Monday, May 30, 2005

Why doesn't God make us be good?

If God is omnipotent, then why didn't he make people who couldn't sin? This is quite often considered to be an argument against the existence of God. However, I happened upon this, in Isaac Asimov's "Second Foundation":
They feared him and obeyed him and, perhaps, even respected him - from a goodly distance. But who could look at him without contempt? Only those he had Converted. And of what value was their artificial loyalty? It lacked flavor. He might have adopted titles, and enforced ritual, and invented elaborations, but even that would have changed nothing. Better - or at least, no worse - to be simply the FIrst Citizen - and to hide himself.

This is a perspective from the Mule - a mutant, who is able to control people's emotions - to the extent that he needs no security, because even people that approach him to assassinate him end up feeling completely loyal to him.

The point is, from the perspective of this passage, that compelled loyalty has no reward. The Mule is conscious of the fact that without the freely-given respect of people, it counts for little. Further (as it turns out in the story) it limits their independent creativity.

I believe the same applies to God, from the perspective of the Bible. Why doesn't God compel us to love him? Because love that is our own response to him is better than constrained love. But then why allow us to sin? Why have that in his purposes? Because if we know God not only as creator and redeemer - if we know more about his character, and experience more of his love for us in this way that angels can't understand - our love for him will be all the greater.