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Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense - Essay Example

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Platinga demonstrates how theistic belief, about God being omnipotent and wholly good, is logically consistent. Permitting evil means creating a world with moral good, as well as, moral evil. This is an argument that answers the questions raised by different philosophers, or defends itself against some philosophers, with contradictory ideas about the existence of evil and the role of God. In the logical problem of evil, it is indicated that there are different possibilities to the existence of evil. Some of these mentioned are that God: can eliminate evil but he is adamant, wants to eliminate evil but is incapable of eliminating it, does not wish to eliminate evil and cannot eliminate evil, and wants to eliminate evil and can eliminate evil (Zagzebski, p. 146). Platinga gives an argument that creatures are given free will to do moral good and evil, and God had a valid reason for it. This paper is an explanation of Platinga’s argument of ‘free will’.

In Platinga’s Free Will Defense, he has made certain definitions and distinctions. Being free is defined with respect to an action. Being free with respect to a certain action means that the individual has the free will to refrain from performing it or to perform it. There are no causal laws or antecedent conditions that predetermine the person’s choice of action. Free will means the person has the power to decide to act or not to act. A second definition or distinction is about the action. An action is morally significant if it is right to perform the action and wrong to refrain from it or vice versa. Significantly free means a person is free with respect to a morally significant action. There is also a distinction between naturally evil and morally evil. Moral evil is that which results from free human activity while natural evil is any other kind of evil (Plantinga, p, 30). Based on these distinctions and definitions, Platinga notes that a world is more valuable when it contains creatures with significant freedom than when it has creatures with no freedom at all. In their freedom, the creatures should be able to perform more good than evil actions. Platinga argues that there is no freedom if people are created with the freedom, but their actions are predetermined by God. According to him, God has the capability of creating creatures that are significantly free, but has chosen to give them the freedom to act on their own always. God cannot cause or determine the creatures to do only what is right. Freedom according to Platinga means being given a choice. A choice has to exist between two or more variables. In this case, the variables are good and evil, or moral good and moral evil. If God creates creatures with free will, but determines what their actions will be, there is no freedom at all. Free will creatures are given the will to choose from moral evil and moral good, and to act according to what they think is right or wrong. His argument, therefore, is that God cannot create creatures capable of moral good without giving the same creatures the capability of moral evil if they are to have free will. In exercising their freedom, some of God’s creatures went wrong in exercising their freedom. This does not mean that God is not omnipotent and not good. It means that he has given the free will with no determinations of what actions the creatures should engage in (Plantinga, p, 30). Free will defenders believe that or find propositions that are consistent with; God is omnipotent, God is omniscient, and is wholly good. They also believe that alongside the existence of these characteristics of God, there is still evil. God has very good reasons for creating both moral ...Show more
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The free will defense is like an effort to show that “there may be a different kind of good that God cannot bring without permitting evil” (Plantinga, p, 29). There are good states of affairs without evil, they do not entail the existence of any evil, but God cannot bring them without permitting evil…
Alvin Plantingas Free Will Defense
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