Does evil have to exist for there to be free will?

It seems that for free will, or choice to exist, there has to be a choice between two things. I believe the Catholic Church teaches that God allows evil to exist and is not responsible for it, but does it have to exist for there to be free will? Or would good/lesser good be sufficient for free will?

There must have to be a good/bad pendulum for free will, correct? What happens when God snuffs out evil, do we all become robots, or would we have already made an initial choice, and evil will no longer be an option?

Any insight you can give would be great.

Dear JP

No, moral evil does not have to exist in order for there to be choice. One can choose between two goods. However, privation must exist for there to be more the one thing and therefor for choice as well. In order to have two things, one must lack something of what the other has. Otherwise, they would be one.

This is why there cannot be two perfect Gods. One would lack that which distinguishes it from the other.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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