St. Augustine affirms that the world was created by God from nothing, through a free act of His will. Time is a being of reason ("rens rationis") with a foundation in things which through becoming offer to the mind the concept of time as past, present, and future. Augustine affirms the absolute unity and the spirituality of the human soul. In regard to the nature of the soul he affirms that the soul is simple and immortal.
Then sensitive soul, besides having the five senses, is endowed also with a sensitive cognition which is common to animals and which judges the proper object of each of the senses. The intellective soul has three functions: being, understanding, and loving, corresponding to three faculties: intellective memory, intelligence, and will. The primary among these three faculties is given to the will, which in man signifies love. The will of man is free.
Three kinds of evil can be distinguished: metaphysical, physical, and moral, and each of them consists in a deficiency in being, a descent toward non-being. Metaphysical evil is the lack of a perfection not due to a given nature and hence is not actually an evil.
Under this aspect, all creatures are evil because they fall short of full perfection, which is God alone. Physical evil consists in the privation of a perfection due to nature, e.g., blindness is the privation of sight in a being which ought to have sight according to the exigencies of its nature. The only true evil is moral evil; sin, an action contrary to the will of God.
The cause of moral evil is not God, who is infinite holiness, nor is it matter, as the Platonists would have it, for matter is a creature of God and hence good. Neither is the will as a faculty of the soul evil, for it too has been created by God. The cause of moral evil is the faculty of free will, by which man is able to deviate from the right order, to oppose himself to the will of God.
Such opposition gives moral evil reality -- negative, metaphysical reality in the sense of decadence of the order established by God, and hence decadence of being or descent toward non-being. Sin, from the very fact it is decadence of being, carries in itself its own punishment. By sinning man injures himself in his being, for he falls from what he ought to be. As a result of this fall there exist the sufferings which he must bear, such as remorse in the present life.
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