Show How the Theodicies of Irenaeus and Augustine Account for Natural Evil (25)

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In this essay I will be explaining the problem of evil, the types of evil, Irenaeus’ idea on immature beings and Augustine’s theodicy of free will. Augustine in his ‘confessions’ defined the problem of evil. ‘Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all-powerful; if he will not then he is not all good’. His assumption is that a good God would eliminate evil as far as it is possible, because if he is omnipotent then all evil should be eliminated, but evil exists so why does God allow it? David hum in ‘Dialogues concerning Natural Religion’ argues that either God is not omnipotent, or God is not omnibenevolent, or evil does not exist. Evil does exist and as the idea of God must include omnipotence and omnibenevolence, the God cannot exist. Philosophers Augustine and Irenaeus presented theodicies in response to this problem and they try to explain the problem of evil whilst maintaining Gods omnipotence and omnibenevolence. They say there are two types of evil, natural evil, which is suffering caused by natural disasters, such as a tsunami killing people and animals and destroying homes. And moral evil, which is suffering caused by humans, such as the Holocaust. Augustine based his theory on two key passages in the Bible. Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-20. He believed that a good God created the world and at that time the world was good. Augustine believes that evil is a ‘privation of good’ not an entity in itself. If the world was good when God created it, where did the evil come from? Augustine believes evil was a result of angels who turned away from God, misused their free will and tempted Adam and Eve, which is the origin of moral evil. Augustine reasoned that all humans are worthy of the punishment of evil and suffering because we are “seminally present in the loins of Adam”’ deserving of the punishment for original sin.

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