Monday, May 9, 2011

Written Mar '10: Evil, Free Will, Robots, Heaven

The main Christian solution to the problem of evil is that God didn’t want robotic worshippers so he created humans with free will. We humans made poor decisions under Satan’s temptation, so God is not responsible for what his creation does. I’ll put aside the counterpoints of omniscience and omnipotence to address the free-will/robot argument directly. The robot argument does not come from the Bible but is a later invention by people who’ve tried to logically know God’s mind (the same people who’ll say you can’t logically know God’s mind). But is the free-will/robot argument actually a fair Biblical implication? The Bible is cover-to-cover exceptions to that argument. From Cain’s curse to Paul’s vision of Jesus, the Bible is a book about God’s interactions with man, interactions which all violate the free-will/robot argument. In order to support the free-will/robot argument, it is necessary to explain why the argument didn’t apply during Bible times. I know of no reasonable explanation, which renders the free-will/robot argument quite crumbly by Biblical standards alone.

How is it that there will be no sin in Heaven? If God doesn’t want robotic worshippers, then I’m assuming God doesn’t strip us of our free will once we’re in Heaven, otherwise he’d end up with robotic worshippers anyway. If we have free will in Heaven, then can’t we choose to sin? What is going to prevent Heaven from turning out just like the Garden of Eden: God brings free-willed man into Eden, a sinless paradise intended for man to live in perfect harmony with God, but man utilizes free-will to disobey God once and Earth immediately plummets into chaos. The best response is that Satan and evil are banished from Heaven, so maybe there is absolutely no temptation and therefore no sin. But I have to give myself a reality check here by asking, “Am I incapable of making bad choices without help? Is all temptation from Satan?” I’m convinced the answer to both is no; I don’t need anyone’s help to screw up, and there exists situational temptation; life’s complex situations present me with plenty of tempting/difficult/morally-complex decisions without the need for Satan. As long as there are millions of separate free-wills coexisting in the same society, complex situations and imperfect decisions seem unavoidable. As soon as someone experiences a moment of jealousy over the jewels in someone else’s crown, Heaven will plummet into chaos. Either Heaven will be a repeat of Eden, or God does indeed ultimately want robotic worshippers in Heaven and the Christian solution to the problem of evil deteriorates.

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