Wednesday, September 05, 2007

C'mon God, think!

I've thought quite a bit lately about some objections brought up about the theist answer to the problem of evil. For example, its been asked "If God is perfectly good, powerful and loving, then He has the ability to create humans who have free-will yet choose always and everywhere good. Why hasn't He done this?" Put in logical form it would look something like this:

  • God is all powerful
  • An all powerful being can create anything
  • Therefore God can create anything
  • Something is a part of anything
  • To always choose good within free will would be a form of perfection
  • Humans could potentially be perfect
  • Perfect humans are something
  • Therefore God can create humans who always chose good within free will
(not done to Dr. Menzel's standard but it'll work)

The underlying assumption that goes with this argument however is that if something is possible for God to do (i.e.- create perfectly good humans), and we think He should have done it, then He should have done it. Sort of like a five year old telling his mom he should have a cookie before dinner because he could eat it if she gave it to him.

A couple of thoughts on why God didn't create us to choose good all the time:
1) As weird as it sounds, maybe we were. What if we were created in such a way that we chose good every time- every time that is that we encountered the occasion of temptation without outside influence. Though we could never know, who's to say how long Adam and Eve lived prior to committing the first sin with the help of a certain serpent. Just a thought that popped into my head, I couldn't back it up too much without more thought (and I don't know if its something I'd want to back up if I gave it more thought... whatever).
2) Maybe God's perfect wisdom saw it necessary to show us a contrast between real good and real evil. How could we know evil unless we saw it in real life? Anyone who has done any electrical work (or put together anything from Home Depot) knows that the way things should work theoretically and how they really work are world's apart. To copy Dr. Peter Kreeft "you can't appreciate the height of the mountain unless you see the depth of the valley."

To close out this post, I'd like to make mention that there are humans who exist in a state with their free will perfectly aligned to God's- they're in Heaven. A couple of them even walked the earth: Jesus and his mom.


Christopher said...

C.S. Lewis in his book, The Problem of Pain, addresses at length your first suggestion. We don't now how long humanity existed in grace, we don't know exactly what happened that inspired a theo-centric soul to choose to be anthropocentric (note: C.S. Lewis did not use that language, but I think it fits), what we do know is that something happened and it could have been the sin of pride (choosing the creaturely-self over the Divine-Thou).

aggiecatholic said...

Yeah, that's what seems to be the answer most theologians give. Dr. Scott Hahn has a different approach to original sin- a kind of blackmail by the devil. I know he explains it in the Our Fathers Plan series from EWTN but I think he also goes into it at

Its an interesting take on the fall you don't here all that much but was evidently popular way back when.