How to argue against God's will = evil

I need better philosopher to help me logically unravel this broken view.
( I don’t agree with it).

Since evil happens, and our all powerful God allows it to happen, it is His will that evil occurs; therefore His will is evil.
And even if it is not His will that event ‘x’ occurs (free choice rebutal), He still allows it to occur ( the 2nd degree murder argument).
Analogy: I bought a gun.
I gave the gun to the murderer.
I witness the murderer commit the evil act of murder.
I did not stop the murderer.

I did not pull the trigger, but I did not exercise any effort to stop the crime.

With God, He allows evil, and does not stop it. Therefore it is His evil will that the evil occurs.

How can I argue against this broken view.
( I could not find an argument in search )

Blessings,
Luke2220

sorry, no answer, but exact same question being asked to me right now, hoping some of the members here can help. I would be very interested in finding an answer!

Since God gives us free will He will not stop us because if He were to stop us from doing evil He would start by getting rid of every person that has done evil. He is a merciful God so he allows evil to happen so that one may repent afterwards and still be around doing His will. We are the hands and feet of God

The problem with this analogy is that it plays off an ambiguity. Guns are intended to kill things, so to buy a gun means you are implicitly giving it to someone with the understanding that it could very well be used to kill something. A more apt analogy would be giving someone a morally neutral item (free will is morally neutral), not a weapon. If I gave someone a car, for example, and they used it to intentionally run down another person, this does not render me culpable in the least.

Also, nothing in the gun analogy brings up that a gun or other dangerous item could be given because of necessity to another person but with preconditions and training attached to it.

For example, a police department gives to police officers guns that are intended to protect themselves and others. There is also training and policy stipulations that go with their use. God provides a conscience and the teachings of the Church to go with free will (the gun in the analogy) so decisions to abuse free will and do evil are choices made freely, akin to a rogue police officer who acts contrary to policy and training.

I would simply say,…well maybe you would prefer God limited the creation to all goodness, and created zombies who automatically believe in a powerful god who conspires

Hi, Luke. I’d recommend the Socratic Method of asking questions. Ask:

  1. Does God want us to love one another?
  2. Is it possible to love without being free to choose to not love?
  3. If God forced us to not do anything evil, would we still be free to love?

Ask the questions one at a time. Use examples and follow-up questions, as needed. Hopefully the person will see that love is God’s will, but it comes with a risk that some will instead choose hate, or indifference.

:slight_smile:

To my way of thinking this is a form of Utilitarianism. Under Utilitarianism, it is theoretically possible to murder and do good. How so?

The Date is April 29, 2189. Time travel has been invented. You have the ability to go back in time one time and correct a horrible catastrophe. The only date you can affect history on is exactly 300 years previous. You choose to go back in time to Ranshofen, Austria. Here you blow up an inn where inside 10 day old Hitler will die, as well as the 25 other tenants and workers. Considering the obvious good of killing Hitler, a man responsible for the deaths of many, many millions of people, it would obviously be a good thing. However, in that inn is the parental line that Dr. Futsahgone, the man who cured cancer for all mankind, thus saving many fold millions of lives.
In the end, we do not know what the consequences for our actions will be, but God does. When God ceased to personally interact with man after the fall, man’s inability to choose the right in a consistently and exponentially more chaotic world creates an environment where we cannot know what the consequences for our action will be. All we can do is trust in God.

I am not clear that God ever ceased to personally interact with man. The entire Old Testament is about God personally Interacting with man, culminating in the life of Christ where God walked as a man among men - that was interacting on a very personal level.

You are correct about the chaotic environment brought about by the fall, but I wouldn’t say we “cannot” know the consequences of our actions. They are not 100% predictable, but there is high correlation - the laws of nature see to that.

Hmmm…so much for libertarian free will, then! :shrug:

A pointless comment about a post from a person who has been banned.

Don’t know if there is some confusion here… so I’ll just clarify:) :

God has given us free will. That means we can choose different paths in life. However, whilst we are free to choose - there is still a good path that differs entirely from the bad path. So, we can choose evil - as can others.

Without “free will” we would be mindless machines. Adam and Eve had free will, Satan had/has free will, Judas Iscariot had free will, Hitler had free will, WE have free will.

We’re the drivers, God is the policeman and the Judge. Any driver has the power to make a reckless overtake on a mountain road or to race another car through red lights. But then, eventually, the “bad” drivers will be caught and separated from the “good” and civil drivers by the the person in authority.

[quote=Luke2220]I need better philosopher to help me logically unravel this broken view.
( I don’t agree with it).

Since evil happens, and our all powerful God allows it to happen, it is His will that evil occurs; therefore His will is evil.
And even if it is not His will that event ‘x’ occurs (free choice rebutal), He still allows it to occur ( the 2nd degree murder argument).
Analogy:
I bought a gun.
I gave the gun to the murderer.
I witness the murderer commit the evil act of murder.
I did not stop the murderer.
I did not pull the trigger, but I did not exercise any effort to stop the crime.

