Problem with how God created us


#1

I have posed this question I’m still pondering about but no one has answered it so far… (at least not in a satisfactory way). Maybe someone will help me now.

I’ll try to be clear and express my concern in these premises:

(1) When God was choosing to create us, he could have created (i) puppets, robots, carrots or (ii) persons with free will. He chose the latter.

(2) We were thus created as beings with free will. This included the option to choose to sin or not to sin. But we didn’t have to sin. Yet, we did.

(3) In Heaven there is also free will but no option to sin. We won’t sin in heaven. This is, I believe, due to our full sanctification occuring before we enter heaven as well as living fully in God’s presence.

Now, I believe, I have all the premises right. My question is: Why could not have God created us as we will be once in heaven? In other words: why couldn’t he created us with free will and fully sanctified so that we would never decide to sin? (we know this will be so in heaven) Thus no one would have freely chosen hell and every person God has created would be living in his presence in the everlasing blessedness.

Any idea?


#2

What does free will indicate to you? It indicates to me choice. By giving mankind a “free will” or choice shows us just how much he does love us. Actually “we” as humans were “like” God in that we existed because of His love, but when the “choice” was made to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil then we lost the privaledge to continue life as it will be in heaven. Does that make any sense to you?


#3

God certainly could have created us with wills that were incapable of deciding to sin. In some ways, I think Genesis 3 almost suggests that he did.

When we sin, we know it, because at some point we realize that we’ve done, thought, or said something that’s offensive to God. This is an element that I don’t think we really see in Genesis 3. First, note that Eve doesn’t even think about God’s commandment in Gen 3:6. Instead, she sees that “the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” So at the time that she took the tree and ate its fruit, she didn’t actively consider God’s commandment – she could have said “God said not to eat this, but it looks good, so I’ll eat it anyway,” but that’s not what we see here.

Then, when Adam and Eve get in trouble with God in the next few verses, it isn’t because they say, “Uh-oh, we ate of the fruit of the tree we were told not to eat from.” Instead, it’s because the knowledge of good and evil made them realize they were naked, and they hide themselves in shame. So Adam and Eve don’t directly recognize that they’ve offended God here, either. Note also that Eve doesn’t mention God’s commandment at all in 3:13 – she blames what’s happened on the serpent, who has tricked her.

Finally, Gen 3:22-23 says:

(22)Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and life forever” – (23) therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

God didn’t evict Adam and Eve from the Garden for their disobedience so much as He evicted them because of their newfound knowledge of what’s good and what’s evil. I’d posit that this knowledge is the basis of sin – now we can and do know that something is wrong; we recognize that we’ve sinned.

I’m not trying to argue that original sin was not sin at all; after all, it was direct disobedience of God that separated our ancestors from God. But I think there are some treasures to be mined in Genesis 3 with respect to the nature of Adam and Eve’s wills at the time and how they were corrupted by their disobedience.

Hope that helps you in some way.


#4

Yes and no :slight_smile:

Yes, because I agree with what you wrote, I have no problem with that.

But, no, because I think it doesn’t answer my question, namely why couldn’t have God created us just as we will be once in Heaven (that is, with free will but never choosing to sin)


#5

What does free will without ever having made a choice look like? After all, a choice with only one possible outcome is not a choice at all.


#6

I think it is a fallacy to say that if you cannot imagine something, it cannot exist.
(1) We cannot imagine God, yet that doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
(2) We cannot imagine a lot of things how God will provide for, yet he will, e.g. we will be perfectly happy in heaven though some of our relatives/friends may end up in hell (cfr. Rev 21:4). How will he do that? Well, we don’t know. But somehow he will.

…however he manages to do this, we will learn from and share in this way. Somehow or other, God manages it.

[RIGHT]Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli - Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 271[/RIGHT]

We know that a being with free will and never choosing to sin is not a contradiction:
(1) God has free will, yet he won’t choose to sin.
(2) We will be in heaven with free will, yet won’t choose to sin there.

