Boethius’s Consolation Of Philosophy In the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius addresses many solutions to the never-ending problem of evil. In Book IV Boethius offers a solution to the problem based on the distinction between “Fate” and “Providence.” Boethius defines both of these terms and explains his own version of the problem and how to solve the problem using the differences between “Fate” and “Providence.” However one may argue against Boethius’s solution and offer a solution themselves. And if this may occur Boethius or somebody who agrees with him would make a counter argument against the proposed solution. In Book IV of the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius makes a clear difference between the idea of “Fate” and the concept of “Providence.” Boethius does this by examining the power of each. “Providence is the divine reason itself which belongs to the most high ruler of all things and which governs al things; Fate, however belongs to all mutable things and is the disposition by which Providence joins all things in their own order.
For Providence embraces all things equally, however diverse they are, however infinite. Fate, on the other hand, sets particular things in motion once they have been given their own forms, places, and times” (Boethius Book IV, Prose 6 p.91). Boethius uses both of these terms to address a solution to the “problem of evil.” I believe that Boethius symbolizes good and evil with “Fate” and “Providence.” Boethius thinks that the problem of evil is how can evil exist in a world governed by the most powerful good, God. Also how can some evil go unpunished and even take over. This is the problem that Boethius tries to solve. He simply argues that evil doesn’t exist. Boethius does this by using “Providence” and “Fate”.
Good is powerful and evil is the opposite. All men want to seek happiness and go after the good, but only good men can achieve this because they are powerful. Evil men are weak and in contrast they can do no good. Since evil men suffer from doing good they seem not to be in existence because good is rewarded and recognized while evil is not. It seems that all the good covers up the evil making evil not exist. All of this can be restated in terms of “Providence” and “Fate.” Boethius says that “Providence is the immovable and simple form of all thing which come into being, while Fate is the moving connection and temporal order of all things which the divine simplicity has decided to bring into being” (Boethius book IV prose 6 p.92).
Boethius displays his argument through a model of spheres in orbit. He says that the closer spheres to the center tend not to move around and have simple orbits and is Providence. On the other hand the spheres that are farther away from the center tend to have complex orbits and whirl around, which is Fate. However if all the orbits are connected to the center they are confined by the simplicity of the center and no longer tend to stray away. Therefore Fate is confined within the simplicity of Providence, just as circle is confined within its center. Looking back at all these orbits from a long distance you would not be able to distinguish between the simple orbits and the complex orbits because they would all be connected to the center.
Therefore one could not point out “Fate” within “Providence” and not find the evil within the good. And evil would not exist. One could argue against Boethius’s argument that evil doesn’t exist. For evil not to exist then nothing could be evil or anything bad can ever happen in the world. We all know that bad things happen to good people. Boethius could not say that when a drunk driver kills somebody that it is good and there was not any evil involved.
The evil or bad by far takes over any good that one could get out of any such ordeal. I am sure that someone could find some good out of somebody getting killed in a car accident by telling other people the story and convince them not to drink and drive. However, this good does not just cover up the evil in the story and make it vanish. Therefore, evil exists in the world. If somebody would come up to Beothius and say the argument against the fact that evil does not exist he would simple argue back saying that evil does not exist only to the supreme good.
This being God. Boethius says ” Only to divine power are evil things good, when it uses them so as to draw good effects from them. All things are part of a certain order, so that when something moves away from its assigned place, it falls into a new order of things. Nothing in the realm of Providence is left to chance” (Beothius Book IV prose 6 p.96). Stated before “Fate” is the things in motion and is the evil things and since the moving things fall into a new order it is no longer in motion.
It is now seen as “Providence,” the good, and from the Supreme good’s view evil does not exist. Therefore, Boethius would counter the argument made before that evil does exist. In Book IV of The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius tries to solve the great “problem of evil.” He goes about doing so by using the concepts of “Providence” and “Fate” to argue that evil can not exist in a world controlled by a true Supreme good. However one could argue against Boethius, but he would just come back with another counter argument. In conclusion I think that Boethius’s argument that evil does not exist is a valid one. Philosophy.