Couldn't God have given us free will without giving us the desire to sin?

Atheist View

The Atheist Perspective

Yes. Since all desires are a product of the architecture of the brain, if anyone intelligently designed the brain, they could have simply designed it to only desire doing good. For example, you are free to eat cow dung, yet you never do. Why? Because it's repulsive. The same brain system that makes the prospect of eating dung repulsive could have been wired to make the prospect of sinning repulsive.

Conversely, for example, lust is a very powerful motivator. Sex is very enjoyable, even the prospect of sex is enjoyable, which we know is the product of brain chemistry. So the same brain system that causes our chemical enjoyment of sex and pursuing and thinking about sex (or food or air or other basic drives) could have been wired instead to cause our chemical enjoyment of kindness and honesty. To an extent, it is wired that way, but weakly and imperfectly (with excessive genetic variability, and highly sensitive to the right conditions during child development), owing to the fact that those features of our brain are very new products of evolution, whereas basic urges (like sex and hunger) evolved dozens of millions of years earlier and thus are more thoroughly integrated into our brain.

As a consequence of non-intelligent design, that makes sense. As a consequence of intelligent design, it makes no sense whatever. An intelligent engineer would integrate the pleasure systems reinforcing moral behavior just as thoroughly as basic drives--and would exclude needlessly harmful drives like lust (unless the pursuit of lust, like the pursuit of honesty, would never be regarded as immoral). Thus, people who were better designed, would be more consistently moral, and would enjoy being moral so much they would be much happier people as well.

Someday we will have the technological ability to intelligently design ourselves. Until then, we are clearly not the products of intelligent design, and must cope with our imperfections. Thus, if a god designed us, those imperfections must have been deliberately put there by god (or the causal laws that produced them must have been created by god). There is no other way they could have gotten there.

Evolution of Emotions

Atheist view Christian view

Christian View

The Christian Perspective

No. That would entail a logical contradiction. Let me explain.

If God had given us free will (the ability to choose, or to choose otherwise), we would then be able to choose to do other than what we prefer to do. However, if we are choosing other than what we prefer, then we are choosing to do something against our will. This would be logically contradictory -- to will to do something that you did not will to do.

God has not given us this type of free will, nor could He have.

God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13) and He is therefore perfectly logical. In other words, He never violates the Laws of Logic, such as the Law of Non-Contradiction. He is not enslaved to these laws though, rather, they are part of His nature or character and that is the only reason they are laws at all.

Nothing in all of creation is and is not at the same time and in the same way. This is because a Non-Contradictory God has made it all. Sometimes we come up with theories or ideas that contradict themselves -- theories that claim that things are and are not at the same time and in the same way -- but such theories are always false. This is because God cannot deny Himself. It would go against His character to go against His character. He is as He is (Exodus 3:14). If this were not the case, all knowledge would be impossible.

On the other hand, if we define free will differently, namely, the ability to do as we like, then free will is a concept that actually makes sense, and it is something that God has indeed given to man.

So, could God have given us this kind of free will without the desire to sin?

He will one day. One day, all of those who trust in Jesus Christ will exist in a state of total freedom from sin. If in fact we ever have desires for sin at this point, we will have a much stronger desire to not sin, and sin will never overpower us again (Romans 6:6, 7:24-25; Revelation 21:4).

It will happen eventually.

Couldn't God have done this to begin with?

If He had, there would be no need for salvation. There would be no need for His miraculous healing work on the cross. We would have no forgiveness, and our relationship with God would be empty of the passion that it holds. We would not be as dependent upon Him. Our view of God would be deficient, as we would not be witnesses of His just nature, of His disdain for wickedness, nor of His deep love for His children.

God created man the way He did for the purpose of glorifying Himself (Romans 9:21-24). He would not be as glorified if He forgave no one, was patient with no one, and never sat in judgment on unrighteousness.

If such a scenario would not glorify God as much as the existing scenario, and it wouldn't, then no, God could not have done it. He always does that which is best. This is what He has done. Therefore this is best.

Further, since this is what God willed to do, if He did otherwise, He would have willed to do something He did not will to do. Again, this would be logically incoherent.

Since He cannot deny Himself, He could not have done otherwise.

God bless.

Do we Have Free Will?

Atheist view Christian view