Could God have given us free will with perfect morals?

I recently heard an argument against God’s existence. While I am not an atheist, I do question God’s perfect goodness still. The argument made by this person was as follows: there does exist a being that has knowledge of good and bad, freewill, and is perfectly moral (aka God). So why couldn’t he have created a world where everyone else knows about good and bad but just always chooses good? Essentially, why couldn’t God have made people with his perfect nature and knowledge?

I feel like there has to be a way around this question, but I have no idea where to begin. Any and all thoughts/solutions are greatly appreciated.

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In my opinion, a world where everyone always freely chooses good instead of evil is not possible. It would seem to me that a world like that is populated with pre-programmed robots, so to speak, or people who are born with enough wisdom to always make good choices. I think we learn the nature and character of God by realizing, through our experiences and feelings of guilt, how much our sin grieves God and separates us from him. This naturally draws us to Himself if we let it, or we can choose to deny him. It is a gift God gives us that he doesn’t overwhelm us with undeniable proof that he exists. That would remove our freedom of choice to believe in Him. He leaves us the room to deny or accept his love. Love can’t be coerced, it must be willingly chosen and accepted to be real. That only comes with true freedom. True freedom, in my opinion, makes the reality of some of us choosing evil inevitable.

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Hey @DeAnna_Collins. Agree with @Coach_Marc. This video might help as well.

Let me know if you would like more clarification.
God Bless.

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I’ve seen this argument, and while I like it and it does make sense, it just seemed like the question was posed in a different way. For example, in world 3 we are assuming that it’s a “pre-programming” that would make us only choose good. Well, does that mean that God is “pre-programmed” because he only chooses good? If he’s not pre-programmed and able to be morally perfect why couldn’t he have made beings like that?

The closest reason I can come up with is, it’s impossible for God to make something as perfect as himself. Similar to how he can’t make a married bachelor, it’s a logical contradiction. Perhaps absolutely ANYTHING lesser than God cannot possibly be 100% morally perfect because only God can do that. Similar to how only God can create life and only God can judge. Thoughts?

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Hey @DeAnna_Collins, so God is not created, always was and is good and the source for everything good. He is omni-everything, meaning there is nothing he cant do. That includes being able to create humans that are perfect. But you are correct in that God would not be God if all beings are as omni-everything as him. Then he becomes just an average, equal to everything. At the same time though, the way the world works, the law of physics, they have real tangible mechanisms to make life work. And thus in a world where there is a free choice and where the laws are kept, it is impossible to not have the forces try to undo the perfect thing God makes. It’s like the law of entropy. Everything has to expand. The molecules with high energy have to disperse. So in theory even though it is possible, it is not practical in some sense.

But this is amazing (mind blown). This just shows us how we cant contain and understand the infinite God in our finite mind/brain.

Cant wait to meet him and be in awe as He explains it all. Also, how loving is He to consider us important when we are so unimportant. Praise be his name.

I want to say as well. I love how you are pursing the Truth, seeking. He has said you’ll find it. It is His promise. God Bless You.

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I think good is relative. And the nature of good and evil is measure by the social paradigm the person and/or persons are using to relate to morality. Therefore each persons notion of good and what is right is difference and personal. The world isn’t black or white, however millions of shades of grey. The debate of a world of all good would in a place that measure sin differently or not at all. The true essence of the debate centers in choice and free will. The power to choice something without the requirement of doing so is key. What is wrong to me might be right to another person. What I felt was good and right 20 years ago are not the same as they are today. The thing that they both can be measured from is my choice in the matter. Leaving it free and up to me to determine the response and or action!

Not sure that helps, but it is hard to determine the line in the sand to work from.

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Hi @DeAnna_Collins

Thank you for your very thoughtful question. I believe that you are right in your reflections that God is incapable of making something as perfect as Him. It is a logical impossibility. If God ontologically is a Maximally Great Being, an eternal, necessary, self-sufficient being, it would follow that God cannot therefore ‘make’ God. What this means is that for free-will created beings, no matter how great God makes us, no matter how much knowledge, or power, or wisdom, or indwelling love He gives us, the temptation always exist for us to strive to be God. This was the sin that tempted Lucifer and the sin that tempted Adam and Eve.