With God, He allows evil, and does not stop it. Therefore it is His evil will that the evil occurs.

How can I argue against this broken view.
( I could not find an argument in search )
[/quote]

There is no argument and there cannot be. Your analogy needs to be modified - very slightly, but still. The second line should read: “I gave the gun to somone knowing fully well that he intends to murder someone”. Your knowledge is important.

If someone believes in God, and the “usual” omnimax attributes, then God is ultimately responsible for everything, be it good, or evil. Observe the highlighted “ultimately” not necessarily “directly”. But that is not a significant difference. To allow something to happen carries the same responsibility as committing the act itself. Whether God actively “willed” it, or passively “allowed” it is of no relevance. There are a few usual attempts, like “free will” or “bringing out good from the evil”, but these cannot erase the fact that “ultimately” God is responsible for everything. In other words, IF God really did not want something to happen, he could prevent it from happening.

[quote=spockrates]1. Does God want us to love one another?
2. Is it possible to love without being free to choose to not love?
3. If God forced us to not do anything evil, would we still be free to love?
[/quote]

  1. Completely irrelevant. God’s desire is unknown and unknowable. It has nothing to do with allowing evil actions.
  2. Not to love is not the same as actively doing harm to someone.
  3. There is no need to use “force”. No one is “forcing” me to respect other people and leave them alone. Of course I am capable to love some of them, even hating some of them, but still not lifting a finger against them - even if I could do it with impunity.

This “love” argument simply does not work. Too bad it keeps coming back.

[quote=Peter Plato]The problem with this analogy is that it plays off an ambiguity. Guns are intended to kill things, so to buy a gun means you are implicitly giving it to someone with the understanding that it could very well be used to kill something. A more apt analogy would be giving someone a morally neutral item (free will is morally neutral), not a weapon.

If I gave someone a car, for example, and they used it to intentionally run down another person, this does not render me culpable in the least.
[/quote]

Oh yes, you would be fully responsible, if you knew (not just suspected, but really knew) that he intends to run down someone. Objects (even guns) are inherently morally neutral. It is the knowledge coupled with the lack of action which would render the “giver” fully responsible for the action of the recipient.

There is no solution for this problem. At best one may appeal to “ignorance” and say that we cannot know why God allows these things to happen, but expresses his trust that it is all for the best. That is at least logical, even if irrational and unreasonable (argumentum ad ignoratiam). It is futile to try to offer a rational solution, because there is none.

Luke:

No physical event, or combination of physical events, is per se “evil.” Physical events are neutral. We anthropomorphize them when we attribute “good” or “evil” to such events. They simply occur like all other physical events. Matter by itself is neutral.

What is “evil” is found in the intentionalities of men (and a few women). It is the willing refusal to do what one ought to do, and is usually linked to some self-aggrandizement or selfishness. God allows physical events to take place without judgmentality. An evil event performed by a man who is the owner of his selfish desires is merely a neutral event that proceeds accompanied by an evil intent.

For the sake of morality, men should do what is reasonably possible to prevent such physical events - for the sake of their eternal souls. But, were God to do that beforehand, then there would be no environment in which man could freely choose to perform acts, whether good or evil. This would impose a severe limitation on man’s freedom, and probably severely limit what exists on this earth, and in this universe for man’s use. It would annihilate the test.

Your dilemma is that you still regard a physical event as having the propensity of owning a non-physical property. Think that through. The physical cannot own a non-physical property. If it could, then, by nature, all matter would be either good or evil. Everything: every atom; every electron; every quantity of space; every photon. Plus all else that I did not mention. There could be no neutrality. Is that really possible?

God bless,
jd

Really, there is no plausible defence against this argument. It’s the biggest problem for theism, and no amount of theological “free will” guff can get around it.

The only rational conclusions are either that God doesn’t exist, or that he’s at best supremely indifferent. I consider the most efficient and plausible explanation to be the former.

That is merely your point of view. And you have far less logic and empirical evidence for your view.

jd

You know this isn’t true. The third option is that in the balance, the combination of free will and the far greater good that an omnimax God could bring out of the evil that He has allowed could far outweigh all possible evil that has been allowed and therefore God is possible and not indifferent.

How so, whether or not God exists, the same evils occur. If God does not exist, who are you going to blame then?

Evil is the absence of good. God allows evil, natural and moral, to draw a greater good from it. One of the Goods to be gained is a greater trust on our part in the Goodness, Justice, and Mercy of Divine Providence. It gives us a chance to advance in meekness and humility. Remember the story of Job? Perhaps it needs to be reread?

:thumbsup:

Counter arguments have been formulated by CS Lewis and others. The definitive rebuttal was presented by Alvin Plantinga.

See this video and this one.

