Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quote of the Day (13)

This is so choice that it would be a crime to let it languish in the comments on an older post where few of our readers are likely to notice it.

Immanuel Can writes:

“If you think about it, you’ll recognize what so many of the prophets, from Job to Isaiah to Habakkuk all found: that in this world there’s no straight line between doing the right thing or making the right choice and getting a guaranteed right outcome. The just suffer and the wicked prosper, in many cases.”

But what IC points out is that this is not only sad, but inevitable:
“Now that’s necessary. After all, free will, if it’s genuinely free, can only be experienced in a world of this sort, with no clear reward-and-punishment relationships. If virtue met instant reward, and vice met instant punishment, there would be no free will, since no one could afford to make anything but the virtuous choice. But here, virtue is hard, and sometimes evil is easy, isn’t it?”
He goes on to add this:
“For those who still like to think there’s a straight line between virtue and outcome, a hideous consequence follows: it must follow that anyone who has experienced a bad outcome deserves it; and likewise, anyone who prospers must prosper righteously. So really, such a belief would be a recipe for praising the evil when they flourish and condemning the righteous in their moment of suffering.

But I think we know that’s just not how it works on this planet. The cross is the most eloquent testimony of that.

That does not mean God is unrighteous, but he clearly allows us a lot of latitude at the moment. Still, the question of justice cannot be put off forever. That’s why there’s a judgment: because here and now, we are not guaranteed any tidy relationship between outcome and will. That’s for later.”

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