Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Email to The Corner at NRO

I sent this in response to this article at National Review Online. I doubt they will publish it so I will here.
Philosophers have argued about evil since time immemorial. If God is good, and God is all powerful, how can He allow evil to happen? Also, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, God created all things. Therefore, some conclude, God created evil. Some deny the existence of evil. Others question the existence of God. Others still, wonder if God could really be all powerful.

The Mormon perspective is that creation was not ex nihilo. Things you see were made of something. Even all of humanity existed as spirit children of God before birth on this planet. Good parents sometimes raise bad children. Children bring something with them from their previous life. This is not some funky version of reincarnation. Actually it is a belief that birth on earth is a step forward in eternal progression.

Mormon theology teaches that one thing we had before birth and we bring with us is our moral agency. There was a war in heaven where one third of His children chose not to follow God and thus were denied the opportunity for mortal birth. They remain disembodied spirits for eternity because of their choices. This moral agency is something so precious to God that he will not interfere with it, even if it means suffering in this life. Without our agency and choice, we would be automatons to be acted upon, not Children who knowingly choose to become more like God by choosing good.

The Mormon question is not 'Why evil?', but 'Why agency?' Clearly there is some purpose which is higher for God than preventing suffering. The Mormon answer is found in God's statement in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Something about this mortal experience prepares us to become more like God and to return - not for the first time - to His presence.

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