Ok, here are the other “Problem of Evil” posts: Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. As I’ve been discussing, “The Problem of Evil” is one argument that is used against the idea of there being a God, and now I’m going to make an intro post on another main “solution” to the “problem;” Free Will.
I’m breaking this discussion of Free Will up into several parts, because anyone who has looked into this knows that whole books have been written about this very topic. I’d also like to eventually talk about the debate in light of Christianity as well; Calvinism vs. Arminianism in particular.
Ok, so this “solution” centers around mankind’s responsibility in bringing about evil in the world. Free will is a condition for morality; for true right and wrong…for true righteousness, there must be choices available. Why? Because morality, to be truly meaningful, must have a split between a “right” action/choice and a “wrong” action/choice just by sheer definition.
The question arises, “Could God have made everyone where they would freely “choose” the good, no matter what?” The answer is “no” because it is a logical contradiction. If no one could do otherwise than choose to do good, then there is no meaningful choice involved at all. The focus in this solution shifts from God to mankind. The idea can kind of be summed up like this, “God made evil possible, man made it actual.”
In this solution, God is not responsible for evil in that He created it, rather mankind is responsible because he made a wrong choice. If God desired robots He very well could have made them, but He did not. He desires us, for various reasons, and He desires us to freely choose Him.
Does this solution line up with scripture? Sure. We only have to look to the account of Adam and Eve for one clear example. As I’ve blogged about before, The Tree of Knowledge and the command not to eat of it was there as a choice. Right choice and behavior was available; don’t eat of the tree. Wrong choice and behavior was available as well. Of course, as I mentioned before, this choice is about faith; trust God and follow what He says, or react with lack of faith and go against Him. We also see in scripture that Adam’s act, his choice, has major repercussions for the world.
I’ll continue on in part 5b…