(I took this picture of two Palestinian women on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.)
One of my Philosophy of Religion students wrote me the following question (in italics), to which I responded as follows (in bold).
Okay, so you know how there’s the argument that it is possible to have an all-loving God, an all-powerful God, and for evil to exist if you factor in freewill? Well if you do factor in freewill, isn’t that a contradiction to an all-powerful God? (NO) God gave us freewill, but he cannot use his power to interfere with what we choose to do in any given situation. (If God did this, then we would not have free will. God has chosen to give us free will. Which means, God has chosen to allow us to make choices with which he will not interfere or change. Because if he did interfere or change, then we would not have free will. For God to change what we freely choose is a non-logical possibility, like “square circle.” Therefore it is in no way a diminishment of God’s omnipotence, since an all-powerful being like God can do all that is logically possible. Put another way, God can’t make a burrito so hot that he can’t eat it. The reason is because such a thing is a nonsense idea, a nonlogical possibility.) We have the power to choose to do good or choose to do evil and there’s nothing he can do to change that, right? So wouldn’t considering that suggest that we hold some power, however small it may be, over God? He has the power to give us freewill, which he possibly has, but he doesn’t have the power to take that freewill away once it’s given. Therefore, wouldn’t he not be an all-powerful God in a sense? (God could take away our free will. He has the power to do that. But should God take away our free will then, if we have no free will, God would not interfere with what we do. The fact that God has given us free will and therefore God can’t interfere with what we freely choose in no way entails that God is less than all-powerful. Make sense? Thanks for asking!)