The trouble therefore isn’t a problem of knowledge, but a problem of completeness. God made humanity to exist and function in His grace. To freely choose to grow in love, to grow in love for God and love for our neighbor. God created us to find our fullness (completeness) of life in Him, that comes through the choice to give ourselves over to Him. Your question on whether God could have created morally superior creatures misses a significant point of why God created us to start with. It wasn’t just to be good, but for us to freely choose to desire Him, to choose to love Him, and through our choice, for God to make us living vessels and temples for Him to dwell in. For us to have relationship with Him. God alone is good, which means, the only way we can be made good is if God unites with us. We are made perfectly good by God.

Colossians 1:27: To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Maybe God could have created a free will being that was better than us, more loving and kind immediately from the point of creation. But God didn’t want to replicate His nature in us by force, He wanted it to come through choice.

A really great question DeAnna and I hope that is of some help :slightly_smiling_face:.

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That last part was really helpful. If God replicated his nature in us by force it wouldn’t be as valuable.

Furthermore, the whole issue of original sin. The sin of satan was to be like God. The sin of Adam and Eve were to be like God. But I think a possible valid reason of why this is such a sin is because we CAN’T handle it. We can’t handle knowing right and wrong (like God) and then always choosing right (like God). Probably because we are automatically a lesser being (such as with morals and self restraint) just because of the mere fact that we’re created and thus on an immediate different playing field than God himself.

Another thought, I was pondering was this. God is able to act according to his own discretion (thus free will) because he set in place the law of right and wrong. He is the very essence of the moral law. So, God freely acts to decide what is and is not morally okay, and because this is HIS initial and final decision (basically his will), he naturally won’t go against his own self. So now, God creates something, and if he super imposes his very own nature (the nature of knowing right from wrong then always choosing God’s will) then this does not allow for a relationship. Instead of a choice it’s boiled down to a natural law of instinct. And we don’t look at animals getting together from instinct and saying “Oh how sweet, they’re so in love!”

Any other thoughts and considerations about this topic?

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awesome answer very interesting and well balanced with scripture.

Thank you!

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@DeAnna_Collins I like that way that you are exploring your question. Here are a couple of questions that may help you to delve deeper:

  1. If you were God, then what would you have done? Why, or why not?
  2. If you were a Stepford Wife, would you be able to love your “husband?” Why or why not?
  3. What would you think of a man who created a Stepford Wife for himself?

Here is a hint at my point of view on the matter: I think that it is odd that we judge God for not doing something that we would condemn ourselves.

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Yes, only God can be God. He is the sole source of life and existence. The Bible teaches that he created angelic beings before He created the world as we know it since they were with Him when He laid its foundations (Job 38:7)

Lucifer fell before God made man and women because he shows ip in the Garden, angry for being judged for his rebellion ( Ez 28:15; Isa 14) trying to ruin man’s innocent state.

Because God is truth, there was a tree in the garden of the knowledge of Good and Evil. God allowed man to know there was something that he was not permitted to do. Because evil was already afoot, God did not want him to expeeience it and to plunge into death. But man did. Even then God provided a rescue for the creatures he loved, namely the promise of a Deliver to come one day and rescue him from death, restoring life.

Yes, there is only one God, one source of all. God is limited by Who He is. For instance, He cannot be bad, He is good. He cannot be uncaring, He is love. And He cannot share His glory with another (Isa 42:8) - He is all glorious, and thats a fact . Any other statement God could make, would not be true. And he is truth , and cannit lie (Num 23:19) All beings He creates can only be reflections of His glory. That is the refkected glory man fell from in the Gsrcen. But it is to be restored one day because of the work of Jesus Christ, redeeming man and offering life again.

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@DeAnna_Collins
Again, I come somewhat late into the conversation. I like the interaction and would like to comment. I will start with bottom line first. My understanding is that Man was created with perfect morality and ethics along with perfect freewill limited only by Man’s nature as a created being. The same is true of Satan. I explain as follows.

My understanding of the question is that you are distinguishing between morality and freewill; further you are assuming perfect morality would imply someone having perfect ethics and thus, would make perfect freewill, moral choices. I like to ensure that we are using words and phrases in the same context and so I put 3 definitions below to start.