So why couldn’t have God created us without ever choosing to sin? (with free will) It a sorta philosophical question I’m pondering now about


#7

Well, he didn’t as we have sinned. Am I not right? :slight_smile:

But why didn’t he? (I didn’t get the answer from the rest. But thank you very much for the post)


#8

Zemi,

There’s one important point that you’re missing, which is the reason that God gave us free will. I think that will clear it up for you.

God is Love. He is a Trinity of three Persons giving themselves fully to one another. To give oneself is the essence of Love. God has created marriage for us so that we may understand what it is to Love. In marriage, two people give themselves completely to one another, even going so far as to give their entire bodies to one another to the point that they “become one flesh.”

Now God wished to Love more, to give Himself to others. Thus, He created human beings, whom He could Love. However, Love must be received; it cannot be forced. To force oneself upon another is the essence not of Love but of rape. It is taking from the other what that person is. A man rapes a woman when he forces her to receive him.

Therefore, God provided us with free will. By giving us free will, God gave us the opportunity to accept Him or reject Him. Now Adam and Eve had sanctity. They were not lacking in something that would prevent them from sinning. They had complete control over themselves, and they chose to sin. In other words, they chose not to receive God’s Love.

If they had not been capable of sinning for any reason, whatever way we want to go ahead andd try to explain it, they could not have accepted God’s Love, because they would have no opportunity to reject it. God would be a rapist, forcing His Love on them.

Now when we go to Heaven, we will be fully sanctified, but that simply means we’ll be in the same position Adam and Eve were: in complete control of ourselves, having the total ability to accept or reject God without the promptings of a fallen nature getting in the way. Yet we will never choose to sin. The reason for this is not the sanctification.

The reason for this is that we will be receiving the fullness of God. We will be seeing God to the greatest extent a creature can. We will be experiencing the beatific vision. No person would ever have the slightest desire to sin if they were experiencing the beatific vision.

Adam and Eve did not have that. They could not, for before God would give Himself fully to them, as a man gives to his wife in marriage, they had to accept Him. So He gave them the Grace they needed - the control over themselves - to accept Him, and let them make the choice. They chose against Him.

For Adam and Eve to have had the beaitific vision like we will would have been for God to have put His Love upon them before allowing them to accept it, almost like a man raping a woman and then asking her if she’d like to marry Him. (sorry for all the “rape” stuff, but it’s the best way to answer the question :shrug: )

It’s no coincidence that Heaven is described over and over and over again as a marriage or a marriage feast. This life - for Adam and Eve as well as for us - is God’s proposal to us. If we accept, we will meet Him in the marriage feast of Heaven. TThe difference is that when He proposed to Adam and Eve, they could listen and respond easily. We, on the other hand, cannot, so God goes to great lengths for us.

Life is like a great romance story. We are like the woman who has become lost in the world, believing her boyfriend long dead, and He like the man whom goes to the ends of the earth trying to find her, to invite her to spend her life with Him.


#9

Hi, Lazerlike42,

thank you very much. I do get your point an appreciate your post very much. I must say it makes sense.

But these question then sprang up:

(1) What about the angels? Weren’t they in the Beatific Vision before their fall? And yet they sinned.

(2) You said Adam and Eve needed to accept God’s marriage proposal, so to speak. That’s fine. But what would count as the accpetance? We will once die and according to our lives will be judged. But Adam and Eve were not about to die. So did God want to wait certain number of years, millenia, or see if they could pass all of his trials he will set before them before allowing them to enter the Beatific vision? Anyway…I think you get point… :slight_smile:

Thank you so far for your helpful post


#10

Huh? I never said anything couldn’t exist. I simply asked you to ponder the question.

We know that a being with free will and never choosing to sin is not a contradiction:
(1) God has free will, yet he won’t choose to sin.
(2) We will be in heaven with free will, yet won’t choose to sin there.

So why couldn’t have God created us without ever choosing to sin? (with free will) It a sorta philosophical question I’m pondering now about

All God’s creatures in heaven, who will never sin, were first given the ability to choose. What you are proposing goes against that simple fact. Apparently God makes sure each creature is given that choice.


