• Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant
    6
    The Soul-Making Theodicy is the theory that God designed the world to prepare mankind for their salvation that is ultimately becoming apart of the marriage between Himself and the church. God gave us free will so that we could partake in this spiritual quest for Heaven. I understand the argument to be laid out as the following:
    If God gave mankind free will, then He wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.
    If God wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth, then God designed the world and nature to challenge us.
    If God designed the world and nature to challenge us, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church.
    Therefore, if God gave mankind free will, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church. (1, 3 HS)
    The most notable challenges to this argument is that why did God not create us to be without sin or why did He not just let us go straight to Heaven? Well mankind could not have free will if we were created without sin. This sinless world would not have the option (or even the possibility) of committing a sin. Every person would be the same; everyone would do, say, and feel the exact same way as every other person. It can be assumed that God wants faithful and devoted followers that freely want to choose Him. We see this assumption highlighted in the Bible in the Book of Job where a faithful worshiper is tested (and I mean really tested) as the result of a bet between God and Satan where Satan believed he could tempt Job just as the serpent tempted Eve.
  • Brillig
    11


    If God gave mankind free will, then He wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.
    If God wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth, then God designed the world and nature to challenge us.
    If God designed the world and nature to challenge us, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church.
    Therefore, if God gave mankind free will, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church. (1, 3 HS)
    Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant

    Your argument is phrased a little confusingly for me. I can't quite follow any of the inferences you're making between and within each premises. I think these are the beliefs you hold:
    1. God gave mankind free will.
    2. God wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.
    3. God designed the world to challenge us.
    4. He wants to make sure mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church.

    I've written only the part of each premises that introduces new information, just for the sake of clarity. It seems you are trying to connect them logically by phrasing them as "if, then" statements, but none of these beliefs necessarily follow from the assumption made in premise 1 (that God gave mankind free will). He might have done so for any number of reasons. To have some fun, for a random example.

    By my understanding, the assumption made from premise 1 to premise 2, as well as the assumption made from 2 to 3, are part of the conclusions drawn from the Soul-Making Theodicy. These premises cannot be the correct argument, or it would be circular (its premises would contain its own conclusion).

    Also, I believe that you make a mistaken assumption in the beginning of your final paragraph. The question of "Why didn't God put us in heaven from the beginning?" is not an objection to the theodicy, the theodicy is a response to the question.

    You make a couple of claims after this that need some support.
    1. If mankind were created without the ability to sin, free will would not exist.
    2. If mankind did not have the ability to sin, everyone would be the same.

    I'll object to both with a counterexample. Free will does not require any specific ability besides the ability to choose. I can choose to either play basketball or baseball, and thereby demonstrate my free will. I have not necessarily sinned in playing either sport. Furthermore, since some people might choose basketball, and some baseball, then everyone would not necessarily be the same.
  • Belouie
    10
    If mankind were created without the ability to sin, free will would not exist.Brillig

    I agree with everything you have to say up until this point.

    I have to agree with Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant when it comes to the subject of free will and evil. Humans do in fact need the ability to sin, otherwise we aren't free willed beings.

    Free will does not require any specific ability besides the ability to choose.Brillig

    I think you may be overlooking one small crucial factor here. Free will does in fact require the ability to choose. However, free will is the ability to choose from what exactly?

    Well, if you wanted to, you could walk out your front door and go do literally anything you want to do. You have the ability to choose to have sex outside of wedlock, commit murder, get high or whatever your sin of choice may be. That is free will.

    If God were to make it so we couldn't sin, how could we be free willed?

    We might think we were free willed because we wouldn't be exposed to any sinful behavior. However ultimately, we would just be going about life blissfully ignorant of the existence of sin.

