Less than one hundred years ago, several million innocent Europeans lost their lives in gas chambers and by other – and usually more violent – means. In Africa, genocide continues to plague the continent. Every single day, parents use violence against their innocent children. These and countless other heinous acts have plagued Earth since the very beginning of human existence. The horrors of the world cause people to question the existence of any sort of God. One religious skeptic may ask, “How can evil exist if there is a God?” It seems doubtless that an ultimate good – such as God – can exist in an atmosphere filled with murder, abuse, violence, and rage. Evil, however, is the consequence of the freedom that God granted man. The horrors that occur around us occur because God allows us to make our own choices.
Professor Louis Levy in the film Crimes and Misdemeanors demonstrates man’s ability to choose. Man can go so far as to choose whether or not he even wants to live. Professor Levy ultimately ends up committing suicide. Cliff, one of the protagonists, says of Levy, “He always was affirmative. He always said ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes,’ ‘yes.’ Now today he said, ‘No.’” This demonstrates that Levy did not always have to say yes. He had simply always chosen to be affirmative and continue living. After a turn of events, however, Levy decided that he no longer wanted to live and he decided to excuse himself from having to wake up every day. In the same manner that a man can choose death over life, he can choose evil over good. A man may spend his whole life choosing the right thing, but that does not mean that he cannot eventually chose to do something wrong. A man’s choices and decisions are not predetermined or set in stone. Because of our free will, evil is always an ability that we have at our fingertips. Most men just choose not to act upon it.
God may have created man, but He did not create evil; man creates evil. Man creates evil through his choices and his actions, which he is able to do because God gave him free will. Evil is not some unstoppable force that came with the creation of the Earth. Evil exists through humans. God does not make humans display cruelty, the same way that He does not make humans believe in Him and follow His moral law. Man may choose whether he wants to follow God’s guidance or not. If Jesus had chosen to give man bread rather than freedom when he was tempeted by the devil, then man would blindly follow God and not have the ability to stray away from that path. Man would never have the ability to commit sins, but man would also not be free.
The Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor harasses Christ for granting us the gift of freedom – freedom of choice and freedom of the mind. The Inquisitor implies, paradoxically, that man’s freedom restrains him. The Inquisitor may have spoken harshly to the Lord, but he is not completely wrong to scorn the freedom granted to us by God. While I do not agree with him...