The relationship between divine providence and human free will

Divine Providence and Human Free Will | Along the Beam

the relationship between divine providence and human free will

Free Will, Moral Responsibility, Divine Providence, and Human Relationships with God. According to the major Western theisms, God not only creates the world . Concerning the Foreknowledge of God and the Free Will of Man, thing as freedom of will; and if we grant that, says he, the whole economy of human life is. The free will defense begins by distinguishing two kinds of evil. as merely part of the human condition, and hence as natural evil. . important assumption about the relationship between God's will as.

It assumes that for each instance of evil that occurs, we humans will be able to detect any good toward which it might be directed, and that we will be able to tell whether the good is achieved, whether it was worth the evil sustained in reaching it, and whether it could better have been achieved without the attendant evil.

Again, however, why assume any of this is so? It is not obvious, in the first place, that goods and evils are commensurable in the way this argument seems to suppose—that is, that we are able to grade goods and evils on a common scale, and then measure the value of the good against the bad Swinburnech.

But even if we could do this, an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God could easily have aims exceeding any we have ever imagined. How they are achieved at all, much less the role sin and suffering may play in their achievement, could in principle escape us utterly Howard-Snyder If so, then we would still be in no position to make the kinds of determinations about the role evil plays in the world, and how dispensable it may be, that the evidential argument presupposes.

Still less should we expect to be able to make such determinations in every case, which is what the argument demands. As with the logical problem of evil, then, the theist may greet the experiential problem with a stand-pat position.

Neither argument goes through unless we make assumptions we have no reason to make, and which when brought to light seem positively implausible. Still, evil is troubling, and anyone troubled by it is likely to be left unsatisfied by the stand-pat response. For one thing, the argument cuts both ways. Moreover, this response seems out of keeping with the spirit of the Western religious tradition. That tradition is at home with the concept of mystery: But seldom if ever does the tradition treat mystery as totally impenetrable.

It is hard to see how this aim can be achieved if a phenomenon as central as evil must be held to escape all comprehension, nor is there any special reason to expect such a thing. If this is correct, then the theist should not limit his options to the negative. Such an effort is likely, of course, to end up incomplete. In particular, the theist may be unable in many cases to point to a good to which some evil that occurs is indispensable.

But he may want to be able to offer a general justification for the presence of evil, and to describe some good or goods which but for the occurrence of evil could not be achieved. The question is whether he can do so without compromising divine perfection.

That is the aim of what is perhaps the most prominent strategy employed in recent theodicy, which is based on the concept of free will, and its importance in the plan of creation. The free will defense begins by distinguishing two kinds of evil. Moral evil is evil that occurs through rational action — that is, through wrongful exercises of will on the part of rational beings. Natural evil, by contrast, is owing entirely to the operation of natural causes. To see how this distinction works, we need to realize that moral evil can itself be divided into several categories.

the relationship between divine providence and human free will

First come exercises of will that are sinful in themselves, and these are of two kinds. They include wrongful acts of intention formation, as when one maliciously decides to kill another, and the volitional activity through which we execute wrong intentions — e. The moral wrong of these exercises of will is intrinsic to them.

They are sinful in themselves, and would be so even if, through some fortuitous circumstance, the attempt to kill went awry, and the intended victim was not harmed at all. Suppose, however, that the action succeeds, as it does in most instances of wrongful willing. If so, further evil will occur — in the present case, the death of the victim. Now if the victim had died entirely as a result of natural causes, his death would have counted as a natural evil.

Harm and suffering that are caused by wrongful willing count as extrinsic moral evil, in that they are caused by acts of will that are morally evil in themselves, or intrinsically.

The significance and pervasiveness of extrinsic moral evil is easy to underestimate, because a lot of the suffering and hardship that belongs in this category tends to masquerade as merely part of the human condition, and hence as natural evil. But it is not so. Many of the hardships that befall humankind — disease, ignorance, poverty and the like — owe their existence at least in part to wrongful willing.

Providence, Predestination and Free Will | David Duncombe

The poverty of some is owing to the greed of others; suffering and deprivation may occur because of institutionalized racial and ethnic hatred, or because leaders use their positions to advance their own power and prosperity at the expense of their citizenry, or simply because the cost of defense against foreign enemies brings economic hardship to a nation or some of its members.

In other cases the cause is sheer laziness, or the fact that time and talent that might have been devoted to good are instead consumed by selfish ends.