#11

Thomas Aquinas teaches that the angels did not experience the fullness of beatitude at their creation, but they, too, made a choice between God and a rejection of Him.

Nevertheless, this is still a great mystery. The angels were not lacking in the knowledge of what was awaiting them were they to avoid sin, so just why did the angels fall? It’s the ultimate mystery of evil. Why would someone reject God, knowing all that He is? The basic answer is pride, which ought to warn us just how dangerous pride is. It’s the greatest of sins, and it drove Satan and the angels to reject God even while experiencing His vision. Yet that still doesn’t help us to understand why they would do this. It is really a great mystery, and perhaps we will know when “all comes to light” when we see God. Perhaps we’ll never know.

(2) You said Adam and Eve needed to accept God’s marriage proposal, so to speak. That’s fine. But what would count as the accpetance? We will once die and according to our lives will be judged. But Adam and Eve were not about to die. So did God want to wait certain number of years, millenia, or see if they could pass all of his trials he will set before them before allowing them to enter the Beatific vision? Anyway…I think you get point… :slight_smile:

The answer that is generally given by theologians (so far as I know) was that this acceptance would have been the rejection of the serpent’s temptation.

God did, after all, have to permit the serpent to tempt them. He could have stopped it. In fact, if we do regard the serpent as Satan, as the fathers and almost all theologians have, then God had to even permit the him in to the garden.

It would seem that there may not have been the occassion of sin Adam and Eve otherwise, and so there would be no opportunity for them to say no to God. Love is, after all, not a feeling: this is affection. Rather, Love is manifested ultimately in an action. Hence, St. Theresa of Avila says, “It should be observed that perfect love of God consists not in those delights, tears and sentiments of devotion that we generally seek, but in a strong determination and keen desire to please God in all things, and to promote His glory.” God’s “proposal” to Adam and Eve, then, would be manifested as some choice between the action of obeying God, and the action of disobeying God, a choice that the serpent brought about.

It seems tricky of God to do this, but the reality is that apart from this, there would have been no choice at all. Adam and Eve were created in Grace; they may not have even known that the possibility of disobeying God existed, because their souls were perfectly ordered. Hence, the tree they ate of was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the serpent told Eve that if she ate of it, she would be as God because she would know good and evil. Furthermore, both Adam and Eve were in full control of themselves. Now for you or I to be tempted by the serpent is a tough situation, because we are fallen and have powerful weaknesses in our nature which incline us to submit to temptaiton. Adam and Eve did not have this. The temptation would have been hardly a struggle at all for them. It was a mere choice, of the same level of difficulty as for us to choose whether to have a hamburger or a hot dog - a mere matter of preference.

At that time, they preferred to “be as God” - they preferred pride.

Peace and God bless


#12

Hi Voci Mike! , Zemi.

I am pretty sure VociMike is right, as often he is.

(1) We do imagine God, God does exist – the imagination being somewhat in error has nothing to do with the existance of God. The argument itself is a fallacy.

(2) Whether or not one has complete knowledge of how something will happen does not mean a person can not imagine, correctly, one such way which is sufficient to prove the argument – although not necessarily the correct way the problem will be solved (since there may be many such solutions). Sometimes being able to argue “degrees of freedom” is sufficient to show whether or not a problem is soluble.

an analogy:
Given the definition of Rational number (eg: a perfect fraction of two whole numbers, a well definied idea) without proving exactly what the value of a irrational number was (eg: the square root of 2) Pythagoras was able to prove the existence of such a number using a proof from impossibility – eg: that it is impossible for the said number to be rational because all possible whole numbers may be logically excluded by a contradiction. Therefore, since the number exists (the square root of 2 is a physical length), and is not rational (not a ratio of whole numbers) – there must be a degree of freedom beyond fractions of whole numbers with which to represent reality.

