Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The limits of the free will response to the problem of evil
If we are given free will so that we can choose to serve god rather than be made as slaves, it is only a meaningful choice in so far as we are also made to want to disobey god. The devil's existence is consistent with God's benevolence, in so far as the devil is that part of us that wishes to disobey. It is not consistent that the devil can actually coerce us, or use special powers to lure us to sin, so that god would forsake us. This devil's existence would be inconsistent with a benevolent god who could protect us from such a creature. That creature must only be us, part of us, not external to us. It seems consistent for a hell to exist where people might be sent, but not that anyone is ever sent there. It's existence is necessary for a benevolent god's mercy to be meaningful, but if anyone actually goes there, then we do not have a merciful or benevolent god.