Replacement of the 'Augustinian' Theodicy with an 'Irenaean' Theodicy and the Need for a New Metaphysical Foundation
The basic questions with which this essay is concerned have confronted me throughout the course of my study as a student at Carroll. My studies in the sciences and liberal arts have taken place in conjunction with and often in a certain amount of healthy tension with my journey of faith as a Catholic. This essay concerns many of the issues with which I have struggled. My main question involves why our scientific view of the universe and its inhabitants, as well as certain religious and philosophical considerations, seem for many to be in conflict with the traditional Christian explanation for evil as developed by St. Augustine (354-430 C.E.). As John Hick notes in his book, Evil and the God of Love,1 the pervasive presence of evil in the world is one of the most significant reasons for atheism, and is a constant challenge to the faith of the believer. Since it seems that some conflict exists between contemporary thinking and certain aspects of Augustine’s thought, and since evil can act as a major barrier to faith, I believe that we must strive to assure the intelligibility of the Christian faith in the modem world by critically examining the traditional Christian theodicy. A better understanding of the mystery of evil cannot make it go away, but may open the doorway of faith for those to who find evil blocking the way, or lighten the burden of doubt for those who already believe.