The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Fascinating paper on "Augustinian Adam" vs "Irenaean Adam"

In particular, does the passage quoted by Beck, written by John Hick, still resonate with those that followed the thread?

“There is thus to be found in Irenaeus the outline of an approach to the problem of evil which stands in important respects in contrast to the Augustinian type of theodicy. Instead of the doctrine that man was created finitely perfect and then incomprehensibly destroyed his own perfection and plunged into sin and misery, Irenaeus suggests that man was created as an imperfect, immature creature who was to undergo moral development and growth and finally be brought to the perfection intended for him by his Maker. Instead of the fall of Adam being presented, as in the Augustinian tradition, as an utterly malignant and catastrophic event, completely disrupting God’s plan, Irenaeus pictures it as something that occurred in the childhood of the race, an understandable lapse due to weakness and immaturity rather than an adult crime full of malice and pregnant with perpetual guilt. And instead of the Augustinian view of life’s trials as a divine punishment for Adam’s sin, Irenaeus sees our world of mingled good and evil as a divinely appointed environment for man’s development towards the perfection that represents the fulfillment of God’s good purpose.”

St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John the Apostle. Imagine knowing a man who knew one of the Twelve!

Even on the surface, St. Irenaeus seems a more reliable guide than does Augustine of Hippo.

I did not know of that relationship - thanks.