Submitted By icecold000007
Solving the Problem: Irenaean Theodicy
* Irenaean theodicy is often referred to as ‘soul-making’ as it is concerned with the development of human souls. * Like Augustine, Irenaeus argued that evil is the consequence of human free will and disobedience. * However, unlike Augustine, Irenaeus believed that God was partly responsible for evil and suffering. * Irenaeus argued that God created the world imperfectly so that imperfect immature beings could develop through a soul-making process into a ‘child of God,’ in his perfect likeness.
* For Irenaeus, God could not have created humans in his perfect likeness of himself because attaining the likeness of God requires the willing co-operation of humans. * God thus had to give humans free will in order for them to be able to willingly co-operate. * Since freedom requires the ability to choose good over evil, God had to permit evil and suffering to occur
* Irenaeus concluded that eventually evil and suffering will be overcome and humans will develop into a perfect likeness of God, and everyone will have eternal life in heaven.
Hicks reformation of the Irenaean Theodicy * John Hick highlighted the importance of God allowing humans to develop themselves * He reasoned that if God made us perfect, then we would have the goodness of robot, which would love God automatically without any further deliberation. * God wants humans to be genuinely loving and therefore gives them free will.
* If God interfered of became too close, humans would be unable to make a free choice and thus would not benefit from the developmental process. * This is known as the counterfactual hypothesis (view that God can continually make everything good) * Therefore, God created humans at an epistemic distance from himself, a distance of knowledge.
Is this the best possible world? * Irenaeus saw the world as a ‘soul-making place’. * Here we could complete our development into a child of God. * Evil was necessary to aid into heaven. * Natural evil such as famine had a divine purpose- to develop qualities such as compassion
* Irenaeus saw evil as a necessary part of life, something that will eventually make us into better people. * At death, some of us will proceed into heaven. * Those who have not completed their development will continue their soul making journey after death but will then enter the kingdom of heaven
Evaluation of the Irenaean Theodicy