A. Explain the Irenaean theodicy.
The Irenaeus theodicy is a ‘soul-making’ theodicy, this means that it deals with the development of humanity. Irenaeus believed that both we and the world were made imperfect. The world having evil in itself allows us to develop moral and lets our souls mature so that not only will our images be like God’s but our likeness will also be equivalent. He also believed that our free will, given to us because of our epistemic distance with God, allows us to make the moral decisions in order to mature through the suffering in the imperfect world.
To fully understand his theodicy, we must first understand what Irenaeus meant by ‘image’ and ‘likeness’. He distinguished the two by saying that Adam was made in the form of God, “we are all made in God’s image”. However, he did not possess the same content or likeness (e.g. the moral maturity). We were therefore created imperfectly and in a state of immaturity in order to be able to mature and be made into perfection.
Irenaeus stated that humans are given free will in order to mature and develop into perfection by choosing God, but it is their choice to do so. Adam and Eve chose evil and rejected God’s way, but God could not intervene as he gave them free will. Irenaeus commented that had God intervened, humans would have lost their free will and their human character, “if anyone doth shun the knowledge of both things… he unaware divests himself of the character of a human being”.