PART II: Suffering and Free Will
Before we begin to solve suffering, I am going to make a very important assumption with regards to what the Christian God gives humanity (besides suffering, which, as I quickly noted before, I have already assumed exists). That assumption is Free Will. Now if you don’t think God (I’m going to just call Him God from here on out, saves my breath/words) goes with Free Will, you should stop reading this and start reading the Bible. If you get past all the Moses’s and Jonahs and bad kings of Israel and Jesus, and you still aren’t convinced of the whole God-Free Will to Humanity-thing, then you need a smarter man than me to quell your doubts (I’d recommend Augustine or Aquinas or somebody really old in Church Tradition to respond). In the meantime, I’ll go on convincing those that don’t have a problem with that, and continue with this first demonstration.
I’m going to try avoiding additional definitions for God for a while at least, which means that I’m really demonstrating how Free Will is inseparable from Suffering for humans. Now that you’re a few paragraphs into this, I think it’s safe to tell you, the admirable reader, this fact: starting with God was just a trick to draw you into a boring academic discussion. But it’s related, so having you suffer a little to get a good result is A OK by me.
So to the thinking! We have assumed God made humans with Free Will. This means that we humans have the ability to make choices in life. This is painfully vague, but I’d rather not get bogged down by a wordy definition, so I’ll try to bypass it with examples. Humans can choose what to eat and drink, where to live, how to survive, and other basic choices that other animals make as well. But it goes beyond what animals in general choose, because we can make choices that go beyond basic survival or instincts, like reading books for the fun of it, or going on hikes and vacations, or building outdoor patios in our houses for barbeques next summer. To add on, we, as social beings, make more social choices too, such as imprisoning people for hurting other people, or borrowing books from libraries, or trading on the stock market. These choices are much too diverse and motley for me to give Free Will the justice it’s due, so, again, if you’re looking for brilliant descriptions and definitions, go find a smart theological person to ask.
What is important to note, however, is that Free Will gives humans a wide variety of options, and these options have their consequences. Throwing a baseball through a neighbor’s window will lead to repercussions, just as winning the MegaMillions lottery will lead to benefits. Now you may say here, “I know what you’re doing with this, and those examples are cheating!” And you’re right, for, in order to show that suffering is necessary, I need to show that my argument applies in all situations. So let’s get rid of the lottery, broken windows, baseballs, and all of that extra stuff. In fact, let’s get rid of all of the extras, which leaves with man on his own, in a self-sufficient void of sorts, just he and God. What choices does he have then?