Irenaeus' ideas were first formed into a complete Theodicy by John Hick. A theodicy is a theory that attempts to explain why an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient god allows suffering in the world (The problem of the Inconsistent Triad)

His theodicy is as follows:

God created human beings as imperfect (In his likeness) so that they could grow into his image and become moral, spiritual and intelligent beings who would love him.

They were created with an epistemic distance (a distance in the dimension of knowledge) so that God would not force belief upon them.

The epistemic distance can be closed by becoming more moral and the best way to do this is through experience of suffering. Therefore, the perfection of humanity must take time and humans must be willing to cooperate. Hence, we have free will.

God created the universe with the possibility of evil and he will not intervene as that would stop human free will.

God created evil and suffering as a moral test to allow us to become morally and spiritually inclined towards his image and thus be worthy of heaven.

However, God is loving, so eventually humans will develop into the image of God and live forever with God.


John Hick has also added to the Irenaean Theodicy, although it has not led to much change. He simply added a two-part creation to the beginning of the theodicy, saying that, first humans developed 'social interaction, moral behaviour and reflection on their environment (alongside the capacity for awareness of the Divine)' and then, in a world of suffering, through their own will, became more like God.[2]


  1. Accessed 18/03/2007
  2. Accessed on 18/03/2007

He believed everyone was entitled to what they wanted but to overcome this passion through growth of there moral spirit and their development between them and others. This led irenaeous to achieve more as he led himself to his goals and his ambitions.

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