The way that such a number can exist, eg: a sequence of digits which never repeat (in the decimal representation) eventually came into existince after pythagoras was killed for being right about the angle, to show a simple way to demonstrate how to construct the approximate value of any irrational number. eg: a sequence of never repeating digits in the decimal system, which is quite comforting in that “irrational” numbers are in fact quite easy to imagine, if but partially…

The idea of how to construct them is in fact simple, if infinitely boring…

Notice: Pythagoras did not fallaciously invent whole numbers which were not whole numbers in order to make his point. Nor do I think it necessary to create “free will” which is not “free will” in order to solve the present problem – in fact it is a fallacy to do so, and hypocritical to use a fallacy to replace another fallacy.
Voci Mike is undeniably right, in that free will with only one choice is NOT free,
hence that is NOT heaven.

We know that a being with free will and never choosing to sin is not a contradiction:
(1) God has free will, yet he won’t choose to sin.
(2) We will be in heaven with free will, yet won’t choose to sin there.

Excellent, and very true. Which underscores a point I would like to make – I am not a Thomist, and as a Cathoilc, I am not required to be one. The Thomistic idea is a “passibility”, which has some credence – but it isn’t necessarily the only one.

So why couldn’t have God created us without ever choosing to sin? (with free will) It a sorta philosophical question I’m pondering now about

Because being finite, we do not have the knowledge nor the ability to calculate the consequences of the opposite – eg: evil, and therefore are able to fall because we can argue fallaciously from ignorance that said evil does not exist – “no you will not die”. Or again, because we can’t see the evil in our present state, we do not “know” it exists, as invisible spirit whether Angel or God is insufficient for our bodies.

Now, God could have created us like Angels – but they too fell. (Pride)
The angels saw the fallen angels through intellect, as St. Michael asked God to punish him – and there was no room for forgiveness, as the radical possibility of Pride could never be removed if Hell were removed – eg: The devil is right, no you will not die – because I will not die.

So, The order of Angels being created – God creates the order of matter, (us), but we can not see the order of angels. So we fall in ignorance (with two degrees of freedom) so forgiveness is possible. But, without a reminder of someone who has fallen whom we can reference, the possibility of pride “no we will not die” always exists.

Hence, in scripture, the solution appears to be that the reason one will not fall from heaven is not merely free will, but an everlasting example of hell from which it is impossible to have pride – No one in heaven will believe that they can’t fall to hell.

– It’s a start my philosopher friend, but it is sufficient – if not completely graspable – to show that a possible way of constructing a heaven consistent with free will is possible. Nor do I rule out, that God can make minor adjustments to people’s free will – if he so chooses – although it is not necessary, such that one may choose among a certain number of choices – but not others, having therefore limited freedom.


#13

I don’t think free will was designed to choose between sin or not, originally. That choice only became a possibility after satan failed his test and corrupted Adam & Eve.
The new heaven and new earth will presumably be in one sense a return to mans original state of grace but without any future possibility of corrupting influences - they having been eliminated permanently to hell.


#14

Perhaps God wanted some who could love him greatly. If you never live in the presence of evil, you never overcome difficulty and grow in your faith. Where sin abounds, grace abound more.


#15

*Thomas Aquinas teaches that the angels did not experience the fullness of beatitude at their creation, but they, too, made a choice between God and a rejection of Him.

Nevertheless, this is still a great mystery. The angels were not lacking in the knowledge of what was awaiting them were they to avoid sin, so just why did the angels fall? It’s the ultimate mystery of evil. Why would someone reject God, knowing all that He is? The basic answer is pride, which ought to warn us just how dangerous pride is. It’s the greatest of sins, and it drove Satan and the angels to reject God even while experiencing His vision. Yet that still doesn’t help us to understand why they would do this. It is really a great mystery, and perhaps we will know when “all comes to light” when we see God. Perhaps we’ll never know.*

They couldn’t know all that God is, they couldn’t be experiencing His beatific vision, if that was what the test was about. The angels were first tested before being given the Beatific Vision, and, if so, the ones that failed the test have never seen God as He truly is, have never been in His full presence.

