theme 3- responses to the problem of evil- Irenaean type theodicy


How is Irenaeus view different to Augustine?

Augustine belived that the responsiblity for the existence of evil was due to the actions of free-will agents deliberately turning away from God

in conflict with this, Irenaeus maintained that the presence of evil in the created order was a deliberate action of an omnibenevolent God who wanted his creation to develop the qualties that would make them spirtually perfect

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vale of soul-making, human beings

Irenaeus regards this life as a place where human beings develop their potential and grow from the image to the likeness of God- having the potential qualities of Gods spiritual perfection to actualising those qualties

every moral decision faced where a good choice is freely made, then the individual develops more fully towards spiritual maturity

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why is evil necessary according to Irenaeus?

evil is a necessary facet of life that enables humans to develop. without it, decisions in life would have no real value. a person would never really appreciate being in good health unless they had experienced being ill. for Irenaeus, the ability for human beings to be able to freely choose to do good is instrumental in achieving Gods purpose for his creation

analogy- God as a craftsman working with human beings as his material and suggests that humans should allow God to mould them into perfection by acting in faith towards God and allowing both good and bad experiences to make us into a perfectly crafted item

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challenges to irenaean type theodicies

the concept of universal salvation is unjust-if all humans will eventually achieve perfection, no matter what they have done in the past, how does this encourage good moral behaviour in the here. if the end result is guaranteed by God, what is the point in doing good works?
the concept of universal salvation seems to undermine the efforts of human beings to develop their own spiritual maturity

evil and suffering should not be used as a tool by an omnibenevolent God- suffering should never be an instrument of a loving God, hurting someone is more akin to abuse than it is to love

why did the natural enviroment have to be created through a long slow pain-filled evolutionary process? why could an omnipotent God not do it in the twinkling of an eye

could the greater goods be gained without such evil and suffering?

immensity of suffering and unqual distribution- the immense suffering endured by some does not make up for any possible reward of spiritual perfection

does the end justify the means? e.g in the holocaust, people were runined and destroyed more then perfected

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