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Problem Of Evil And Suffering Essay, Research Paper

The Problem of Evil and Suffering A theodicy is a vindication of God´s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil. It challenges the truth of his existence, as God is told to be almighty and powerful and all moral, yet evil and suffering still occurs.

Different theodicies arise from different points of view. In this instance the views of Irenaeus and Augustine; two philosophers from a similar, historic background.

Augustine´s theodicy defends God in a sense, through the fact that he believed God did not create evil but it´s occurrence is simply a privation of good. This view also came from a very famous philosopher; Aristotle (384bc-322bc), this fact, backs up Augustine´s case.

Augustine continued to backup Gods morality as he stated that God couldn´t be responsible for the existence of evil. God was an all powerful and good being himself, yet all of man cannot be the same, so no-one will have the same moral values as God. Augustine claimed that this was caused by the fall, this effected all of creation and the gap was eventually made to be so big that man began to departure from God and this is where the creation of evil arose.

People have argued, why didn´t God prevent the fall? Though, Augustine suggested that God foresaw the fall, yet didn´t know its consequences. He made the fall to create man as moral and good, yet Adam and Eve used their generous helping of free will to their own selfish morals and rebelled against God. Which brought about the core of evil and progressed in the fall.

So eventually, Augustine came to the conclusion that evil was a result of soul deciding through human decision and free will. Though, again questions arose from this; why didn´t God erase the concept of free will? However, Augustine always had an answer and proclaimed that God allowed free will to occur as it was more important than having an absence of evil as a world without evil would not be as good as the world today.

Irenaeus´ theodicy differs from Augustine´s, as it is more in the sense that God created evil, whereas Augustine described its existence to be more of a mistake. Yet some of Irenaeus´s points relate to Augustine´s, though are different forms as they are based on different opinions.

Firstly, Irenaeus still claims that God exists, yet explains him as being responsible for the occurrence of evil because he created us to be imperfect. However, in Irenaeus´s view this was essential to existence as he claimed that evil is a way to greater good, so God intended for evil to exist. Irenaeus´s suggested reason for the problem of evil today is the fact that evil and good concepts are not balanced. He felt that if there was a healthy balance between good and evil then it would be the best possible world for soul making. Augustine would argue against this as he cannot come to terms with the world being a good place when it involves evil and suffering.

Irenaeus supports God´s morals through the fact that free will would no longer exist without the perseverance of evil. Because some evil occurrences are a result of people doing as they please through their own free will. Though we can´t live under rules all the time as if we were all part of a big school, so free will is essential and very important.

However, Irenaeus did admit that there is a negative side to free will through the fact that it grants us with the potential to grow away from God and choose evil. Though accepted by Irenaeus, this would be more accepted by Augustine´s theodicy, as Irenaeus points seem to disagree with the fact that this actually happens though he does say that it´s a possibility.

The conflict between Augustine and Irenaeus arises from their hugely different views on Theodicy, for instance, Irenaeus believes that evil is essential to exist and God created it for our well being, yet Augustine simply claims that it shouldn´t have come about and God did not intend for it to happen. All of their views relate to each other yet have a slightly different background as the opinions behind each are different so are brought across in different ways.


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