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The Problem of Evil

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Introduction

a)Explain how Augustine and Irenaeus account for the existence of moral evil (33) The Bishop Augustine was influenced by Neo-Platonist's beliefs which are evident in Augustine's Theodicy where he states that the misuse of free will resulted in evil within the world. Augustine explained the origins of the existence of evil with two Biblical examples, firstly Lucifer's rebellion resulting in the fall of the angels and secondly Adam and Eves temptation and consequent rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden. Augustine argues that God isn't responsible for evil in the world as he sees evil as 'a privation' of a thing in which part of the created order leaves its pre-destined path and no longer carries out its rightful intentions as intended by God. He believes that God's creation was unburdened by defects and was free form flaws as a perfect God created it Augustine referenced Genesis 1 "All God has made pleased him" thus showing that evil and suffering were unknown of. Illustrating that it was not part of Gods plan to place evil and suffering in the world and is therefore not his responsibility as evil is necessary and so subsequent to change therefore only an uncreated God can be perfect. He does not believe that evil was a substance created by God as for him this would be illogical as he relies upon the assumption that God's creation was perfect and faultless. ...read more.

Middle

He believes that this evil is temporary and therefore justifiable as eventually it will be overcome when we transform from Gods image to being in Gods likeness and go to Heaven. Irenaeus states that there are various benefits of moral evil, firstly that "if we had no knowledge of the contrary, could we have instruction of in that which is good". Therefore showing that through suffering we develop our understanding and desire to help others developing our character. Thus creating a more moral human race as if we had no free will we would just do things for the sake of it and this would not be so morally correct as doing a charitable act out of own free will. Another benefit for the existence of moral evil is that of a predictable environment where the natural laws which are independent of needs and necessary clash with our own individual needs resulting In the presence of natural evil. When a person has endured suffering, and the hardship which the presence of natural evil entails, Irenaeus argues that they would have developed Gods likeness and reach Heaven within which they will cease to remember the sufferings of which they endured on Earth. Therefore supporting the view that suffering is beneficial and necessary for Gods creation to be who he intended. b)'The sufferings of innocent people, destroy any attempt to explain why God allows moral evil.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Another Theistic explanation is that of Dualism which sees a battle between the created order- God against disorder in the universe. This view is routed in the bible and heavily relies upon the symbolic instead of the philosophical meaning i.e. the struggle between God and Satan. In support of Gods choice to let moral evil run within his creation is Despotism where it argues that it is Gods right to let evil into the world and who are we to question his choice as he is our supreme leader and creator. Similar to the Christian view that "it is good because God commands it" as they strongly believe in Gods paternal love towards his people and so whatever he decides is correct. As thought by Irenaeus pain and suffering are all part of a natural process and are not a weakness in Gods creation Instead they are a testimonial to his fore-thinking of the benefits which moral evil supplies. Firstly that pain serves us a biological and character building purpose; secondly that suffering is beneficial in the long-term as it leads to an appreciation of the beauty of his creation on a broader picture resulting in human values emerging. However this has been counteracted with the extreme and unnecessary large scale of the pain and suffering which moral evil causes. Therefore it seems meaningless to argue that the starvation of a child in Africa will result in a wealthy westerner's character building- it seems illogical and slightly immoral. ...read more.

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