My dad says I asked this question at age five. And look, I’m still asking it. And just the other night, I had a friend ask it–or a version of it–in our church small group and I thought, “Yep, still wondering about that one.”
It’s a biggie. Like really huge. So huge that typically, we evangelical Christians raise it for a moment but shrink away in an even briefer moment. Heavy questions such as these are dangerous to let linger, even with your closest friends.
I thought I would tackle this question closer to half-way through this year of blogging about the hard questions. It was to be a climactic type of post, smack dab in the middle of month six. Until I happened to leaf through my copy of Mere Christianity this evening and came across an answer I had to share now instead of waiting for revelation to hit before June.
As you know, what this question is really asking is “Why would God give us the choice of choosing evil if it would lead to our downfall?”
And here is Lewis’ response that I like very much:
“Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having” (my edition of Mere Christianity, p. 48).
Evil existed before man. God did not think it fair to not let us know about its existence, so he gave us the tree as an act of honesty and love, in a way.
This does not completely satisfy my five-year-old curiosity, but it is a start. And a start is sometimes all we can ask for.