[quote=smokey888x2]Having discussion with friend and need your help. This is something that interest me too. Hopefully, this thread will grow some and I can then bring fourth some of my own interest, appreciate your insights.
Thus far, my friend has said:
[why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil]
**I responded with: “**Because he gave Adam and Eve & us a free will.”
He came with:
[font=Times New Roman][size=3]But why is ‘free will’ that includes evil better than 'free will that doesn’t?? Because it’s just not quite ‘free’ then? Why is that better?"[/size][/font]
As simple as the response is, I’m somewhat stuck. Would appreciate your help. thanks
##* Presumably* you mean moral evil - not, or not primarily, physical evil.
There is an ambiguity here - if not several.
1. “Why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil ?”
can be read as meaning:
“Why does God not eliminate the thing that evil is ?”
The answer to that, is that there is no thing-as-such called evil. Evil, is a mere word: not a name for something with an existence of its own. Men exist, cheeses exist, desks exist, angels exist - all these are things that are, that have existence; but evil, does not have existence: any more than “being green” or “being six feet tall” or “blackness” or “selfish” exist: there beings with these qualities - but these qualities exist only as qualities of real things; of things, that is, with an existence of their own.
And evil, has no existence of its own.
A strong wind is not evil - it just is; or, it can be a good thing. A hurricane in the Atlantic is not evil - in a city, it is an evil. Not because of any change in the hurricane in itself, but because of a change in in the hurricane with respect to its environment. A wind blowing at 130 m.p.h. in mid-Atlantic hurts no one - the same wind at the same speed in a built-up area is another matter entirely.
IOW - what we call evil, is often made up of good things, in the “wrong” proportions. For a wind at 30 m.p.h. might well be refreshing. In the wrong place, or on the wrong scale, or in some other way, a good thing, can be a “bad thing”.
Evil, is often several good things together, but in a relationship which is not well adjusted. Two men with guns kill the same number of men: one gets a medal, the other gets the electric chair - one is a hero, the other is “not fit to live”. Or the same man can be a hero to begin with, yet be executed for using his qualities as a soldier, not on the battlefield, but off it. The same qualities bring different results on different occasions: not because the qualities have changed, but because the surroundings of the person who possesses them have changed.
IOW, evil is not only not a “real thing” - it seems to be a quality of relations between real things.
2. “Why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil ?”
can also be read as meaning:
“Why does God not stop opportunities for evil arising ?”
That may be where the “free will defence” comes in. ##