  1. Freewill: Freewill refers to the ability of cognizant Beings to make choices that are not imposed upon them. There are 4 Beings in Scripture that have this ability. They are God, Angels, Man, and the Nephilim. We know nothing about the Nephilim except that they exist and only little about Angels. We also know that all freewill choices by God are perfect and are according to His Nature. Consequently, this discussion is focused on Man’s use of Freewill.
  2. Morals: Man’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. Perfect Morality would imply Man has perfect knowledge of standards of behavior that pleases God.
  3. Ethics: Man’s principles of behavior or the conducting of an activity to be moral. Perfect Ethics would imply Man knows what decision/action is required in every situation to do what is Moral and pleasing to God.

It is clear that while Morals and Ethics by definition are interrelated. Freewill is separate from Morals and Ethics in that Freewill implies the ability to choose to be or not to be Moral and Ethical. Freewill does not imply that the Ethical, Moral Choice will be made. It is what makes Man unique on this earth from animals. Animals have instinct and always make choices that within their understanding support their nature and purpose. Animals do not have freewill in the sense that they cannot make choices between that which is Moral or Not Moral. Animals always choose that which they consider to be good. Man does not always do so.

When we look at creation, we see two Beings having Freewill that were created: Man and Lucifer (and by inference all angels). We see the Creation of Man, Man’s existence in Eden before The Fall, and how the Fall occurred in Genesis 1-3. (The state of Man after The Fall is described throughout all other Scripture) We see the Nature of Lucifer before and after The Fall of Lucifer in Is. 14:12-15 and Ez. 28:12-19 (Both of these Scriptures are dual prophesies that virtually all accept are speaking of Lucifer). God created in both of these Beings, Man and Lucifer, a perfect understanding of God’s Morality and Ethics only limited by each entity being a creature and not God. It is not in God’s Nature to create anything that is flawed.

I believe that understanding the fact that Mankind was created with perfect Morals and Ethics is a major fact in understanding The Fall. Adam and Eve, as well as Satan, were acting with full knowledge that they were acting against the very nature and purpose they were created for. They were using their God-Given perfect set of Ethics to make a choice against their God-Given set of Morals. This understanding more fully brings understanding to The Fall of Adam and Eve.

I hope this helps
Dan

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Is it logical to put it this way? God is good by nature. Therefore what God does and says is good. It is God who defines what is good by His words and His actions. Anything else is “not good” or “evil.” Or: there is no “objective” good - that is, good cannot be defined independent of God, or external to Him.

When we say God IS love, the implication is that God cannot act except in love.

It occurs to me then, that anything that God creates that has free will must be able to choose a way different from God’s way - therefore evil.

Another question that occurs to me from this is: would any creature that has a will that is independent of God, automatically be described as having “free” will? If a creature had a “will” that could choose not to do God’s will, would it automatically have “free” will? Conversely if God made a creature that always chose to do God’s will, that creature could not (demonstratively) have “free will.” God doesn’t have free will in the sense that he can choose to do evil, because He is intrinsically good, and ALL he does, must therefore be consistent with his good nature.

If we use another analogy of God, as Light, we find it written “God is Light and in Him there is no darkness whatsoever.” SO: “God is Good, and in Him there is no evil whatsoever.”

(I use the word good here as the opposite of evil, not the opposite of bad. We can experience a lot of bad things happening [at least from our perspective] like earthquakes of hurricanes - but they are not evil.)

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I love how you said because God is truth, God put the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden. If he hadn’t done that then he would have been deceptive. He wouldn’t have told the human race the whole story which is essentially this: there is life with God and there is death without God. Make your choice.

If God would have imposed his own will (which is obviously life with God) on Adam and Eve then there would be no choice. God cannot control the fact that anything outside of himself is bad. So he warns Adam and Eve of this. God cannot control someone that he administers free will to, and he cannot cause that creation’s free will to be like his own because then it would not be that creatures will.

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Thank you for the details @dan0647 , it’s very helpful. I do have some inquiries though.

  1. In your first bolded sentence, if perfection of morality, ethics, and freewill was limited by our nature of being man, then does it go to show that our morality, ethics, and freewill were only as perfect as possible considering that being created automatically puts us on a lower playing field?

  2. If we were morally and ethically perfect from the get-go, then why does it not follow that our freewill does not reflect this nature?

