How is physical evil connected to free will – What is the connection between Adam’s free choice and our free choice
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: Free Choice, Free choice, Free will, Physical evil, natural disasters, 2 Chronicles 36:1-23
- Ankerberg: We said that all physical evil can be connected to free will. First of all, talk about that and then I’ll ask the question.
- Geisler: Well, God created free creatures, the ability to do otherwise. We brought evil into the universe: Lucifer, Adam and all the little “Adamites” since then, and we can account for all the evil in the world by relating it directly or indirectly to free will.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and we listed a whole number of them, I think ten at that point, and I don’t want to go back on that, but I do want to add something that because of Adam’s choice and our choices after that, there have been certain things that have come because of our choices. And one of those has to do with people who say, “Why did God allow me to get this cancer? Why did God allow me to have this heart attack? Why did God allow AIDS? Why did God do this?” realizing that if God didn’t even exist, okay, some of those things would have happened. There’s a book that’s called None of These Diseases. Explain what we’re talking about here.
- Geisler: Well, the doctors who wrote the book pointed out that if we had lived by the principles laid down in God’s law in the book of Leviticus, we could have avoided these diseases that we’re getting today, that we’ve actually brought them on ourselves by our lifestyle and by our moral choices.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Then the second one, which is harder for people to understand is, what is the connection between Adam’s free choice and our free choice? God gave that privilege to us. It has tremendous consequences. But we said that even physical evils such as a tornado or a hurricane result out of some of those things, free choice. How does that do so? And specifically, let’s talk about when Adam made that choice, the fact is, he started to take it out on his family, the relationship. There would be arguments, there would be sins that would come in because he started to choose that over God’s way.
- In terms of how he treated the environment – we know today that there are certain people that pollute our streams, our lakes, and we’re putting laws against that. There are other things that people do that affect the environment. How far can we carry that out in terms of, free choice has been the cause of some of these problems we live with?
- Geisler: Most of our environmental problems are caused by our free choice. Strangely enough, poverty is largely caused by free choice. Most countries in the world produce enough food for the minimal needs of their own people. Why were people starving in Ethiopia? Not because they didn’t have enough food; they were even shipping food to England. It’s because there was a political and moral bottleneck in the country in which the food never got to the people because of the corruption of those who were leaders. We have people who have overgrazed the land and caused a famine. We’ve had the dust bowl in the United States years ago. We have many cases where abuse of the land…. In the Old Testament, you were supposed to let the land rest every seventh year, for example. If you don’t do that, the land doesn’t become productive. And God took all 70 years in the captivity because for 490 years they had been doing it, it says in 2 Chronicles, for instance. [2 Chron. 36:16-21] So you have numerous illustrations where our choices have caused poverty, have caused plagues, have caused drought, deserts, hunger in the world. So you can’t blame all this on God.