• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Augustine's theodicy

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain Augustine's theodicy A theodicy is a philosophical or theological study which attempts to satisfy the problem of the existence of evil and suffering alongside that of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. The Christian approach to the problem of evil has largely been based on two Theodicies, the Irenaean and the Augustine. Both use the defence of free-will as their basic answer to the question, but they differ substantially in their response. Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD) based his theodicy on key Biblical passages, such as Genesis 3 and Romans 5. Genesis 3 is the story of Adam and Eve and their 'Fall' in Garden of Eden. This is the story of the serpent convincing the woman to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eve eats the fruit and also passes some to Adam. Because of this disobedience, God has them evicted from the garden and from thenceforth humans are labelled with 'original sin'. In Romans 5, Paul describes belief that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross removed this label of 'original sin', and that in his self-sacrifice Jesus has made available the ability to become truly good and righteous. ...read more.

Middle

Central to Augustine's theory is that of deprivation i.e. evil is not a substance; it is the absence of something. Augustine uses the analogy of blindness to explain this. Blindness is not an entity but the absence of sight, much in the same way that evil is not an entity but an absence of good. For Augustine, this means that evil came about as a direct result of the misuse of free will. He includes that both natural and moral evil are consequences of this abuse. Natural evil has come about through an imbalance in nature brought about by this misuse of free will and moral evil through the imbalance in the human creation and a punishment for the sin which Adam and Eve committed. In the Bible, there is evidence to support this theodicy that the world is suffering through the act of God making reconciliation possible through the coming of Jesus of Nazareth: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17) A modern addition to Augustine's theory can be found in Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil in which he claims that for God to have created a being that could perform good actions and act morally rightly would be logically impossible. ...read more.

Conclusion

However both reasoned theodicies leave God as the main producer of evil and reason for suffering. However, these reason arguments, whilst not accounting for the evil themselves, do gives us options to establish a true answers. Simply because one is not fool-proof does not mean that there is no way for accounting for evil in the world. The only problem is that reasoned arguments all come from human thought processes, and human thought processes, if our understanding of evil and suffering is correct, are contaminated by this dissonant harmony which we have within our world. Therefore, any reasoned arguments we come up with to explain evil and suffering in the world will simply be falsified by the very substance we are trying to explain. Human beings have only way of universally proving the existence of divinity or suffering, and that is reason arguments. There may be a reason that we have never truly understood completely the nature of divinity and that is because we cannot. Our logic has been contaminated by evil and the only way we can account for evil is to have faith in God and accept that there are some things that can only be account for under a divine creator which have no way of expressing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Explain how the theodicy of Irenaeus differs from that of Augustine and Evil cannot ...

    This is only possible in the afterlife, yet if there is no afterlife then the whole theory falls apart. In contrast if there is an afterlife and that is the ultimate destination of us all regardless then what is the point of all these challenges?

  2. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    As well, and in a similar sense to Sartre, Marx and Engels state that it is only through labor and action that man is able to create and develop himself. Marx and Engels refer to labor as being a vibrant, creative process of shaping the world and ourselves not the

  1. Explain the free will defence. Both the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies contain the argument ...

    He says since this world contains free agents that often fail to act in a morally good manner; it cannot have been created by an all-powerful, all-loving God.

  2. Explain and describe Augustine and Irenaeus' Theodicies

    Furthermore, Augustine maintained that free will must be valuable enough for God to allow this 'Privatio Boni' to continue. He argued that your free will enables you to move toward God or away from Him, and that this decides what happens to you after your life has ended.

  1. Explain and evaluate Augustine's Theodicy

    sin committed by Adam and Eve, inheriting it as a part of their human nature and God being a just God continues to punish people for Adam and Eve's disobedience. However this goes against the idea of God being omnibenevolent, as why would a loving God make innocent people suffer

  2. Irenaen Theodicy cannot justify the existence of evil. Discuss

    by setting fire to an anthill however the punishment was to help teach the child just as evil is used to teach humans morals.

  1. Explain the Irenaean Theodicy

    However, Aquinas argued that God?s goodness is greater than ours, and so his perspective on what is good is different. Due to his omniscience, it is possible that suffering is part of a greater plan that we cannot conceive of.

  2. discuss the claim that any belief in life after death is a theodicy in ...

    In which case, the status of life after death as a theodicy would be called into question. Hicks replica theory is an explanation of a spiritual resurrection, Hick claims that life after death is a possibility if at the moment of death God were to make an exact replica of that person with all their memories and personal characteristics intact.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work