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Augustine based his theory on his reading of key biblical passages

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Introduction

Augustine based his theory on his reading of key biblical passages. He believed Evil is not a substance- it is a deprivation, sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve, and their disobedience. This brought about "disharmony" both in our human nature and creation. We all share in the evil nature brought about by Adam and Eve because we were seminally present in them. We therefore deserve to be punished. Natural evil is a consequence of the disharmony of nature brought about by the fall. Human action brought it about. God is justified in not intervening because the suffering is a consequence of human action and that God is perfect. The world he created reflected that perfection. Augustine believed that evil is not from God - God's creation was faultless and perfect, he came up with this conclusion because of the story of Adam and Eve and their "fall" in the garden of Eden. ...read more.

Middle

Biologists have formulated that the theory of natural selection, in which the innate selfishness of creatures became a virtue in the battle for survival. However if God can be held responsible for the system by which the natural world works, he should be held responsible for the suffering that his system causes. A more complicated problem is associated with the idea of collective responsibility. Why should people suffer for the misfeasors of past generations. Even the Bible argues this in Jeremiah. Augustine makes much of the idea of hell - as part of creation, God must be responsible for its creation, so he must have foreseen the need or punishment. The theodicy of Irenaeus believes that humans were created in the image and likeness of God. We are in an immature moral state, though we have the potential for moral perfection. ...read more.

Conclusion

This faith becomes a virtue. John Hicks calls this lack of understanding as "epistemic distance". Suffering and evil are useful as a means of knowledge, character building and for a predictable environment. Irenaeus argued that everyone goes to heaven. This would appear unjust in that evil goes unpunished. Morality becomes pointless. It has been argued that it is not possible that suffering can be justified on the grounds of motive, suffering does not sit easily with the concept of loving God. The Irenean Theodicy allows room for the concept of evolution and avoids some of the problem associated with Augustine, especially the notion that evil seem to have come from no where. The challenges of the world do not always result in a genuine human development, and often seem to produced nothing but suffering a misery. Such as the Holocaust, there is no need for such extreme forms of suffering and evil. http://www.philipallan.co.uk/images/388-T2.pdf ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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