God has created different sorts of things. In particular He has created matter, which is simply controlled by His laws of nature (the laws we attempt to discover in the natural sciences).
He has also created spiritual beings, angels and human souls, which have free will; they are also governed by God’s laws—His commandments—but they are free to decide whether or not to obey. This freedom makes spiritual beings more like God than matter is, and gives us much greater dignity and value. Ultimately, the reason for freedom is to enable us to love; for love, by definition, has to be freely given.
It is therefore an indication of God’s infinite goodness and power that He has created such spiritual beings. Now it doesn’t make sense for God to give a being free will and then force it to obey His commandments. If God was going to do that, He might as well limit Himself to creating only matter. But if spiritual beings can disobey God’s commandments, then bad things can happen. Paradoxically, it is a mark of God’s goodness, power and love that He can create us with so much power that we can do bad things.
We need to add one more point. God is also all-wise. He knows that even if bad things can happen, He is powerful enough to restore all things at the end of the world—and that indeed is our hope.
January/ February 2019
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