The first response to the problem of evil is the free-will defence. Much of the evil in the world occurs only because we choose to create it. The greatest evils in the world are those inflicted by man upon man. In making the world, God faced a choice: he could create free agents like us, or he could create automata, robots, without the ability to make choices of their own. God chose to create free agents, and he made the right choice; a world containing free agents is clearly more valuable than a world of robots. The pay-off for this is the abuse of freedom that we see around us. Free agents sometimes choose to abuse their freedom, to do wrong. The wrong that we do, though, the suffering that we cause, great though it may be, is a price worth paying for something that is profoundly valuable: genuine freedom. Though God could have prevented evil by creating a world of automata, it is a good thing that he did not.


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