Post Author: Bill Pratt
In a previous post, we showed that God is not the direct cause of moral evil. But if God is not the cause, then who is?
Christians answer that free creatures are the direct cause of moral evil. How does this work? God gave human beings the power of free will. Free will is defined as self-determinism. It is the ability to make choices that are not forced by an external state or condition.
Free will is a good power that God gave human beings. Nobody marches against free will. In fact, to argue against free will is to use free will! Every one of us is happy that God has given us this power. It was supposedly Socrates who said, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”
But there was a price to be paid for giving finite creatures free will. By giving us this power, God introduced the possibility that we would abuse or misuse this good power. According to Christianity, that is exactly what happened. When given the choice to love God or to reject God, humans rejected him. This is known as theFall. Ever since the Fall, humans have been actualizing moral evil upon themselves and one another. Every person who searches his heart for even a moment realizes that they are tinged or stained with evil. We think evil thoughts and we often act on those evil thoughts.
God is responsible for creating the possibility of evil, but free creatures are responsible for making it actual.
One final note. Many people, when they hear this argument, blame God for giving humans free will. They argue that he could have done better. I’ve noticed, however, that the very people who blame God for allowing evil to exist refuse to relinquish their own free will in order to make the world a better place. The truth is, almost every person would rather live in this world which contains both good and evil than live in a world where they aren’t free. Until the critic of God agrees to be the first to give up his free will, his protests ring hollow.