The Irenaeus Theodicy, often called Soul Making, is a counterpart to Augustine’s Theodicy, yet it is also and opposing argument. While Augustine stated that evil came from humans and Adam in Genesis, Irenaeus proposes that evil is opposing the human races’ bid to become one with God.
Irenaeus’theodicy differs from Augustine’s, as it is more in the sense that God created evil, whereas Augustine described its existence to be more of a mistake. Yet some of Irenaeus points relate to Augustine’s, though are different forms as they are based on different opinions.
Irenaeus battles the problem of the inconsistent triad by saying that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omnificent and evil does exist, but that we, as a race, are not perfect. He believes that at the moment of creation we were not at all perfect, but drastically flawed. And to become one with God, as God intended, we must work toward that goal. The idea that we must work towards God places him in a higher realm. It is this epistemic distance that evil fills and we must fight through. John Hick, a perpetrator of this Theodicy states that: “In order to be a person, exercising some measure of genuine freedom, the creature must be brought into existence, not in the immediate divine presence, but at a distance from God’.
Evil comes in as the obstacle coarse in the way of the ultimate prize. After all, with such a great goal, it shouldn’t be easy. Though this doesn’t really answer the question of where evil came from, or why God allows it. Irenaeus believes that we chose it when humanity fell in Creation. That justifies moral evil. But what of natural evil? Why did God want this journey to take place in such a hazardous environment, with earthquakes and pestilence, and in such frail form, which is susceptible to such dangers? Hick’s response is that moral and spiritual development does not take place in a static environment but comes as the result of challenge and struggle and because we live in a world where pain and suffering is real our actions have real moral consequences for both ourselves and others. Any world where this was not the case would be one where the distinction between right and wrong could not be made.
In saying this, Hick is accused of belittling some of the worlds more excessive examples of evil. The holocaust for example. But in this modern day and age, where Nihilistic attitudes are taking over, people dieing is seen as less of an evil. After all, if you kill one, what’s the difference in killing six million?
He further argues that those who say that any kind of omnibenevolent wouldn’t allow evil to exist full stop are depriving themselves of freedom that humanity entails. For God to get involved in every act of evil that occurs would deprave us of the free will that God gave. And it would reduce God, the ultimate creator of the universe, to a human plaything. If that happened he would no longer be God, as we would control him. As Irenaeus said, “If anyone do shun the knowledge of both kinds of things he unaware divests himself of the character of a human being”.
As far as criticisms go, it is to optimistic. It is essentially an “everything will work out in the end” theory, that we will end up at Gods side after a long struggle and every thing will be happily ever after in heaven. But if we do that, there is really no reason for a God to make us happy, which negates Augustine and Irenaeus theories. Also, he is basing all of this on the bases that God exists. For that reason, atheists don’t hold to this argument at all.
Overall, atheists don’t hold to this on the basis that they believe that God doesn’t exist; therefore there is no ultimate cause. Theists like this theodicy as it allows them to keep their ideal of an omnipotent etc god, but does justify evil.
“Reasoned arguments cannot account for the amount of evil in the world” Discuss
A reasoned argument is one that has no empirical bases. Therefore it is a posteri. In the case of evil, the two theodicies of Augustine and Irenaeus are reasoned. There is no physical base of proof for either. For Augustine, the bible can’t be proved; the Christ event can’t be proved to have improved our worth in terms of evil either. The same for Irenaeus, we can’t prove that we are heading for paradise as no one has ever come back to tell us. But we can’t deny the fact that there is a lot of injustice exists and, if we could measure it, evil is a large digit.
But the amount of evil in the world has no quantity. How can we measure something that is essentially a human concept? Cheetahs have no idea that killing an innocent gazelle is classified as evil. After all, the gazelle did nothing to harm the cheetah. But the predator has cubs to feed and hasn’t eaten for days.
So putting those two facts together justifies the original statement. But just because we can’t justify the quantity doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. To date, the better off countries have dropped about £30 million in 3rd world debt. The Live Aid concert that happened all around the world has raised awareness of the plight of those less well off. While it is an undisputable fact that people are still suffering through both moral and natural evils, something is being done to lower the quantity of evils.
Courtney from Study Moose
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