God permits evil because of freedom

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: God[ edit ].


Human beings, not God, are responsible for evil. Evil only exists because men are free.


“The core of any theodicy must, in my view, be "justification by free will". To begin with, this will apply to moral evil, but it can also be extended to much natural evil. Justification by free will consists in saying that it is a great blessing that human beings have free will, or the faculty of free and responsible choice, but this free will then necessarily presupposes the natural possibility of moral evil. (By "natural possibility", I mean that it is not determined in advance whether or not evil will occur). A God who endows human beings with such free will inevitably opens the door to this possibility, so that the actual production of evil is beyond his control. It is not logically possible - it would be a contradictory assumption - for God to grant us this free will while ensuring that we always use it correctly.”

Richard Swinburne, Is there a God?, Ithaca, 2009.



Arguments forJustifications

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstNatural evil is not caused by human actions
  • Argument againstGod cannot be less free than human beings
  • Argument againstMan is not truly free but inclined to evil

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