Will Power Redux

:Why God’s Will is Not Resisted by the Existence of Evil & Suffering

This response was originally posted to http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/will-power/#respond

   Question: “The Bible suggests that God is responsible for everything that happens, it’s God’s plan. But when horrible things happen, Satan often will get the blame. So is God then not powerful enough to overcome Satan’s wishes? Who’s will is stronger?”

December 16, 2007

  Answer: by Sirius on January 19, 2008 7:45 pm

      Hi again,
      When answering a question, I never presume the underlying assumption of the question is valid; therefore, I don’t always answer the question as stated or even as expected.We have several assumptions here:
      [1] “The Bible suggests that God is responsible for everything that happens, it’s God’s plan.”
      The Bible does suggest and even state that everything that happens is in accordance with God’s sovereignty. His will is supreme, that sort of thing. He has an overall plan, spelled out in prophecy. Yet not everything that happens is His will [which is why He hasn’t spelled out absolutely everything.] For example, He’s not willing than any should perish but that all should come to repentance. You could fairly ask: Well, then why doesn’t God just save everyone? Against their will. Giving Hitler equal place in eternity with the victims of the Holocaust. Heaven cannot be heaven without justice. God is love. God is just. Fine, how can He condemn men for rejecting Him? He gave us free will, knowing we would choose sin and become fallen and go to hell and the whole lot, didn’t He? Where’s man’s responsibility for his choices in this equation? God foreordained a means of salvation for man from the foundation of the world, knowing the probability that man would reject His law [Just don’t eat this one. I give you free access to absolutely everything else. I made you. I gave you breath. I sustain your universe. Just allow me this one thing.], a fact His many detractors fail to account for in their arguments. And please spare me the whole God as the author of evil bit. Creating beings, satan or man, with the potential to reject you does not necessarily make you evil. Men make guns, which can be used for hunting or for murder. Gun manufacturers are not evil for making a tool that can potentially be used for evil, even if they know it definitely will be used for evil by some, anymore than the maker of a kitchen knife can be called evil for making a knife intended for cooking whose purpose was twisted to assist murder and rape. But free choice implies the freedom to make the wrong choice as well as the right one. From a theological perspective, fallen man uses his free will to cut his own throat. This is the reaction of a poisoned mind. God offers a remedy called sanity, for Christianity is really the only sane option. BTW, how do you indict God with borrowed morality? Or can you account for nonsubjective knowledge of good and evil from a purely atheistic ground?

      God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Man is not willing to repent.
      Which brings us into the whole issue of free will. You should know from the outset that I pretty much reject the notion that God has pre-selected some for for wrath and others for destruction. Foreknowledge is simply not the same thing as predestination. By His foreknowledge God knows who will repent and predestines them to become conformed to the image of His Son. I’ll leave off the theological implications of the latter statement to address something more to the core of your question, biased as think it may be. God allows some things He does not like in order to allow for things He finds of

      You say that God is responsible for everything, something the Bible does not suggest. You see, man’s free will implies that man is responsible for his choices. He knew satan, Eve, Adam, Cain and so many to follow would reject Him. He created them, knowing this. He also created them, knowing there would be Enoch, Job and others who chose Him. By allowing the presence of free will, He necessarily allowed evil [the rejection of God and His will for the autonomy of man] to exist that He might have beings who rejected evil and chose God.

      [2] “When horrible things happen, satan gets the blame.”
      You’ve pointed out something I’ve complained about for years and have noted in this very response. Satan gets all of the blame [unless we count that peculiar phrase, “act of God,” in reference to natural disaster], but if man has free will, where’s his responsibility?

      satan is a tempter. He sets up situations to his tactical advantage, but cannot force us to do anything [sorry, Flip Wilson]. But just because the noose is around your neck doesn’r mean you have to jump off the horse.

      Also, a fact your site seems to revel in [though from a rather lop-sided view], God himself has directly caused some horrible things to happen. This admission does not address the further question of whether God was just or good to do these things. Aside from the previous question of whether we can impugn a being based on borrowed morals, we should note that the Bible states that those suffering were typically doing so as a result of divine judgment. God has all of the facts, being omniscient; we do not.

      I should also like to mention that the Bible says that God works all things for good to them that love him and are called according to his purpose. The verse contains two caveats of course, but the gist is that He can use evil events to work for our eventual good. Omniscience alone makes this possible.

      [3] “So then is God not strong enough to overcome satan’s wishes? Who’s will is stronger?”
      So we have the assumption that evil exists because God is not powerful enough to prevent it. This bit of childish reasoning is beneath you, Tom, gathering from everything else I’ve read from you. Are you really willing to say you equate the absence of intervention with the inability to do so? If my cat bites me, I have the power to end all its biting by snapping its furry little neck. I don’t because I actually like my cat and there’s a different way I can handle it. In his case, I can train him bit by bit until he ceases to bit.

      God is sovereign but allows evil as a natural consequence of free will.
      Free will implies responsibility for one’s choices.
      The fact that God allows evil does not mean that He is incapable of doing so or that He has been somehow trumped by more powerful forces.

      As Always,
      –Sirius Knott


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