John Hick is a contemporary philosopher who sheds light on theodicy. Hick’s view on soul-making is one that agrees with the Augustinian theodicy. According to Hick, the project of soul-making is a worldly-based conception. This concept implies that the world is the ideal place designed by God for soul-making. Hick adamantly argues that the world is a suffering place, where all kinds of temptations and evil take place.
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Hick views are that soul-making is a process where man grows spiritually and also morally. This process must include earthly suffering. Hick’s theodicy centers on the belief that one becomes a better being after experiencing suffering. An example of this growth is a person’s virtues and character. There are concerns that Hick philosophy on evil is an Irenaean-oriented theodicy.
However, a critical analysis of Hick’s philosophy corresponds greatly with that of Origen theodicy. Origen perceives the problem with evil started at the beginning of the creation. This fact is part of biblical teachings. Another similarity between Origen and Hick is that they both perceive the world as the place for soul making.
More importantly, both philosophers believe that the soul-making process on earth is a continuous creation process by God. Many of the Christians would want to refute Hick’s claims. Many of the Christians still believe that to be created in the image of God refers to being perfect. On the other hand, Hick insists that the perfection in creation is to be achieved through learning and gaining knowledge about God.
It is difficult to account for the reality of evil as a contemporary Christian. Hick’s project on soul-making does not correspond to God’s nature of being absolute good and powerful. At this point, Hick sounds more of an atheist. Whether, Hick arguments illuminates the reality of evil or not, his sentiments are apologetic to atheism.
Hick uses two approaches to provide an insight to the reality of evil and its significance in relation to the powerful God. Firstly, Hick borrows his arguments from Augustinian theodicy. Augustinian theodicy claims that God does not bring upon the humans. Basically, God has provided humans with free will.
Therefore, humans are able to choose right from wrong. In this revelation, Augustine argues that it is only through the redemption by Jesus Christ. Through redemption, people become whole and perfect again. Interestingly, Hick seems to refute these claims, known to be the core fundamentals in Christian faith.
For many years, the Christian faithful have followed the biblical teachings that claim that humans are perfect beings through salvation. Many if the Christians including the Catholics believe that evil came into being as a result of the original sin. The original sin came into existence when man rebelled against God.
Prior to this rebellion, other angelic creations had brought evil and rebelled against God in what is historically referred as the great fall. In this context, the Christian faith believes that punishment in an eternal is for those who continue sinning. However, Hick continues to refute such claims by claiming that there was a huge purpose for the beginning of evil. Does this mean that evil was a God’s plan?
To show how God is uses evil to envision a perfect being, Hick uses the Irenaeus theodicy. Just like Hick, Iranaeus believes that the fall of man by acts of sin is not a loss to God. At this point, Hick justifies his arguments by asserting that God knew that man was spiritually incomplete. Therefore, through evil, turmoil and suffering, man becomes mature spiritually and can trust in God again.
It seems to Hick that creating into the image of God is entirely different from being like God. Of more importance to Hick, soul-making edifies the purpose of life to man. According to Hick, the moral and spiritual growth of mankind is the main reason for God creating mankind.
To any mature or rational Christian, Hick allegation makes sense at greater length. However, Hick’s allegations try to undermine the role of Jesus Christ whom Christians believe to be the reconciler of man and God. At some length, Hick allegations are an example of man’s own effort and struggle to being a perfect being just like God. Such claims are not of the Christian faith, which claims that man can only be saved by Jesus Christ.
The reason for Hick refuting Augustinian view on evil is disturbing. All Christians know why evil befell mankind. Universally, Christians believe that God is the ultimate symbol of absolute righteousness and goodness. To associate evil with God’s plan of perfecting his creations is an atheist approach to ridicule Christianity. Hick makes God liable to the existence of evil on earth.
To use Hick’s allegations on the existence of evil as a plan of God is confusing to Christians. It would be disturbing to imagine that God, who holds absolute power over all creations, would use evil as a way of perfecting mankind. From this aspect, Hick allegations pass as mere heresy and are unfounded on Christina faith.
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The continuing undermining of the historical fall of mankind by Hick takes a scientific and philosophically dimension. To do so, Hick uses the evolution theory and the notion that man is unable to bleed sin within a perfect context. To some extent, Hick description of perfection is vague.
This is because he alleges that man requires a motivation in order to sin. This may come in the form of temptations and sufferings. It is in this view that Hick traces back the reason of sinning to God.
Hick theodicy raises various reasons as to what is the nature of sin. By understating that sin is inexplicable, more concern as to whether God is responsible for sin should be raised. Nonetheless, Hick does not satisfy both scientific and philosophic knowledge on how God is responsible for man downfall.
In conclusion, Hick allegations are partially correct concerning the existence of evil. It should be noted that man is a God creation, and so God has control over the very creation. This means that if God never intended man not to sin, he would have made sure that the environment man lives does not make man sin.
Therefore, the environment that man lives is imperfect and allows man to sin. However, man has a choice to do right within an imperfect context. Therefore, it is true according to Hick that evil existence may have a purpose to fulfill God’s intentions on man as a perfect creation.