Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Nugget From Clement

A lot of times you'll hear folks who are harping on the problem of evil ask questions about why God, knowing who all the bad people were going to be, would go ahead and bother creating them in the first place. Clement has an interesting response that sounded vaguely familiar to me (maybe from one of the later Fathers; I can't really remember), but it was interesting to see it in a document from so far back in history.

But you will meet me by saying, Even if it has come to this through freedom of will, was the Creator ignorant that those whom He created would fall away into evil? He ought therefore not to have created those who, He foresaw, would deviate from the path of righteousness. Now we tell those who ask such questions, that the purpose of assertions of the sort made by us is to show why the wickedness of those who as yet were not, did not prevail over the goodness of the Creator.

For if, wishing to fill up the number and measure of His creation, He had been afraid of the wickedness of those who were to be, and like one who could find no other way of remedy and cure, except only this, that He should refrain from His purpose of creating, lest the wickedness of those who were to be should be ascribed to Him; what else would this show but unworthy suffering and unseemly feebleness on the part of the Creator, who should so fear the actings of those who as yet were not, that He refrained from His purposed creation?

If you didn't get that, the point seems to be that if God lets the actions of these bad people thwart their own creation, then evil has basically already one by controlling an action of God. It's weird, but I can see how it works.

This really makes me wonder is how it might figure in for predestination arguments. If this from Clement is true, would that affect the Molinist idea of God's actions in election being based upon the foreseen merits/demerits of a given person? I'll leave this to someone else here because this kind of thinking will make my head explode.

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