“The Consequences of Freewill”
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live...”
God, the supreme Creator of all things, is sometimes accused by critics as having created evil. After all, doesn’t God Himself admit, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isa. 45:7 KJV)? In this passage, God is not saying He is the author of moral evil but rather that He has the power to bring calamity or disaster as a just judgment (Amos 3:6). What the King James Version renders as “evil” here is speaking of the distress and disaster which people experience as a consequence of their sin (Ex. 34:6-7).
Ok, so Isaiah 45:7 doesn’t teach that God created evil but what about the devil and sin in general? If God is the Creator of the universe, and evil exists in our universe, wouldn’t He at least be responsible for its existence? Let’s examine a few possibilities of God’s creation of which there can only be four:
- That God would create nothing (where there is no possibility for good or evil).
- That God would create an amoral universe (where there is no such thing as good or evil).
- That God would create a universe without freewill (where there is no possibility of evil).
- That God would create a universe with freewill (where there is possibility of good and evil).
The only universe in which love can exist is the fourth possibility, a universe with freewill. This is the universe God chose to create. This is the universe we find ourselves in, both longing to love and be loved by others.
Love is the supreme ethic and the deepest longing of every human heart. This possibility of love is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us. But if we erase freewill, we also erase the possibility of ever experiencing love. These two concepts depend on one another.
But while freewill opens the door to love it also opens the door to evil. The possibility of love makes us all extremely vulnerable to pain and loss. But those of us who have ever opened our hearts fully to God’s love will say it is well worth the temporary pain.
But to receive the eternal benefits of God’s love is a choice of our freewill. Eternal residence either near God in Heaven or away from Him in Hell is ultimately a choice God has left to us.
C.S. Lewis once famously stated, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
A father who takes his son to the doctor for a vaccination may appear to his child in the moment to be cruel. But the father’s decision that once perplexed and angered the child is clearly understood when he is safe from a disease ravaging his town years later. Time and trust are necessary components to making sense of the evil in our world. In time, those who choose to wait on the Lord will understand their pain and learn to even rejoice in it (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Thank God for His love and our freewill.