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1.) Compare and contrast the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies and their attempts to solve the problem of evil.

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Introduction

1.) Compare and contrast the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies and their attempts to solve the problem of evil. The problem of evil is a significant and enduring philosophical and theological debate which frequently finds itself in the media. First discussed by the Greek philosopher Epicurus (371-270 BC), it is one which has challenged the faith of man for millennia; how could an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god or gods allow suffering and evil to exist in the world? For scores of people, wrestling with this problem has even caused them to lose their faith. Although the word "evil" is most often used to describe human or supernatural agents, it has a broader definition that that. So, while Hitler and Stalin would undoubtedly be included in such a discussion, evil also covers so-called "Acts of God" - such as floods and famines - as well as other imperfections in the world and its creatures - such as diseases and disorders. There are two main types of evil: * Moral evil - This covers the wilful acts of human beings, e.g. murder. * Natural evil - This refers to natural disasters, e.g. tsunamis. Of these two types, we may further divide both of them into the following two classes: * Physical evil - This means bodily pain or mental anguish, e.g. ...read more.

Middle

This calls a contradiction into question - why would an all-loving God create a world for his children and then fill it with suffering? Augustine argued that, despite being created good, because the world was created ex nihilo, it was also capable of becoming corrupt, or being corrupted (as it is a secondary and contingent realm i.e. matter is not eternal). Hence, he maintained that evil came into the world through original sin, where fallen angels tempted the Fall of humanity after the disobedience in the garden of Eden (through eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, directly against God's wishes). From this view, man is responsible for evil by being led astray by Satan. In comparison, Hick's Irenaean theodicy takes as its starting point the notion that, far from being created good (and a state from which we have fallen) there was in fact a 'two-stage' process in the act of bringing forth humanity into the world. Firstly humans have evolved into beings capable of social interaction, moral behaviour and reflection on their environment (alongside the capacity for awareness of the Divine). However, this development did not appear suddenly overnight but evolved through a long process of struggle against a hostile environment. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the theodicy argues back, claiming that man is responsible for many of these disasters due to his behaviour, (that these evils are punishments for our sins), and that there are also other forces in the world, besides men, contributing to evil. To some, evil occurrences appear to happen randomly, without purpose. To illustrate this, we can look to the story of Job in the Old Testament as an example. Job himself is the victim of numerous misfortunes, although he is an extremely pious man, so there is no apparent reason for any of these events. St Irenaeus offered an explanation for this difficulty presented by the problem of evil, when he spoke of evil existing for the purpose of "soul-making", or spiritual development. From his point of view, evil provides the necessary problems through which we take part in this bettering of the soul. He claims that the pains and sufferings of the world are meant by God to act as a means of producing a truly good person. This view, however, was rejected famously by the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, where one of the characters, Ivan, discards this explanation on the grounds that the suffering of a child can never be justified in terms of how good the results are. ?? ?? ?? ?? Stef Kirby 12Db Mr Galloway ...read more.

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