The problem of Evil - Augustine, Irenaeus and Hick

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- Augustine argued that the Bible shows tha God is wholly good and that in Genesis 1, he is described as creating the world perfectly good and free from defect.

- Evil is not a thing or substance and therefore God did not create it. Evil is the going wrong of something good. Augustine termed this as a 'privation of good' - which came not from God, but from freewill. As a consequence, the state of perfection was ruined by human sin.

- Natural evil came through the loss of order in nature and moral evil came from the knowledge of good and evil, which humans discovered through their disobedience. 

- Augustine said that both forms of evil are punishments and humans have brought suffering on themselves so God is justified in not removing it; all humans were seminally present in Adam and Eve at the time of sin.

- God is presented as omnibenevolent (all-loving) because if he was just, then everyone would receive their rightful punishment in hell.

- It is soul-deciding: humanities fate is decided on the basis of Adam and Eve's sin and individual's response to God's offer of salvation.


- Removes the responsibility of suffering from God. God did not create evil as it is a privation.

- A classic theistic response to the problem of evil ad is consistent with classical theistic belief.

- If humans are responsible for suffering then suffering is a punishment and God is justified in not removing it.

- It explains both moral and natural evil. Moral evil is a result of freewill and natural evil is a result of the disorder brought about by 'the fall'.


-  Main critics = Schleiermacher. Schleiermacher suggested the theodicy was logically flawed: he said it was a contradiction to say that a perfectly created world had gone wrong, since it would mean that evil had created itself out of nothing (ex nihilo) which is logically impossible. Either the world was not perfect to start with or God made it go wrong. 

- If the world was perfect and there was no knowledge of good and evil, how could there be freedom to disobey God?

- This accout of creation is contrary to the theory of evolution.

- The view that everyone was seminally present in Adam and Eve


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