Explain the theodicy of Irenaeus
The Irenaean theodicy is a theory used to help justify the problem of evil. The problem of evil raises questions as to whether there is a God as he is supposed to be omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient. If God was all loving, all powerful and all knowing then why is there evil and suffering in the world? Irenaeus argues that it is necessary for there to be evil and suffering in the world; it is a necessary part of life as it will develop us morally and take us closer to the image of God. The inconsistent triad suggests that if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, he would not and could not allow evil to exist on earth, as this would remove either or both of those qualities. Irenaeus disagreed. He believed that God allows natural evil for a purpose; the purpose being to encourage humans to develop a relationship with God. Evil could be divided into two categories: natural and moral evil. Natural evil is the evil that occurs as a result of a natural process e.g. tsunamis and earthquakes whereas moral evil is evil inflicted against humankind e.g. murder and theft. Epicurus, an ancient Greek Philosopher, stated: ‘Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?’ Unraveling this ‘riddle’, Epicurus seems to be suggesting that either God wants to eradicate evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is powerless. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can eradicate evil, and God really wants to do it, Epicurus asks: why is there evil in the world? Saint Irenaeus (c. 130- 200 CE) was from Asia Minor. He became a Christian preacher and later in 177 AD, became the Bishop of Lyon. Irenaeus’ writings are believed to be very important. He was the first Christian to attempt to explain Christian...
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