Who can estimate how much of suffering and disease, of poverty and ignorance, or of the threat posed by natural disasters would by now have been conquered were not so much of our energy and resources diverted either to the pursuit of wrongful goals, or to guarding ourselves against those who do pursue them, and mending as well as we can the harm they cause?

A great deal, then, of what we are likely to view as natural evil actually falls under the heading of extrinsic moral evil. That all of sin and so much of suffering counts as moral evil is advantageous to free will theodicy, for according to the free will defense moral evil is not to be blamed upon God.

It is entirely our fault — that is, entirely the fault of rational beings who employ their wills to pursue evil. This is because we have free will, which is to be understood here in what is known as the libertarian sense. We exercise libertarian freedom in forming or executing an intention only if our deciding or willing is not the product of deterministic causation — that is, provided there is no set of conditions independent of our exercise of will which, together with scientific law, make it certain that we shall decide or will as we do.

Independent conditions — our motives and beliefs, for example — may incline us toward one or another intention or action. But they cannot guarantee it, because what we decide and what we strive to achieve is finally up to us. Were it not so, we could not be held accountable for our actions. We would be no more responsible than someone who acted out of a psychological compulsion such as kleptomania, or who was a victim of addiction, hypnosis or the like.

Given the nature of libertarian freedom, then, our actions are up to us, in that they are not brought about by independent events. And because this is so, according to free will theodicy, moral evil is entirely our fault. God is not to be blamed for it, because it owes its existence to our wills, not to his Plantinga God is, of course, responsible for the risk he takes in creating a world that contains beings with free will.

But proponents of the free will defense can point to two reasons that could justify God in populating the universe with such creatures. First, they are an enhancement to creation. Creatures with free will are sources of spontaneity in the world, able to choose for themselves the principles by which their conduct will be guided.

As such, they display the kind of liberty we take God himself to have, and so are made in the image of their creator Swinburne Second, God endows us with this power because he desires creatures who will accept him freely, who will love and obey him not because they are programmed to do so, but as a matter of spontaneous choice. That we should come to love God in this way is far more satisfactory than that we should be driven to accept him. As in strictly human affairs, forced affection is a pale substitute for love voluntarily bestowed.

But, the argument goes, God cannot endow us with free will without running the risk that some of us, at least, will turn against him, and use our freedom to seek evil ends. The bullet could not find its mark or the poison be effective unless the relevant natural laws stayed in place. In principle, then, God could allow us free choice and yet prevent any choice that is evil from having its intended outcome.

But freedom would be a sham if an evil will could never have its way, and the locus of sin lies not in the consequences of evil willing but in the willing itself.

The price of freedom, then, is moral evil. God merely permits our choices and makes them efficacious. The free will defense does not, in most formulations, attempt a complete solution to the problem of evil. It deals only with moral evil, and although we have seen that this category covers more than might at first be supposed, it certainly does not appear that all of the sorrows and failures of the world can be gathered under it.

Even if the free will defense succeeds then, there will remain a residuum of natural evil to be addressed. It may, however, be questioned whether the defense succeeds even in the limited project it undertakes.

Mackie has argued that if God is truly all-powerful, he ought to have been able to create creatures who possessed free will, but who never did wrong If that were possible, then we would have had a universe free of moral evil, even though it contained creatures with free will.

Perhaps the sinful populace that presently inhabits the world would have lost out on such a scenario: Still, moral evil would have been banished, and the condition of the world doubtless vastly improved. But could God have exerted such control over creation?

Proponents of the free will defense have tended to think not. In order for God to provide creatures with meaningful freedom, they argue, God must relinquish control over how that freedom is exercised.

Were it not so, libertarian freedom would be destroyed: Indeed, the argument runs, it would be logically impossible for God to create creatures possessed of libertarian freedom, and at the same time have the operations of their will fall under his creative fiat. Now it is not usually considered a failure of omnipotence for God to be unable to do what is logically impossible. We need not, therefore, relinquish the claim that God is all-powerful. Rather, the theist concludes, Mackie is simply mistaken in thinking such a God could create free creatures with a guarantee that they would never sin.

That is, his fiat as creator counts as an independent condition or event, which causes the occurrence of what he wills in just the way natural causes produce their effects. So if, as creator, God wills that I decide to attend a concert this evening, then my decision to do so is causally determined, just as it would be had I been driven to it by an insatiable desire for Beethoven. Otherwise, we would not have a violation of the criterion for libertarian free will given earlier.

