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Derin Adetosoye

Derin Adetosoye


Total Article : 11

About Me:I am a student at sixth-form currently studying Economics, Biology & Philosophy and Ethics. My articles are mainly focused on Philosophy and explores the different approaches to ethics. They are written in a way which can be used for revision purposes.

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The Problem of Evil: Irenaeus' Theodicy

The Problem of Evil: Irenaeus' Theodicy

So we’ve discussed Augustine’s solution, but it is clear that despite his view fitting in with classical theology, his theodicy is fundamentally flawed due to its scientific and logical errors such as the the claim that we are “seminally present in the loins of Adam.” Therefore a better solution comes from Irenaeus - whose theodicy tackles the weakness of Augustine’s and approaches the problem in a way which I particularly agree with.

Irenaean theodicy is a soul-making theodicy which proposes that whilst evil is the consequence of human free will and disobedience, God is still partly responsible for evil and suffering in the world. It argues that God purposely created the world imperfectly so that it is a place in which imperfect, immature souls can develop from “image to likeness” of God. The theodicy argues that in order to appreciate the art of goodness we cannot live in a hedonistic paradise(perfect world) as in order to appreciate good we must need evil and suffering and so 2nd order good will come from 1st order evil. A philosopher named John Hick agreed with this and contributed that a world of “soul making is better than a world programmed for goodness, as this will resemble robots and not be genuine.” Thus he argues that God gave us free will with the choice of doing good and evil, but as our souls develop we will eventually choose good over evil so that we can develop from “Bios to Zoe.” According to Irenaean theodicy, God also chose to give us free will so that we will have the chance to willingly love him and so in order for that love to be genuine and not programmed God created us at an “epistemic distance” meaning he does not intervene so that we do not feel obliged to love him. Thus to summarise, philosophers Hick and Vardy described the world as a “vale of soul making” in which eventually everyone will enter heaven because since the world is a place in which people develop into good people, everyone is worthy of the everlasting life in heaven - highlighting the omni-benevolent nature of God.

What’s your thoughts on this one? Again, like every theodicy there are flaws. A valid criticism questions the fact that everyone ends up in heaven as it seems unfair that people who were good and people who were sinners will eventually end up in the same place. How is this just? In addition, the claim that 2nd order good will come from good order evil is also questionable. If God was omnipotent then why should we even need evil to bring about good? As Putnam stated, God should have created harmony instead of suffering if he were truly all loving and all powerful.

Despite its slight flaws, I personally think that it answers the problem of evil more directly than Augustine’s theodicy and makes the most sense to me. But like mentioned before, this isn’t set in stone nor is it the only other theodicy. I find it fascinating how there are so many different thoughts and perspectives regarding this problem!

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