10th April – Reflections on Freedom and Responsibility VIII

Adam&Eve (391x640)

Adam and Eve – and the Serpent – at Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland. MMB.

Freedom and Evil

The relationship between freedom and evil is the aspect of our freedom that remains the most mysterious.  St. Augustine grappled with this in his Confessions.  He describes his mentality before his conversion in this way:

It seemed to me that it was not we who sin, but some other nature within us that is responsible.  My pride was gratified at being exculpated by this theory: when I had done something wrong it was pleasant to avoid having to confess that I had done it….   I liked to excuse myself and lay the blame on some other force that was with me but was not myself.

But, Augustine is writing here about what he was like before.  By the time he writes it, however, he knows better, for he says in the very next sentence, “But, in truth, it was all myself.”




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