Why does God create people who he knows will choose Hell?

It’s Bill Craig’s question of the week, and I think this is a legitimate question.

Here’s the question:

In your debate with Victor Stenger, he advanced the argument that God could not logically be a perfect being and creator of the universe. In response you stated that God does not create because of anything lacking in Himself, but because the creation of the universe benefits man, because he can come to know God and have a loving relationship with Him. I was just wondering, how does this square with the Christian doctrine of Hell? If Christ is the only way to God, and unbelief is punished by eternity in Hell, it seems likely that the vast majority of people, or at least a good number, will end up in Hell. In what way could we say that creation benefited these people? The doctrine of Hell has always been one of my major problems with Christianity, and it was my main reason for becoming an atheist.

And you can click here for Bill’s answer.

And you can find the Craig vs. Stenger debate right here for free. I keep the DVD in my office, because it’s a good debate.

UPDATE:

Here is Matt Flannagan’s answer:

The question why does God create people who he knows will go to hell seems to me to make some mistakes.

It assumes that it’s wrong to do something which one foresees will result in ruin for another. But one does not have to think far to see this is a mistake. Suppose a person told me that if I did not have an affair with her she would kill herself. i refuse and she kills herself. Am I guilty of murder? It seems to me not for two reasons, first although I foresaw the result I did not cause it she caused it by her actions hence I did not kill her. Second, the alternative in this instance did involve me causing something evil, it involved me causing an act of adultery and disloyalty.

Take this to the hell case, God foresees that others will freely do something which results in their damnation that does not mean he causes this action and so is not culpable. Second, the alternative to this would be to not create this person or this world and the question is whether this would be a better state of affairs, its not obvious it would be.

Moreover I am inclined to think this argument proves too much. As a parent I know that my child will at some point lie, sin and do bad things, does it follow that parents should be held accountable for their children’s actions and can’t justly punish them? After all they could have refrained from having Kids.

He’s a prominent Christian debater from New Zealand who debates the same sort of people as William Lane Craig does.

Related posts

11 thoughts on “Why does God create people who he knows will choose Hell?”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I’m a fan of Bill, but I’m not sure I agree entirely with his reply to Stenger.

    The creation of the Universe does not address any need or deficit in God, but it does bring Him glory. The primary reason for the creation of the Universe (for everything, really) is not the benefit of man (although that is an intended consequence which Bill has elaborated on nicely), but the glory of God.

    Like

  2. Why does God create people who he knows will choose Hell?

    He doesn’t.

    “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

    I think that answers the question.

    Like

  3. Here is an OUTSTANDING article which I recently read on the subject of Hell, from Christopher Townsend: http://www.jubilee-centre.org/document.php?id=25

    Summary:

    “This paper focuses on the doctrine of hell, examining the main features of the Bible’s teaching and considering a number of debated issues, notably the argument over annihilationism and eternal punishment. The chapter goes on to explore the apologetic challenges and opportunities which arise from the doctrine of hell, and reflects on the ‘strange silence’ of the modern church on this topic.”

    Like

        1. I think that freely chose to actualize a world of his choosing, for his own purposes, in which I would be placed in a time and place such that I would freely choose in those circumstances to be an Arminian. If by Arminian you mean a 3.9 point Calvinist. And I’m also sure that God is sovereign over this world and that his choice of world glorifies him maximally.

          Like

  4. The question why does God create people who he knows will go to hell seems to me to make some mistakes.

    It assumes that it’s wrong to do something which one foresees will result in ruin for another. But one does not have to think far to see this is a mistake. Suppose a person told me that if I did not have an affair with her she would kill herself. i refuse and she kills herself. Am I guilty of murder? It seems to me not for two reasons, first although I foresaw the result I did not cause it she caused it by her actions hence I did not kill her. Second, the alternative in this instance did involve me causing something evil, it involved me causing an act of adultery and disloyalty.

    Take this to the hell case, God foresees that others will freely do something which results in their damnation that does not mean he causes this action and so is not culpable. Second, the alternative to this would be to not create this person or this world and the question is whether this would be a better state of affairs, its not obvious it would be.

    Moreover I am inclined to think this argument proves too much. As a parent I know that my child will at some point lie, sin and do bad things, does it follow that parents should be held accountable for their children’s actions and can’t justly punish them? After all they could have refrained from having Kids.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s