From childhood, we want things our way. “I don’t want peas; I want ice cream!” “Why do I have to take a nap?” “Do I have to stay in the backyard?”
As we get older, we gain more freedom. Soon enough, most of us get to make all the choices we care to make. We’re designed for freedom. All human beings crave it.
But we are also designed for responsibility—for ourselves and for each other. “No man is an island,” wrote poet John Donne. He was talking about how even a single death affects each one of us, but his observation applies to all of life. Each human choice has a ripple effect on the rest of humanity. We cannot avoid it.
God gave us the freedom to choose. When Adam and Eve exercised that freedom, their shortsighted choice introduced evil into the world. We still have that freedom, but we live with its consequences too. And it doesn’t feel very free.
Why is there suffering? Should we blame God for it? What role does our God-given freedom to choose play in the evil we see every day? What does it mean to be truly free?