Epicurus set out a dilemma
- Either God can not prevent evil but he wants to- which shows a lack of omnipotence
- He can but does not want to- shows he is manivolent
- He can and is willing- then why is there evil?
- Evil causes by humans through free will
- Theodicy- an explanation to how an omni-god exists in an evil world
- Events that have bad consequences when explained by humans
Augustinian Theodicy- privation & lack
Augustinian theodicy was greatly influenced by creation stories found in Genesis 1 to 3. Augustine interprets Genesis literally and holds a traditional view of God.
Privation of evil- evil is a privation of good.
- Words like 'bad' or 'evil' do not reach the expections on what nature should be like.
- They lack quality .
- Evil is not a force that undermines God.
Absense & Lack
- Privation applies when you lack something you should have.
- Evil comes from moral choices in Augustine's opinion. Robbing a bank means you dont have the quality of respecting other peoples property
'Evil comes from God'
- God causes everything
- Evil is not a thing but something missing. So an evil person lacks the quality of goodness.
- God causes evil to exist because of free will. Everyone has goodness in them
- In the first genesis story creation is good and humans are in the likelyness of God.
- We are rational creatures.
- The Garden of Eden is in harmony.
- The fall marks disharmony.
- The serpent tempted Eve to use her free will
- A&E chose not to be in harmony with God. All humans are 'seminally' present in A's sin
- All future people wil live in a disharmonious world
So, why did God give us free will if he knew we would sin?
- Free will is more valuable than robots
- Allowing evil to happen is a price worth paying
- The contrast between good and bad highlights the beauty of goodness
- This is the aesthetic principle which is a contrast between what is good and lacks goodness
Criticsms of the Augustinian theodicy
- Plausibility- Genesis can not be seen as literally true
- Alvin Plantinga- where is the proof?
Interpreted literally by Ireneaus
- Places plame for sin on the serpent of the story although Adam and Eve are not blameless
- If God did not save humanity then the serpent would have triumphed over God and humanity would be abandoned
- Adam and Eve are like children (make a mistake=punishment) and God saves them and their descendents
- They are not rebels, God does not curse Adam and Eve but the ground they walk on and the serpent
- Ireneaus says punishment had to be given so Adam and Eve would not despise God. So they develop a sense of morality on their own
- The harshness of the world is how we come to know God
- Testament points to the God and and Jesus incarnation.
- Jesus is our saviour who takes human sin
Modern Irenean Theodicy
John Hick suggests Adam and Eve is a myth. The role of mythology is to examine the greatest mysteries of human existence- like evil by using striking imagery.
- Human beings develop in image- we are developed in the image of God.
- Evolution for us was a struggle to survive- we are spirtiually immature and through our struggle we become spiritually mature
- 'Likeliness' is when we begin to develop a relationship with God
- The 'fall' is not as significant as Augustine's theodicy as the fall marks how apart we are from God
- We were not connected in the presence because if we were- all free will would be gone because we would be overpowered by God's presence and not be able to make a choice
- This is the EPISTEMIC distance- distance wheich is in cognitive dimension
- Soul making- we live in a world in which we can make decisions on how to act
- E.g. compassion is only present in a suffering world
- Developing conscience is important in this
- Natural Disasters- are stimulants for human intellectual development
- Everything else is the eschatological aspect- all will be known in heaven
Injustice- saving everything is injust as it permits a life of sin and we are safe if we all just realise our mistakes
Traditional christians say human beings are responsible for their own actions
Suffering- idea contrasts with omnibenevolent God
Ends justify means- Should evil exist and be inficted on others just so we develop like God?
Epistemic distance- Why is God so far from humanity?