Is the free will defense then successful? Again, it seems not, for the antitheist can still raise two complaints, and these amount to two challenges that any theory of providence which desires to avail itself of the free will defense must overcome.

If God were fully sovereign over the universe his rule would be complete. All that occurs would be under his direct control, down to the smallest detail. According to the free will defense, however, this is not so. To be sure, God need not have created free beings, and when they engage in sinful willing he can always thwart their ends by manipulating natural causes. But he cannot stop them from sinning or, for that matter, from willing wellfor both of these lie with the will itself.

So in creating free creatures God relinquishes part of his sovereignty over the universe Mackie—10; Flint84— Furthermore, unless God regularly interferes with his creatures achieving their own objectives—that is, unless he deprives them of a meaningful and efficacious freedom—his own objectives in creating the universe are likely to be thwarted.

However great a good it may be to have in the universe creatures who exercise libertatian freedom, this would seem a high and unseemly price for an otherwise sovereign God to pay for their existence. Second, the antitheist may argue, the free will defense violates divine omniscience.

And if that is the case then God has no way of knowing what I will decide. Like anyone, he can make a lucky guess: But lucky guesses do not count as knowledge. Rather, like any observer, God must wait to learn what my decision will be in order to be sure of it. But then throughout the time prior to my act, God is not omniscient. There is a truth about the future that he does not know. Thus, the antitheist may conclude, the free will defense is in fact a failure. Perhaps this is in part because philosophy is itself a matter of pursuing knowledge, so that philosophers are led to value omniscience more highly.

Were we generals, say, or politicians, our priorities might be quite the opposite. In any case, most discussions of the seeming conflict between creaturely freedom and divine perfection have concentrated on the task of reconciling as far as possible the assertion that we have free will with the claim that God is all-knowing.

Such was the view of Boethius, who held that God exists entirely outside of time, in a kind of eternal present to which all that occurs in time is equally accessible Consolation, Bk. Thus, God is able in a single act of awareness to comprehend all of history, the past and future as well as the present, just as though they were now occurring. Many philosophers have followed Boethius in this, holding that God is in no way a temporal being, but is rather the creator of time, with complete and equal access to all of its contents.

Rather, the vantage point from which God knows our decisions and actions is completely external to time. He simply knows them, in a unified, timeless and unchanging act of comprehension that comprises all that ever was or will be. There are criticisms of the idea that God is timeless Wolterstorff But even if the Boethian position is correct on this score, the usefulness of this means of reconciling divine omniscience and human freedom is highly questionable.

The difficulty is that in order for God to exercise full providence over the world, he needs to know as creator how the decisions and actions of creatures with libertarian freedom will go. It is hard to see how that is possible on the Boethian view, for even if God is outside of time, his activity as creator is still ontologically prior to the activities of free creatures on this account, whereas his knowledge of those activities is posterior to them.

If this is correct, then even the Boethian God runs an immense risk in creating the world. He can only hope that we will use our freedom justly and wisely, perhaps making some allowance for the possibility that we will not, but otherwise simply trusting in the outcome.

For an entry into the debate, see HuntHaskerand Zimmerman It may be questioned, furthermore, whether this view of things really is consistent with the claim that God is timeless.

The Sovereign God and the Free Will of Man - John Lennox

The Boethian picture appears to call for a kind of transition, wherein God first creates free creatures in ignorance of what their actions will be and then learns about those actions by observation. But if that is so then there appears to be change in God, in which case he would have to be a temporal being after all.

Now perhaps there is some way around this problem: Still, it is not satisfying that God should be limited in this way. His activity as creator ought to be completely unhampered. As creator, on this account, God really does not know what kind of world he is creating: One may be tempted at this point simply to throw in the towel, to give up the endeavor to reconcile libertarian freedom with divine sovereignty and omniscience. If so, we may still insist on libertarian freedom for creatures.

But if we are convinced this is incompatible with holding that God is omniscient, and that everything that takes place in the created world falls under his complete governance, then these claims will go by the board. And much that occurs, most especially sinful decisions and willings, will not be of his choosing. Not that he is completely in the dark: God can still have probabilistic knowledge of how his creatures will act, and he can contrive to place them in circumstances designed to elicit if possible whatever behavior will achieve the most good.

And of course he still has the power to motivate and punish, so creatures may be guided toward right paths. Accordingly, God is still able to exercise a sort of general providence over the world, guiding it in the direction of his objectives as creator, or at least something approximating them Rhoda a.

