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Select two theodicies. Comment on their success or otherwise. (13)

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Introduction

Select two theodicies. Comment on their success or otherwise. (13) The Augustinian theodicy is from St Augustine, who based his arguments on the bible, especially the accounts of the creation and the fall in Genesis. His significant theodicy depends on two statements. One is that evil did not come from God, since God's creation was flawless and perfect. The other, evil coming from elsewhere, so God s justified for allowing it to stay. Augustine started from believing that God was entirely good and that God had created a perfect world without any flaws. He followed the teaching in Genesis 1, where he emphasised that "All God has made pleased him." Therefore suffering and evil were unidentified. He made the point that God cannot be responsible form evil because evil cannot be categorised into being a "substance" rather he believed that evil refers to "lacking of good." For example, an eye is essentially good- it enables a person to see. If an eye is made imperfect, a person cannot see and therefore suffering results. The "good" is corrupted causing suffering/evil/pain etc. Augustine also believed that evil comes from humans and angels who deliberately chose to turn away from God. He believed that humans and angels have their own free will to do what they want and evil comes when they choose to use their will to turn away from God. ...read more.

Middle

He then argued that whoever says that God should never have allowed evil to happen then they are really saying that God should take away their humanity. For being human entails having freedom; yet if God were to intervene each time an evil act is committed, there would not in fact be any freedom to commit evil: "If anyone do shun the knowledge of both kinds of things... he unaware divests himself of the character of a human being." After he had explained the necessity of both potential and actual evil, he looked ahead to heaven, where everybody will complete the development of God's likeness and where the sufferings on Earth will have been long forgotten. Irenaeus believed that if everyone attained this stage then they were marking the completion of God's creation. John Hicks version of the Irenaean theodicy considers the idea that God, in creating man in his own image has in the first stage of this process produced a creature through the evolutionary process that can live in conscious fellowship with God. The next stage is the ability of that creature to make free moral choices. Part of this process requires humanity to live at distance from God. ...read more.

Conclusion

Without each choices we wouldn't be free and nor therefore, should we be human. Richard Swinburne has supported this argument and helped to counter some criticisms that are often levelled against it. One criticism asks why God needs to allow the scale of suffering witnessed in the holocaust. "... He would be like an over-protective parent who will not let his child out of sight for a moment." His reply conveyed that a God who intervened to prevent large-scale horrors would compromise the gift of freedom and remove human responsibility, thus preventing genuine human development. The free will defence adds to the work of Augustine and Irenaeus, giving further explanation as to why some evil and suffering may be necessary. However it attracts criticisms that we have discussed, especially the concern that divine love cannot be expressed through such suffering. I'd like to end the essay with the words of John Hick who talks about his evil and suffering: " Our solution, then, to this baffling problem of excessive and undeserved suffering is a frank appeal to the positive power of mystery. Such suffering remains unjust and inexplicable, haphazard and cruelly excessive. The mystery of dysteleological suffering is a real mystery, impenetrable to the rationalizing of the human mind." Theodicy Essay 1 ...read more.

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