We Christians believe that there is an evil power that has made himself, at least for a while, the Prince of this World.
And this raises a problem.
Is this state of affairs in accordance with God’s will?
If it is in accordance with His will, it would seem that He is a strange God.
And if it is not, how can it be if He has absolute power?
“The better stuff a creature is made of – the cleverer and stronger and freer it is – then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong”.
C. S. Lewis
But if you have been in position of authority you know how things can be in accordance with your will in one way and not in another.
If you are a parent, it is even clearer.
As a mother, it makes a lot of sense for me tell my son that I will not clean his room but he must take care of it himself.
And if I go there one day and find his clothes all over the floor and the bed unmade, it would be against my will.
I would prefer the room to be arranged.
I would prefer my son to always keep it tidy.
But if I clean it up for him, he will never learn to keep it clean himself.
It is my will to leave him to be untidy, so he can learn to be organized.
And we can find the same problem everywhere where there are people.
If you make something voluntary, generally half of the people will do it and the other half won’t.
It is not what the authority has wanted but it was his, or her, that has made it possible.
According to C. S. Lewis “Gog created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible”.
“The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first – wanting to be the centre – wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race”.
C. S. Lewis
Why would God then give all these creatures a free will?
Why would He make evil possible if He really is good?
“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having”, C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.
In a world full of preprogramed creatures that work like machines there would be no evil.
But it would hardly be worth creating.
Of course God knew what would happen if He made His creatures free and then they would use their freedom the wrong way.
But it seems He thought it was worth the risk.
It seems that He thought the price to pay little besides the rewards He had planned for His creatures.
In Lewis’s words, “The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free”.
We might disagree with Him.
But there is a difficulty in disagreeing with God since He is the source from which all our reasoning power comes.
If we are disagreeing with Him, there is no way we can be right and He could wrong.
It just isn’t possible, more than it is possible for a stream to rise higher than its own source.
If I am arguing agains God, I am arguing against the very power that makes me able to argue at all.
And even though it is like cutting off the branch I am sitting on, God still has the patience to listen to me.
There is a reason that God sees this state of things worth giving us the free will.
Like Lewis says, “If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will – that is, for making a live world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings – then we may take it is worth paying”.
And I for one I’m glad for it, because it is the only way I can exist.
This post is part of an on-going series.
To begin, read Natural law. A post about the law we all have in our hearts.
If you would like to know what comes after read the post about Moral law.
Having read that, you'll need to know Which moral law to choose.
If you agree we need to choose a moral law, maybe you'll agree that We need God.
After we have understood the need we have for God, it is time to research What is sin.
Having accepted your need for God, what kind of God is exactly a Christian God? This you can find out about in What we Christians believe.
Why is it so hard to follow Christian faith? What prevents you to believe in God?
Do not let yourself to be fooled by Christianity and water.
Who was first? The chicken or the egg? Read the post Of good and band - who was there first? The chicken or the egg?