Evil is among the world under this God described to be omnipotent, all knowing and all good within monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity). A all perfect God that still allows evil to crawl the very corners of our world and allows suffering, but why? This will be tackled in the sense of free will in defense of this God and explain the reason behind evil’s very existence through religious exclusivism of Christianity. Free will is going to be defined under the context of the choice’s humankind can make on their own, and Christianity used to explain their God’s reason behind free will being created. For a better understanding evil can be described as irremediably harmful or bad that hurts anything it touches. Within the context of Christianity evil is the opposition of what God is; such as Satan and his fallen angels.[footnoteRef:1] If evil is the opposite of God then what is this Christian God? God is said to be all loving and all good, and to be the perfect being in existence.
The free will defense is that God refrains from interfering with mankind’s actions they choose, even if it is right or wrong. It is an “important moral value” that God respected according to Louis Antony, and that he must “refrain from interfering with the actions they freely choose to perform”.[footnoteRef:3] This includes suffering since all of our actions have consequences. There is no way God would be able to give free will and make sure that only good choices are made. Free will is used to show why God allows suffering to non-human and human. Let us look at another perspective through the parent scenario[footnoteRef:4], where a kid leaves a toy outside when their parent told them to bring it inside. The parent knows that there is a storm coming in overnight and that the toy will probably be ruined and still does not grab it. The toy is destroyed, and the kid is upset over the matter. The parent uses this moment as a teaching lesson for the kid to do what is told. In this context, God allows humans to make irrational or bad decisions to allow us to learn from our mistakes as a teaching moment as a parent would due.
Through the religious exclusivism of Christianity, free will was seen as a result of the fall of Adam in Genesis when both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.[footnoteRef:5] Due to this, evil swept the earth since they went against God’s wishes. In return God created heaven and hell after death, heaven for the innocent and good while hell is for the wicked and evil. Through the free will of mankind and based of their actions, they can choose where they will go after death. Elenore Stump continues the free will defense by stating “for the will to be free, desire must be subject to reason, and reason must guide both the will and desire to what really good is”.[footnoteRef:6] This adds on to the religious exclusivism of Christianity in which according to their beliefs all human beings are defective with will of pleasure due to the fall of Adam. That reason people look for is now for greed in which leads to evil, rather for virtue or grace for God. Hence, we are all sinners now and must ask for forgiveness. God cannot fix the so called “defect” in free will, rather humans are now responsible to fix themselves.
Others may argue that if God is this omnipotent and omniscient being, then why does he allow evil to exist if he his against it. Why can God not just control free will as he did before the fall of Adam, a perfect world with both animals and humans coexists without violence or suffering. They would argue that if free will was such an important value within mankind during his creation, then why did he not take this into consideration of full free will in which right and wrong could be chosen. To argue against this, there was no perfect world before the fall of Adam when Eve chose to eat from the tree of the forbidden fruit.[footnoteRef:8] God specifically gave instructions not to eat from the forbidden tree, but Eve still did under the influence of Satan. Humankind was not introduced to evil until Satan came into the picture, which then led to the discovery of new choices. God did create free will with a full range of motion instead of just positive choices. This leads to Eleonore Stump explaining how humans need to fix themselves since God cannot fix their mistakes made: “it is a necessary condition for union with God, the significance exercise of free will employed by human beings in the process which is essential for their being saved from their own evil is of such great value that it outweighs all the evil of the world”.
God can not alter the free will of others, which is the reason for evil. Evil grows from the mistakes people make, in which God hopes we learn from for the better good. Free will is how God set the up the well-being of his creation. They can choose whether heaven or hell is there goal after life due to their actions alive, for they have the free will to do so. In Christian faith, as there is good there is evil. One cannot have one without the other. The problem of suffering is not that God does not exist, but proof that he does exist due to the fight against it. In conclusion, one cannot say that since there is evil then there is God but rather since there is evil then there is a God.
- Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments: King James Version. American Bible Society, 2010.
- “No Good Reason-Exploring the Problem of Evil.” The Norton Introduction to Philosophy, 2nd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015, pp. 36–45.
- Stump, Eleonore. “No Good Reason-Exploring the Problem of Evil.” The Norton Introduction to Philosophy, 2nd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015, pp. 47–57.