  3. Could you elaborate a little more on your last paragraph? I was just considering, Adam and Eve knew what God wanted from them. They were of full understanding that they should not eat from the tree of knowledge. Perhaps that is where their knowledge of the world was supposed to stop. They were probably ignorant of what they weren’t supposed to know about, all they knew is that they should not commit the one and only sin possible to them in the garden. After all, that was the only real commandment of them to not do something. Then after that choice was made, other sins were made possible due to their new awareness.

Thank your for the help and clarification

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@DeAnna_Collins
I want to begin with making sure that it is understood that I am responding based on my personal understanding and theology and I am not in anyway stating something that is doctrinal. The following are my responses to your inquiries. You gladden my heart that you consider my opinion worthwhile.

  • Concerning the limits of perfection of created beings : I fully agree with your assessment that I am stating that our morals, ethics, and freewill were created in Adam and Eve only as perfect as possible. It would be impossible for Adam and Eve (or any other created being including Satan) to have the same level of perfection as God in any of their traits, personality, or characteristics. This is simply because Adam and Eve were created, and God is not. Further, God being the Creator has full knowledge of the relationship of His Creation, which a created Being can never attain. There is a saying in Theology: If you fully understand the God you are studying, then you are not studying God . The reason for this is that only God can fully understand God.

  • If morality and ethics are perfect, then why not freewill : My view is that the freewill of Adam and Eve (as well as Satan) were perfect within the context of a created being. Exercising freewill is a process rather than an end result. That is the perfect exercise of freewill does not necessarily mean having the result of perfect decisions; rather it means that the process of the decision-making was perfect whatever the result. Another way to say this is: following perfect logic gives you the ability to make a logical decision, but it does not mean you will make a logical decision. This leads to an understanding of the depth of the Sin of The Fall. That is Adam and Eve followed a perfect decision-making process to make an imperfect decision. They were fully cognizant that their decision to take the action of eating of the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was wrong.

  • Innocence or ignorance of the results of wrongdoing : My view is that Adam and Eve crossed a Threshold of Innocence when they disobeyed God. Before The Fall they only knew Good; after The Fall they knew both Good and Evil. I believe this is a major point of the Revelation of The Fall. That is that God created Man to not know Evil in any way. Man was given the ability to choose Evil, but did not know Evil, until Man made the choice to do Evil. Man was totally innocent of any Evil when created and placed in the garden. I believe that the term Threshold of Innocence is very apt when discussing The Fall and it is also good term to use for when a person sins for the first time in an area. As an example: there is a significant difference in a person’s mindset about stealing between the person that has never stolen and the person that has stolen no matter how small the act of stealing was.

I believe that the resistance of The Church, particularly in The West, to teach on Genesis 1-3 has resulted in a lack of understanding concerning the significance of The Fall and the resultant crossing from Innocence of Evil to Knowledge of Evil by mankind. We miss sometimes that the entirety of Scripture from Genesis 4 to Revelation 22 is the revelation of how God deals with The Fall and then restores His Creation not just to its former status, but something even more glorious. People sometimes say to me: if only Adam had not sinned our lives would now be perfect . I answer with: that is true, but we would never have been given the ability to be made new creatures in Christ and become one with God in a way that Adam as created could never have . Truly God takes all things and makes them for our good and His Glory.

Dan

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Thank you for that great answer! I’ve been reflecting on this topic ALL day with videos and journaling and reading. Your take on the matter has been very helpful.

Something I realized just now after even more reflection is: God made us with perfect freedom and God made us with perfect human will. In other words, our will was as good as it possibly could be (just like what you mentioned in your first paragraph). And within this state, Adam and Eve were good enough to have the ability to choose God over the tree of knowledge but their will was also imperfect enough (once again, only in comparison to God’s) that they were able to defy God and choose evil. Because they had the true ability to do either one, that is why they were held responsible for their decisions and why punishment was a necessary consequence.

I personally feel this is the best perspective for me because otherwise I have no idea how to account for evil (which as I have discovered is Christianity’s biggest hurdle)

Thank you again for your time, and I ask that you pray for me that I am able to completely come into relationship with Jesus, as I am not entirely there yet I don’t think.

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Dear @DeAnna_Collins
Of course I will pray for you. Just know that God loves you and made you unique and He loves those who are serious enough about Him to ask questions.

