ï»¿Explain the main themes of theodicies in the Augustinian tradition.
â€¢ God made the world perfect as God can only make perfect things / evil does not
exist, it is only a lack of perfection.
â€¢ Only God himself is perfect. Created things are open to change and therefore
open to going wrong.
â€¢ God gave humans and angels free will and these rejected God and created evil.
Their evil actions made all things imperfect. Evil is either sin or the punishment
â€¢ Everybody is guilty of sin as everybody is seminally present in Adam.
â€¢ God is right not to end suffering and evil as he should not interfere with the
freedom he has given to humans.
â€¢ Humans need evil to be ...view middle of the document...
For many years the traditional Christian church has used the Augustinian theodicy as a main part of their teaching, in particularly using it for its Doctrine of Original Sin.
Augustine begins his theodicy with the concept that God is perfect. The world he has created is one that reflects perfection. He then also continues to say that in this perfect world, for it to be perfect, humans were born with free will and this was harmonious. After sin and death entered the world through not only Adam and Eve's disobedience but also the fall of the Archangel Lucifer, disharmony was brought about in both humanity and the Creation. Subsequently, Aquinas believes that the whole of humanity experiences this disharmony because we are descended from Adam's 'loins'. Augustine claimed that: 'All evil is either sin or the punishment for sin'. Natural and moral evil are therefore consequences of this disharmony within the Creation created by the falls. God is justified in not intervening because the suffering is a consequence of our human action, and God must accept this it is an action we performed through our free will which he placed upon us himself.
Central to Augustine's theory is that of deprivation i.e. evil is not a substance; it is the absence of something. Augustine uses the analogy of blindness to explain this. Blindness is not an entity but the absence of sight, much in the same way that evil is not an entity but an absence of good. For Augustine, this means that evil came about as a direct result of the misuse of free will. He includes that both natural and moral evil are consequences of this abuse. Natural evil has come about through an imbalance in nature brought about by this misuse of free will and moral evil through the imbalance in the human creation and a punishment for the sin which Adam and Eve committed. In the Bible, there is evidence to support this theodicy that the world is suffering through the act of God making reconciliation possible through the coming of Jesus of Nazareth: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17)
A modern addition to Augustine's theory can be found in Plantinga's God, Freedom and Evil in which he claims that for God to have created a being that could perform good actions and...