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HolyGround >> The problem of evil


5/23/13 11:23 AM
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Kung Fu Joe
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Ogami Itto -
Kung Fu Joe -  Ogami, as I understand it, Plantinga's Free Will defense makes a few assertions:

1. Free Will is preferable to the alternative.
2. God could not have created a cosmos which allows Free Will without allowing the will to do evil.
3. Therefore, the evil in the world is necessarily caused by man, and so, God is not at fault.


However, this strikes me as problematic. Christians tend to define Heaven as a perfect realm devoid of sin and evil. However, if this is true, then either Point 1 or Point 2 from above must be false, at which point we have a Disproof by Contradiction.

So, do you disagree that Heaven is devoid of evil? Phone Post

Damn, good post. Ali's, too.

KFJ, I'm not sure these assertions are in Plantinga's work. Can you point me to a source, or are you extrapolating?

I personally think - and I am thinking out loud here - that God could have created free will AND no evil, but that he chose not to. Why? Is it because the product of that world would be, for lack of a better word, weak? In other words, if a being existed that was simply hardwired to have free will but never to choose evil or degrees of evil, then how "strong" is his goodness?

Perhaps God made man capable of great evil because he is commensurately capable of great goodness, and that goodness is a product he wants. It's funny, I am finally reading Mere Christianity and I was attracted to an idea of Lewis' that I myself has toyed with - God is preparing us for something in the next life. What? Lewis suggests that the choices we make in this world contribute to the sum of our characters, and that those characters will be used in the next world. Christianity believes we will be transformed in Heaven. Perhaps the pursuit of moral goodness is necessary for that transformation, according to God's plan.

Let me try something. You need to add a number or two to your syllogism, don't you?

1. Free Will is preferable to the alternative.
2. God could not have created a cosmos which allows Free Will without allowing the will to do evil.
3. Therefore, the evil in the world is necessarily caused by man, and so, God is not at fault.
4. Heaven is devoid of evil.
5. Something transformative must have to happen to free will between its presence in the cosmos and Heaven.

Perhaps free will is subject to physical constraints in the first world that it is not subject to in the second world. Perhaps in heaven we still have free will and the desire to do evil but not the ability to do so.
My understanding of Plantinga is admittedly poor. I'm basing my generalities on my cursory reading of the Wiki page on his Free Will defense. So, please, if I am wrong in any of my assumptions, correct me so that I can understand better.

On the one hand, you say perhaps there is something that changes in free will or how it is handled in Heaven.

If God could have created a cosmos or a type of free will in which Men do not do evil, why put us all in a cosmos which does have Men doing evil? In this situation, God could have spared Man from evil, but chose not to do so.

On the other hand, you say perhaps people in Heaven can feel the temptation for evil, but are unable to commit evil.

I would assert that this is not Free Will. Free Will requires one to be in control of ones own abilities and actions. If a man WANTS to kill another man, but is restricted from doing so by some outside agent, then that man is not free.

And, again, if God COULD do this, why not do it in our cosmos? Phone Post
5/23/13 11:58 AM
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Ogami Itto
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Full disclosure, I am by no means expert or even intermediate level on Plantinga or philosophy. Absolute beginner.

If God could have created a cosmos or a type of free will in which Men do not do evil, why put us all in a cosmos which does have Men doing evil? In this situation, God could have spared Man from evil, but chose not to do so.


Agreed. I *think* the best answer is to create a kind of moral good that he desires. What do you think? Take my perspective for a moment or attempt to answer your own question.

In my mind, it is like parenting - you let the child operate freely within certain constraints so that the child will be transformed over time into an adult. Another metaphor: the owner of the company starts his son out in the mail room or the warehouse and makes him work his way up to VP - this is not to suggest we will be gods but that we will be valued participants in "the company."

I would assert that this is not Free Will. Free Will requires one to be in control of ones own abilities and actions. If a man WANTS to kill another man, but is restricted from doing so by some outside agent, then that man is not free.


All free will exists within constraints and the interference of outside agents, IMO.

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