theodicy - Augustines Theodicy As a Christian, Augustine...

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Augustine’s Theodicy As a Christian, Augustine believed that God was all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and all-good (omnibenevolent), yet as early as the second century B.C., the philosopher Epicurus had raised the following objection to the existence of such an idea of God. 1.) If God knows everything, then He knows that there is evil in the world and He also knows how to stop it. 2.) If God is all-powerful, then He must be able to abolish all evil and suffering. 3.) If God is perfectly good, then He must want to abolish all evil and suffering. 4.) BUT, Evil and suffering (still) exist in the world in great quantity. 5.) Therefore, God cannot be both perfectly good and also omnipotent. Another version of the argument is a dualist, or Manichaen one: Second Formulation 1. God is the author of everything. 2. Evil is something. 3. Therefore God is the author of evil. Yet another one considers it impossible for imperfection to be introduced into a perfect causal sequence by a secondary object or agent (such as Adam and/or Eve) who was created perfect. Third Formulation 1. God made everything perfect. 2. Imperfection cannot come from perfection. 3. Therefore perfectly created beings cannot be the origin of evil. 4. Therefore God must be the origin. The unenviable task for theologians seems to be to choose between God's goodness and His omnipotence, sacrificing one to save the other. For believers in general, it has been a troublesome and deep riddle which requires some kind of resolution. The existence of so much evil and suffering in the world has provided a common excuse for many for not believing in God. How do we answer potential believers regarding this riddle? Of course, one could respond that while it is true that Christians have yet to complete the difficult task of fully explaining the existence of evil and suffering, non-believers have the more difficult task of explaining the existence of everything else, but that still leaves the problem of evil unsolved. There are four basic theological arguments to the problems of evil that have survived into modern times, often in new "designer clothes." In order to try to resolve the logical dilemma, these perspectives do at least one of the following: 1) Minimize the extent and intensity of evil (Irenaeus), 1
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2) Deny God's perfect goodness (but this leads to either denying His existence, or else redefining Him into an entirely different sort of being that Christians—or any traditional theist— would not recognize as God). 3) Deny God's omnipotence ("process" theologians), or 4) Emphasize God's purposes in creating free-will creatures and sharing His power with us, which is Augustine’s view. IRENAEUS produced the earliest clear-cut response to the logical problem of evil. Irenaeus
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 100 taught by Professor Briancross during the Spring '09 term at Saint Louis.

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theodicy - Augustines Theodicy As a Christian, Augustine...

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