Inevitably, creaturely free will makes for a setting of uncertainty, and only within that setting can God attempt to bring creation to a happy outcome.

the relationship between divine providence and human free will

Yet he proceeds, and his doing so is a measure of his love for us. See Hasker and Pinnock et. Such a position may appeal to philosophers who find the God of perfect being theology too remote and mysterious to equate with the God of scripture.

But this viewpoint faces serious problems. Some are relatively specific. For example, it is hard to see how, if even God does not know what they will be, the actions of free creatures could be the subject of prophecy. Yet they often are, in scripture Flint— Also, there will no doubt be many cases where multiple free actions impinge on some outcome God desires.

There is always the chance, therefore, that his plans as creator will be utterly dashed, that his overtures to us will be rejected — even to the point, one supposes, of our all being lost — that we will use our freedom and advancing knowledge to wreak ever greater horror, and that creation will turn out to be a disaster.

Willingness to take chances may be laudable in some cases, but surely this level of risk is irresponsible. Moreover, it is completely out of keeping with both scripture and tradition, both of which portray God as above the fray of the world, unperturbed by its mishaps, and governing its course with complete power and assurance. On the Open view, divine governance is a hit or miss affair, in which we can only wait to see whether a somewhat poorly informed God will manage to bootstrap his way to his objectives.

Surely, opponents argue, this gives away too much of the traditional notion of providence.

the relationship between divine providence and human free will

One tactic for preserving omniscience even while accepting the basic open theist view just described is to hold that God cannot be faulted for not knowing in advance how we will exercise our freedom, since until we do there is simply nothing to know.

According to views of this kind, not all propositions about the future have a truth value. Some do, of course: Similarly, a proposition concerning the future may have a truth value when its truth is causally determined. Consider, for example, the proposition that the sun will rise tomorrow. Most likely, it is true. But now consider the claim that I will decide an hour from now to attend a concert this evening. If I have free will, there are no conditions presently in place that determine whether I will so decide.

This being the case, according to the present view, the proposition that I will decide in an hour to attend the concert is neither true nor false. It has no truth value at all, nor does any other proposition that describes a future free decision or action.

But then, the argument runs, it is not a mark against his omniscience that in creating us, God does not know how we will exercise our freedom. It is logically impossible to know of a proposition that it is true or that it is false if it is neither. A distinct but related view is that all future contingents are in fact false, because there is nothing in the future to make them true, and so the fact that God does not know ahead of time which of them becomes true is not an epistemic failure on his part see Todd If correct, this view would indeed reconcile divine omniscience and creaturely freedom, leaving only the problem of sovereignty to be addressed.

But there are telling arguments against it. Propositions that venture to predict future free decisions and actions do appear to have truth values, and some of them appear to be true. One indication of this is that we believe and disbelieve such propositions, and what is it to believe a proposition but to believe it is true, or to disbelieve it but to believe it is false?

Nor does it seem possible to worm our way out of this. Let p be the proposition that I will decide to attend a concert this evening.

It might be protested that for someone to believe I will so decide is only to believe p will become true at the appointed time — i. Similarly, it will not do to claim that to believe p is not to believe it is true but only that it is likely or probable.

For to hold these beliefs is just to hold, respectively, that it is likely that p is true, or probable that it is true. In short, there seems no avoiding the fact that to believe p is to be committed to its truth, pure and simple. Moreover, anyone thus committed would, if I later decide to attend the concert, be justified in saying they had been right about what I would decide, that their earlier belief had been correct. And again, what is it for a belief to be right or correct except for it to be true?

For a related argument, see Prussto which Rhoda b replies. In any case, the concern remains that open theism leaves the traditional strong view of divine providence in tatters in favor of a risk-taking God. A better solution would be preferable, if one can be had.

Middle Knowledge A possible way to reconcile libertarian views of freedom with a strong view of divine providence was posed by the sixteenth-century Spanish Jesuit, Luis de Molina That is, God knows, for any creature he might create, how that creature will behave in whatever circumstances he might be placed.

God is able to know this, moreover, even though the creatures in question will, if created, enjoy libertarian freedom.

This kind of knowledge, which Molina called middle knowledge,[ 4 ] is comprised in what we may call subjunctives of freedom. Consider, for example, the situation in which I will find myself later today, when I deliberate about whether to attend the concert tonight.

