Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Suffering, Free Will, and Pinocchio

"Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself."  C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
God created us to be the objects of His love.  In order to love us He had to create us with free will because  to love or be loved one must have a choice.  In order to have free will, the option to choose badness must exist.  And, because God is just, if we choose badness, it will cause suffering.

Gepetto created Pinocchio out of his desire to have a son.  Before Pinocchio became a boy, Gepetto's love for Pinocchio was a love not really realized.  Once Pinocchio became a boy, he had free will, including the will to do wrong.  Pinocchio choose to do wrong, and he suffered because of it.

If Gepetto really loved Pinocchio wouldn't he have protected him from suffering?

The simply answer is, "no."  In order for Gepetto to fully love Pinocchio and for Pinocchio to experience Gepetto's love, Pinocchio had to become a boy.  In order for Pinocchio to truly be alive, he had to be a boy with a free will.    And once free will is involved, it necessarily entails suffering, because the alive person will, at times, choose to do wrong.  

It is no different with God.  In order for us to really be alive, we must have free will.  In order for us to truly be able to feel and express love, we must a free will.  And if we have a free will, there naturally will be suffering because, at times, we will choose to do wrong.

It is not God's fault that there is suffering.  Suffering exists because we have a free will.  We must have a free will in order for us to be truly alive, and to truly feel God's love.    


  1. Please forgive me if this comment is redundant, for I tried to publish this comment from my Android phone but apparently failed.

    The relationship between free will and suffering is my primary interest. I suggest all suffering ultimately arises from our inability to exercise free will. Clearly, if we could, we would choose not to suffer. Since we can't, there must be an entity outside our will that forces us to suffer. Understanding the forces of this enemy is required in order to defeat and to avoid The Puppet Pitfall. Please visit me at www.remedy4suffering.com and let's continue this great dialogue.

    Your fellow traveler,
    The Puppeteer

    1. I had a quick look at your website, and see that you are a philosopher practitioner.. ah

    2. Why would ALL suffering arise from our inability to exercise free will? We can exercise free will when we choose within the limits of free will available to us. When we don't have the free will to, say, run up Mount Everest to the summit at at ten miles an hour, we can suffer the result for lacking common sense. And the fault is no-one's but our own for having such a ludicrous aim. Very often we can choose not to suffer by oping for logical approaches to life. We suffer because of other circumstances that we cannot control but that's not always the cause for suffering. Every time we see a fire we can choose not to be burnt by taking the appropriate actions. We experiment by testing if it's possible to put our hand in a fire to see if it may not burn. I suppose it's possible that there are people stupid enough to try that "experiment" and consider it a philosophical experiment. If so, they will suffer for it--deny cause and effect all they want.

  2. Puppeteer, sorry not following...if you want people to go to your website please rewrite your synopsis a little more clearly.