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Evil, Christian Doctrine of

Subject Religion » Christianity

Key-Topics evil

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xiii.b ] Christians have endeavoured to explain the origin and meaning of evil and suffering, but especially to defend the goodness and omnipotence of God against objections arising from the existence of evil. Christian M onotheism has been resistant to D ualism and P antheism , although these have sometimes influenced Christian philosophies and S ects , e.g. the Albigenses ( see H eresy (medieval christian) ). Satan as an evil power is ultimately subordinated to God (cf. A fterlife ). Origen ( c. 185– c. 254 ce ), St Thomas Aquinas ( c. 1225–74 ce ; see T homism ) and many others have explained evil as an abuse of human freedom necessarily allowed to achieve good. Leibniz (1646–1716) (who coined the term T heodicy for these matters) [157: 1358] saw the world as the best of all possible worlds with evil a necessary shadow to highlight its attractions. Modern treatments [91] have oscillated between optimistic and pessimistic views of human capacity for good and the possibility of overcoming evil in the world. These different views are partly related to changing views of H umanity and of S in . Suffering has also been treated as an occasion of spiritual development in submission to God, following J esus Christ's example, but there has been considerable revulsion against this view in recent times, especially since the H olocaust . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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