    We would essentially be living our lives with a divine safety lock, much like the one a parent may put on the family computer to make sure their child isn't exposed to illicit content.
  • Brillig
    11


    We might think we were free willed because we wouldn't be exposed to any sinful behavior. However ultimately, we would just be going about life blissfully ignorant of the existence of sin.Belouie

    I don't think you've refuted my counterexample about free will. I can certainly grasp that living life without the ability to do a number of things that I can currently do would see like it limits your free will. However, the key distinction here is that limiting free will does not remove free will entirely. If someone were to lock me in a small cell, where I couldn't go anywhere else, I would still retain my personal free will. Similarly, I currently cannot choose to grow wings and fly, but that does not mean I do not have free will.

    The example I gave may not sound ideal, but it does function as an objection to Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant's premises.
  • flight747
    15
    Hi @Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant

    Although I do understand where you’re coming from, I have some questions about your premises. I will recopy and reorganize your argument below and then refer to it as I articulate my point in the post.
    1. If God gave mankind free will, then he wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.
    2. If God wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth, then God designed the world and nature to challenge us.
    3 (C). If God gave mankind free will, then God designed the world and nature to challenge us. (1,2 HS)
    4. If God designed the world and nature to challenge us, then he wanted to make sure that mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the Church.
    5 (C). If God gave mankind free will, then God wanted to make sure that mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church. (3,4 HS)
    In view of your outlined arguments, I disagree first with your fourth premise that “God wants mankind to join in the marriage between God and the church.” Because I do not believe that God is necessarily only for Christianity, I believe that you need to provide a reason why God is simply for Christians. What if the notion of a supremely good being, which I believe your notion of God refers to, also advocates for Muslims or Buddhism for example. I believe that your take begins with the assumption that this supremely good being is only for Christians, when in reality that belief could easily be challenged by inserting another religion like Islam, Buddhism, etc. Moreover, I have some reservations about God giving mankind free will, as seen in your first premise that, “If God gave mankind free will, then He wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.” There are many religious spheres like Mormons that believe we are predestined to act upon certain actions, thus not having free will. I think this is self-defeating to your conclusion that God wants mankind to use their free will to unite with his church, because even some within God’s religious circles do not believe that they have free will to choose God and the Church. In conclusion, I hope that you shed more light into how God only translates to Christianity and how free will is Divinely-given, even when some Christians claim not to have free will. Thanks!
  • TWI
    151
    The whole point of the objective world is to provide discord. God the creator exists alone, pure loving consciousness, and created an imaginary world in which it could develop itself by imagining itself to be all things. You are that creator, gifting that imaginary world to yourself. No good or bad, just contrast in the form of experience. If this world became free of problems it would just be a closer copy of the ultimately real world that God has imagined which is perfect. If we imaginary beings tip the balance totally either way towards 'good' or 'evil' then there will be no more contrast so pointless to carry on with it. We, as God, our true identity, will then wake up and delete the dream.
  • flight747
    15


    Hi @TWI:

    Although I see where you’re coming from, I believe there are some things you need to keep in mind if you uphold the idea that if God frees the worlds of problems, that it would be a closer copy to God’s “heaven”. I will first outline your argument as follows:
    1. If God rids the world of evil, then the world would become the way that God always intended
    2. God rids the world of evil.
    3. Then the world would become the way that God always intended. (1,2 MP)
    I would like to point out the flaw of premise 1, that the world would become the way that God always intended if he rids it of evil. I think that the price humanity would have to pay in such a world would be free will, because then God would ensure that all of humanity’s acts were good and not ever evil. I believe that this is problematic because God would desire a world with some evil, in exchange for rational and thinking human beings that have free will. Why? In such a world without problems, God, in my opinion, would simply have robots programed to always do the right thing. This would be of no value to humanity and God, because humans would not be able to choose, and their actions would always be dictated, and God would not have genuine worshipers that choose to worship him. I hope this helps clarify the reason some evil seems to be necessary in the world, per Alvin Plantinga.
  • MindForged
    762
    I always find these descend into throwing around words that obfuscate conclusions that aren't pretty. So the idea that we need to be capable of sinning have free will, for instance. Well, there's absolutely no way to avoid the entailment there: God doesn't have free will, because he cannot sin. Or the idea that God could not have created us in Heaven (presumably a sinless world) without us losing free will, when many Christians believe Earth originally was sinless. Ergo, that entails Adam and Eve lacked free will, and yet were punished (along with humanity, in perpetuity) for actions not freely chosen.

