Home > Free Will, Theodicy > Does Free Will Exist in Heaven?

Does Free Will Exist in Heaven?

Pearly_Gates

A fairly common retort to why evil and suffering exist if God is omnipotent and all-loving is free will.

For example, in the back-and-forth I posted on “the problem of evil” a while back, one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers makes a representative version of this point:

Suffering, the existential consciousness of alienation, on which you are so eloquent, is an extension of human freedom. Those of us, like you, who stand in the faith and view the world (both physical and existential) from the perspective of faith, do not have words to understand why God created the world in the way can has, but we do understand that both the principle of entropy and human free will are gifts of the Creator and that God respects the integrity of Creation.

Most religious people assume that no one suffers in heaven. If they’re right, does that imply that we lack free will in heaven? If the formula for the perfect state of happiness contains a total deficiency of free will, why does an omnibenevolent Creator give us free will at all? It cannot be beneficial, by definition, if heaven is perfect and lacks it.

One alternative could be that we have free will, but God punishes any offense with banishment to hell – terrifying everyone into immaculate behavior. Yet that would seem to shatter the notion of a totally merciful Divine Being like stained glass.

(Robot Heaven)

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Categories: Free Will, Theodicy
  1. June 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I personally don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. However I think the fact is that people haven’t thought that far ahead. Religious people are more concerned with getting there.

    • June 17, 2013 at 11:42 am

      I’m not a believer in the supernatural either, Rob. Free will seems like a weak illusion as well. But, if suffering is an unavoidable byproduct of free will, I wonder what the religious make of human will in an afterlife paradise.

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