Responsible for our own good and evil
In the book on the free will of choice Augsutines looks for an answer to why people do evil. According to him one cannot be sent to do something evil by something lower or higher than himself. A lower creator or power than himself would not be able to send a man in any direction at all, where a higher creature has the power to do so, but would never send anyone in the direction of evil (God is purely good according to him), so it must be something within us that makes us do good or evil. To find out what this power within us is he makes a comparison between different things we can find in our world. Plants would be only alive, animals would be alive and posses the ability for observation and lusts and humans have the same characteristics as animals with addition to a rational mind and a will. Since humans are the only one who can distinguish good from evil, we must find that ability in the characteristics that distinguish us from other living creatures: the rational mind and the will. The will would be the human characteristic that is responsible for our actions and is divided in the good will and the bad will. The good will is “a will by which we seek to live rightly and honorably, and to attain the highest wisdom (book I 12.25.83)”. Where “anyone who does not have a good will […] will judge himself thoroughly unhappy if he has lost his glorious reputation, great wealth, and whatever bodily goods (book I 12.25.86–7)”. Which will someone has depends on their use of their rationality, the wise is guided by his rationality and acts on the good will, the fool follows his lusts and acts on the bad will. In the end, the one who follows his good will shall be happy, where the one who follows his bad will shall be unhappy. This is because living according to the good will is a reward in itself, while living according to the bad will needs earthly things that can easily be lost as a reward. It is not the case however that one posses either a good or bad will, but we can choose which will to act on and live by. Augustines therefore argues that we are not controlled by higher power (good of evil), but that we have a free will and are responsible for our own actions (good and evil) and happiness.