During the question and answer session of our debate on February 12, 2009, Dan Barker asked if God created Eve perfect. I answered that God created her sinless with the capacity to choose between right and wrong. I illustrated that by saying that a company could produce a car that worked perfectly, but that would not stop a person from driving the car off a cliff. Just because the car has the capacity to be driven off the cliff, does not mean that there is an imperfection in its construction. Dan countered by saying that my answer was insufficient: since Eve chose wrong, then God must be responsible for creating her with some type of flaw. Dan’s argument is that if Eve did something wrong, or had an evil desire, then it must be due to her composition (Butt and Barker, 2009).
Dan’s conclusion, however, is unwarranted by the evidence. Is it possible for a supernatural Creator to create a being that has the capacity to originate something that was not a part of its initial make up? Certainly. The real question is simply: “Is God capable of creating a being with genuine freewill?” There is no valid reason to conclude that God cannot create a totally free moral agent who can originate his/her own desires that are not a part of his/her original composition.
Since Dan framed his question using the Bible, it is appropriate to use the Bible to answer the question. The Bible offers clear evidence to support the conclusion that evil desires and imperfection were concocted by humanity’s free moral agency, and were not a part of the original creation. James 1:14 states: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” The phrase “his own desires” indicates that each person originates such evil desires and they are not inherent in his make up or forced upon him by his Creator. Solomon once wrote: “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29, emp. added). According to Jeremiah 7:31, the Israelites offered their children as burnt offerings to idols, something that God says did not “come into” His heart. In essence, God was telling the sinful Israelites that they originated the idea of burning their children in sacrifice to idols and such did not come from their Creator. The same sentiments are found in Jeremiah 19:5.
Can creative, human minds originate evil desires that were not a part of the original creation? Yes. There is nothing logically or rationally inconsistent with this answer. One reason that Dan Barker has a problem with the answer is that he believes that humans cannot have freewill. Barker’s atheistic, evolutionary assumptions force him to believe that humans are products of nature and therefore do not possess independent minds capable of making any choice that is not directed by genes and environment. In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “I happen to think that we have the illusion of freewill…. I’m a strict determinist. We are natural creatures. The material world is all there is. We actually don’t have what we would call libertarian freewill” (Barker and Payne, 2005, emp. added). In his book, godless, Barker stated: “I am a determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists (2008, p. 128, emp. added).
It is easy to see why Barker feels forced to conclude that Eve must have been created with some type of flaw. He believes that humans are merely products of their genes, and that all their actions are determined strictly by the natural processes at work in the body. If he admits that Eve could have been created perfectly, and yet her free, creative mind could have originated an evil desire, then his entire “strict deterministic” philosophy crumbles. Therefore, in order to maintain his determinism, he must deny that any person could truly originate anything. His concept of determinism, however, is false (see Butt, 2009), and his application of it to Eve is unfounded.
The irony of the situation is that the entire purpose of a debate like the one in which he and I participated, is for free moral agents to assess the arguments and arrive at logical conclusions. If people cannot really make their own decisions, why would Dan spend 25 years of his life trying to convince his fellow humans to agree with him? His actions admit that Eve could have originated her own evil desires, even though his false philosophical view will not allow it.
Barker, Dan and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.
Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Butt, Kyle (2009), “The FANG Argument: A Refutation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240121.
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