Explaining the Existence of Evil & its consequences is one of the most difficult requirements of any Belief System. I believe that Christianity and Orthodox Judaism are the only 2 belief systems that actually deal with Evil. That is they teach Evil/Sin is real and present in Man and that only God can remove its effects from Man. Generally there are 2 issues dealing with Evil. That is: Is Evil Real and How can Man resolve Evil in his life.

Is Evil Real?: There are 3 basic responses to this question.

  1. Relativism: The first is that Evil (and Good) is relative and does not really exist. This is the general view of Atheism and The Hindu/Buddhist Belief Systems. Ultimately these Belief systems do not believe in God as a Supreme Being Creator. They may believe in god(s) but these gods are super beings rather than supernatural beings. The problem with this concept is that mankind is left to choose what is Good and Evil which are not absolutes but relative to the understanding of each person.
  2. Dualism: Good and Evil are attributes of 2 coequal gods. Good for one coequal god is Evil for the other. Consequently we are only choosing between 2 gods not choosing good and evil. Zoroastrianism and Satanism are 2 examples of this belief system. In this system of belief mankind is required to choose what is Good and Evil. Thus Man again is the determiner of what is Good and Evil not God.
  3. Monotheistic View: This is the view only exists in Monotheistic Religions. These Belief Systems believe that God is an Omnipotent Creator and by His Nature is absolute Good. Evil exist as a concept that exists as the Lack of Good. Thus Good can exist without the presence of Evil. However Evil does exist where Good is lacking or not present. Obviously Christianity and Judaism follow this Belief System, but so does Islam. All Monotheistic Religions are related to one of these 3 and more than that Christianity is actually a Sect of Judaism. Islam is also related to Judaism. Monotheism is the most practiced belief system throughout the world by far. There are about 3.8 billion Monotheists in the world today.

How Can Man Resolve Evil in His Life
Outside Monotheism the consequences of Evil is primarily related to the psychological impact on the life of a person. It has little to do with existence after death except in the area of reincarnation. However even with reincarnation, life eventually ends for the individual as they become one with the whole and evil only extends the time that is required to achieve this end.

Only Within Monotheism does Evil exist and Evil has permanent consequence. And only within Monotheism does the question How Can Man Resolve Evil in His Life? exist. All Monotheistic Belief Systems believe in Heaven, but all do not believe in Hell. There are 3 primary groups within Monotheism concerning the consequence of Evil.

  1. God’s Mercy is Absolute: This is where the Universalist Group reside. They essentially do not believe in Hell. They believe that there may be an event of purification from evil that takes place after death. But all will go to heaven based on God’s perfect Mercy.
  2. God’s Mercy based on Works: This group does believe in Hell and that those not deserving of God’s Mercy go there. However they believe that God judges how well a person lived their life to do good. If God judges that a person’s good works outweigh their bad then God will grant them mercy and forgiveness for their bad and they can enter heaven. Muslims in particular believe this, but certain Christian and Jewish sects do as well. Unfortunately the majority of all Monotheists believe in this concept to some extent, however minor, as well despite the theology of their Sect rejecting the concept.
  3. Grace Based Forgiveness: This is the concept that God provides a perfect sacrifice for Sin/Evil in a person’s life and that forgiveness of Sin/Evil is based on this perfect sacrifice. All Christian Traditions teach this perfect sacrifice is provided by the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The Orthodox Jewish Tradition teach that this will be done by The Messiah who is yet to come. Although all Christian Traditions hold that Salvation is only through Jesus there are some that hold that a level of Works are also required such as baptism.

Hope this also helps
Dan

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All things need to be viewed through a similar singular lens…EVERYTHING God does is toward the goal of glorifying His holy and perfect name. Nothing more.

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YOU STATED …"In my opinion, a world where everyone always freely chooses good instead of evil is not possible. It would seem to me that a world like that is populated with pre-programmed robots, so to speak, or people who are born with enough wisdom to always make good choices. I think we learn the nature and character of God by realizing, through our experiences and feelings of guilt, how much our sin grieves God and separates us from him. "

My Thoughts:…………… So do I understand that “evil” is necessary to have “Free Will”? Since, God is pure love; why would God have created the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” in the first place?

                                      Very confused how evil is necessary apparently in order for mankind to know/experience God's grief over man's SIN?

Just Thinking About!

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