The age old question of theodicy is: “If there is a good God, then why so much evil?” In the same manner as Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, some people reject the existence of a god due to evil and suffering, or at least believe that it cuts against the notion of a benevolent Deity watching over us. After all, if God is good and powerful, then why is human history a never ending conveyor belt of corpses and suffering?
The Irenaean Model of Theodicy
The second-century church father Irenaeus of Lyons believed that humans were created in the image of God but not in his likeness. Thus, God allows evil and suffering in the world in order to develop our moral character (the ‘likeness’ of God). As another write puts it, the world is a “vale of soul-making” (a phrase used by John Hick, though originally coined by John Keats)…
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