1. Any agent A that is not morally perfect (MP) and has a free will shall ultimately/eventually commit a sin.
2. A is morally innocent only in the case that A has freely refrained from any sin and has moral obligations.
3. Any A that is MP cannot sin, and has no moral obligations.
4. Therefore, any A that is MP is not morally innocent.
5. Therefore, any A that is morally innocent is not-MP.
6. God is MP.
7. Any man created by God would have been morally innocent.
8. Therefore, any man created by God is not MP.
9. Therefore, any man created by God with a free will shall ultimately sin.
I think (1) is true because of what it means to be MP. Moral perfection is not merely lacking a blemish or a negative standard. Rather, perfection is in complete conformity to a standard. A sports analogy may be helpful. Sometimes it may be said, “this team is perfect this season” and yet it has not played a single game. Is such terminology accurate? Of course not. We don’t mean the same thing there as we would if it were applied to a team who had played some games and yet not lost. This tells us merely lacking a mark against or a blemish is a necessary but insufficient condition for perfection. (1) is also not saying that any specific sin cannot be avoided. It’s merely a recognition that being not-MP entails an eventual sin.
The second premise is very plausible. For of what can one be guilty or innocent except moral obligations, which come from moral commands or intuitions? Further, sufficient freedom of the will seems to be necessary in order to merit moral praise or blame. Hence, (2) should be accepted.
That any A that is MP cannot sin and has no moral obligations might be less than obvious. However, I think this is true because in order to be morally perfect, one must be the standard. While perfection, in normal usage, means complete conformity to a standard, we also intuit that real perfection is the incapability of failure; on the simpler definition there is always the possibility of failure. This is not so with perfection. If that is true, then any A that is MP is both the standard of morality and cannot sin. If A is the standard of morality, then A owes himself no moral obligations, per se. (4) and (5) are conclusions and hence analytic entailments of the prior three premises.
The sixth premise is true for any theist or person who would describe God in terms of being morally perfect. (7) seems to be true prima facie. That is, any MP being would bring into existence beings who at least lacked the deficiency in character and who had no sin. One may object (7) begs the question, but this isn’t quite true. If one has already accepted the reasoning for (1-3), then (7) is an entailment (rather than the alternative, that God would create beings who had the property of being MP). (8) and (9) are logically-entailed conclusions, and hence cannot be denied of themselves.
This has serious ramifications when it comes to the problem of moral evil. If any being created by God will, given free choice and sufficient time/opportunity, freely choose to sin, then God is not able to avoid the scenario of creating a world of significant moral freedom and relationship to God in the relevant way without sin. Now God could choose not to create anything at all, or create only beings who lack significant moral freedom. But why should the world be robbed of the great good of those creations of God because someone else would have chosen wrongly? Why should your existence be snuffed out because it is true someone, somewhere, would sin? Why should the joy and bliss of billions in eternity be negated because some sin, somewhere, would be committed? Consider also that this criticism really only applies in cases where God cannot do anything to rectify that situation.
“If God were to create free beings who will inevitably sin and can do nothing to save their souls, then God should refrain from creating,” is almost in need of no defense. But God can do something, and he has. He sent his Son Jesus Christ as a real, historical person. He was God in the flesh. He had multiple, ancient, eyewitness accounts of his life and claims. He claimed to be God. He was executed by the Roman government at the request of his religious opposition. Three days later, people experienced independent visual experiences of Jesus, seemingly in full health and quite well. These appearances coincided with an empty tomb. This tomb was guarded night and day by a contingent that had good reason to protect the tomb. The followers of Jesus were hopeless at the time of the empty tomb and had scattered, many going back to earning a living fishing. There was no one to steal the body. Jesus Christ died and was resurrected by God himself, vindicating his claim to be the Son of God.
But in that case, Jesus really did come to pay the penalty for sins—yours and mine. In order to have our sins forgiven, all we must do is: a) believe the claims of Christ-that he was God and he paid for our sins, b) believe that he died and was raised to life again by God the Father, c) want to be saved and forgiven for your sins, and d) place your trust in God to forgive you of your sins. It’s not enough to simply believe in your head these things happened, and it’s not enough to wish that you were saved from separation from God. You must actively trust in God, and in that moment you do so, your sins are all forgiven. You can now live for Christ!-------------------------------------------------------
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