In a previous post I demonstrated that the Molinist/Arminian view of God’s character is vulnerable to vigorous criticisms. Indeed, if Molinists/Arminians are right about how we should understand God’s character, their own theology makes him look like a monster rather than a loving father, since he could do so much to prevent evil, yet stands by idly.
But a related issue is the question of why God can’t interfere with human free will. Let’s suppose Molinists/Arminians are right, and God can’t sovereignly act directly upon our wills; he can’t override what we would otherwise do. Does it follow that God cannot curtail our freedom at all?
Consider that we interfere with other people’s free will choices all the time. And in cases involving the kinds of terrible evils which Molinists/Arminians are so eager to distance God from, we don’t do it reluctantly. Rather, we consider it morally obligatory.
For example, when police became aware that Ted Bundy was the man who was going around raping and murdering dozens of women, they didn’t pause to wonder if incarcerating him was an unethical violation of his free will choices. It was those very free will choices that they wished to prevent him making—and rightly so. When people commit serious sins against other people, we recognize that we have an obligation, a moral duty, to prevent them from freely choosing to do so again. Indeed, if we could have prevented them from making that free will choice in the first place, we should have.
Why is God immune to these kinds of ethical concerns, under Molinism/Arminianism?
Why does God not physically prevent people from committing terrible crimes in the way any loving human father would? Or why does he not send angels to defend the victims of people like Ted Bundy and Joseph Kony? Doesn’t he love them?
How should we answer this question?
I’m not trying to suggest, as a Facebook friend put it, that “all theologies are equally bad”.
I agree that God could prevent evil, yet I don’t think he is complicit. In fact, I believe God brings about these terrible evils, and yet is not complicit.
I’m not trying to show that God should act to stop evil. I’m not working from some pie-in-the-sky idealized intuition about how God would act. Rather, I’m working from how God does act to assess the governing intuition behind Molinism/Arminianism—namely, that God cannot cause evil without committing evil. As I’ve shown, this intuition comes back to bite them, because he must equally be evil to permit evil. But since he does permit evil, we can infer very easily that their intuition is plain wrong.
So what I’m showing is not that God is a monster, but rather that we shouldn’t rely on our intuitions to prejudge what would do, or what Scripture can say. Rather, we should look at what he has done, and what Scripture does say, and work from there.