• Created by: Lily21
  • Created on: 23-02-16 18:56

Irenaeus' Theodicy (Creation)

Stages of Creation: 

1. Man was created in the "Image of God" as an immature being with the ability to grow and develop. Thus, man was not created perfect. The Fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 when they ate the forbidden fruit can be seen to represent the entrance of evil into the world. 

  • God made us intelligent and personal beings in His image so that we could develop in a process called "Soul Making" by John Hick.

2. Then, throughout life, man would mature according to experiences, and eventually develop spiritually and morally into the "Likeness of God". In this way, man could become perfect. 

  • This is because morality developed through hard work is intrinsically more valuable than having instilled morals. 
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Irenaeus' Theodicy (Evil)

Irenaeus believed that we were created at an epistemic distance from God, so that we could speculate His existence and choose freely to worship Him, without knowing for sure He was real in order that we act as though we are being judged. 

Irenaeus also saw evil as a necessary part of life, something that will contribute to our "Soul Making". Swinburne argued that Natural Evil is necessary in order for other human qualities to develop, such as compassion, generosity and selflessness. 

  • Evil is therefore necessary in the world as it leads to the greater good of spiritual testing and development. 
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Irenaeus' Theodicy (Criticisms)


  • A perfect God could not have created an imperfect world. If a supposedly perfect God is capable of creating evil, that brings into question his "omnibenevolence" or "all-goodness", 
  • Does moral human development justify the need for such extreme evil? 
  • Some suffering 'backfires' and the person turns away from God, They cannot see how an omnibenevolent God would allow them to suffer, especially if they had been faithful to Him. 
  • Irenaeus' theory suggests that everyone would go to Heaven to continue their moral development, which seems unjust in relation to the way people life their lives on Earth. 
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Irenaeus' Theodicy (Strengths)


  • A loving parent has to let their child make some mistakes in order for them to learn what is right and wrong. 
  • God had to give humans free will to make moral choices, because otherwise we would have effectively have been robots programmed to make the right choice. 
  • Irenaeus' theodicy values spiritual growth and development of the soul with the highest value. 
  • Swinburne argues that in a world without pain and suffering, no good qualities would exist such as compassion, generosity and selflessness.
  • John Hick argues that God created us at an epistemic distance in order that we do not act out of a feat of judgement but rather according to the beliefs we hold. 
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