During this time of struggle, Augustine accepts Neoplatonism, thus completely rejecting the Manichean concepts of God that he had adopted earlier. This new philosophy leads him to the question of evil’s origin. “I kept seeking for an answer to the question: Where does evil come from? And I sought it in an evil way, and I did not see the evil in my very search.” This question plagues him, until he realizes that all things are good, even if they are corrupted. “They could not be corrupted if they were supremely good,” he says, referring to the supreme goodness of God. “But unless they were good they could not be corrupted,” he adds, referring to man. This leads him to his final conclusion about evil. Evil does not exist as a substance, but it is a perversion of the will bent aside from God. He reaches a similar conclusion with the idea of falsehood, it being “nothing except the existence in thought of what does not exist in fact.”
Now that he has solved the problem of evil, Augustine has come closer than ever to accepting the Christian faith. He already feels a love for God, but has not yet “settled down” to enjoy God. “I had now found the priceless pearl,” he says, “and I ought to have sold all that I had and bought it – yet I hesitated.” Augustine admits that he has two wills struggling inside him – one will drawing him to God’s love that “satisfied and vanquished me” and one will pulling him to his own lust that “pleased and flattered me.”
It is during this time, after he has realized the source of evil, that Augustine realizes his own wickedness. “And now You set me face to face with myself, that I might see how ugly I was, and how crooked and sordid, bespotted and ulcerous. And I looked and I loathed myself.” This change in Augustine’s esteem of himself leads him to the sin he knows he must repent from and turn from in order to become a Christian: his rampant immorality.