Explain how Irenaeus accounts for the existence for moral evil.
Irenaeus came out with the claim that God is partly responsible for moral evil in the world. He said he did this by making the human creation imperfect, this is because we are always striding for perfection but are not always able to reach it. Irenaeus is talking about the part in Genesis 1.26 where God said ‘let’s make man in our image, after our likenesses’. For us to change into God’s likeness we would have to go through a transformation to make us have his intelligence, morality and personality yet this isn’t true so we’re incomplete.
One of Irenaeus’s biggest challenges was ‘why is evil necessary’ for human development and why didn’t he just make us perfect from the start. Then evil in the world would be just non existent. A theory Irenaeus came up with for this explanation was that for us to develop into God’s likeness we need to co-operate willingly to reach this likeness. This willing co-operation requires genuine freedom. If it wasn’t genuine freedom then we wouldn’t be willingly co-operating, then all it is, is that he is making us become perfected later on rather than giving it to us at the start. The genuine freedom is giving us the option to choose evil but god wants us to choose the good option.
Irenaeus goes onto explaining that humans do often choose evil this is in fact why the fall happened. We all know that evil is not good and makes our lives a lot harder but without this evil we will never know what it truly means to be good without being either side of the fence. To reach goodness is a very good experience if we always are reaching good it will no longer be good.
He then goes onto saying that people who do not believe evil is necessary and they should take it away are in fact saying that God should just take away our humanity. Humans are entitled to freedom and if god always intervened when an evil act occurred then we would not have genuine freedom.