    But of course, I'm sure those aren't REALLY problems. No no, what I'll inevitably be told is either God has a special kind of free will, or he could (in some technical sense of "could" that means the opposite) sin but he never would. Naturally, we couldn't get that. Of course, he's till praiseworthy for being incapable of sinning.

    Or I'll be told Earth was never sinless, in which case one can't help but wonder why the fault of sin is laid at the feet of humanity who must have been born in a world of sin and so never had a choice not to partake in it. The literalists are only slightly more worsened in this case, since another of God's goofs led to it in the first place.

    Nothing is ever straight here, there's a litany of excuses and redefinitions of terms to an extent that no one will actually understand what the key terms mean at any given point. Free will means one thing and is necessary for moral responsibility, until it's not. Going to heaven requires a certain path and obstacles called sin and necessitate the possibility of failure, unless you're God.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    ultimately becoming apart of the marriage between Himself and the church.Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant

    You'd think, being a god, that one would want to marry something more attractive than a church. Like maybe Jessica Alba.
  • TWI
    151
    Soory for the delay in responding to you.

    If God is pretending to be all things by forgetting who it really is it can't help but be evil sometimes, but it has to be remembered that as a loving God is the only thing that exists then evil doesn't really exist, it's just a 'bad dream' in which God imagines it is doing evil things, but only to itself as there is no 'other' to inflict something on.

    God isn't trying to rid the objective word of evil or make it evil it's just going with the flow to gain experience, to understand what it feels like to be all things (feeling and knowing are different things, God is all knowing but is trying to be all feeling as well)

    God wants the adventure to continue so it will keep adjusting the dream to ensure the battle between 'good' and 'evil' endures.
  • BrianW
    658
    I still have a problem with what people think freedom means when they refer to free-will. If it's given by another (even if it's God) and can be taken by Him or comes with certain conditions, then it's not really free, is it?

    I prefer those who explain that, instead of being given free-will by God, rather, we've always had it since we're beings in God and we partake of His Beingness. This means that we chose to express ourselves as relative existences besides and within God's Absoluteness. So, instead of God commanding us what to or not to do, He (God) gives us directions on how best to express ourselves. However, we can choose to act differently but must face the consequences of our actions. In this way, we have free-will even though we're terrible at using it.
  • CYU-5
    6
    If God gave mankind free will, then He wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.
    If God wanted mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth, then God designed the world and nature to challenge us.
    If God designed the world and nature to challenge us, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church.
    Therefore, if God gave mankind free will, then He wants to make sure the mankind is ready to join in the marriage between God and the church. (1, 3 HS)
    Iwanttostopphilosophizingbutikant

    I have trouble understanding the conditional relationships between statements in the given premises, especially in premise 2 and 3. If we assume “God wants mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth” to be a true statement, then under any and all circumstances, it must be true that God leaves the choice of taking part in or not taking part in spiritual growth to each individual. As long as one’s ability to choose is used without the control of others, and one’s choice is done autonomously, one’s choice can be considered as free. Each autonomous individual should have the ability to make such a choice even when not living in the world or nature that is designed to be challenging. Since the given argument does not show the relationship between the challenges one faces and one’s ability to choose freely, I don’t see how God designing the world and nature to challenge us can be a necessary condition for Him wanting mankind to freely choose to take part in spiritual growth.

    As for premise 3, I’m not sure what you meant by “God wanting to make sure the mankind is ready to…” I believe that by saying “God designed the world and nature to challenge us” you meant “God designed the world and nature in a way that we are challenged”. Since the argument does not mention how challenges guarantee spiritual growth and how spiritual growth guarantees one’s readiness to join in the marriage between God and the church, it is unclear how one can be made ready through challenges. If it is not sure how one can be made ready, then how can God make sure one’s readiness through designing the world and nature in a way that one can be challenged?
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