When the serpent told Eve that the reason God prohibited that one tree was that if humans ate it they would be “as God” it is a flat-out lie. Satan is attributing selfish motives to God! Nobody having the Beatific vision, knowing all, could accuse God of being so mean and selfish.

Satan, denied the Beatific vision, doesn’t want humans to have it either. He tries to drag the human race down to his level. Jesus says of Satan at one point, he is “a liar from the beginning, the father of lies.” Everything he says about God has to be a lie because he has not seen God. It’s himself he’s describing, as proud and jealous and mean-spirited.

Adam and Eve talked with God in the evenings, and ought to have trusted Him, but instead, listening to lies about His motives, they fell. Because God is love, and all goodness and mercy, He set up a way for humankind to get into heaven after all. But it’s not as easy as it might have been if Adam and Eve had trusted God.


#16

This is essentially what I was attempting to say. The angels did not have the beatific vision until after they accepted God - or, as you put it, passed the test. They did, however, have all the knowledge about God they could have short of that, and so their wills are not changable.

When the serpent told Eve that the reason God prohibited that one tree was that if humans ate it they would be “as God” it is a flat-out lie. Satan is attributing selfish motives to God! Nobody having the Beatific vision, knowing all, could accuse God of being so mean and selfish.

Satan, denied the Beatific vision, doesn’t want humans to have it either. He tries to drag the human race down to his level. Jesus says of Satan at one point, he is “a liar from the beginning, the father of lies.” Everything he says about God has to be a lie because he has not seen God. It’s himself he’s describing, as proud and jealous and mean-spirited.

Adam and Eve talked with God in the evenings, and ought to have trusted Him, but instead, listening to lies about His motives, they fell. Because God is love, and all goodness and mercy, He set up a way for humankind to get into heaven after all. But it’s not as easy as it might have been if Adam and Eve had trusted God.

I wouldn’t say that Satan’s temptation was a flat out lie. It was true to the degree that Adam and Eve did gain a knowledge of good and evil after eating of the tree. They became like God in one way. Of course, they became wholly separated from God in doing so.

It was a misleading statement, a lie, but not a lie that was “flat out.”


#17

I think since God is pure love that He cannot or would not force anyone or being to choose Him. When Satan, who was called Lucifer, decided to go against God, via his pride, he convinced the others who followed him, as he had convinced himself, that he was equal to God and they were also. He used that conviction against Adam and Eve to do the same thus opening the door to our fallen nature as well. Remember he said to Eve that if she ate that fruit that she would become like God, and she inturn gave the fruit to Adam and told him the same tale resulting in our downfall.


#18

I too have wondered about these very same things.

The only answer that I’ve been able to glean is that life without freedom is death.

When we obey God we keep our freedom within God as we move according to His will. When we sin we lose our freedom within God and move according to our own free will.

I don’t think God created us with free-will. I think God created us with the freedom to freely move according to His will. We, however, appear to have chosen to move according to our own will, transgressing outside God’s will, and ultimately against God’s will in some cases.

I think that what we perceive as “free-will” today is actually the result of The Fall. Prior to the fall of humanity, I think we had no “free-will” as we perceive it today. I think we had the freedom to move according to God’s will, created innately trusting God in original justice. I would consider this a fore-taste of heaven.

When we failed to trust God, choosing to trust our own judgment over his revelation, we were then lead to into the trap of “free-will”.

I think that God originally determined our wills to freely move in accordance with His will, but that we have now turned this blessing of blessings into a curse of curses against humanity, specifically because we retain the original innate freedom that God gave us but no longer possess the innate indwelling the Holy Spirit to guide this great freedom which God has blessed us with.

This will change in heaven though, when we will be restored to the original justice God created us in and moving in conformance with His will. I also think that, because God will no longer allow us to sin in Heaven, we will be more free in Heaven than we are now here on Earth.

As to why God allowed people to sin on Earth but not in Heaven, I think this comes back to my first thought, but with one addition: Life without freedom is death. But freedom without life is destined for hell.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

[RIGHT]Matthew 10:39[/RIGHT]


closed #19

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.