Monday, December 15, 2014

Causing evil and committing evil

When attacking Calvinism, freewill theists belittle the distinction between causing evil and doing evil. But isn't there a relevant difference?

For instance, say I get drunk at the bar. I sense that I'm drunk. But I drive back home. Only I'm involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident on the way back.

I did evil. I committed evil. 

Suppose I have a grown son who gets drunk at the bar. Senses that he's drunk But drives back home, running over a cyclist on the way back.

I caused evil. 

In the second case I initiated a chain of events resulting in a wrongful death. But I didn't do evil. And I'm not culpable for my son's vehicular homicide.

Now, freewill theists might say the situation is different in the case of God. For instance, if an agent knowing and intentionally causes evil. But for now I'm noting that there's a distinction in principle between causing evil and committing evil.

That creates an interesting parallel between human and divine causation of evil vis-a-vis open theism.

As a thoughtful human, I know that whatever I do or don't do will cause some resultant evil somewhere down the line. Being shortsighted, I don't know what the resultant evil will be, but I know that, even with the best of intentions, my actions will cause some resultant evils. 

And the same would apply to open theism. 

Kinda like: if I throw dice enough times, I know that I will throw sixes. I don't know which throw that will be. But sooner or later, that combination is bound to turn up. 

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