Explain the main themes of theodicies in the Augustinian tradition.
• God made the world perfect as God can only make perfect things / evil does not
exist, it is only a lack of perfection.
• Only God himself is perfect. Created things are open to change and therefore
open to going wrong.
• 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
• Everybody is guilty of sin as everybody is seminally present in Adam.
• God is right not to end suffering and evil as he should not interfere with the
freedom he has given to humans.
• Humans need evil to be able to appreciate the good – just like we need
contrasting colours. The world is wholly good when looked at in its entirety.
• Accept answers that include Calvin’s idea of predestination and Leibniz’s idea
that this is the best of all possible worlds.
A theodicy is a philosophical or theological study which attempts to satisfy the problem of the existence of evil and suffering alongside that of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. The Christian approach to the problem of evil has largely been based on two Theodicies, the Irenaean and the Augustine. Both use the defence of free-will as their basic answer to the question, but they differ substantially in their response. Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD) based his theodicy on key Biblical passages, such as Genesis 3 and Romans 5. Genesis 3 is the story of Adam and Eve and their 'Fall' in Garden of Eden. This is the story of the serpent convincing the woman to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eve eats the fruit and also passes some to Adam. Because of this disobedience, God has them evicted from the garden and from thenceforth humans are labelled with 'original sin'. In Romans 5, Paul describes belief that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross removed this label of 'original sin', and that in his self-sacrifice Jesus...