Who or What Is the Cause of Moral Evil?

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.

  • Every article from you is a gem these days. What is more, most of them relate to subjects everyone wants to (and needs to) know!!

    Johnson C. Philip, PhD (Physics)

  • Bill Pratt

    Thank you, Dr. Philip. You are a great encourager. You must be descended from Barnabas!

  • Rick

    I believe evil springs from the lack of moral purity, that exist between God and any created thing. God is absolute perfection to such a degree that anything created by Him cannot be.
    Even the holy angels are not like God. He is incomprehensible, even to the elect angels.
    They too were called “elect”. Had they not been chosen by God to remain faithful they too would have fallen, I believe. Their ability to remain faithful came from God.
    I believe, there exist by default a vacuum of moral purity in anything created by God. That is not to say that what God creates is not perfect.
    The holy angels are most definitely created perfect as was man and all God created in the beginning, (that is, according to man’s feeble understanding of what is perfect, because we truly cannot comprehend what is perfect, namely God).
    But, I think there existed an inherent possibility of a fall by mere reason of the lack of moral purity between the creation and a thrice holy Creator.
    And if there is a possibility of falling, then there is a lack of moral purity, because in God there exist no such possibility.
    God absolutely cannot sin, but man could, even at his creation, so could the angels. Therefore, by reason of that possibility, they lack the moral purity of the Creator and that lack of moral purity is sin.

  • Digheyseus

    Excellent articles on free will.