In part one of this teaching regarding Sin and Suffering we discovered that both sin and suffering are the result of Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. All creation was corrupted. The very mind set of man was corrupted as well. This accounts for suffering and evil that exists in our world today. Now in part two we examine the impact that the free will of man has on sin and suffering in our world.
From the very beginning God made man with the ability to choose to do right or wrong. To obey God or disobey God. To treat his fellow man well or to do him great harm. Man is an agent of free will. This freedom of choice that man has to exercise in his life serves the highest glory when man chooses to love, worship and serve God. But when man chooses to sin against God or his fellow man, evil and suffering can be the result.
A man chooses to drive while drunk and an innocent life perishes. A man chooses to rob a store, the clerk resists and another life tragically ends. An innocent wife is infected with HIV by her unfaithful husband. An unborn infant dies when his mother chooses abortion 15 weeks after conception. All these are the result of the choices that men and women make.
What if God did not allow us to choose? Would our lives be better? I think not. Without the capacity to choose what would our lives be like? Without choice we would eat the same food. We would have no chance to better ourselves. No choice in who we marry. What would games, sports and other competitive events look like? Certainly safer, but better?
Along with the capacity to make poor and evil choices comes the capacity to choose wisely and decide to help others. I could not choose to stop and help the elderly couple with the flat tire. I couldn't choose to donate my blood or a kidney to show my compassion for someone dying. I couldn't choose to sacrificially give to help someone in a financial crisis. Perhaps the greatest loss for a world without free will is that you and I could not choose to love someone and act with only their best interests in mind.
Our relationship with God would be sadly different as well. You see God has everything He needs. There is absolutely nothing that God needs from me. But there is something He desires from me. More than anything else God desires me to love Him. Literally this is the only gift any of us can ever give to God. But, take away my free will and I am nothing but a robot. Nothing I will do will be done from love, but from the compulsion of instinct.
Most of all our free will allows us to comprehend God's love for us. In Rom. 5:6-8 the Apostle Paul writes, "For while we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Without the freedom to reject God, could we ever experience the joy and comfort of knowing God's "own" love for us? A love like none other?
In conclusion while eliminating the freedom to choose would make life less painful and tragic, we would still experience a different kind of loss that would also be tragic. That loss is the freedom to choose to follow Christ Jesus, be saved from our sins and love God. Without the ability to understand the love behind God's sacrifice we would never know the greatest love of all. That is the love of God. David Miller