It is possible to formulate two subjunctive conditional propositions about that situation. The first states that if ever I were placed in the circumstances call them C that will then obtain, I would decide freely to attend the concert; the second states that in those circumstances, I would not so decide. Finally, God is armed with true subjunctives of freedom for every other set of circumstances in which I might ever have been placed, and the same for every other free individual he has the option of creating, whether he actually chooses to create the creature or not.

In effect, then, middle knowledge gives God advance notice of every free decision or action that would ever occur, on the part of any creature he might create Flint37— Once armed with information about how such a creature would decide and act in the various circumstances in which he might be placed, God has the option of not creating the creature, or of creating him in whatever circumstances are called for by the subjunctives of freedom God wishes to be realized in the actual world.

Now of course the circumstances in which one creature is placed may depend in part on how others choose to exercise their freedom.

But the willings of those others can in turn be providentially arranged, since they too fall under middle knowledge.

Divine Providence and Human Freedom

There may, of course, be much that does not go as God would prefer. It is important to realize that middle knowledge does not restore complete sovereignty to God. The best he can do is alter my circumstances to fit some true subjunctive of freedom that has another outcome.

And the same goes for the subjunctives of freedom that hold of all other creatures God might create. This means there is quite a range of worlds which, though logically possible, are not feasible for God, in that they are beyond his reach as creator Flint Still, God can know in advance of creation what worlds are feasible, and can plan accordingly, which is a vast improvement over the Boethian view.

The position as regards omniscience is also improved. There is still a kind of transition called for — this time commencing from a point at which God merely contemplates the possibilities of how things might go with creation, to a point at which, having decided what creatures and circumstances will in fact populate the world, he knows how things will go.

Again, however, it might be possible to work out a way in which the transition can be understood non-temporally. Many have thought not. One serious objection against it is that there does not appear to be any way God could come by such knowledge.

Knowledge, as we have seen, is not merely a matter of conceiving a proposition and correctly believing it to be true. But what justification could God have for believing the propositions that are supposed to constitute middle knowledge?

The truth of subjunctives of freedom cannot be discerned a priori, for they are contingent. It is not a necessary truth that if placed in circumstances C, I will decide to attend the concert tonight. For God could not make observations like this without also finding out what creative decisions he is actually going to make, which would destroy the whole purpose of middle knowledge. Instead of being guided in his creative choices by knowing what decisions creatures would make if they were created, God would be presented from the beginning with a fait accompli — with the reality that he was going to create certain creatures, and they were going to behave in certain ways.

Furthermore, it seems clear that observation of the actual behavior of creatures could not possibly inform God of the truth of those subjunctives of freedom that delineate the behavior of creatures he will not choose to create, for in their case there is no pertinent reality to consult.

Yet Molinism wishes to allow for the possibility of such creatures. It is apparent, then, that neither conceptual resources nor resources founded in the concrete world will enable God to know in advance of his decisions as creator which counterfactuals of freedom are true.

If there is a third resource, no one has said what it is.

the relationship between divine providence and human free will

Thus, while God may firmly believe certain subjunctives of freedom, there appears to be no justification available to him that would allow such beliefs to constitute middle knowledge. Adams ; Hasker On the usual understanding, a subjunctive of freedom counts as true provided that, among worlds in which its antecedent is satisfied, there is at least one in which the consequent is satisfied as well, and which is more similar to our world than any in which the consequent is not satisfied.

Now no world can be as similar to the actual world as that world is to itself, and we are assuming that C and p are true in the actual world. The only way to avoid this outcome is to deny that propositions like p — that is, propositions which describe future free decisions in the actual world — have truth values, and we have already seen that this will not do.

The problem is only that it is not grounded in the way it needs to be to serve as middle knowledge. We have yet to see how God can know as creator what decisions and actions his creatures will engage in, while at the same time upholding the idea that those decisions and actions are manifestations of libertarian freedom. An Epistemic Alternative It is commonly supposed that Molinism represents the only middle ground between, on the one hand, a risk-taking God of the sort envisioned by both open theism and simple foreknowledge views like the Boethian view described above according to which whatever foreknowledge God does have is not of much or any providential use, and, on the other hand, full-blown theological determinism.

It has been suggested recently in Kvanvigchapter 8however, that there may be space for views other than Molinism in the area between those two extremes. But there are a number of other sorts of conditionals that might be of use to God in his decision-making. One is a particular type of indicative conditional, an epistemic conditional: He uses his knowledge of the epistemic conditionals to infer what he can, and then supposes further actions on his part, inferring further information.

