Attempted Solution #4: Free Will


part of an ongoing discussion of “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People”


A number of readers have written to suggest that “what goes around comes around.”

There are bad people in this world, you know . . .

For sure! And BAD people do bad things to GOOD people.

Yes . . . They kill, rape, cheat, steal, lie. There’s no end to the pain & suffering they cause others.

For whatever twisted reason, they CHOOSE to do evil?

Exactly. They have FREE WILL, don’t they?

And because they ABUSE their free will . . .

. . . that accounts for the presence of EVIL in the world.

Okay – but do you suppose God could have created people who would ALWAYS freely choose to do good?

You mean . . . they would have free will but even when faced with two choices they would always do the right thing, NEVER cause harm to others? Hmnn . . . Logically that’s possible, I guess. There are conscientious people out there who probably choose good 9 times out of 10, so why not 10 out of 10?

Well, even if it IS “impossible” God should have no problem. Nothing can be IMPOSSIBLE for an “all-powerful” Supreme Being.

We’re back to that same old problem again, aren’t we?

Yes . . . IF he COULD have made us that way but didn’t, is it because he doesn’t LOVE us enough?

Or if he WANTED to make us that way – so that we would have free will and never choose to do evil – but couldn’t, is it because he is NOT powerful enough?

There are other objections to this so-called “free will solution” too. For example, is free will such a wonderful thing to have that it is worth the price of someone like Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden?

Well, free will is free will. Once God gives us free will, you can’t hold HIM responsible for someone’s bad choices, can you?

Didn’t God KNOW there would be people like Hitler & Bin Laden, and exactly what they were going to do before they did it?

You’re suggesting that God is supposed to right wrongs before they happen by INTERVENING in human affairs, altering the course of history?

He does that all the time, if you listen to personal testimony – heals the sick & performs medical miracles when people of faith pray for their loved ones. Actually . . . God could have saved millions of innocent victims without even violating Hitler’s free will.

How so?

Why didn’t he prevent his daddy’s sperm from fertilizing his mommy’s egg? Doesn’t love us enough? Or maybe he can’t . . .

So – if he was WILLING to pay the price of introducing suffering into the world in order to give us free will, then it doesn’t make sense to say that God is “all-loving.” And if he HAD to pay that price to give us free will, then it doesn’t make sense to say that God is “all-powerful.”

And even if we assume for the sake of argument that evil & pain & suffering DOES in fact result from the abuse of free will, what KIND of suffering does that account for?

Well . . . the kind of suffering one person does to another.

Which is called “MORAL” evil. And what kind of suffering is NOT accounted for by bad people making bad choices?

The kind of suffering caused by disasters like hurricanes & tornados.

Which is usually referred to as “NATURAL” evil.

So, even if free will does account for some evil, does that let God completely off the hook?

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