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The Augustinian Type of Theodicy: Is It Outdated?

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In his famous work ‘Evil and the God of love,’ John Hick suggests that the ‘Augustinian’ type of theodicy is based on an outdated worldview and ought to be replaced by what he calls an ‘Irenaean’ type of theodicy. This article examines Hick’s claim by analyzing the views of the three main theological exponents of the Augustinian paradigm on evil namely Augustine, John Calvin and Karl Barth. It suggests that Reformed theology rethinks its linear concept of time and considers the possibility that the Fall could be an event in time with an eternal significance that works both ‘backwards’ and ‘forwards’. The article concludes that weaknesses in the Augustinian paradigm can be resolved from within, and that no need exists for Reformed theologians to replace the Augustinian paradigm with an alternative Ireneaen paradigm that reject key Scriptural teachings on creation and sin.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Theology, Northwest University South Africa, Email:


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