“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Free Will Defense

Many have argued along these lines that creatures could not love God fully without making the free choice to love him, and that God gave them this freedom and let them walk on their own feet in the hope that they would embrace him. Some have said that this constituted a necessary risk on God’s part, a risk that creatures would reject God. I agree that free will is necessary if we are to love God fully – the freedom to walk on our own two feet, without God’s predetermining guidance, is an essential part of what it means to be human.* However, I vehemently disagree with the idea that God took a risk in giving free will. Rather, God left room for free will among his creatures, both humans and higher beings such as Satan, knowing exactly and exhaustively what would happen, and approving of each event for the greater purpose it would serve. In Lewis’ words, “From a world of free creatures, even though they fell, He could work out (and this is the reascent) a deeper happiness and a fuller splendour than any world of automata would admit” (Miracles, ch. 14, see also Mere Christianity p. 52). When claiming that evil resulted from free will, let us not be content to say no more than that free will was necessary for love. It was necessary for so much more – not just the creature’s love for God, but a greater revelation of God’s love to the creatures, a more joy-filled end to the story, and a more perfect and glorious reality in every way.

*In Perelandra, the second book in his “Ransom Trilogy,” C. S. Lewis eloquently conveys the wonder of free will and the gift to the creature of stepping out of the guidance of divine predeterminism and walking on its own feet, as it were, and thus becoming more fully what God intended.

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