Succinctly put, omnipotence does not mean God can do the impossible. God could not, for example, create creatures with the freedom to make morally relevant choices but then cause these creatures to always make good choices. God’s “allowance” is most certainly relevant because God is not ultimately responsible for everything. God cannot do the logically impossible. He cannot make creatures with free will and then always determine their choices. Causation is not the operational principle where the realm of moral agency is involved. There is a morally important difference between willing, carrying out an action and allowing it to happen. God may in fact allow many things, because the alternative of intervention could very quickly entail a complete cessation of the possibility of free will.

I strongly suspect that each of our personal identities is founded upon our freedom as agents having the power to initiate action independent of the causal order. We are who we are because the locus of creativity that gives each of us a unique identity lies within the power of our will. Our consciousness as unique individuals depends upon our distinctness from the causal chain of events going on around us.

Therefore, God must allow continual free choice on our parts in order not to take personal identity away from us. Our choices must be freely made in order to even have an awareness of personal identity.

I find this a ridiculous claim. How can you be fully responsible for the actions of another person? This assumes the other person bears absolutely no responsibility for their own actions. You are in fact denying the “free will” of the person committing the act and placing full responsibility on the “giver” for the other’s actions. This is why you can so blithely dismiss the free will defense, you are merely offloading all responsibility onto the instrumental precursor rather than placing blame on the responsible moral agent. My giving someone anything, even where I know what they might do with the object does not relieve the other person of full responsibility for their own actions. I might be complicit or bear instrumental responsibility, but certainly not carry responsibility for the act itself as you claim.

In the case of God, his allowance of evil and the instrumental responsibility he carries may have been morally determined by God (in his omniscience and omnibenevolence) to have been worth the trade-off of having morally free agents with individual identities.

Of course there is a solution. God allows evil choices because he has given us as moral agents the power and responsibility to make morally important choices. Being able to initiate actions freely is precisely what gives us our identities as conscious individuals. To take away the possibility of making bad or evil choices would in effect turn us into automatons without consciousness or mere inactive observers with no power to create or act.

Ed Feser did this already, in challenging Stephen Law’s “Evil God” argument.

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/laws-evil-god-challenge.html
edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/11/crickets-still-chirping.html
edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/11/broken-law.html

[quote=Peter Plato]Counter arguments have been formulated by CS Lewis and others. The definitive rebuttal was presented by Alvin Plantinga.
[/quote]

Sorry, I am familiar with these links, but even Plantinga himself admitted that his argument is incorrect.

[quote=Peter Plato]Succinctly put, omnipotence does not mean God can do the impossible. God could not, for example, create creatures with the freedom to make morally relevant choices but then cause these creatures to always make good choices.
[/quote]

Logically incorrect sentence. God does not have to “cause” the free beings to choose the moral option. I will explain with a simple example. Suppose that God contemplates creating two people: Jim and Mike, and presents them with one moral problem. Being omnisicent, God knows before creating then that Jim will freely make the moral choice, while Mike will make the immoral one. At this point God simply decides not to create Mike. Jim is still free and makes the moral choice. As such there is nothing logically contradictory in creating only those people who always make “proper” choices, and there is no “force” involved.

[quote=Peter Plato]God’s “allowance” is most certainly relevant because God is not ultimately responsible for everything.
[/quote]

As explained above, this is false.

[quote=Peter Plato]I find this a ridiculous claim. How can you be fully responsible for the actions of another person?
[/quote]

We are not talking about general terms here, rather a very specific scenario. The gist is that the creator is fully responsible for the acts of the created ones, IF the creator knows what the created one will do, and could freely choose not to create him. Just like in the analogy, if one gives a lethal weapon (a car can be a lethal weapon, or a hammer ;)) knowing fully well what the person will do with it AND the “giver” could refuse to give that weapon, THEN the giver must take responsibility for the actions (provided, of course, that without the object given the recipient could not carry out his intent).

[quote=Peter Plato]Of course there is a solution. God allows evil choices because he has given us as moral agents the power and responsibility to make morally important choices. Being able to initiate actions freely is precisely what gives us our identities as conscious individuals. To take away the possibility of making bad or evil choices would in effect turn us into automatons without consciousness or mere inactive observers with no power to create or act.
[/quote]

As I explained above, this is incorrect. God could create fully free agents who never commit evil acts. But I will go one step further. If you were right (and you are not), who says that “free will” is a desirable attribute? And what do you mean by “free will”? Is it the same as “freely acting out one’s will”? As a creator myself (admittedly only a creator of computer programs) I would never dream of “granting” free will to my creations. When a program “misbehaves” and does not do what I intended it to do, it is called a “bug”, and it must be tracked down and fixed. Even if I would create intelligent cars, I would never give them freedom to run off the road or crash into a lamppost. I am sure some argument will come forth about “love”, and how wonderful it is and it needs to be freely given in order to be meaningful. You are welcome to go down that path, but if you do, please do us a favor, and make sure you qualify exactly and precisely what you mean by the term “love”.

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