Which would be better: A world in which humans had no free will but only good things happened, or a world in which humans had free will but as a result of that free will bad things happened (and, of course, some were really bad)? St. Augustine believed that God is omniscient and therefore knows EVERYTHING you are going to do BEFORE you “choose” to do it. He also believed that you have free will (i.e., when you do something, you have freely chosen to do it). How can both of those things possibly be true at the same time?
A couple of centuries old question that I don’t have the intelligence needed to fully explain, yet I can chime in and also show what more intelligent than I have said about the subject. St. Augustine, C. H. Spurgeon and C.S. Lewis.
This is about Augustinian theodicy and is a question to the evidential problem of evil, which raises the concern that if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, there should be no evil in the world. Evidence of evil can call into question God’s nature or his existence he is either not omnipotent, not benevolent, or does not exist. Theodicy is an attempt to reconcile the existence and nature of God with evidence of evil in the world by providing valid explanations for its occurrence. The Augustinian theodicy asserts that God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing) but maintains that God did not create evil and is not responsible for its occurrence. Evil is not attributed existence but is described as the privation of good the corruption of God’s good creation.
Now this does not take into account of what evil is, or how it came into being. A created being called lucifer was created by God at the start but turned evil, then add the sin of Adam that transfers from generation to generation, now how would God be accountable for the actions of lucifer or Adam, and does this not show the evidence of free will?
Here I need to ask; Is an action right because God approves of it, or Does God approve of the action because it is right?
“Some say, ‘It is unfair for God to choose some and leave others.’ Now, I will ask you one question: Is there any of you here who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? ‘Yes, there is,’ says someone. ‘I do!’ Then God has elected you. But another says, ‘No, I don’t want to be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and my vices.’ Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you? For if you were elected, you would not like it, according to your own confession.
Of late, I have heard things that I never dreamed of before, alleged even by professedly Christian ministers against the fundamental doctrines of God’s Word; and some have even dared to say that the substitution of Christ, His suffering in our stead, was not just. Then they have added that God forgives sin without any atonement whatever; but, if the first be not just, what shall I say of the second? If God continually forgives sin without taking any care of His moral government, if there be nothing done for the vindication of His justice, how shall the Judge of all the earth do right? Then the very foundations of the universe would be removed, and what would the righteous do? Depend upon this, whatever modern philosophy may say, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin,” that is to say, without an atonement and an atonement consisting of the giving up of a life of infinite value, there is no passing by of human transgression.
Our opponents say, Salvation belongs to the free will of man; if not to man’s merit, yet at least to man’s will; but we hold and teach that salvation from first to last, in every iota of it, belongs to the Most High God. It is God that chooses His people. He calls them by His grace; He quickens them by His Spirit and keeps them by His power.” – C. H. Spurgeon
It is referring to God’s sovereignty and the absence of free will, but C. H. Spurgeon doesn’t cover why evil is in the world.
“Do you believe? “I believe,” says one, and he begins to repeat what they call the “Apostles’ Creed.” Hold your tongue, sir! That matters not; the devil believes that, perhaps more intelligently than you do; he believes and trembles. That kind of believing saves no man. You may believe the most orthodox creed in Christendom and perish. Do you trust – for that is the cream of the word “believe” – do you trust in Jesus? Do you lean your whole weight on Him? Have you that faith which the Puritans used to call “recumbency” or “leaning”? This is the faith that saves – faith that falls back into the arms of Jesus, a faith that drops from its own hanging-place into those mighty arms.
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” C.S. Lewis
Now C.S. Lewis does cover more eloquently how free will and an omniscient God could exist at the same time, could these great men and what I added be refuted? Yes of course, and it will be until the great white throne judgement day when all will be made clearer than a bell but until that moment there will be debate.