The problem of evil is such an interesting philosophical question to examine. If God is all powerful, and loving, how can evil exist? Surely, God must either be limited in power, or in His capacity to love if He will allow evil to exist? Wouldn’t any other option merely be an attempt to justify evil? Today, I would like to take a look at one aspect of this quandary and see if we can find a scenario that does not limit any of the premises in the problem of evil. At the end of this article, hopefully, we will have a single scenario where God can be loving, all powerful, and allow evil.
If God is able to use our actions to produce a desired outcome, do we really have free will? If mankind is unable to resist sin, do we have free will? Does the existence of an all-knowing God imply that we have no free will? This group of questions came to me after finishing the story of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis and I think they are an appropriate set of questions given Joseph's statement to his brothers at the end of the story.
If God knows everything that we will ever feel, think, say, or do, then do we have free will? It is certainly hard to imagine how we might be capable of freely deciding anything if all of our decisions are already known. But it may be possible to reconcile free will and "destiny" or "fate". Let's unpack the titular question and see where it leads.
If we need Jesus in order to be saved and no one can go to Jesus unless God has enabled them, does this mean that we cannot choose to be saved? This is quite the paradoxical question and has been the subject of much debate in the theological community. Can mankind choose to be saved? Does God call all of us? Does God want all of us?
This is a tough question that many Christians and Atheists alike can find themselves struggling with. Challenging questions like this are not something that I think we should ignore or run away from as they tend to embed themselves into the back of our mind and pop up at the most inconvenient times. This is why I think we should embrace issues like this and work through them together as a community of believers.