Evil, Freedom and Heaven

In Heaven and Philosophy. Lanham: Lexington. pp. 201-230 (2018)
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Abstract
By far the most respected response by theists to the problem of evil is some version of the free will defense, which rests on the twin ideas that God could not create humans with free will without them committing evil acts, and that freedom is of such value that it is better that we have it than that we be perfect yet unfree. If we assume that the redeemed in heaven are impeccable, then the free will defense faces what I call the Heaven Dilemma: either the redeemed in heaven are free, in which case it is false that you cannot be free without doing evil, or they are not, in which case (heaven being better than earth) it is false that we are better off with freedom and evil than without either. James Sennett has tried to defend a view of freedom that effectively allows us to be impeccable in heaven so long as we are not on earth, while claiming that we are free in both. I argue that this view leads to a new dilemma: either there is no point to earth at all, and given its miseries, it is wrong for God to make us pass through it to get to heaven (especially if we face the risk of ending up in hell), or Sennett’s view consigns millions who die tragically young to an eternity of unfreedom.
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