out the absurdity of the creature passing judgment on the creator:
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardenth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:18-21).There are elements of this in Augustine's approach, but his extreme discomfort with the "core" of the problem is evident --a discomfortwhich is not evident in the writings of St. Paul.
5. At this point, I beg those staunch defenders of orthodoxy who truly know and love the Lord their God to bear with me. Despite the seeming harshness of my criticism, I assure you that I am not your enemy. And, despite their reputations, neither are Spinoza and Nietzsche, to whom I now turn.
10. I have emphasized the practical similarity of these concepts. For a more detailed theoretical analysis that emphasizes their differences, see "Spinoza and Nietzsche: Amor dei and Amor fati" in Volume Two of Yeimiyahu Yovel's Spinoza and Other Heretics, Princeton Univ. Press, 1989.
11. What many find unacceptable in Christian thought (or at least in some, not insignificant, strands of it) is that 1) In the name of piety, attempts are made to limit freedom of speech and thought; 2) the body, and the temporal order in general, is disparaged as intrinsically flawed or evil; 3) it is demanded that one accept mythic and religious imagery as scientific/historical explanations of phenomena; 4) various prevailing cultural norms are accepted as absolute moral imperatives, not subject to rational criticism; and 5) particular texts are idolatrously accepted as the essential foundation rather than the creative expression of religious faith.
14. At this point, I feel somewhat like Paul, whose gospel was, to the Jew, "a stumbling block," and to the Greek, "foolishness." "Orthodox" Christians imagine (understandably) that the legitimacy of their faith depends on the historical truth of the gospel narratives. They stumble at the notion that countless millions, past and present, have had a similar experience of faith and salvation --people who never heard the name of Christ, or have rejected the name because of that which they associate with it; people who, despite their ignorance of Jesus of Nazareth, or their repugnance to traditional Christianity, may, nonetheless, know Christ --in the Spirit, as it were-- just as intimately as any orthodox believer. Atheists, on the other hand, tend to consider all "god-talk" to be foolishness. Preoccupation with such things, they might say, is a vestige of a more primitive (or perhaps infantile) stage of human development --something that one should cast aside in maturity.
__________. Confessions. Trans. Henry Chadwick. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
__________. De ordine. The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 5, Ed. Ludwig Schopp (New York: CIMA Publishing Co., 1948) 226-232.
__________. On Free Will. Augustine: Earlier Writings, ed. J. H. S. Burleigh (Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1953) 102-217.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ecce Homo. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1967.
__________. Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits. Trans. Marion Faber. Lincoln, NE: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1984.
__________. The Portable Nietzsche. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
Spinoza, Baruch. Ethics, Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, and Selected Letters. Trans. Samuel Shirley. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1992.
__________. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Trans. Samuel
Shirley. New York: E. J. Brill, 1989.
Burt, Donald X. "Courageous Optimism: Augustine on the Good of Creation." Augustinian Studies. Vol. 21, 1990, 55-66.
Evans, G. R. Augustine on Evil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Stewart, Melville. "O Felix Culpa, Redemption, and the Greater Good
Defense." Sophia, Vol. 25, No. 3, Oct., 1986, 18-31.
 Ah, Love! could you and I with Fate conspire
29 Into this Universe, and
Why not knowing
30 What, without asking, hither
78 What! out of senseless
Nothing to provoke
79 What! from his helpless
Creature be repaid
 Nay, but for terror of his wrathful
80 Oh Thou, who didst with
pitfall and with gin
81 Oh Thou, who Man of baser
Earth didst make,