Chapter

Framing Questions

Mark S. M. Scott

in Journey Back to God

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841141
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949809 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841141.003.0003

Series: AAR ACADEMY SER

Framing Questions

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The second chapter explores the ontological status of evil and the problem of evil in Origen's theodicy. It argues that Origen's definition of evil as the privation of the good and his formulation of the problem of evil as the problem of failed providence accords with his Middle-Platonic milieu. Nevertheless, he situates his philosophical conceptions of evil and the problem of evil within a biblical and theological framework. By defining evil as the privation of the good, Origen distances God from evil. His reflections on the problem of evil highlight the reality of suffering in the world and probe into the reasons God allows some to suffer and others to prosper without any reference to their exercise of freedom. Last, the chapter subverts the common disjunction between Origen the Platonist and Origen the Christian, arguing for the congruence between philosophy and theology in his thought, even as he stands in problematic relation to both.

Keywords: evil; goodness; problem of evil; providence; ontology; Middle-Platonism; philosophy; theology; Plotinus; Book of John

Chapter.  11240 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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