Someone in an atheist thread (now closed) talked about free will and evil…
He said: This free will and evil argument always seems to come up in these conversations and it seems obvious to me that if gods exist, evil is their construct and if they had not created evil, obstructing free will to do evil would not be an issue.
I wrote to him the following, and if it is helpful to anyone else, I thought I’d post it here:
What you don’t realize is that evil is a privation. It takes a while to get that concept, but trust me, it’s worth the work to understand it. Evil is not a thing. It’s a lack of goodness. It’s a non-thing. In the same way, to get more specific, justice is something substantive, something that is true, good and beautiful. So, what is injustice, then? It is a lack of justice. It is a privation of something that should be there, but isn’t. Once you see evil as a privation, you will start to understand.
In order to love, we must be given the choice NOT to love. If God forced us to love Him (Who is all truth, goodness and beauty), then we would not be free, we would be robots. That is not the nature of love. We have to be free to choose God or to choose “not God.” Giving us that choice means, necessarily, that God allows evil.
For more on all of this, try Peter Kreeft’s Handbook of Christian Apologetics. He employes Aristotle’s methods of logic in answering all manner of probing questions.