If God is all-powerful, why does evil exist?

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Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 11:15 am  Comments (5)  
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  1. This is some poor, Arminian thinking! “Power has nothing to do with the problem” if there are morally free agents?! God, before he created man free, either knew what man would do or didn’t. That is he’s either omnipotent or he’s not. If (indeed) He is, then He created man knowing full well he would sin. Also, he assumes we are free in the same way Adam and Eve were. This is not the clear teaching of Scripture at all. We are conceived and born under sin (Ps 51) and inclined to all evil (Rom 3). We are free but inclined; Adam and Eve had no such inclination. God was not surprised in the Garden, and Jesus is not Plan B.

  2. Robert, I don’t think you’re understanding Koukl. For one thing, Koukl is a Calvinist.

    I think that we are all “morally free” in a sense, but we are also inclined toward evil and cannot not sin (because of the curse), and if we aren’t Christians we cannot do anything but sin because nothing non-Christians do is by faith and therefore it is all sin. Without faith it is impossible to please God. However, I don’t think it makes much sense to say that we are not morally free creatures. We can choose to do good or bad. Non-Christians, by God’s grace, don’t do all the evil they possibly could do, even though everything they do is evil and they cannot and will not do good until they are born again. Christians, by God’s special grace, can do good things but also can do evil things, and therefore are morally free. Calvinism isn’t about God making all of our choices for us, but about God working through all of our choices. He has a purpose in every act that we commit, whether our act be good or evil. He ordained and purposed every act that we commit according to his definite plan, but we are still held fully morally responsible for that act because we were free to choose, and chose to do it.

    What evidence do you have that Koukl assumes that we are free in the same way Adam and Eve are?

    I agree with you completely – we are free but inclined, God was not surprised, and Jesus is not Plan B.

    What is a morally free creature?

    Calvinism and Choice

  3. I can see why someone would misunderstand what he is saying, though.

  4. Freedom means your choices are not bound in your own perception. To make a metaphor, imagine an animal not on a leash. Imagine a two room house. Adam and Eve were free to roam into Evil or roam in the Good rooms. After the Fall, we are only free to roam in the Evil. We don’t feel constraind, but the kinds of choices we can make are not wide open.
    The doctrine of Total Depravity does not mean we are as bad as we could be, only that we are Fallen in all our person. Typically, I prefer the term “Systemic” Depravity.
    Remember the two wills of God: the stated, decretive Will of God (think of the 10 Commandments) and His Sovereign Will of God (“there is not one molecule in the universe outside of his control”). Hence we can say confusing things like, “Adam and Eve broke God’s Will.” and “The Fall was the Will of God”. Now, God is not the author of sin, and evil can never be called good. But He clearly deemed it better to have Mankind fall and be redeemed, then never have Fallen at all.

  5. I completely agree and I’m pretty confident that Koukl would, too, considering he talks about the decretive and the preceptive wills of God (although I think you missed mentioning the preceptive will of God and doubly stated His sovereign will).

    Total Depravity – every aspect of our humanity is fallen, corrupted.

    In one sense, of course Adam and Eve acted against God’s will (his preceptive will) but in another sense, of course, they acted completely in tandem with God’s will (his decretive will). But we are morally free creatures in that it is we who choose whether or not we obey God’s preceptive will, while we are not free in another sense — we do not choose whether we obey God’s decretive will — we cannot thwart it.


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