Importantly, some of these conditionals will describe human free decisions, for even on libertarian views of the will it is still possible sometimes to know what someone will freely do on the basis of other information about them.

Such complete plans or stories are the possible worlds that he will be able to ensure actually come about by actualizing all the states of affairs he had supposed throughout the reasoning process ; they are the feasible worlds on this account of providence.

So, like Molinism, there are possible worlds that God cannot bring about, but also like Molinism he has quite a bit more control over the ones he can bring about than is allowed by open theism.

The limitations on God are subtly different on this view than on Molinism. On Molinism the limitations are the simple facts about what free beings would do in any given situation, while on the epistemic account the limitations are the availability of evidence with respect to what free beings will do in any given situation. Perhaps the greatest strength of the epistemic account is that it may avoid the central problem of Molinism: If epistemic principles are necessary truths, then God can know a host of epistemic conditionals simply on the basis of his knowledge of necessary truths.

One problem with the epistemic account is simply the question of whether there really are sufficient true epistemic conditionals for God to come to know enough about what free beings will do with their freedom to generate a whole history of the world.

Perhaps the profoundest problem for this view, however, is the question of the infallibility of divine foreknowledge.

It is a key feature of the view that the reasoning from antecedent to consequent licensed by the epistemic conditionals is the sort involved in ordinary judgments of knowledge, and so is defeasible subject to overturning by further information and fallible.

See Kvanvig and Hasker for discussion of these objections. Only by so doing is it possible to restore to him complete control over the course of events in the world, and only in this way can he know as creator what world he is creating, and so be omniscient.

He can create as he wishes, with full assurance as to the outcome. And he can know how things will go, in particular how we will decide and act, simply by knowing his own intentions as to what our decisions and actions will be. Clearly, there are respects in which this approach is to be preferred. It is echoed by the teaching of Vatican Council II on the development of the world by the work of humanity cf.

Man is called upon to carry out a true development in the world. This progress should have a character which is not merely "technological," but especially "ethical," in order to bring the kingdom of God to fulfillment in the created world cf.

GS 35, 43, 57, Created in the image and likeness of God, man is the sole visible creature that the Creator has "willed for itself" GS In the world subject to God's transcendent wisdom and power, man is also a being which is an end in itself, though having his finality in God. As a person he possesses his own finality auto-teleologyby virtue of which he tends to self-realization.

Man is enriched with a gift which is also a duty. He is wrapped up in the mystery of divine Providence. We read in the Book of Sirach: Endowed with such "existential" equipment, man sets out on his journey in the world. He begins to write his own history. Divine Providence accompanies him throughout his journey. Again we read in the Book of Sirach: The Psalmist gives to this same truth a touching expression: Divine Providence, then, makes itself present in human history, in the history of thought and freedom, in the history of hearts and consciences.

In man and with man the action of Providence acquires a "historical" dimension. It does this in the sense that it follows the rhythm and adapts itself to the laws of development of human nature, while remaining unchanged and unchangeable in the sovereign transcendence of its subsisting being. Providence is an eternal presence in the history of humanity-of individuals and communities. The history of nations and of the whole human race unfolds beneath the "eye" of God and under his almighty action.

All that is created is "cared for" and governed by Providence. Full of paternal solicitude, God's authority implies full respect for freedom in regard to rational and free beings. In the created world, this freedom is an expression of the image and likeness to the divine Being itself, to divine freedom itself.

Respect for created freedom is so essential that God in his Providence even permits human sin and that of the angels. Pre-eminent among all but always limited and imperfect, the rational creature can make evil use of freedom, and can use it against God, the Creator. Yet divine Providence sheds its light even on this unheard of rejection by man through sin so that we may learn not to commit it. Sin was not only possible in the world in which man was created as a rational and free being, but it has been shown as an actual fact "from the very beginning.

It is decidedly and absolutely not willed by God. However, he has permitted it by creating free beings, by creating the human race. He has permitted sin which is the consequence of the abuse of created freedom. This fact is known from revelation and experienced in its consequences.

From it, we can deduce that from the viewpoint of God's transcendent Wisdom, in the perspective of the finality of the entire creation, it was more important that there should be freedom in the created world, even with the risk of its abuse, rather than to deprive the world of freedom by the radical exclusion of the possibility of sin.

By God's Providence, however, if on the one hand he has permitted sin, on the other, with the loving solicitude of a father, he has foreseen from eternity the way of reparation, of redemption, of justification and of salvation through love.